- U.S. Consular Posts Receive New Guidance on Nonimmigrant Visa Revocations for DUI Arrests
- Temporary Closure of Select U.S. Consulates in MENA for the Eid al-Fitr Holiday
- UPDATE: Australia Announces Changes to Subclass 457 Accredited Sponsorship Scheme
- U.S. House Judiciary Committee Considers Visa Integrity and Security Act of 2016
U.S. Consular Posts Receive New Guidance on Nonimmigrant Visa Revocations for DUI Arrests
A new Foreign Affairs Manual provision recently authorized the revocation of a foreign national’s nonimmigrant visa in the U.S. for an arrest or conviction made within the past five years anywhere in the world “based on driving under the influence (DUI)”. The Department of State may not revoke a visa on the suspicion of ineligibility. The revocation must be based on an arrest or a conviction that took place after the visa was issued or that took place prior to the visa issuance but was not considered during the application process. Visas will not be revoked if the DUI arrest or conviction was addressed within the nonimmigrant visa application. Foreign nationals whose visas are revoked need not leave the U.S. prior to their status expiration date; however, the visa must be surrendered to the Consulate upon foreign travel. Consular officers will provide notice to foreign nationals who are subject to visa revocation. A revocation does not preclude a foreign national from reapplying for a new visa.
If you are in the U.S. in a nonimmigrant status and have been arrested or convicted for a DUI in the past five years, which was not disclosed on your nonimmigrant visa application, please contact EIG for additional guidance.
Temporary Closure of Select U.S. Consulates in MENA for the Eid al-Fitr Holiday
U.S. Consulates will close offices and delay processing of applications in the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Asia for the Eid al-Fitr Muslim holiday. Offices will close for approximately 3 – 10 days, depending on the country. Foreign nationals applying for visas in the relevant countries should expect a delay in processing. Time-sensitive applications should be submitted before July 4th. The following consulates have already set their holiday schedules: Brunei, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. Please check each individual consulate’s website for specific closures.
UPDATE: Australia Announces Changes to Subclass 457 Accredited Sponsorship Scheme
As an update to a previous article, the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection has announced additional changes to the Subclass 457 Accredited Sponsorship Scheme that will take effect on July 1, 2016. Under these changes, in order to be considered an Accredited Sponsor, employers will need to demonstrate that they have been active sponsors for at least three years, with a break of no more than six months in the past three years, and with no adverse information in connection with the company. Employers must also demonstrate that at least 75% of their workforce is comprised of Australian nationals. In addition, companies may only sponsor a maximum of 10 primary 457 visa holders within a 24 month period, which is a significant restriction compared to the previous rule where an employer could sponsor up to 30 principal 457 visa holders within a 12 month period.
Further, eligibility criteria for 457 visa applicants will include a written contract that meets the National Employment Standards and 457 visa holders must be paid pursuant to the Enterprise Agreement or internal structure that meets current market salary rates. EIG will continue to share updates with regard to these changes as they become available.
U.S. House Judiciary Committee Considers Visa Integrity and Security Act of 2016
On May 12, 2016, the Visa Integrity and Security Act of 2016 was brought before the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. The proposed Act’s objective is to strengthen security procedures for the processing of both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. Some proposed procedures include:
- Mandatory background checks for all petitioners or applicants, and their dependents, to determine whether 1) an individual poses a “national security threat” or is otherwise ineligible for a visa, or 2) admission to the U.S. Background checks should include searches on social media sites and public access information about the individual. Additionally, nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Yemen or any other country deemed “appropriate” by the Department of Homeland Security will be required to undergo a completed security advisory opinion prior to the issuance of a visa or admittance into the U.S., unless the national is exempt.
- Requiring DNA testing for petitions and applications based upon a biological relationship.
- Use of “advanced analytics” software to identify immigration fraud and potential national security threats. DHS will be required to conduct a benefit fraud assessment by FY 2021 for certain visas, such as VAWA self-petitioners, K visas, and U visas.
- Changing the burden of proof for the petitioner or applicant seeking a visa or any other document required for entry into the U.S. The current standard of “to the satisfaction of the consular officer,” would be changed to “clear and convincing” evidence, which is a higher burden of proof.