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EIG Dispatch – May 15, 2015

May 15, 2015

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Brazil Embassies on Strike
  • Lawsuit from U.S. Workers Challenging the Validity of H-4 Employment Authorization
  • Reciprocal Visa Waiver Program between European Union and UAE
  • UPDATE: UK Biometric Residence Permits Rolled Out Worldwide by July 2015
  • Participate in the EIG Dispatch Animal Photo of the Week

Brazil Embassies on Strike

On May 12, 2015, Embassy workers and diplomats went on strike to demand increased salaries, payment of past-due housing allowances, and official passports. The strike is affecting Brazilian Embassies located in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. Anyone traveling to Brazil and awaiting a visa should prepare for potential delays and appointment postponements.

There has been no report as to when the strike is expected to end, however Embassies and Consulates will remain open throughout the strike and operate at a reduced workforce. People traveling to Brazil during this time should check respective Brazilian consular websites and call the Brazilian consular posts to determine if their travels will be affected.

Lawsuit from U.S. Workers Challenging the Validity of H-4 Employment Authorization

On April 23, 2015, Save Jobs USA filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), claiming that the new rule granting H-4 dependents work eligibility would cause further competition in the U.S. job market and directly contradicts several provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This past Tuesday, May 12, DHS responded to the lawsuit by asking the federal court to dismiss the suit on grounds that there was a lack of standing, since the H-4 Employment Authorization has not yet gone into effect. The new regulation is estimated to add up to 179,600 new foreign workers to the job market in the first year it goes into effect, and 55,000 new workers in subsequent years.

This lawsuit is not expected to have any effect on the upcoming H-4 Employment Authorization filings, and the new rule will become effective on May 26, 2015, as planned.

Reminder: If your spouse meets the eligibility requirements and would like to file an Application for Employment Authorization, please reach out to EIG so that we can begin the application process. For more information please visit the USCIS website.

Reciprocal Visa Waiver Program between European Union and UAE

United Arab Emirates (UAE) nationals no longer require a visa to travel to Schengen member states in the European Union (EU) for short stays of up to 90 days. UAE citizens can visit Schengen full member states for tourism, journalism, business, sports, performances, etc. Schengen country nationals can likewise visit the UAE for a 90-day period without a visa. This agreement went into effect May 6, 2015 and will serve as a provisional agreement until it is ratified.

This visa waiver program applies specifically to full members states of the Schengen region. Separate 90-day visa waiver periods are calculated for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania, as they are not yet full members of the Schengen region. The visa waiver agreement also does not apply to UAE citizens traveling to the UK or Ireland, as those countries are not part of the Schengen region (however, the UK does offer UAE citizens its own visa waiver program for up to 180 days). Further exempted from the visa waiver agreement are Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, which are not EU member states.

Update: UK Biometric Residence Permit Rolled Out Worldwide by July 2015

As an update to our previous report, the UK will continue to roll out its Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) program, completing all phases by July 31, 2015. The BRP is a newly instituted residence permit granted to all visa applicants applying to live in the UK for business or family reasons for longer than 6 months. All visa applicants applying from countries outside the European Economic Area must apply for the BRP.

The new process eliminates the passport visa stamp that was formerly issued and requires that each visa applicant receive a “travel vignette” allowing the applicant to enter the country for 30 days. Upon entry, the applicant will have 10 days to collect his/her BRP, which is the size of a credit card and contains the holder’s fingerprints and photo. The 10-day window to obtain the BRP is strictly enforced, and applicants may be required to submit more than one application if their travel plans change in order to remain aligned with the 10-day window.

The BRP program has been utilized since March 2015 by a number of countries whose nationals have been relocating to the UK, including India.