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EIG Dispatch – May 22, 2015

May 22, 2015

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Australia’s 2015 Federal Budget Effect on Immigration
  • Ireland’s Trusted Partner Initiative
  • UPDATE: USCIS Gears Up for New H-4 Rule

Australia’s 2015 Federal Budget Effect on Immigration

On May 12, 2015, the Australian government announced its 2015 Federal Budget which will result in several changes to visa and citizenship programs. These changes will come into effect on July 1, 2015 and include:

  • The Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service will be consolidated into a single department named the Australian Border Force.
  • Working holiday visa holders who were previously tax-exempt up to the first AUD18,200 earned in Australia will now be taxed on each dollar they earn.
  • Fees for Australian Citizenship applications and offshore lodgment fees will be increased. Previously, offshore lodgment fees were lower than onshore fees, however, after the change these fees will be aligned, with the exception of Child Visas. A list of all the new fees can be found here.
  • A Premium Investor Visa (PIV) will be introduced which will offer an accelerated path to permanent residency to individuals who commit to invest AUD15 million. This visa is intended to attract entrepreneurs and innovators to Australia.
  • The Significant Investor Visa (SIV) requires an AUD5 million investment over 4 years with certain additional requirements for how the investment must be allocated. To better understand the SIV and PIV requirements the Australian government has prepared a Complying Investment Framework.

Ireland’s Trusted Partner Initiative

Ireland’s Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Immigration (DJEI) recently introduced the Trusted Partner Initiative which will decrease the amount of paperwork required for qualifying companies in connection with a work permit application for a foreign national. Specifically, once a company has been granted Trusted Partner status the company can provide its Trusted Partner Registration Number to the DJEI instead of providing all of the employer’s company information. This status is valid for 2 years. The purpose of this program is to ease the administrative burden and to streamline the application process for qualifying employers.

Qualification requires the employer to be registered with the Office of the Revenue Commissioners. Moreover, any employer that has been convicted of an offense under Ireland’s immigration or employment permit laws will be excluded from the program for 5 years from date of conviction.

Employers can apply for Trusted Partner Status by completing the official form available on DJEI’s website. The application must be signed by the Company Secretary, the Person of Compliance or Person of Process, or the business owner. There is no fee to apply and the processing of the application is expected to take just two days.

Update: USCIS Gears Up for New H-4 Rule

As an update to our previous report, USCIS released additional guidance and FAQs regarding work authorization certain H-4 dependent spouses on Wednesday, May 20, 2015. In an effort to attract highly skilled foreign workers and encourage H-1B nonimmigrants to remain in the U.S., the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses final rule (H-4 Rule) was adopted to extend employment authorization to H-4 Dependent Spouses of certain H-1B nonimmigrants.

On May 26, 2015, USCIS will begin accepting applications for employment authorization from H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are the principal beneficiaries of an approved I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker or who have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21). In order to apply for an H-4 EAD, the dependent spouse must file the standard form I-765, provide the necessary evidence to demonstrate eligibility for employment authorization, and pay a filing fee of $380. A complete list of necessary documents can be found on the USCIS website.

To face the expected high volume of applications in the first year of the new rule, USCIS has temporarily suspended premium processing for H-1B extension petitions until July 27, 2015, and at this time does not offer premium processing for H-4 EADs pursuant to the new rule. Although timelines vary on a case-by-case basis, the current USCIS processing time for Form I-765 is 3 months.

EIG will continue to monitor developments and provide updates as they become available.