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EIG Dispatch | May 27, 2016

May 27, 2016

HIGHLIGHTS

  • China Announces Opening of Non-Resident Workers Employment Department in Macau
  • U.S. Embassy in Caracas Experiences Significant Staff Shortages and Limited Visa Appointments
  • Switzerland Reaches Second Quarter Limits on L Permits
  • Tennessee Opts into Requiring Use of E-Verify

China Announces Opening of Non-Resident Workers Employment Department in Macau

On May 28, 2016, the Non-resident Workers Employment Department will become operative under the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL), and will take over the functions of the Human Resources Office (GRH). As a result, the GRH will cease to exist, and its annual budget and staff will be added to the new department. The department will be responsible for processing applications submitted by local Macau companies requesting permission to hire foreign workers. With combined staff and budget, the department is expected to better monitor employment in Macau as well as improve the work application process.


U.S. Embassy in Caracas Experiences Significant Staff Shortages and Limited Visa Appointments

The U.S. Embassy located in Caracas, Venezuela is experiencing significant staff shortages as a result of the Venezuelan Government’s refusal to provide visas to U.S. Embassy personnel. In order to cope with the staff shortages, the U.S. Embassy in Caracas will no longer provide new appointments for first-time business or tourist (B-1/B-2) visa applicants as of May 18, 2016. In addition, the Embassy will also limit appointments for renewal or first-time applicants for other visa categories including E, F, J, M, H, I, L, O, P, Q, R, T, and U visas.  Appointments are still available for immigrant visa applicants.

Application fees that are already paid will be valid for up to one year.  Applicants who paid the fee on or before May 18, 2016 will be granted limited appointments. For additional information, please visit the U.S. Embassy’s website.


Switzerland Reaches Second Quarter Limits on L Permits

Switzerland’s L-permit quota of 500 for European Union (“EU”) nationals has been exhausted for the second quarter of 2016.  Employers must wait for the third quarter, which starts on July 1, 2016, to apply for L permits for EU/EFTA foreign nationals. Swiss cantons across the country are responsible for implementing procedures in response to the quota being reached.  Each canton’s response may vary. For example, the authorities in Zurich have announced they will approve interim permits for one month until new applications can be accepted on July 1st. EIG recommends that employers obtain information from each local canton in which they anticipate filing an L permit application well before the start of the third quarter quota to understand the specific requirements and procedures applicable.

While employers may need to adjust assignment plans, it is important to note that L permit extension requests, 120 day permits, and short-term permits are not impacted.


Tennessee Opts into Requiring Use of E-Verify

U.S. law requires all employers to verify their employees’ employment eligibility by having them complete Form I-9.  As part of completing Form I-9, employers are required to inspect documentation demonstrating the employee’s identity and U.S. work authorization. While the I-9 requirements are mandatory, federal law does not require participation in E-Verify, an internet system that allows employers to “verify” the eligibility of their employees to work in the U.S. Specifically, E-Verify compares the information provided by the employee’s Form I-9 against documentation and information held by various agencies, including The United States Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.

Beginning January 1, 2017, Tennessee will be added to the list of states that have decided to opt into using the E-Verify system. Tennessee will require employers with 50 or more employees, to use the E-Verify system to ensure employment eligibility. Previously, employers had the option of either enrolling in E-Verify or retaining certain documents to ensure compliance with Tennessee law.

Nationally, E-Verify is used by more than 600,000 employers and at more than 1.9 million hiring sites according to USCIS.