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EIG Dispatch | September 2, 2016

September 7, 2016

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Delays Likely for Travelers to the United States and Canada Over Labor Day Weekend
  • Quebec Immigration Program Reaches Cap in Skilled Worker Applications for the Fiscal Year
  • Saudi Arabia Implements Labor Market Test for Block Visas and Announces Increase in Visa Fees

Delays Likely for Travelers to the United States and Canada Over Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day is celebrated on Monday, September 5, in both Canada and the United States. Individuals seeking to travel to either country may face longer wait times than normal over the upcoming holiday weekend. EIG  recommends travelers to consider less popular ports of entry and to check border wait times using the following links from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Canada Border Services Agency.

Certain individuals in Trusted Travelers Programs, such as SENTRI, NEXUS, and Global Entry, will be able to benefit from such programs by qualifying for expedited processing at the border. Travelers not currently enrolled in these programs will be unable to take advantage of the expedited processing this holiday weekend, as enrollment generally takes several months.  EIG recommends travelers who frequently visit the United States and/or Canada to consider enrolling at their earliest convenience to prevent future unexpected travel delays.  For more information and to register, please visit the Global Online Enrollment System.


Quebec Immigration Program Reaches Cap in Skilled Worker Applications for the Fiscal Year

Within five hours of opening its online application system on August 16, Quebec Immigration Program (Mon Projet Quebec) received 5,000 applications under the Quebec Skilled Worker Program. These 5,000 applications, combined with the 5,000 received in June of this year, will officially cause the cap to be met for the fiscal year.

Quebec’s application selection process aims to attract business immigrants, investors, and permanent skilled workers. In light of the increased amount of applications received for this fiscal year, the Province of Quebec expects to welcome 26,200 skilled workers and 5,400 business immigrants by March 2017. Employers in Quebec intending to hire foreign national skilled workers during the next fiscal year should ensure that applications are accurately completed and prepared for submission prior to designated intake periods.


Saudi Arabia Implements Labor Market Test for Block Visas and Announces Increase in Visa Fees

The Ministry of Labor in Saudi Arabia has implemented a Labor Market Test for new Block Visas and announced a significant increase in visa application fees. The Saudi Arabian Block Visa is the most common type of immigration approval for migrant workers, which is granted based on the migrant’s nationality and qualifications for the position. Effective August 1, 2016 employers are required to advertise job roles via the “Taqaat” portal for fourteen days in order to ensure that no qualified Saudi candidates could fill the position. Labor Market testing will add at least three to four weeks to the Block Visas processing time.

In addition, on October 2, 2016, new government visa fees will be in effect, impacting both visitors and expatriate workers. Employers operating in Saudi Arabia are advised to review their recruitment policy carefully, strictly adhere to the new advertising requirements, and ensure that the visa fees are correct.