EIG Dispatch | February 19, 2016


  • Ireland Immigration Updates: Online Status Inquiry System, Changes to Occupations Lists, and Processing Times
  • Italy Publishes New Immigration Quota
  • U.S. Department of State’s Charles Oppenheim Provides Insights and Predictions for Coming Visa Bulletins
  • Vietnam Announces Immigration Changes
  • USCIS Welcomes 20,000 New U.S. Citizens

Ireland Immigration Updates: Online Status Inquiry System, Changes to Occupations Lists, and Processing Times

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI) has created an online form that allows applicants can check the status of their Employment Permit Applications.  Upon submitting the form, an automated email is sent to the applicant with information about the current stage of processing and the approximate wait time for pending applications. Alternatively, if a decision has been made, the applicant will be notified of the decision and date of decision.  Processing times are currently about six to eight weeks.

Additionally, certain occupations have been added to the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List for Employment Permits, including:

  • Material Scientist (Engineering Professionals category)
  • Industrial Pharmacists (Health Professionals category)
  • International Marketing Experts with required domain knowledge specializing in product strategy development and management with technical and product/service knowledge (pharmaceutical, medical devices, Software B2B, SaaS products) (Sales, Marketing and Related Associated Professionals category)
  • Chemical Scientists in Analytical Development (Natural and Social Science Professionals category)

 Occupations removed from the Ineligible List for Employment Permits include:

  • Tourist Guides fluent in the official language, except English, of a state which is not a Member State of the European Economic Area (Leisure and Travel Services category)
  • Computer Numerical Control Operatives (Process Operatives category)

Processing Times of European Union Treaty Applications Due to the recent increase in European Union (EU) Treaty Applications for dependents of EU nationals, processing times are longer than usual.  The current processing time for grant of temporary permission to remain are approximately three to four months, and final decisions regarding EU Treaty applications are taking approximately seven to eight months.  Despite the delays, Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) will not issue temporary stamps to expired cards.  However, non-European Economic Area nationals are allowed to remain in the country while waiting for a decision and should refrain from travel while applications are under consideration.

Italy Publishes New Immigration Quota

Italy recently published an Immigration Quota Decree, which allows non-European Union nationals that fall within a certain category to obtain work permits.  The Quota includes a total of 30,850 available work permits including: 3,600 permits reserved for non-seasonal workers; an increase to 14,250 permits reserved for conversion of existing permits; and 13,000 permits reserved for seasonal workers.  Online applications for non-seasonal workers and conversion of existing permits can be submitted by registering on the Ministry of Interior’s website. Online applications for seasonal workers became available on February 17, 2016.  Quota allocations are on a first come, first serve basis.

U.S. Department of States’ Charles Oppenheim Provides Insights and Predictions for Coming Visa Bulletins

Charles Oppenheim, the Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the U.S. Department of State, provides analyses and predictions for visa bulletins. Mr. Oppenheim recently provided his insight based on recent Visa Bulletin releases. He expects the EB-2 China category to continue to advance at current rates and that the EB-3 might advance at a rate of five months, each month. Nonetheless, Mr. Oppenheim warns that changes to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) demand patterns can always modify anticipated advancement of cut-off dates, possibly resulting in corrective action.

Mr. Oppenheim points out that a notable demand is developing in the EB-2 India category, including EB-3 upgrades, and is thus causing less final action date advancement for EB-2 India. He predicts that EB-2 India will only advance about a month and a half each month.

Vietnam Announces Immigration Changes

Vietnam recently published a new decree to define employment and work permit requirements for foreign workers in Vietnam. The new requirements will go into effect April 1, 2016. Key changes include revised definitions of Foreign Expert, Foreign Technician, and Foreign Executive/Operation Director/Manager.  Additionally, under this decree, foreign workers who will be present in Vietnam for less than 30 days per visit, and less than 90 days cumulatively in a year, can be exempt from work permit and Demand of Foreign Labor requirements. The decree also includes extended validity and broader acceptance of health certificates, and reduced time-frames allowed for processing.

USCIS Welcomes 20,000 New U.S. Citizens

Between February 12th and 22nd, USCIS will honor past U.S. presidents, and specifically George Washington’s Birthday, by welcoming 20,000 new U.S. citizens during 180 naturalization ceremonies across the country. Notably, USCIS Director, León Rodríguez, will administer the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony which will take place on February 22nd at George Washington’s Mount Vernon home located in Virginia.  In a recent announcement, USCIS Director León Rodríguez pointed out that “[w]hatever their backgrounds and political views, our presidents have all recognized that we could not have succeeded as a nation were it not for the contributions of immigrants.”