- Overhaul of the Philippines Work Permit Process
- Fresh New Look for CBP’s ESTA Website
- Monthly Tier 2 Quotas Reached in the UK
Overhaul of the Philippines Work Permit Process
The Department of Labor and Employment in the Philippines has issued new rules regarding the employment permit process. As of September 28, 2015, companies will be required to train two Filipino employees for every foreign worker in a non-managerial role. In regards to job advertising, the rules now authorize the Department of Labor and Employment to publish in the newspaper and on its own website, the salary ranges and job details for all employment permit applications for a period of 30 days. The rules, targeted towards increasing the domestic work force, will make it more difficult for companies to obtain foreign workers under the Alien Employment Permits (AEPs), 9(g) Works Visas, and 47(a) (2) Visas. Companies in the Philippines are thus advised to anticipate longer processing times and are advised to review the details of the rules, as several exceptions and exemptions exist.
Fresh New Look for CBP’s ESTA Website
U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) gives a new look to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) website which allows eligible foreign nationals visiting the U.S. to apply for the Visa Waiver Program.
ESTA is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The information collected are the biographic information of the traveler and answers to VWP eligibility questions. An ESTA application may be submitted at any time prior to travel.
The information available on the new website is virtually the same, however in an effort to make the website user-friendly and accessible to applicants from all countries, new features have been introduced including access to the website from mobile device and status check on smartphones; a new FAQ page can be accessed throughout the application process; application pages can now be viewed in one of 23 languages and improvements to the submission of application for a group or family.
Authorization via ESTA does not determine whether a traveler is admissible to the U.S. CBP officers determine the admissibility upon the traveler’s arrival.
Monthly Tier 2 Quotas Reached in the UK
The monthly cap for Tier 2 Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCoS) has been surpassed for the fourth consecutive month in the United Kingdom. The annual quota for Tier 2 RCoS is 20,700 with visas allocated on a monthly basis. While the quota was surpassed again, the minimum salaries for successful applicants were down significantly in August and September compared to the months of June and July. This suggests that the spike in demand over the summer is dwindling. While the news has generally been welcome, the United Kingdom’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is in the midst of considering wide-ranging changes to skilled-migration policies, including raising salary thresholds and limiting Tier 2 to genuine skills shortages and “highly specialist experts.” Such changes could make the Tier 2 route significantly more limited.
Employers and non-EU nationals applying for Tier 2 RCoS work visas are those who will be most affected by the changes. The lower demand for RCoS visas is a positive sign for employers who need to sponsor employee visas for employees in the £20,000-32,000 salary brackets.