EIG Dispatch – December 5, 2014


  • U.S. House of Representatives Vote to Block President Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration
  • UPDATE: Russia Continues to Implement More Changes for Highly Qualified Specialists in 2015
  • United Kingdom Announces Expansion of 24 Hour Visa Service
  • UPDATE: India Extends Visa on Arrival Program to 43 Countries 
  • UPDATE: Canada to Launch an Express Entry Program for Skilled Foreign Workers

U.S. House of Representatives Vote to Block President Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration 

On December 4, 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives, spearheaded by Republican leadership, voted to block President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration.  The measure passed by a narrow margin of 219 to 197.  The bill is largely symbolic, as it is not tied to a government funding bill, and demonstrates their disagreement with the President’s executive action on immigration.  Democratic leadership in the Senate, still in control until a new congress convenes in January 2015, supports the President’s execution action and will not introduce the House bill for a vote.  President Barack Obama critically responded to the bill, stating that the “bill’s objective is clearly to nullify and block implementation of these executive actions, which would have devastating consequences. It would lead to the separation of families and prevent additional DREAMers from fully contributing to American life.”

UPDATE: Russia Continues to Implement More Changes for Highly Qualified Specialists in 2015

As an update to our previous alert, Russia is continuing to make changes to its Highly Qualified Specialist (HQS) work permit program. Beginning January 1, 2015, Russia will implement the following changes to its HQS work permit employer notification requirements:

  • Employers are no longer required to notify the Federal Migration Service office when granting unpaid leave to an HQS work-permit-holding-employee for leave exceeding one calendar month during a twelve month period;
  • Employers are no longer required to notify the Tax Authority when hiring or dismissing an HQS employee. However, Employers must notify the Federal Migration Service office when hiring or dismissing a HQS employee within three business days of the date of signing or dismissal;
  • Representative offices of foreign companies will now be able to hire foreign national workers under the HQS Program; and
  • The Federal Migration Service will continue to accept HQS work permit applications for IT companies with a lower minimum salary level than it currently does for other industries.

Proper notifications under this law are important as violators could incur fines up to 1,000,000 RUB per violation.

United Kingdom Announces Expansion of 24 Hour Visa Service

In April 2015, the UK government plans to expand of its 24 Hour Visa Service, also known as the Super Priority Visa Service.  Under the current draft of the plan, this service will accommodate more business leaders, investors, and tourists as part of the UK’s efforts to support domestic businesses. Prime Minister David Cameron stated that “[the plan] is good news for British business and tourism, helping us to build a more resilient economy and secure a brighter future for Britain.”

Currently, business travelers from both China and India who are in need of approval for urgent travel throughout the UK may receive a decision within 24 hours. In China and India, demand for the service averages 60 applications per month and over 100 applications per month respectively. The UK government plans to expand the expedited service to the following countries: South Africa, Turkey, Thailand, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates. The service will also be available at visa processing centers in New York and Paris. The 24 Hour Visa Service will be available for a fee of £600 in addition to regular visa fees.

UPDATE: India Extends Visa on Arrival Program to 43 Countries

As an update to our previous report, as of November 28, 2014, nationals of 43 countries, including the U.S., Australia, Japan, Israel, Germany, and Singapore, will be able to travel to India on an E visa for a short stay of 30 days. The purpose of the traveler’s trip must be recreation, sightseeing, a casual visit to meet friends or relatives, medical treatment of short duration, or a casual business visit.

Eligible foreign nationals may apply for and pay the visa fee online.  Once the application is approved, the traveler will receive an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) by email authorizing them to travel to India.  Travelers must print and present their ETA upon arrival at one of the international airports in Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Trivandrum. In addition, travelers must have a passport valid for at least six months, a return or onward journey ticket, and sufficient funds to spend during their stay in India. Once a visa on arrival is issued, they are not extendable and are not convertible. In addition, travelers may not apply for the visa on arrival more than twice in one year.

UPDATE: Canada to Launch an Express Entry Program for Skilled Foreign Workers

As an update to our previous report, effective January 1, 2015, Canadian permanent resident applicants under four economic immigration programs (Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Provincial Nominee Program) will be required to complete an online Express Entry profile. Candidates who meet the criteria of the federal programs will be accepted into an Express Entry pool. These candidates will then be given a score up to 1200 based on a combination of core human capital factors. Candidates with the highest scores will be drawn from the pool and invited to apply for permanent residency. The first drawing will take place at the end of January 2015 and drawings will occur regularly thereafter.

Candidates with a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) work permit or an offer of employment supported by an LMIA will earn enough points to be invited to apply for permanent residency. Before hiring a foreign worker, employers must first apply for a LMIA, which advertises the position and demonstrates that they are unable to fill the position with a qualified Canadian or existing permanent resident. A qualifying job offer from a Canadian employer is a significant factor that will greatly increase a candidate’s likelihood of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residency, but is not a prerequisite.

Most permanent residency applicants that meet the Express Entry eligibility requirements will receive a decision on their application within six months.