EIG US and Global Update | January 12, 2021

With our mission to uncomplicate the complicated, we’ve always thought of our work in immigration as people-first. Our goal is for these updates to make sense of the changes happening across the world. Please share these updates with your colleagues who may find this information helpful, too.

The United States

The CDC to Order Negative COVID Tests for All Inbound International Travelers

As soon as Tuesday, January 12, the US Centers for Disease Control is expected to require all international airline travelers to provide a negative COVID-19 test before boarding inbound flights. This order would go into effect on January 26.

There is currently a test requirement for travelers coming from the UK. As of last week, Canada introduced a negative test requirement as well.

The Department of Labor Publishes Final Rule to Increase Wage Requirements for High-Skilled Workers

The US Labor Department announced a new final rule on Tuesday that would raise the wage requirements for foreign nationals with high-skilled worker visas. DOL’s new final rule follows earlier attempts to raise the prevailing wage rates. As recently as December 2020, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan struck down the Trump Administration’s efforts because they did not follow the necessary procedural steps of considering public feedback. Judge Sullivan said the step was “vital to ensuring informed agency decisions.” The rule is effective 60 days from publication in the Federal Register.

The rule will raise the four salary levels and be gradually phased in beginning July 2021 to allow employers to adjust to the new calculation methods and plan accordingly for payroll, budgeting, and contract obligations.

New OES wage levels starting on July 30, 2021:

  • I) 35th percentile; II) 53rd percentile; III) 72nd percentile; IV) 90th percentile

Old OES wage levels:

  • I) 17th percentile; II) 34th percentile; III) 50th percentile; IV) 67th percentile

Read more


International Updates

England | From January 15, travelers from abroad to England will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the last 3 days. The rule will apply to inbound traffic by air, ground, and sea and checks will be at pre-boarding and on arrival. Individuals from abroad will still be required to self-isolate for 10 days unless they submit to a second COVID test after 5 days and the results are negative.

Malaysia | The government has declared a state of emergency. As such, movement has been restricted to within a 10km radius only. For those traveling to work, they are required to carry a letter from their employer with them.

For Malaysians with long-term residency in another country, based on existing guidelines, they can exit Malaysia without applying for any approval from the Immigration Department. The long term residency documents must be presented at the point of exit from Malaysia for verification.

Mexico | The INM authorities of Mexico City and the State of Mexico, have decided not to open this Monday, January 11, as planned, due to the health concerns related to COVID-19. Tentatively, the INM services will be reactivated in Mexico City and the State of Mexico on January 25, 2021. Further guidance will come from the Mexican Ministry of Health.

The Netherlands | The government is extending the lockdown measures by at least three weeks to hopefully slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Russia | Family members of HQS employees may enter Russia based on the approved lists, which have been sent to the MIA of Russia and the FSS of Russia by the federal executive body responsible for the area of employer company’s activities.

Previously only HQS employees themselves were eligible to enter based on this condition while the entry of dependents was allowed only based on individual approvals from the Russian government. For the purpose of getting an entry approval for HQS family members, the employer company must submit a relevant petition to the responsible Russian ministry (same way as for the principal employee). Presenting a valid labour agreement at the border control is no longer mandatory for HQS or their family members.

The flight suspension between the UK and Russia has been extended until February 1, 2021. All passengers arriving into Russia from the UK are subject to a 14-day self-isolation requirement.

Tune in to the Immigration Nerds Podcast

In this week’s Immigration Nerds podcast, we talk to Dr. Robert McLeman, a professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, about the relationship between migration policy and climate change, and what it could mean for our shared future. Listen here.

We will continue to send updates as more COVID-19-related news is available. If you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or in past updates or want to hear more about a different topic, just reply to let us know. If you have specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.