In addition to Norway, the Embassy of Norway located in Lilongwe, Malawi now handles visa applications for Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, as well as Schengen visa applications. The Embassy website boasts that no other Norwegian diplomatic mission represents so many countries.
The United States Supreme Court is back in session as of last Monday, Oct. 6—often referred to as “First Monday” due to the fact that the term must begin on the first Monday of October by law. Among its roughly 50 case docket, featuring headliners that will refine Fourth Amendment jurisprudence and agency regulatory authority, the Justices will tackle two cases that stand to have a considerable impact on American immigration law and procedure.
The first of those cases, Mellouli v. Holder, concerns the issue of whether a noncitizen—even a green card holder—can be mandatorily detained and deported for possessing drug paraphernalia. Continue Reading
A former Infosys Ltd. employee filed a lawsuit late last week in New Jersey federal court alleging that he was pressured to resign from the company and that the company continues to retaliate against him by refusing to rehire him. This is the second lawsuit he has filed against Infosys. As previously discussed on this blog , he filed a whistleblower lawsuit in 2011, claiming that his supervisors had retaliated against him after he raised concerns that Infosys was violating immigration laws, triggering a federal investigation into Infosys’s conduct which resulted in a $34 million settlement with federal prosecutors in October 2013 to settle “allegations of systemic visa fraud and abuse of immigration processes.” His earlier lawsuit was dismissed on state-law grounds in 2012.
Cox & Kings Global Services Pvt. Ltd (CKGS) now requires all Indian employment visa applicants in the United States to include a signed checklist and declaration form with their applications. As we reported in May 2014, CKGS is India’s visa application service provider in the United States. In addition to required information and documents, the checklist sets out the different steps of the visa application. By signing the declaration, the visa applicant agrees to comply with the terms of the visa and promises not to seek an extension or change of status after arriving in India.
To avoid delays and rejections, employers should take care to ensure that the signed checklist and declaration forms are included with all Indian employment visa applications. The checklist and declaration forms are available at the CKGS website. Failure to include the checklist and declaration forms when filing a case will result in a rejection and processing delay.
As we reported earlier this month, South Africa instituted some important changes to its immigration laws this year. South Africa has utilized the familiar “carrot and stick” approach in its immigration overhaul: while it has extended the validity of its major employment visas, South Africa has also imposed additional immigration compliance requirements and penalties on both employers and visa holders. Global employers should particularly be aware of the following:
New requirements for all sponsoring employers. South Africa now requires all companies that employ visa holders to maintain the following on file: a certified copy of the foreigner’s passport; a copy of the visa or permanent residency permit; proof of the capacity in which the foreigner is or was employed; a copy of the foreigner’s IRP5 form or certificate of earnings and job description, respectively.
U.S. Embassies and Consulates in India, Singapore, and Malaysia will be closed on Wednesday, October 22, for the Diwali (Deepavali) holiday. Immigration services for visa applicants will not be available while offices are closed for the Diwali (Deepavali) holiday. It is encouraged to submit applications before the holiday to avoid delays.
In Angola, all companies in the oil industry are required to file an annual program contract and human resources development plan by October 31, 2014. The program contract and human resources development plan should show how the company is taking steps towards including more Angola workers in their workforce. Companies who do not meet the deadline will be subject to fines and will not be able to request work visas in 2015. As such, companies must be compliant or risk losing the ability to hire foreign workers. Continue Reading
The Department of State released its November Visa Bulletin today. It is a mixture of good news and really bad news. The good news is that the EB-2 and EB-3 categories for all countries, except for India, continue to experience forward movement. Worldwide, EB-2 availability remains current and EB-3 availability advanced to June 1, 2012. China also experienced forward movement, with EB-2 advancing to December 8, 2009, and EB-3 advancing to January 1, 2010.
The really bad news in the Visa Bulletin relates to visa availability for India. As expected, EB-2 availability for India retrogressed by more than four years, from May 1, 2009, to February 15, 2005. EB-3, however, advanced by one week to November 22, 2003.
The Russian Federal Migration Service requires that companies operating in Russia that employ Highly Qualified Specialists (HQS) report the salaries paid to those HQS during the third quarter of 2014 (July 1 to Sept. 30) before the end of the month.
Employers that do not comply face administrative fines ranging from 400,000 rubles to 1 million rubles (approximately $10,000-$25,000) against the company and from 35,000 rubles to 70,000 rubles (approximately $870-$1,750) against company officials. Therefore, companies that have HQS as a part of their workforce should regularly track these salary payments and maintain an ongoing database so as to best facilitate compliance with the reporting laws. This will avoid the need to engage in ad hoc efforts to satisfy the disclosure requirements completely.
The deadline for reporting for this third quarter of 2014 is October 30.
*Not admitted to the practice of law.
A final rule was recently published by the Department of State (DOS) that affects its J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. The J-1 visa category will go through some significant administrative and program compliance changes, including: J-1 Responsible Officers (ROs) and Alternate Responsible Officers (AROs) must have three years of relevant international experience and clear a criminal background check; J-1 sponsors must replace any departing RO and/or ARO within ten days; independent auditors will audit private sector J-1 sponsors to ensure their programs are compliant; minimum levels of insurance coverage for J-1 visitors and dependents will increase; among others.