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Global Immigration

In the rapidly changing landscape of global immigration, there have been a number of recent developments that could impact employers looking to relocate staff to global offices.

With this in mind, Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following key updates surrounding global immigration.

USA – H-4 work authorisations challenged

The US Authorities are currently at a crux as whether to continue issuing H-4 visa holders with the right to work in the USA. Such visa holders are the spouses of H-1B main applicants and in the past have been able to work freely in the US when accompanying the main applicant during their stay.

However, in a move to prevent them working, Save Jobs USA, a group of American Technology employees, has worked to bar their work authorisation. Whilst a number of countries already impose working restrictions on trailing spouses, the introduction of a similar imposition in the US would be significant.

Opposing the changes, the Department of Homeland Security has defended its right to grant work approval and urged the US District Court not to block the permits.

For employers, this could pose a significant future hurdle, whereby they are unable to employ such visa holders without going through further lengthy and timely processes. It is likely to be some time yet before any possible change is rolled out, but it is something employers should keep on their horizon.

USA – Form I-9 policy extended

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is extending its remote I-9 document inspection policy for an additional 30 days, until 18th June 2020.

Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and legal authorisation to work for all individuals employed in the United States.

The normal requirement was to physically inspect the original documents, however remote checks allow eligible employers to continue compliance during the COVID-19 emergency.

Eligible employers will not be required to review I-9 identity and employment authorisation documents in the employee’s physical presence until the interim policy expires, or until three days after the COVID-19 emergency is over, whichever comes first.

Singapore – New hiring rules

New rules introduced in May by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower aim to encourage Singaporean employers to give fair consideration to local candidates before selecting foreign applicants. All foreigners who intend to work in Singapore must have a valid work pass before they start work.

As part of the Ministry’s efforts to ensure fair employment practices, revisions have been made to the salary threshold for job advertisement requirements, making advertising roles a fundamental requirement of the scheme.

Under the new roles, employers will now need to advertise vacancies if the position is drawing a fixed monthly salary of less than SGD 20,000 (+- £11,500 GBP) per month.

While this uplift is minor – it will impact some potential work pass hires and this changes forms a part of the Ministry of Manpower’s general aim of tightening immigration restrictions.

Canada – Fast-track work permits

On 12th May 2020, the Canadian government announced a fast-track work permit application process for temporary foreign workers in Canada. The new and temporary policy has been implemented as a response to the labour market challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the new policy, foreign workers already in Canada will be able to apply for a work permit with a new employer and quickly receive the authorisation to begin work via email while the work permit application is being processed. This fast-track process will drastically cut processing times from ten weeks or more to just ten days or less.

Let us help you reach your global immigration goals

At Smith Stone Walters, moving people across borders is our business. Our team of immigration experts manage and support immigration moves throughout the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.

If you need advice or support in reaching your business’s global immigration goals, Smith Stone Walters would be delighted to help. Contact us today to discuss your requirements – we are immigration experts.

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