Latest updates in global

Global immigration rules and procedures are changing by the day, as governments around the world begin to ease lockdown measures and certain overseas visa centres begin a phased reopening. However, certain restrictions and exemptions are still in place in most countries, therefore travelers should be aware of the current rules in their destination country before travelling.

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

Australia: New labour market testing requirement

The Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) in Australia has announced the introduction of a new Priority Skills List, together with strengthened labour market testing requirements.

The changes aim to allow skilled workers to come to Australia to fill urgent roles in critical sectors such as healthcare, construction and IT, which will help the Australian economy recover following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The occupations included on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) are as follows:

  • Chief Executive or Managing Director (111111)
  • Construction Project Manager (133111)
  • Mechanical Engineer (233512)
  • General Practitioner (253111)
  • Resident Medical Officer (253112)
  • Psychiatrist (253411)
  • Medical Practitioner nec (253999)
  • Midwife (254111)
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412)
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) (254415)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418)
  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254422)
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative) (254423)
  • Registered Nurses nec (254499)
  • Developer Programmer (261312)
  • Software Engineer (261313)

In response to the pandemic, which has had a significant impact on the Australian labour market, the Australian Government has also changed the labour market testing requirement for the subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage visa and subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa.

For all nomination applications lodged on or after 30 September 2020, employers must now submit three job advertisements, one of which must be placed on the Government’s Jobactive website. Job adverts must be in English and include a list of requirements.

Exemptions to the labour market testing criteria still exist where it would conflict with Australia’s International Travel Obligations, and alternative submission requirements are still permitted for positions with annual earnings greater than $250,000 or where it is an intra-company transfer.

Canada: Immigration and consular assistance for those affected by Beirut tragedy

As part of the government’s response to the tragedy in Beirut, Canada is introducing some immigration changes to make it easier and faster for Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents in Lebanon to return home.

The Government of Canada is prioritising travel documents for Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents in Lebanon. The government will also waive some fees, making it easier for those affected to return to Canada.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is also prioritising visitor visa applications for immediate family members of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents who have been personally affected by the explosion in Beirut, so they can join their loved ones in Canada.

Immediate family members are classified as:

  • Spouses
  • Common-law partners
  • Dependent children
  • Parents or step-parents

Canada will also be providing support to Lebanese citizens so they can stay longer in Canada temporarily if they’re not able to return home because of the explosion. They can apply to extend or renew their stay as a temporary resident in Canada, and IRCC will waive the application fees.

USA: New biometrics rules proposed

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expected to publish a proposed rule on 11 September 2020 to expand the collection and use of biometrics across US authorities. The authorities include the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The proposed changes would aim to modernise biometrics collection and authorise wider use of biometric information, to improve screening and vetting processes and reduce the reliance on paper documentation.

The changes the DHS are expected to propose are as follows:

  • That any applicant, petitioner, sponsor, beneficiary, or individual filing or associated with an immigration benefit or request, including U.S. citizens, must appear for biometrics collection regardless of age, unless the DHS waives or exempts the biometrics requirement.
  • To authorise biometrics collection, regardless of age, upon arrest for the purposes of processing care, custody, and initiation of removal proceedings.
  • To increase the biometric modalities that DHS collects, to include iris images, palm prints, and voice prints. Currently, biometrics generally only includes fingerprints, photographs and signatures.
  • That DHS may require, request, or accept DNA test results, including a partial DNA profile, to prove the existence of a claimed genetic relationship, and that DHS may use and store DNA test results for the relevant adjudications or to perform any other functions necessary for administering and enforcing immigration and naturalisation laws.
  • To further clarify the purposes for which biometrics are collected from individuals filing immigration applications or petitions to include criminal history and national security background checks; identity enrolment, verification, and management; secure document production; and administering and enforcing immigration and naturalisation laws.

If the rule is finalised as proposed, foreign nationals would become subject to continuous biometrics screening and vetting throughout their stay in the United States until they naturalise to become U.S. citizens.

SSW Global Immigration

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. We have spent years refining our global immigration capability, with a carefully selected choice of local partners to meet every client need.

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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