Latest updates in global

Global immigration rules are changing by the day, as governments around the world respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and many visa centres are operating at a reduced capacity.

As certain restrictions and exemptions are still in place in most countries, travellers 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.

USA: Registration process for H-1B begins

The registration process for H-1B visa applications for the next fiscal year will begin at noon (ET) 9 March until noon (ET) 25 March 2021. Successful petitions will be announced by 31 March.

The USCIS will use the same H-1B registration system implemented last year. The rule to convert the registration process to a wage-based system, under the Trump Administration, is being delayed until December 31 2021.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. If the number of registrations exceeds the H-1B quota of 85,000, USCIS will use a random computerised lottery to select the registrations for which a H-1B cap petition may be filed.

Employers may submit petitions for selected registrations starting 1 April 2021.  The petition filing period will close no earlier than 30 June 2021.

Ireland: Entry visa processing suspended

As part of the government’s efforts to control the spread of COVID-19, entry visa processing for Ireland has been suspended until further notice, with some exceptions. This suspension affects visa required nationals a full list of which can be found here.

Online applications can still be filed but the process cannot be completed until further notice.

Those who require an entry visa may not be able to complete their application in time, and employees who require entry visas may not be able to obtain their visa for travel to Ireland in the planned timeframe.

Under the new rules, until at least 5 March 2021:

  • Visa-free travel for nationals of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Guyana, Paraguay, South Africa and Uruguay is suspended; and
  • Nationals of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Suriname and Uruguay must present a valid Irish transit visa when arriving in Ireland when transiting to another country.

Chile: ID card validity extended for foreign nationals

The Chilean Government has extended the validity of Chilean ID Cards for foreign nationals with a lawful immigration status until February 28 2022, and also extended the validity date of expired passports from Venezuela, issued from 2013 onwards, until April 22, 2023.

The Chilean ID Card validity extension will benefit foreign nationals with ID Cards expiring in 2019, 2020 and 2021. For foreign nationals with ID Cards that will expire in 2021, the extension will apply as long as they have a valid resident permit.

The Venezuelan passport validity extension will also benefit Venezuela’s nationals with expired passports. This policy is aimed to allow the entry into, transit within and departure from Chile of Venezuelan nationals and to allow them to stamp their Chilean visas.

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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