Global immigration news

This week, the SSW Global Immigration team would like to highlight the following updates from Australia, the USA and the EU.

Australia: Latest visa updates

The Australian government has announced changes to visas rules to facilitate permanent residence for:

  • Existing Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa holders in the short-term stream
  • Legacy Temporary Work Skilled (subclass 457) visa holders who no longer meet the age requirement.

The government will also:

  • Extend visas for skilled regional (provisional visa) holders (subclass 489, 491 and 494).​
  • Extend by a further six-months Visa Application Charge waivers for new Visitor visa applicants overseas where their visa expired, or will expire, between 1 January 2022 and 30 June 2022.

Finally, further measures are set to be introduced to support the return of international students and graduates, including:

  • Allowing Temporary Graduate visa holders, who have been unable to travel to Australia as a result of COVID-19 international border restrictions, to apply for a replacement visa;
  • Increasing the length of stay on Temporary Graduate visas in the Masters by Coursework and Vocation Education and Training (VET) streams;
  • ​Simplifying the requirements for Temporary Graduate visa applicants for VET sector graduates; and
  • Extending the existing measure for student and temporary graduates to recognise time spent offshore studying online to count towards qualifying for a Temporary Graduate visa application.

USA: Landmark third H-1B lottery conducted

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has run a third lottery to randomly select previously submitted FY 2022 H-1B cap registrations. This is the first time ever that USCIS has had to hold a third lottery in order to meet the required number of candidates.

The petition filing period based on registrations selected on 19 November will begin on 22 November 2021 and close on 23 February 2022. Individuals with selected registrations will have their myUSCIS accounts updated to include a selection notice, which includes details about when and where to file.

The initial selection was conducted in March 2021, with a second round in July 2021.

A H-1B cap-subject petition must be properly filed at the correct service centre and within the filing period indicated on the relevant registration selection notice. Online filing is not available for H-1B petitions. Petitioners filing H-1B petitions must do so by paper and must include a printed copy of the applicable registration selection notice with the FY 2022 H-1B cap-subject petition.

Registration selection only indicates that petitioners are eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions; it does not indicate that the petition will be approved. Petitioners filing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must still submit evidence and establish eligibility for petition approval based on existing statutory and regulatory requirements.

European Union: Latest COVID-19 travel updates

The European Commission has proposed, for the purposes of travel, a validity period of nine months for vaccination certificates since the completion of the primary vaccination series, effective 10 January 2022.

The Commission recommends that Member States should not accept such vaccination certificates if more than nine months have passed since the date of vaccination indicated.

At this stage, the Commission does not propose a validity period for certificates issued based on booster shots.

The European Commission has also announced that it proposes to activate the emergency brake to stop air travel from the Southern African region due to the newly identified variant of concern. Several countries have already announced measures to limit travel from the region, with more certainty to follow in the coming days.

Questions about global immigration?

If you would like advice on current entry restrictions for your destination country, or assistance with any other area of immigration, Smith Stone Walters would be delighted to help.

To speak to a member of our global immigration team, please contact us today.

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