What's new in gloabl immigration?

This week, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following recent updates from Australia, Canada, Mozambique, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Australia: LMT requirement removed for UK nationals

Effective 31 May 2023, the Labour Market Testing (LMT) requirement is no longer applicable to UK nationals under the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA).

For some visa types, including the TSS visa (subclass 482) and the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) programmes, employers must demonstrate that they cannot find a suitable Australian worker. To nominate an overseas worker, for one of these visas, employers need to advertise the position in Australia.

LMT is not required where Australia has waived this requirement under its International Treaty Obligations, including if the nominated worker is a citizen or national of China, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam or is a citizen, national or permanent resident of Canada, Chile, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore or the United Kingdom.

Occupation-based exemptions for LMT which were previously available under the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457), are no longer available under the subclass 482 and the subclass 494 programmes.

Canada: New work streams for skilled refugees and displaced people

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has launched two new Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) streams connecting Canadian employers with skilled refugees and other displaced people from around the world.

The EMPP Federal Skills Job Offer Stream allows Canadian employers to hire qualified candidates for a range of in-demand jobs under any National Occupation Classification 2021 category (TEER 0–5).

This includes nurse aides, personal support workers, long-term care aides, software engineers, web designers, mechanical and electrical engineers and technicians, logistics and warehouse workers, tourism and hospitality workers, and truck and delivery service drivers.

Candidates must meet minimum requirements for language, past work experience and education. They do not need to show proof of an education credential assessment or proof of settlement funds. NGO partners are available to help employers throughout the process.

The EMPP federal Skills Without a Job Offer Stream permits certain candidates with skills that are in high enough demand to find work after arrival in Canada.

Candidates must meet minimum requirements for language, past work experience and education. They also need to show proof of an education credential assessment and proof of settlement funds.

Facilitation measures under the EMPP streams include waiving some fees, making it easier to validate work experience, and letting candidates use loans to fund travel costs, settlement needs, start-up costs and fees that can’t be waived.

Mozambique: Entry visas no longer required for nationals of 29 countries

The Interior Ministry of Mozambique has exempted nationals of 29 countries from the requirement to present an entry visa when travelling for tourism or business. The requirement to register online 48 hours before travelling is also suspended.

Nationals of the countries listed in the decree (Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States) are authorized to travel to Mozambique without prior registration, on payment of the fee equivalent to MZN 650 and on submission of the following documents:

  • Passport or equivalent document valid for at least 6 months;
  • Return and return flight ticket, for those traveling by air;
  • Proof of accommodation location.

The visa exemption allows multiple entries for a period of stay of 30 days, starting from the date of the first entry.  The stay may be extended for a further 30 days.

Switzerland / United Kingdom: New agreement recognising professional qualifications

On 14 June 2023, Switzerland and the United Kingdom signed a new agreement recognising professional qualifications in both countries.

Under the agreement, UK-qualified professionals in regulated sectors who wish to have their qualifications recognised in Switzerland will have a reliable and clear system to do so; and vice versa.

The agreement, which follows the launch of negotiations last month in Bern on a new UK-Switzerland free trade agreement, will enter into force at the start of 2025.

United Arab Emirates: Extended deadline for companies to meet semi-annual Emiratisation targets

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) has extended the deadline for private sector companies with 50 or more employees to meet the 1% semi-annual Emiratisation targets from 30 June 2023 to 7 July 2023.

The deadline was extended to take into account the upcoming Eid Al Adha holiday in the fourth week of June.

Non-compliant companies will face a fine of AED 42,000 per Emirati not employed on 8 July 2023.

United States: Premium processing expansion for certain Form I-539 applicants

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced the expansion of premium processing for applicants filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and seeking a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 nonimmigrant status. Online filing of Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, will also be available for these applicants.

The premium processing expansion for certain Form I-539 applicants will occur in phases, and nonimmigrants requesting premium processing should not file before these dates:

  • Beginning June 13, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests, filed via paper form or online, for applicants seeking a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 status, who have a pending Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
  • Beginning June 26, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests, filed either via paper form or online, for applicants seeking a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 status, when filed together with Form I-539.

This phase of premium processing service is only available for change of status requests. Premium processing is not available for individuals seeking an extension of stay in M-1 or M-2 status.

USCIS will reject premium processing requests for a pending Form I-539 if received before June 13. USCIS will reject premium processing requests when filed together with a Form I-539 if USCIS receives the request before June 26.

Applicants must submit Form I-907 the same way they submit Form I-539 (i.e., online or in paper form).

Important reminders:

  • Applicants must submit their biometrics before premium processing can begin for these specific categories.
  • The time limit for premium processing will not start running until the applicant and all co-applicants included on the Form I-539 submit their biometrics.
  • USCIS may reject an applicant’s Form I-907 and/or Form I-539 if submitted with another benefit request, including multiple Forms I-907 requests filed together.
  • To file Form I-907 online, an applicant must first create a USCIS online account.

United States: Policy guidance for EADs

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released policy guidance on the eligibility criteria for initial and renewal applications for employment authorization documents (EADs) in compelling circumstances based on existing regulatory requirements at 8 CFR 204.5(p).

For an applicant to be eligible for an initial EAD based on compelling circumstances, they must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • The principal applicant is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, in either the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd employment-based preference category;
  • The principal applicant is in valid E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, O-1, or L-1 nonimmigrant status or authorized grace period when they file the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization;
  • The principal applicant has not filed an adjustment of status application;
  • An immigrant visa is not available to the principal applicant based on the applicant’s priority date according to the relevant Final Action Date in the U.S. Department of State’s Visa Bulletin in effect when they file Form I-765;
  • The applicant and their dependents provide biometrics as required;
  • The applicant and their dependents have not been convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanours; and
  • USCIS determines, as a matter of discretion, that the principal applicant demonstrates compelling circumstances that justify the issuance of employment authorization.

The guidance covers compelling circumstances for principal applicants and their dependents and provides a non-exhaustive list of situations that could lead to a finding that compelling circumstances exist, including serious illness and disability, employer dispute or retaliation, other substantial harm to the applicant, or significant disruption to the employer.

The guidance also provides details on evidence an applicant could submit to demonstrate one of these compelling circumstances.

The guidance also covers the maximum validity periods USCIS may authorize, and explains that an individual with a valid compelling circumstances-based EAD is considered to be in a period of authorized stay, and therefore will not accrue unlawful presence.

Expert advice on global immigration

If you need support with any aspect of global immigration, Smith Stone Walters is here to help.

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

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