Latest updates in global
17 October 2023
This week, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following recent updates from Canada, Finland, Ireland, Israel, South Africa and the United States.
Canada: New permanent residence pathway for migrants from the Americas
As part of its commitment earlier this year to welcome 15,000 migrants from the Americas, Canada will welcome up to 11,000 Colombians, Haitians and Venezuelans through a new permanent residence pathway.
Starting this autumn, Colombian, Haitian and Venezuelan nationals located in Central or South America or the Caribbean who have extended family connections in Canada will be eligible to apply for this new pathway. To qualify, the principal applicant must be a child (regardless of age), grandchild, spouse, common-law partners, parent, grandparent or sibling of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
Successful applicants will be offered enhanced pre-arrival services, including an employment skills assessment and a referral to a settlement provider organization in their intended community. More detailed information will be available closer to the launch of the new pathway.
Finland: Extension of temporary protection
Finland is implementing the extension of the temporary protection mechanism agreed by the Council of the European Union on 28 September 2023.
The temporary protection mechanism was originally activated on 24 February 2022 and will now be extended until 4 March 2025.
According to the decision of the Council of the European Union, the extension of temporary protection applies to
- Ukrainian citizens and family members of Ukrainian citizens who resided in Ukraine on 24 February 2022;
- Those who were granted international protection in Ukraine before 24 February 2022 or who are a family member of a person who was granted international protection in Ukraine;
- Those who resided in Ukraine with a permanent residence permit on 24 February 2022 and who cannot return to their home country or region of origin in safe and durable conditions.
In March 2022, the Finnish government extended temporary protection to
- Ukrainian citizens who had left Ukraine before the start of the war and
- third-country nationals who were residing in Ukraine with a non-permanent residence permit. The decision concerning these third-country nationals was repealed by decision of the Government on 7 September 2023. Third-country nationals are citizens of countries that have not joined the European Union or the Schengen Agreement.
In the next few weeks, the government will decide whether to continue granting temporary protection to these persons as well.
Qualifying residents whose residence permit on the basis of temporary protection is extended will be sent a letter containing information about the extension. Current holders should make sure that their reception centre has their current address, telephone number and email address. If they are not registered as client of a reception centre, they should make sure that the Finnish Immigration Service has their contact details.
They will also receive a text message stating that their permit has been extended. The message will be in Finnish and English. It will contain a link to our website: migri.fi/uk/timcasovij-zahist. The sender of the message is ‘Migri’.
If the permit is not extended, the authorities will send a letter with further instructions. It is not currently possible to apply for a new card that is valid until 4 March 2025.
Ireland: Reminder to residents intending to travel over Christmas holiday period
Immigration Service Delivery has notified its customers that the Immigration Services Registration Office at Burgh Quay in Dublin is currently experiencing a very large volume of applications for renewal of permission, with a current processing time to renew an IRP card of three to four weeks.
Following registration renewal, it may take a further two weeks to receive a new IRP card via post. An in-date IRP card may be required to facilitate travel to and from Ireland.
Non-EEA nationals legally resident in or near Dublin who are intending to travel over the Christmas holiday period and who are required to submit a renewal application are urged to do so online, via the ISD portal, as soon as possible and by 31 October 2023.
Considering the current processing times, of almost 6 weeks, the Immigration Services Registration Office Burgh Quay Dublin cannot guarantee that any renewal submitted after the 31 October 2023 will be processed and an IRP card delivered in time to facilitate travel over the Christmas holiday period.
Please note: Regardless of the date a renewal application is submitted or processed, the validity period for renewal of the permission will be based on the current expiry date.
Israel: Security response
The Israeli government has implemented certain measures in response to the ongoing security situation.
The Population and Immigration Authority has extended work visas for all foreign nationals who are in Israel with a valid visa whose validity will expire within the next month. The visas were extended until 9 November 23.
Most Population and Immigration Authority units are closed and will not receive public, including the Population Administration offices and the Foreign Workers Administration. Employers should expect heavy delays in visa processing.
The Population and Immigration Authority has issued a letter to foreign workers in the country and has increased the response hours of the PIBA Call Centre for foreign worker questions and complaints in various languages at the following number; 1700707889.
In addition, several consulates have suspended visa services and several airlines have cancelled all or some flights into or out of Israel’s airports.
Some governments have arranged repatriation flights for their citizens who are in Israel. These include Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, The Netherlands, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.
South Africa: Trusted Employer Scheme pilot
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has issued an invitation to corporate employers to submit an expression of interest in the pilot of the Trusted Employer Scheme (TES).
To qualify for membership in the TES, an employer, investor or business must demonstrate that it has the financial means to employ a foreign national, that it runs training programmes for South African citizens and that it is a good corporate citizen.
Participating businesses, investors and corporate employers will qualify for priority processing of their visa applications with reduced requirements and supporting documents. TES membership will be applicable to local applications as well as to all applications submitted at South African High Commissions abroad. Current corporate account clients are invited to apply for TES membership.
DHA will use a points system, with <30 points available for proven/pledged investment, <25 points for employment, <15 points depending on the sector, <20 points for skills transfer/development and <10 points for equity equivalence. The selection criteria are explained in more detail here.
The application process is as follows:
- Interested companies which are registered and operational in South Africa should submit their expression of interest using the TES application form.
- Applications should be addressed to the Chief Directorate and forwarded to the DHA by hand or mail or email.
- Applications must contain all information specified in the selection criteria and supported by the documents mentioned in the application form.
- Applications will be assessed by a selected inter-departmental committee.
- DHA will make the final selection and advise applicants of the outcome.
- The decision of the TES inter-departmental committee will be final.
- The closing date for submissions is 20 November 2023
The TES was proposed in the Operation Vulindlela Work Visa Review Report (2022) to address the unpredictable nature of visa adjudications.
United States: New online change of address tool
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has launched a new Enterprise Change of Address (E-COA) self-service tool to allow customers with pending applications, petitions, or requests to update their address with USCIS more easily. E-COA will significantly improve the speed and efficiency of the process for USCIS customers to update their address with USCIS.
With E-COA, most individuals with a USCIS online account can update their mailing and physical address with USCIS for pending applications, petitions, or requests in a single place, eliminating the need to update the address in multiple places; fill out a paper AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card; call the Contact Centre; or visit a USCIS Field or Asylum Office. E-COA will automate address changes for almost all form types (the exceptions are listed at uscis.gov/addresschange).
Customers who do not have any pending applications, petitions, or requests can use the tool to meet the requirement to notify USCIS if they have moved. The E-COA tool is available in English only and can be accessed via a USCIS online account regardless of whether an individual’s pending case was submitted online or by mail.
Individuals protected under 8 USC 1367 (persons who have pending or approved applications or petitioners for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) benefits, T nonimmigrant status, or U nonimmigrant status and their beneficiaries or derivatives) cannot use E-COA during the initial phase. Represented applicants or petitioners with VAWA-, T-, or U-related cases can request a change of address by emailing the designated mailbox under the Inquiries for VAWA, T, and U Filings section. Unrepresented individuals with VAWA-, T-, or U-related cases can request a change of address by following the instructions on the How to Change Your Address webpage. Individuals who requested parole for an Afghan national can request a change of address for beneficiaries who have relocated outside of Afghanistan by following the instructions on the Information for Afghan Nationals webpage.
To use the E-COA tool, individuals need a USCIS online account, and must enter their last name, date of birth, and new physical and mailing addresses. Individuals are also encouraged to include information about their pending application, petition, or request.
Changing an address with the US Postal Service (USPS) will not change an address with USCIS. Users should update their information with both USCIS and USPS. Address changes made through E-COA will not affect Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or Privacy Act (PA) requests. Those who need to change their address for a FOIA or PA request should email FOIAPAQuestions@uscis.dhs.gov.
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