The Forum for Expatriate Management http://totallyexpat.com Dedicated Exculsively to Global Mobility and International Assignee Management Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:31:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 RUSSIA: Stricter rules for foreign workers and visitors http://totallyexpat.com/russia-stricter-rules-foreign-workers-visitors/ http://totallyexpat.com/russia-stricter-rules-foreign-workers-visitors/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:30:27 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=14294 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – LOW

What is the change? Those applying for visa extensions must hold a passport that is valid for six months beyond the requested visa extension end date.russia

What does the change mean? If passports expire in less than six months beyond the end date of the requested visa, the visa term will be shortened to comply with the rule.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas.
  • Who is affected: All foreign nationals applying for visa extensions.
  • Impact on processing times: None.

Background: The Federal Migration Service recently added this rule to visa extensions. Foreign nationals are already required to have passports that are valid for six months beyond an initial visa’s expiration date. The new rule means that passports must now also be valid for six months beyond the requested extension end date. Russia has recently imposed a barrage of stricter rules regarding foreign visas.

BAL Analysis: Employers and assignees should make sure passports are updated accordingly before extending their visas.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Russia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

Follow us on Twitter: @BAL_Immigration

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from six offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

Source: BAL Global

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BRAZIL: World Cup will delay consular visa processing http://totallyexpat.com/brazil-world-cup-delay-consular-visa-processing/ http://totallyexpat.com/brazil-world-cup-delay-consular-visa-processing/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:23:59 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=14290 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – LOW

What is the change? The World Cup, which will take place in Brazil from June 12-July 13, will bring a crush of visa applications to Brazilian consulates worldwide.brazil

What does the change mean? Brazilian consulates will be busy processing World Cup-related visas, so employers should apply for visas and work permits as soon as possible to avoid delays.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate. The volume of applications will continue to grow between now and the beginning of the event on June 12.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work visas.
  • Who is affected: Companies applying for visas and other consular services at Brazilian missions this summer.
  • Impact on processing times: Significant delays.

Background: More than half a million people are expected to travel to Brazil this summer for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In anticipation of the greatly expanded visa processing activity required for the event, Brazil’s Ministry of Labor has created a unit dedicated solely to processing visa applications for workers directly associated with the event.

Consulates handling visa applications will grow increasingly busy as the World Cup nears, and delays are likely. Travelers should also expect some delays at ports of entry.

BAL Analysis: Companies assigning foreign nationals to work in Brazil this summer are advised to move quickly when filing work visa applications.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in Brazil. For additional information, please contact brazil@balglobal.com.

Follow us on Twitter: @BAL_Immigration

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from six offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

Source: BAL Global

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ECUADOR: New Residence Permit Introduced for Select MERCOSUR Nationalities http://totallyexpat.com/ecuador-residence-permit-introduced-select-mercosur-nationalities/ http://totallyexpat.com/ecuador-residence-permit-introduced-select-mercosur-nationalities/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:54:40 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=14287 Continue reading ]]> A new two-year residence permit with shorter processing times and fewer document requirements will be available to eight MERCOSUR nationalities later this year. The permit will grant work authorization without requiring company sponsorship.ecuador

Nationals of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay will soon be eligible for a new two-year work-authorized residence permit in Ecuador, though an implementation date is not yet known. The permit will be created under the MERCOSUR agreement and will not require employer sponsorship.

A streamlined application process will require fewer supporting documents than are required for standard work authorization (the 12-VI visa). Processing times for the new permit are expected to be five business days. Applications will be made with an Ecuadorian consulate or with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after arrival in Ecuador. Holders of the new permit will be eligible to apply for permanent residence after residing in Ecuador for two years, provided that they have maintained continuous residence in the country.

An implementation date for the MERCOSUR residence permit is expected to be announced at the end of April.

MERCOSUR is a regional economic and political bloc that includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela as full members, and Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname as associate members. Permit concessions to member states vary among countries.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Employers who do not have an Ecuadorian entity to sponsor foreign nationals under other work permit categories will benefit from the nationality-based residence permit, as it does not require company sponsorship. Foreign nationals from the eight eligible MERCOSUR countries will have the option of relocating to Ecuador to seek employment without needing a local sponsor.

How Fragomen Can Assist 

Fragomen can assist with developing strategies for rapid personnel deployment based on regional trade agreements and nationality considerations. Fragomen can also assist with preparing and submitting MERCOSUR and other permit applications in Ecuador.

Fragomen worked closely with Vivanco & Vivanco (Ecuador) to prepare this alert. It is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Worldwide or send an email tolar@fragomen.com.

Source: Fragomen

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NAMIBIA: Overview of tax system http://totallyexpat.com/namibia-overview-tax-system/ http://totallyexpat.com/namibia-overview-tax-system/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:23:30 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=14278 Continue reading ]]>
April 14:  The Namibian tax system is source-based. Any amount of cash received by or accruing to any person from a source within (or deemed to be within) Namibia is subject to tax in Namibia, unless the receipt is of a capital nature.namibia
Taxation of international assignees

The Namibian tax system is source based. In terms of the source basis of taxation, any amount of cash or otherwise which is received by or which accrues to any person from a source within or deemed to be within Namibia is subject to tax in Namibia, unless the receipt is of a capital nature.

Non-residents are taxable on their Namibian-sourced income only, by virtue of the true source of their income. The source of employment income is determined as the place where the services are rendered, irrespective of the residency of the person making the payment or the place from where the payment is made.

A sliding scale is used to determine the tax rates applicable to individuals. For all years of assessment effective 1 March 2009, the minimum rate is nil percent and the maximum rate applied is 37 percent.

Any change in the tax rates is announced in the yearly budget speech once the draft bill is promulgated for comments and approved by parliament. The Namibian tax year commences on 1 March to the last day of February that subsequent year. The Namibian tax authority is known as the Namibian Inland Revenue Authority (“NIRA”).

The official currency of Namibia is the Namibia Dollar (NAD).

Source: KPMG

 

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NIGERIA: VAT schedules for each state now required http://totallyexpat.com/nigeria-vat-schedules-state-required/ http://totallyexpat.com/nigeria-vat-schedules-state-required/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:14:17 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=14275 Continue reading ]]>
April 14:  Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service now requires companies operating in multiple locations and that file their value added tax (VAT) returns centrally to comply with the attribution principle.nigeria

In other words, taxpayers now must submit supporting schedules showing the VAT attributable to their operations in each Nigerian state along with their centrally filed VAT returns.

Companies that previously filed their VAT returns for 2014 without attribution must now prepare and submit the supporting schedules.

Read an April 2014 report [PDF 106 KB] prepared by the KPMG member firm in Nigeria: Update on value added tax filing and verification exercise.

Source: KPMG

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UNITED STATES: USCIS issues first receipts for H-1B cap cases http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-uscis-issues-receipts-h1b-cap-cases/ http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-uscis-issues-receipts-h1b-cap-cases/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 09:36:51 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=14268 Continue reading ]]> April 11, 2014 – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun issuing its first receipts to H-1B petitioners only one day after it announced that it had conducted lotteries to select the cap-subject petitions it will consider. This morning, a limited number of employers received premium processing receipts from the California Service Center and the Vermont Service Center.united states

USCIS has not released a schedule for premium processing. The agency previously projected that premium processing might not start until April 28.

BAL Analysis: The earlier-than-expected receipts for a handful of premium processing cases is good news for employers anxiously awaiting word on cap cases filed. However, it is unclear if this will reflect an accelerated schedule for all receipts or not.

- Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

Follow us on Twitter: @BAL_Immigration

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from six offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

Source: BAL Global

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CANADA: New Processing Model for Permanent Residence Program http://totallyexpat.com/canada-processing-model-permanent-residence-program/ http://totallyexpat.com/canada-processing-model-permanent-residence-program/#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 09:28:34 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=14265 Continue reading ]]> Canada will change how it selects and processes permanent residence applications in 2015, under the recently announced Express Entry program. Under Express Entry, foreign nationals seeking to immigrate to Canada will be matched with employers seeking to fill positions based on regional needs.canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has announced a new processing model for permanent residence applications that it intends to implement in January 2015. Modeled after similar programs in Australia and New Zealand, the Express Entry program will feature a two-part electronic matching program that pairs skilled foreign workers seeking to immigrate to Canada with employers seeking to fill positions based on regional labor needs.

Under the Express Entry program, formerly named “Expression of Interest,” foreign nationals seeking to immigrate to Canada will file an online application detailing their language proficiency, work experience and educational credentials. Applicants will be assigned a score based on an assessment of their personal circumstances against a pre-defined points test.

Applicants will then be placed in a pool from which employers will be able to select candidates who best match their national and regional skills needs. Selected candidates will be invited to submit an immigration application under an existing permanent residence program, such as the Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades or Provincial Nominee program. Candidates who are not selected will not be able to apply for permanent residence, thus reducing the number of applications CIC has to fully adjudicate.

Express Entry seeks to eliminate application backlogs, improve processing times, and better address each region’s labor needs. CIC aims to process applications in six months or less. Current permanent residence processing times range from ten to 30 months, depending on the category and filing location.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Express Entry will allow employers to access a pre-assessed candidate pool, potentially providing an additional recruitment tool and a cost-effective way to enter the international labor market. The pre-assessment process will also mean that permanent residence may be an alternative route for employers seeking ways to transfer senior or crucial staff. It could also provide an alternative to successive work permit extensions.

Foreign nationals considering the Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades and Provincial Nominee programs are advised to submit applications as soon as possible before eligibility criteria change.

How Fragomen Can Assist

Fragomen can assist with assessment of eligibility for these programs and with preparation and submission of applications across Canada. Fragomen will be able to provide guidance on the new criteria once announced. Fragomen is also available to prepare and submit applications under the current permanent residence regime until Express Entry launches.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Worldwide or send an email to canada@fragomen.com.

Source: Fragomen

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ISRAEL: Immigration processing suspended during Passover http://totallyexpat.com/israel-immigration-processing-suspended-passover/ http://totallyexpat.com/israel-immigration-processing-suspended-passover/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 15:12:23 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=14258 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Government offices are closed for Passover from April 10 through April 23.israel

What does the change mean? Processing of visa applications and work permits will be suspended.

  • Implementation timeframe: April 10 through April 23.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits and visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals applying for visas and work permits.
  • Impact on processing times: Delays.

Background: The holiday suspension of immigration processing comes in the wake of a worker strike in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which occupied most of March and concluded April 2. The strike created a backlog of applications. Overseas Israeli consulates may also suspend or limit processing during the holiday period, and schedules will vary from consulate to consulate.

BAL Analysis: Applicants for visas and work permits should check with their local consulates for information on operating hours during the holiday. The office holiday closings and limitations mean that the delays created by the recent strike may continue for some time beyond the agency’s return to work after Passover. The Ministry has not provided any estimates on how long it will take to clear the backlog.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Israel. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

Follow us on Twitter: @BAL_Immigration

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from six offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

Source: BAL Global

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UNITED STATES: White House to advance work authorization for H-4 spouses http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-white-house-advance-work-authorization-h4-spouses/ http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-white-house-advance-work-authorization-h4-spouses/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 15:06:25 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=14252 Continue reading ]]> April 10, 2014 – This week, the White House announced that it intends to move forward on a proposed rule that would allow spouses of certain H-1B visa holders to work while present in the U.S. In 2002, Congress amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to authorize dependent spouses of L-1 and E visa holders to work while in the U.S. However, spouses of H-1B workers who are in H-4 status are currently prohibited from employment, often creating a disincentive for young, highly-skilled professionals to stay in the U.S.united states

Last year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) indicating that it was pursuing a regulation that would make H-4 dependent spouses eligible for employment authorization where the H-1B principal has begun the process of seeking an employment-based green card and has extended his or her H-1B stay under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21). Congress passed AC21 to minimize disruptions to business by allowing H-1B professionals with a pending or approved immigrant or labor certification petition to apply for extensions beyond the maximum six-year H-1B validity period.

According to DHS, the proposed rule was “intended to mitigate some of the negative economic effects of limiting H-1B households to one income during lengthy waiting periods in the adjustment of status process. Also, this rule will encourage H-1B skilled workers to not abandon their adjustment application because their H-4 spouse is unable to work.” The proposed rule would likely be subject to public notice and comment, and any revised policy would not go into effect until DHS issues a final regulation. It is unclear whether DHS will alter the scope of last year’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

BAL Analysis: The announcement by the White House will be well received by the business community. Last year’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking did, however, limit work authorization to spouses of H-1B workers who are in the late stages of the green card process. Should DHS proceed with the proposed regulation, BAL will work with businesses and trade associations to expand the provision to reach other H-4 derivatives.

- Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

Follow us on Twitter: @BAL_Immigration

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from six offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

Source: BAL Global

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UNITED STATES: H-1B petitions hit 172,500; lottery completed http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-h1b-petitions-hit-172500-lottery-completed/ http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-h1b-petitions-hit-172500-lottery-completed/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 15:00:00 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=14249 Continue reading ]]> April 10, 2014 – The number of H-1B petitions filed in the first week of filing hit 172,500, according to an announcement today by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This year’s filings were about

united states

48,000 more than last year, and more than double the number of H-1B visas allowed by law. USCIS also said that today it completed the random selection process, or “lottery,” triggered when the number of petitions exceeds the annual numerical quotas in the first week of filing. This began April 1. The annual limits are 65,000 for undergraduate-degree holders and 20,000 for petitioners holding a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. university. The lottery for advanced-degree holders was conducted first, and those who were not selected were put into the second lottery for undergraduate-degree holders. USCIS will begin issuing rejections and returning filing fees for all H-1B cap-subject petitions not selected in the general lottery. On Monday, USCIS stopped accepting H-1B cap-subject petitions after announcing that the 65,000 and 20,000 ceilings were reached in the first week.

BAL Analysis: The record number of filed petitions without an increase in the annual caps means the odds of selection in the lottery are significantly lower than last year, which saw 124,500 petitions. This year, petitioners in the general lottery have a less than 50 percent chance of being selected, as predicted by BAL partner Lynden Melmed in an op-ed article on April 1.

- Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

Follow us on Twitter: @BAL_Immigration

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from six offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

Source: BAL Global

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