The Forum for Expatriate Management http://totallyexpat.com Global Mobility Dedicated Thu, 16 Apr 2015 10:51:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Venezuela: Audit May Delay In-Country Legalizations and Apostilles http://totallyexpat.com/venezuela-audit-delay-incountry-legalizations-apostilles/ http://totallyexpat.com/venezuela-audit-delay-incountry-legalizations-apostilles/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 10:51:42 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17633 Continue reading ]]> Venezuela: Audit May Delay In-Country Legalizations and ApostillesAn ongoing audit at the Office of Consular Affairs of the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the Venezuelan Government will delay legalization and apostille processes in the country.

Depending on the destination country, a foreign national’s vital records, university diploma or company support letters may need to be legalized for use outside of Venezuela.

What This Means for Foreign Nationals

While it is currently difficult to determine the extent of the delays, foreign nationals who have submitted documentation for legalization or apostille should plan in advance for long delays.

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 lar@fragomen.com.

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UNITED KINGDOM (April 15, 2015) – Brazilian Consulate in London suspends services http://totallyexpat.com/united-kingdom-april-15-2015-brazilian-consulate-london-suspends-services/ http://totallyexpat.com/united-kingdom-april-15-2015-brazilian-consulate-london-suspends-services/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 09:58:44 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17628 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – MEDIUM

UNITED KINGDOM (April 15, 2015) – Brazilian Consulate in London suspends servicesWhat is the change? The Brazilian Consulate in London is closed because of damage to the building.

What does the change mean? The closure will suspend regular services, and visa applicants should expect delays.

  • Implementation timeframe: 
  • Visas/permits affected: All visa and consular services.
  • Who is affected: Travelers applying for visas and other consular services at the Brazilian Consulate in London.
  • Impact on processing times: The consulatehas not announced when it will reopen; a lengthy closure would significantly delay processing.
  • Business impact: The suspension of services may impact travel dates and work start dates.
  • Next steps: Applicants whose visas were processed at the Brazilian Embassy may be able to collect their passports on their normal collection date. However, new applications may not be submitted and applicants with pending legalization documents may not collect them until the consulate reopens.

Background: The Consulate General of Brazil in London closed and suspended regular services April 14, citing structural damage to its building. Emergency cases will be handled by the Brazilian Embassy in London.

BAL Analysis: Applicants whose visas cannot be collected should prepare for immediate delays. If the closure is lengthy, a possible backlog of cases may develop and applicants may have to adjust their travel plans.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact uk@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, Shanghai, 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: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

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UNITED STATES (April 15, 2015) – At H-1B season’s close, employers begin weighing alternatives http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-april-15-2015-h1b-seasons-close-employers-weighing-alternatives/ http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-april-15-2015-h1b-seasons-close-employers-weighing-alternatives/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 09:56:12 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17626 Continue reading ]]> UNITED STATES (April 15, 2015) – At H-1B season’s close, employers begin weighing alternativesNow that H-1B cap season has closed, many employers will be searching for other options for foreign skilled workers who were not selected in the lottery.

Alternatives to H-1B visas have become increasingly important to business planning in recent years. This week, a record 233,000 H-1B cap petitions were filed, from which the lottery selected a maximum quota of 85,000 (which includes the 20,000 reserved for holders of advanced U.S. degrees), leaving companies to find other ways to retain thousands of candidates who will not obtain H-1B status.

Some other visa options for temporary workers are:

F-1 student visas. Recent graduates can extend F-1 status allowing them to perform work directly related to their major area of study for up to 12 months through Optional Practical Training (OPT). Students who hold degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics that appear on the STEM-Designated Program List may apply to extend their OPT status for an additional 17 months, as long as their employer is enrolled in E-Verify. An option for foreign employees whose H-1B petitions were rejected this year is to apply for F-1 status by enrolling as a full-time student at a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) approved school, and to apply for OPT or Curricular Practical Training (CPT), which allows employment during the course of study under certain circumstances.

J-1 exchange visitors. Employers may explore the J-1 exchange visitor visa, typically for students and graduates of foreign universities. Companies may bring a foreign candidate to the U.S. as a trainee for up to 18 months or as an intern for up to 12 months. It is important to note that employers may not use this visa category to fill positions that are filled or would be filled by either full-time or part-time employees. This visa category is also subject to other limitations; for example, exchange visitors must not only prove their intent to return to their home country but some foreign nationals are required to return to their home country for two years at the end of their J-1 status.

O-1 “extraordinary ability” visas. Candidates who have demonstrated excellence in business, science, education, art or athletics may qualify for an O-1 visa. This category requires evidence of distinguished achievements such as published articles, peer-reviewed activities, major awards, high salaries or employment in a critical capacity for a well-known organization.

L-1 intra-company transfers. Companies with international offices may transfer foreign employees in managerial or specialized knowledge positions from a foreign branch, affiliate, parent, or subsidiary office to their U.S. offices under the L-1 program. However, only employees who have worked for at least one year in the company’s foreign operations are eligible. Some companies may consider sending select candidates to work abroad and then apply for them to return to the U.S. with L-1 status the following year. Individuals possessing “specialized knowledge” (L-1B visas) may stay for up to five years in the U.S., while managerial workers (L-1A visas) may stay for up to seven years.

Country-specific nonimmigrant visas. Certain foreign citizens qualify for temporary, nonimmigrant status based on country-specific agreements with the U.S. These include H-1B1 specialty occupation visas for citizens of Chile and Singapore, E-3 specialty occupation status for Australian citizens, and TN classification for citizens of Canada and Mexico for professional categories enumerated in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

BAL Analysis: Employers are encouraged to work with their BAL attorney to explore alternatives for their current job candidates as well as to map out long-term options for their workforce.

– 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, Shanghai, 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: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

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UNITED STATES (April 15, 2015) – Analysis: USCIS issues binding guidance on location changes, H-1B amended petitions http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-april-15-2015-analysis-uscis-issues-binding-guidance-location-h1b-amended-petitions/ http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-april-15-2015-analysis-uscis-issues-binding-guidance-location-h1b-amended-petitions/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 09:53:13 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17624 Continue reading ]]> UNITED STATES (April 15, 2015) – Analysis: USCIS issues binding guidance on location changes, H-1B amended petitionsOn April 9, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a binding, precedent decision that requires an employer to file an amended petition with USCIS whenever an H-1B worker moves to a worksite that was not covered by a Labor Condition Application (LCA) submitted with the initial petition. The decision imposes a significant operational and financial burden on companies that move H-1B workers between worksites.

Is an employer required to file an amended H-1B petition if there is a change in the place of employment?

In Matter of Simeio Solutions, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) issued a binding, precedent decision holding that a change in the place of employment of a beneficiary to a geographical area that requires the filing of a new LCA constitutes a material change in employment and requires the filing of an amended petition. 26 I&N Dec. 542 (AAO 2015).

The precedent decision explicitly supersedes earlier agency guidance, including the “Efren Hernandez” letter that indicated that an amended petition was not required if a new LCA was obtained prior to placing an H-1B worker at a new worksite. See Letter from Efren Hernandez III, Dir., Bus. and Trade Branch, USCIS, to Lynn Shotwell, Am. Council on Int’l Pers., Inc. (Oct. 23, 2003).

As discussed in greater detail below, there are circumstances when an employer may place an H-1B worker at a different worksite without the need to secure a new LCA. In those situations, the AAO precedent decision does not require an employer to file an amended H-1B petition unless there is a material change unrelated to the geographic change.

Is the precedent decision binding on all agencies and H-1B petitions?

Yes. Because the AAO decision was designated a precedent decision and published by the Justice Department, it is legally binding on Department of Homeland Security components responsible for enforcing immigration laws in all proceedings involving the same issue or issues. This means the policy will be applied by all USCIS service centers and it is expected that the policy will be followed by consular officers overseas.

When does the new policy go into effect?

The new policy is effective immediately.

Does the policy apply to changes in work location that occurred prior to the AAO decision?

The government has not stated whether an employer is required to file an amended petition if the change in worksite occurred prior to April 9, the date the precedent decision was published. A conservative approach would be to file an amended petition on behalf of any H-1B worker who is located at a worksite that was not covered by an LCA submitted with the initial petition.

Can an employee begin working at the new location before the amended petition is approved?

The AAO precedent decision does not address this question, though it is significant that the decision only references the need to file an amended or new petition and does not explicitly require the approval of the amended petition before the H-1B worker can begin working at the new worksite.

What are the consequences if the company does not follow the new policy?

USCIS regulations provide that “a nonimmigrant who is permitted to engage in employment may engage only in such employment as has been authorized. Any unauthorized employment by a nonimmigrant constitutes failure to maintain status.” 8 CFR § 214.1(e). The government may argue that an employee who works after the date of the decision at a location not covered by a new or amended petition violates his or her H-1B status. This would render the H-1B worker subject to removal (deportation) and, upon a formal determination by USCIS that the employee is out of status, would start the unlawful-presence clock that could trigger the 3- or 10-year inadmissibility bar.

USCIS regulations further provide that “[a]n extension of stay may not be approved for an applicant who failed to maintain the previously accorded status” and the employee could face difficulty obtaining a new H-1B visa at an overseas consulate. See 8 CFR 214.1(c)(4). It is also expected that USCIS will seek to revoke an H-1B petition if a Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) site visit reveals that the H-1B employee is working at a location not covered by an amended or new H-1B petition.

It is not yet known whether the Labor Department, like USCIS, will take the position that a company is failing to comply with its LCA obligations if it fails to submit an LCA to USCIS through an amended or new petition. If the Labor Department adopts the same interpretation, a company could face severe civil penalties, up to and including debarment from the immigration program, if it fails to comply with the new AAO precedent decision.

How can an employer minimize the impact of the AAO precedent decision?

The AAO decision will force companies to evaluate whether and when a new LCA is required, as that is the triggering event for filing an amended petition. In particular, companies will want to consider the following questions:

  • Is the new worksite a “place of employment” or does the activity fit within one of the exceptions for development activity, peripatetic employees, or occasional travel?
  • Is the new place of employment within the same “area of employment” (e.g. metropolitan statistical area or commuting distance) such that a new LCA is not required?
  • Does the work qualify as short-term placement so that a new LCA is not required?

Companies should work with their BAL professionals to evaluate options and risks for roving employees.

– 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, Shanghai, 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: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

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NEW ZEALAND (14 April 2015) – New Zealand less flexible on permanent residence application processes; processing times improve http://totallyexpat.com/zealand-14-april-2015-zealand-flexible-permanent-residence-application-processes-processing-times-improve/ http://totallyexpat.com/zealand-14-april-2015-zealand-flexible-permanent-residence-application-processes-processing-times-improve/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 08:56:00 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17620 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – MEDIUM

NEW ZEALAND (14 April 2015) – New Zealand less flexible on permanent residence application processes; processing times improveWhat is the change? New Zealand authorities have grown stricter when processing residence applications in the Skilled Migration Category, requiring employers to complete employment verification questionnaires within five business days.

What does the change mean? The change has led to faster processing times but also puts more responsibility on employers to respond to authorities’ questions in a timely manner.

  • Implementation time frame: Immigration New Zealand began setting firm time frames for employers early this year.
  • Visas/permits affected: Permanent residence visas in the Skilled Migration Category.
  • Who is affected: Permanent residence applicants and their employers.
  • Impact on processing times: Though it is still early, processing times appear to be improving. Some applications have been approved within a month. Previously, applications took at least three months.
  • Business impact: The faster processing time is generally good news for employers and employees so long as they are well organised going into the application process and are able to respond to authorities’ questions in the time allowed for them to do so.

Background: The Skilled Migration Category is the most common way for foreign nationals to obtain permanent residency in New Zealand. The new processing rules stem from review that Immigration New Zealand undertook with the goal of speeding up processing times.

Immigration New Zealand has signalled that it will be less flexible with requests to extend time frames for documents or information. It began requiring employers to complete and return questionnaires verifying work arrangements within five business days, saying extensions would not be granted without extenuating circumstances. The strict time frames have led to faster processing times but have also caused problems for some applicants and employers who have not been prepared. For example, if all necessary documentation is not provided with the application when it is filed, the applicant will have very limited time to provide it. If the documentation is not provided within the required time frame, the application is likely to be declined.

BAL Analysis: Employers should be prepared to respond to Immigration New Zealand’s employment verification questionnaires within five business days. Authorities have made it clear they will be less flexible about granting extensions and residence applications may be jeopardised if deadlines are missed.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact australia@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, Shanghai, 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: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

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INDIA (April 14, 2015) – Indian embassies requiring PIO-OCI card conversions http://totallyexpat.com/india-april-14-2015-indian-embassies-requiring-piooci-card-conversions/ http://totallyexpat.com/india-april-14-2015-indian-embassies-requiring-piooci-card-conversions/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 08:53:08 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17618 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – MEDIUM

INDIA (April 14, 2015) – Indian embassies requiring PIO-OCI card conversionsWhat is the change? The Embassy of India in the U.S. and U.K. are requiring holders of previously issued Person of Indian Origin cards to obtain an Overseas Citizen of India card.

What does the change mean? PIO card holders living abroad in the U.K., U.S. and other countries are advised to convert to OCI cards according to the regional deadlines set by the Indian embassies.

  • Implementation time frame: The conversion of PIO cards to OCI cards became mandatory April 8 in the U.K. and will become mandatory June 18 in the U.S.
  • Visas/permits affected: PIO and OCI cards.
  • Who is affected: PIO card holders.
  • Impact on processing times: OCI card requests take six to eight weeks in the U.K. and eight to 10 weeks in the U.S.
  • Business impact: Business travelers relying on PIO cards should be aware of rule changes to PIO cards by the Indian consular posts in their country and jurisdiction of residence.
  • Next steps: PIO card holders who obtained their PIO card in the U.K. or U.S. should submit an application for an OCI card as soon as possible.

Background: The PIO card was merged into the OCI card in January. Originally, the Indian government said that current PIO holders would not be required to convert to OCI cards, but could voluntarily submit their PIO card to an Indian embassy or local Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) to have their card endorsed with lifetime validity.

However, the Indian Embassy in the U.S. has announced through its consular services contractor that PIO card holders may apply for an “OCI in lieu of PIO” conversion on a voluntary basis until June 17 before conversion becomes mandatory June 18. Similarly, the Indian Embassy in the U.K. began requiring PIO holders to convert to OCI cards April 8.

As BAL reported last month, the FRRO in Mumbai is no longer endorsing PIO cards and is requiring all PIO card holders to obtain an OCI card by the end of June.

BAL Analysis: Given the varying interpretations of immigration rules by authorities in India and at consulates abroad, members of the Indian diaspora holding PIO cards should confirm local policies regarding maintaining their PIO/OCI status. Because the “OCI in lieu of PIO” conversion can only be completed by the same consular post or FRRO that issued the PIO card, those who have moved to another jurisdiction may have to apply for a new OCI card, which carries higher government fees than the conversion process.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in India. 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, Shanghai, 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: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

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United States: USCIS to Begin Premium Processing of H-1B Cap Cases on April 27 http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-uscis-premium-processing-h1b-cap-cases-april-27/ http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-uscis-premium-processing-h1b-cap-cases-april-27/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 08:50:24 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17616 Continue reading ]]> United States: USCIS to Begin Premium Processing of H-1B Cap Cases on April 27USCIS will begin to adjudicate H-1B cap cases filed under premium processing on April 27, it announced today. Despite a record number of H-1B cap submissions, the agency has exceeded its projected start date for premium service by two weeks.

Employers whose premium cases were selected in the H-1B cap lotteries should see initial action of their cases – either an approval, a request for evidence (RFE) or, in some cases, a denial – by May 12.

What’s Next for Premium and Non-Premium Cap Cases

Employers who requested premium service for their cap cases will learn whether their filings were chosen in the cap lotteries in the coming days, when USCIS begins to issue email receipts. Receipts for non-premium cases selected in the lottery should be issued by mail within the next few weeks. Cases not chosen in the lottery will be returned with their filing fees; this is likely to occur in June.

If you have any questions about H-1B cap processing, please contact your designated Fragomen professional.

Source: Fragomen

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South Africa: New Immigration Center to Expedite Visa and Permit Processing http://totallyexpat.com/south-africa-immigration-center-expedite-visa-permit-processing/ http://totallyexpat.com/south-africa-immigration-center-expedite-visa-permit-processing/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 15:07:21 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17613 Continue reading ]]> South Africa: New Immigration Center to Expedite Visa and Permit ProcessingThe Department of Home Affairs is expected to open an expedited immigration processing center in Pretoria by March 2016, according to an announcement by the Home Affairs Minister. A pilot program is expected to offer expedited visa and permit processing to applicants from India, Kenya and Nigeria, the countries with the highest volume of applications.

The goal of the processing center is to provide uniformity and reduce the delays applicants experience at South African embassies. The center will also review the immigration department’s internal processes to address the concerns of corporate clients, such as application processing times and the immigration department’s transparency and efficiency.

What This Means for Foreign Nationals

Indian, Kenyan and Nigerian nationals applying for visas and permits to South Africa should benefit from the expedited services offered by the processing center as early as March 2016.

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 africainfo@fragomen.com.
Source: Fragomen

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IRELAND (April 13, 2015) – Online re-entry visa appointment system launching soon http://totallyexpat.com/ireland-april-13-2015-online-reentry-visa-appointment-system-launching/ http://totallyexpat.com/ireland-april-13-2015-online-reentry-visa-appointment-system-launching/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 09:09:23 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17609 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – HIGH

IRELAND (April 13, 2015) – Online re-entry visa appointment system launching soonWhat is the change? Ireland is planning to launch an online appointment system for re-entry visa applications soon.

What does the change mean? The online visa system will provide a more orderly scheme, especially during peak travel seasons, by relieving employees from having to queue at the INIS office without appointments.

  • Implementation timeframe: The online system is expected to be implemented this summer.
  • Visas/permits affected: In-countryapplications for re-entry visas.
  • Who is affected: Visa-required nationals resident in Ireland.
  • Business impact: The online appointment system will save applicants time by doing away with the current walk-in system and allowing them to schedule appointments several weeks in advance.
  • Next steps: The INIS is now devoting staff resources to develop the system, which it expects will be operational this summer. Meanwhile,employees applying for re-entry visas should continue to do so by post or in-person and plan ahead for the busy summer travel season.

Background: Originally proposed to take effect in April, the online system will allow visa applicants to book an appointment up to two months in advance. The applicant must print out a confirmation to bring to the appointment and show it, along with an ID, before their application can be processed. For family applicants, one adult may appear but must show proof of the relationship with the family applicants.

The online system is intended to relieve long queues. Currently, applicants who do not apply for their re-entry visas by post must queue up at the INIS office in Dublin during limited office hours and are given a ticket for service on a first-come, first-served basis with a maximum of 150 applicants processed per day.

BAL Analysis: The online system should significantly improve the speed and ease of obtaining a re-entry visa. BAL is following these developments and will update clients as the rollout date nears.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact uk@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, Shanghai, 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: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

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CHINA (April 13, 2015) – New Z visa does not invalidate existing 10-year business, tourist, study visas http://totallyexpat.com/china-april-13-2015-visa-invalidate-existing-10year-business-tourist-study-visas/ http://totallyexpat.com/china-april-13-2015-visa-invalidate-existing-10year-business-tourist-study-visas/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 08:51:10 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17607 Continue reading ]]> CHINA (April 13, 2015) – New Z visa does not invalidate existing 10-year business, tourist, study visasIMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The issuance of a new Z visa or residence visa does not automatically void a previously issued valid 10-year business (M), tourist (L) or study (F) visa.

What does the change mean? Foreign travelers can continue to enter China with existing 10-year business, tourist or study visas, depending on the purpose of their visit, even if a new Z visa or residence permit was issued.

  • Implementation timeframe: 
  • Visas/permits affected: Z visa or residence permit; M, L and F visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals who obtain a new Z visa while already holding an M, L or F visa.
  • Business impact: The rule allows foreign workers whose work and residence visas expire but who still have an existing and valid M visa to re-enter China for appropriate short-term business activities without having to apply for a new M visa. The rule also benefits foreign workers who may have obtained a work permit without finalizing a residence permit, and who need to leave the country and re-enter shortly.

Background: The Public Security Bureau and border security officials in China have verbally confirmed that a new Z visa or residence visa will no longer invalidate an existing 10-year L, M or F visa and a foreign national holding both visas may enter China with either visa, depending on the purpose of that trip.

Previously, Chinese officials treated a new visa as automatically canceling an existing visa even without a void stamp.

BAL Analysis: The policy represents a change in practice that provides more flexibility to foreign employees; however, employees are still bound by the terms of the visa and should enter using the visa that is appropriate for the purpose of each trip.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in China. For additional information, please contact china@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, Shanghai, 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: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

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