The Forum for Expatriate Management http://totallyexpat.com Global Mobility Dedicated Wed, 01 Apr 2015 17:18:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Egypt: Visa on Arrival Program to be Indefinitely Suspended http://totallyexpat.com/egypt-visa-arrival-program-indefinitely-suspended/ http://totallyexpat.com/egypt-visa-arrival-program-indefinitely-suspended/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 17:18:39 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17554 Continue reading ]]> Egypt: Visa on Arrival Program to be Indefinitely Suspended Starting May 15, foreign nationals previously eligible for a visa on arrival must obtain a visa for business or tourism prior to entry due to the upcoming indefinite suspension of the visa on arrival program. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this policy change is intended to improve the monitoring of foreign nationals.

In practice, visas on arrival allow foreign nationals to engage in business activities such as attending meetings, conducting research and negotiating contracts.

What This Means for Foreign Nationals

Foreign nationals intending to visit Egypt should plan in advance to obtain a consular visa prior to entering for business.

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 mideast@fragomen.com.

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United States: FY 2016 H-1B Cap Season Begins: What Employers and Foreign Nationals Can Expect http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-fy-2016-h1b-cap-season-begins-employers-foreign-nationals-expect/ http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-fy-2016-h1b-cap-season-begins-employers-foreign-nationals-expect/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 15:12:44 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17552 Continue reading ]]> United States: FY 2016 H-1B Cap Season Begins: What Employers and Foreign Nationals Can ExpectUSCIS today begins to accept H-1B cap petitions for employment in FY 2016. With a record number of cap filings expected this year, the FY 2016 cap of 85,000 is likely to be exhausted quickly.

The first five business days of the cap filing season – April 1 through April 7 – are considered a single filing period. If, as anticipated, USCIS receives more than enough cap petitions to meet the quota during this period, it will run computerized lotteries to choose the cases that will be processed to completion.

Because of the operational challenges of extremely high volume, USCIS could take longer than in the past to perform initial intake, run the selection lotteries, and issue receipts. Employers and foreign nationals should expect to wait up to several weeks to learn whether their cap petitions were selected in the lotteries.

What Are the Odds of Selection in This Year’s Cap?

There are strong indications that filing volume will exceed last year’s record of 172,500. If this occurs, the chance that a cap petition will be selected for processing will be lower than last year, when about 42% percent of the cases filed against the standard cap of 65,000 and about 60% of the cases filed against the cap exemption of 20,000 for holders of U.S. advanced degrees were selected.

When Will USCIS Announce That the Cap Has Been Reached?

We expect USCIS to announce that the cap has been reached on Tuesday, April 7.

Once the cap has been reached, USCIS will not accept any further cap-subject petitions until April 1, 2016, but employers can continue to file H-1B cases that are not subject to the cap. These include extensions, amended petitions, changes of employer, and concurrent filings for existing H-1B workers. Petitions sponsored by institutions of higher education and their related or affiliated nonprofit entities, government research institutions and nonprofit research institutions are exempt from the cap. However, a current H-1B employee may be subject to the cap if his or her previous H-1B was sponsored by a cap-exempt employer.

Case Intake and Selection Lotteries

In the weeks following April 7, USCIS Service Centers will open each H-1B cap submission, perform initial data entry and run lotteries to select the cases that will be processed to completion. According to USCIS estimates, it could take up to five weeks for the agency to complete this stage of processing and notify employers whose petitions were selected.

The first lottery will select enough cases to meet the cap exemption of 20,000 for holders of U.S. advanced degrees. The second lottery will choose from all remaining cases, including those not selected in the advanced-degree lottery, to draw enough filings to fill the standard quota of 65,000. Cases not selected in either lottery will be rejected and returned with their filing fees.

What to Expect for Premium Processed Cases

USCIS will delay the start of the 15-day premium processing clock no later than May 11 – nearly two weeks later than last year. Though premium service could begin sooner, in the past the agency has typically met its projected start date.

Employers whose premium cases were selected in the lottery should get email filing receipts by May 11, though receipting could begin earlier.

Adjudicators should begin working on premium processed cases by May 11. If an adjudicator requires additional facts or documentation in a case, he or she will issue a request for evidence (RFE) within a few days after the start of processing. If your organization receives an RFE, your Fragomen team may ask you and the petition beneficiary to provide additional information to prepare a response. Working promptly with your Fragomen team will help ensure that a decision in your case is not delayed.

USCIS should complete initial adjudication of premium cases by May 26. By this date, employers should receive an approval, RFE or denial in their premium cases. If an RFE is issued, additional time will be required for a determination.

What to Expect for Non-Premium Cases

Employers whose regular processed cases were selected in the lottery should begin to get filing receipts by mid-May, if not earlier. Receipting could continue for several days or weeks after it begins.

USCIS is expected to begin working on regular processed cases by late May or early June, and typically aims to finish initial adjudication by mid-August. RFEs may be issued at any time during this period. As above, if your organization receives an RFE, you should work with your Fragomen team to quickly assemble any additional facts or documents necessary for a response. The sooner your response is submitted, the greater the likelihood that your case will be decided in time for an October 1 H-1B employment start date. However, since the case has already been successful in the lottery, it will be processed under the cap as long as a timely RFE response is made.

Impact of H-1B Cap Processing on Other Case Types

During the busy cap season, USCIS devotes significant resources to the processing of H-1B cap petitions. This may prolong the processing of other case types, including extensions of stay.

Though USCIS makes an effort not to unduly delay the processing of non-cap cases, employers and foreign nationals should plan for the possibility that their extensions may take longer than usual. As a reminder, H-1B, L-1, E-1/E-2, O, P, TN and certain other nonimmigrants are given an automatic 240-day extension of work authorization beyond the expiration of their current period of stay if an extension is filed on time.

Fragomen will provide regular updates as H-1B cap processing continues. If you have any questions, please contact your designated Fragomen professional.

Source: Fragomen

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UNITED STATES (March 31, 2015) – Two bills introduced to alter Visa Waiver Program http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-march-31-2015-bills-introduced-alter-visa-waiver-program/ http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-march-31-2015-bills-introduced-alter-visa-waiver-program/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 09:05:15 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17550 Continue reading ]]> UNITED STATES (March 31, 2015) – Two bills introduced to alter Visa Waiver ProgramTwo bills have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would alter the Visa Waiver Program. The program currently allows travelers from 38 countries, mostly in Europe, to enter the U.S. for up to 90 days without applying for a visa.

One bill would expand the program to more countries, while the other would place new restrictions on it, representing two divergent trends in this area. Many countries are attracting investment and tourist dollars by reducing barriers to travel. At the same time, there are rising calls to tighten security on visa-free entry.

The Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act, introduced Jan. 6, would expand the grounds on which a traveler may be ineligible for a visa waiver or for removal of a country from the program. The bill would also require the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit annual reports on the security of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), including the number and nationalities of those denied eligibility for security reasons. ESTA is the electronic system that screens and authorizes eligible foreign nationals to travel to the U.S. without a visa. H.R. 158 is co-sponsored by Rep. Candice Miller, R- Mich., who chairs the House Homeland Security subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who chairs the full House Homeland Security Committee. Both representatives hold authority over immigration hearings, which could influence the success of the bill.

The Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, introduced March 17, would allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant visa waiver status to any country that meets certain criteria, such as cooperation on security, low overstay rates and low visa denial rates. The bill, H.R. 1401, would also mandate that participating foreign nationals carry electronic passports containing their biometric data and loosen restrictions significantly for Canadian citizens 50 and older who maintain a residence in Canada and own or rent a home in the U.S. The bill also makes some tweaks to consular visa processing, including setting a goal of interviewing 90 percent of all nonimmigrant visa applicants worldwide within 10 days of application receipt and developing a pilot program for processing visas using secure remote videoconferencing technology. Thus far, the bill, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Heck, R- Nev., and Rep. Mike Quigley, D- Ill., has enjoyed some support from states that have a high level of tourism, but it has not yet been scheduled to be considered by committee.

– 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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THAILAND (March 31, 2015) – Online filing now available for 90-day reporting requirement http://totallyexpat.com/thailand-march-31-2015-online-filing-90day-reporting-requirement/ http://totallyexpat.com/thailand-march-31-2015-online-filing-90day-reporting-requirement/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 09:01:06 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17548 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – MEDIUM

THAILAND (March 31, 2015) – Online filing now available for 90-day reporting requirementWhat is the change? Thailand has introduced an online filing option for foreigners who are required to report to the Immigration Bureau when their stays in Thailand exceed 90 days.

What does the change mean? Foreigners may file through the online portal, but can only do so during a limited period before their notification due date.

  • Implementation timeframe: April 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Temporary stay permits.
  • Who is affected: All foreign nationals staying in Thailand for longer than 90 days.
  • Impact on processing: The online process takes approximately seven days.
  • Business impact: Online filing may be a more convenient option for expatriate residents who would normally file on their own, but will not affect those who send a representative to file the report in-person for them.
  • Next steps: Foreigners who wish to report online may do so through the online portal, following specific instructions outlined below.

Specific Instructions: Foreign nationals must report their address to the Immigration Bureau if they stay for more than 90 days.

Foreign employees may now file online, but only during an eight-day period starting 15 days before their notification due date and no later than seven days before their notification due date. The notification due date is the date on which the foreign has stayed in Thailand continuously for 90 days. The portal will not accept reports during the last seven days before the notification due date because that is the period when decisions are processed. If their online filing is approved, foreigners must print out a receipt as proof and keep it in their passport in case they are stopped.

Foreign nationals opting to file in-person may continue to observe the longer period of reporting, starting 15 days before the notification due date and ending seven days after the notification due date.

BAL Analysis: The online reporting provides an option for foreign employees, but they should note the limited 8-day period during which they can do so. Foreign nationals may continue to send a representative to report for them in-person at the Immigration Bureau instead.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Thailand 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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INDIA (March 31, 2015) – Mumbai imposes new processes to deter late applications by foreign nationals http://totallyexpat.com/india-march-31-2015-mumbai-imposes-processes-deter-late-applications-foreign-nationals/ http://totallyexpat.com/india-march-31-2015-mumbai-imposes-processes-deter-late-applications-foreign-nationals/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 08:59:26 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17546 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – MEDIUM

INDIA (March 31, 2015) – Mumbai imposes new processes to deter late applications by foreign nationalsWhat is the change? The Foreigners Regional Registration Office in Mumbai has implemented new requirements for late registrations and visa extension applications.  

What does the change mean? A company representative must appear at the Mumbai FRRO with an apology letter when the foreign employee is late with the FRRO registration or visa extension.

  • Implementation timeframe: 
  • Visas/permits affected: Employment visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals submitting late FRRO registrations or visa extension applications.
  • Impact on processing times: One day delay in processing.
  • Business impact: Therule imposes an additional burden on businesses by requiring them to send a representative to the FRRO to support late applications and on foreign employees to return the following business day to receive their residence permit or visa.
  • Next steps: Companies with branches in Mumbai should be sure that foreign employees’ FRRO registrations and visa extension applications are completed on time to avoid the new requirements.

Background: The FRRO in Mumbai announced that, effective immediately, it is implementing new procedures intended to deter late FRRO registration and visa extension applications. If a foreign national does not register within the required 14 days or is late in submitting a visa extension application, the Indian employer company must send a representative to accompany the foreign employee to the FRRO and bring an apology letter that explains why the registration or extension application is late. The representative typically should be the same person who has signed the company’s letter of undertaking and other support documents. Also, foreign nationals submitting the late registration or extension application must return the next business day to pick up their resident permits or visas instead of receiving them on the same day, which is the usual practice in Mumbai.

BAL Analysis: Companies operating in Mumbai must take care that foreign employees’ FRRO registrations and visa extension applications are submitted on time. The implementation of the new requirement and process delay in Mumbai is a sign that Indian authorities are cracking down on late filings by foreign nationals and their Indian employers. With this in mind, companies should be aware that these policy changes will likely soon appear at FRROs in other cities. BAL is monitoring other locations in India for implementation of similar policies and will report on any additional regional changes.

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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AUSTRALIA (31 March 2015) – Notification time period extended to 28 days for 457 sponsors http://totallyexpat.com/australia-31-march-2015-notification-time-period-extended-28-days-457-sponsors/ http://totallyexpat.com/australia-31-march-2015-notification-time-period-extended-28-days-457-sponsors/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 08:57:23 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17544 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – HIGH

AUSTRALIA (31 March 2015) – Notification time period extended to 28 days for 457 sponsorsWhat is the change? Employers sponsoring workers in the Subclass 457 visa category will soon be given 28 calendar days to report certain status changes, such as the end of the visa worker’s employment or changes to his or her work duties. Currently, employers are only given 10 working days.

What does the change mean? The change was one of several the Australian Government said it would endorse when it announced its support for a number of recommendations an independent committee made to overhaul the 457 visa category.

  • Implementation timeframe: 18 April 2015.
  • Visas/permits affected: Subclass 457 visas.
  • Who is affected: Employers sponsoring foreign workers in the Subclass 457 visa category.
  • Business impact: The change is a positive development for business, as employers will have more time to notify authorities of changes related to employees holding 457 visas.

Background: Earlier this month, the Australian Government announced its support for a number of changes that had been recommended to overhaul the Subclass 457 visa programme. The changes include altering English-language testing requirements, changing training programmes, re-evaluating visa processing and fees and stricter penalties for abuse.

The 28-day notification period, which was recommended by the committee in 2014, provides employers sponsoring 457 visa holders more leeway and flexibility when it comes to notifying the Government of certain changes to the visa holder’s status. Changes that require notification – “notifiable events” – include the end of the visa holder’s employment, changes in work duties, payment of a visa holder’s return travel costs and, in some cases, changes in the company’s corporate structure.

BAL Analysis: The change is a positive development for 457 visa sponsors, who, up to this point, have been given a short window of time to report “notifiable events” to the authorities.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact australia@balglobal.com.

MARN: 9683856

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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AUSTRALIA (30 March 2015) – Government moves to restore work rights for offshore oil and gas workers http://totallyexpat.com/australia-30-march-2015-government-moves-restore-work-rights-offshore-oil-gas-workers/ http://totallyexpat.com/australia-30-march-2015-government-moves-restore-work-rights-offshore-oil-gas-workers/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 07:54:40 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17541 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – MEDIUM

AUSTRALIA (30 March 2015) – Government moves to restore work rights for offshore oil and gas workersWhat is the change? Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Michaelia Cash issued a determination Friday to restore work rights to hundreds of non-Australian citizens working in the country’s offshore oil and gas industry.

What does the change mean? Cash’s move came a day after a Federal Court invalidated a previous attempt to exempt certain non-Australian workers from a law that effectively required them to obtain permanent visas in order to work on oil and gas rigs.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: The change affects a number of temporary Australian visas that allow holders to undertake specific work activities in Australia, including the Temporary Work (Skilled) subclass 457 visa and the Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) subclass 400 visa.
  • Who is affected: Companies employing non-Australian citizens in the offshore oil and gas industry.
  • Business impact: The business stakes are high. Following the Federal Court’s decision Thursday, the Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) said the AU $200 billion offshore oil and gas industry has been “thrown into uncertainty” and that the ruling jeopardised jobs for both foreign nationals and Australians working with them. Cash’s determination is intended to protect the work rights of those affected by the ruling.

Background: A three-judge Federal Court panel issued a ruling Thursday invalidating a determination Cash issued in 2014 to “except” offshore oil and gas workers from visa requirements imposed by the Labor government before the current government gained control. The Court said Cash had exceeded her authority by reversing “Parliament’s desire and intention” to require non-citizens to obtain permanent visas in order to work on offshore oil and gas rigs. Friday’s determination is designed to restore work rights to non-Australians whose status was thrown into uncertainty following the ruling. The determination will have the effect of allowing non-Australian citizens to lawfully work on offshore rigs that are fixed to the seabed.

BAL Analysis: The Court’s ruling left the status of the workers and offshore oil and gas industry in flux. The new determination, however, may restore stability. BAL will continue following the situation and update clients accordingly.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact australia@balglobal.com.

MARN: 9683856

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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Thailand: Online 90-Day Report Now Available http://totallyexpat.com/thailand-online-90day-report/ http://totallyexpat.com/thailand-online-90day-report/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:26:38 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17538 Continue reading ]]> Thailand: Online 90-Day Report Now AvailableStarting April 1, 2015, foreign nationals required to report their presence in Thailand after 90 consecutive days of stay (the “90-day report”) can do so online or through the online portal. Foreign nationals can file their report during the period of 15 days before and up to seven days after the 90-day mark.

Applicants must download a receipt as proof of filing.

Those unable to report online will still be able to follow the current in-person reporting procedure at the immigration office that issued the visa.

What This Means for Foreign Nationals

Foreign nationals should benefit from the elimination of the in-person reporting requirement. However, the change does not eliminate the need to complete the 90-day report and foreign nationals must continue to track their stay in Thailand.

We worked closely with Dej-Udom & Associates Ltd. 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 to APCCInitiations@fragomen.com.

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Luxembourg: Minimum Salary Increased for Local Hires and Intracompany Transferees http://totallyexpat.com/luxembourg-minimum-salary-increased-local-hires-intracompany-transferees/ http://totallyexpat.com/luxembourg-minimum-salary-increased-local-hires-intracompany-transferees/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 13:21:16 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17534 Continue reading ]]> Luxembourg: Minimum Salary Increased for Local Hires and Intracompany TransfereesThe minimum salary level for foreign locally-hired employees and intracompany transferees has been increased to EUR 2,307.56 gross per month, according to an update from the Ministry of Employment in Luxembourg.

This amount is subject to several changes per year.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Employers should review the new minimum salary requirements with their immigration professional prior to filing applications for intracompany transferees or new or renewal applications for locally hired employees.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Worldwide or send an email to brusselsinfo@fragomen.com.

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UNITED STATES (March 27, 2015) – Report Finds US Falling Behind in Skilled Immigration http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-march-27-2015-report-finds-falling-skilled-immigration/ http://totallyexpat.com/united-states-march-27-2015-report-finds-falling-skilled-immigration/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 10:36:01 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=17531 Continue reading ]]> UNITED STATES (March 27, 2015) – Report Finds US Falling Behind in Skilled ImmigrationThe United States ranks near the bottom among major economies in terms of policies to allow hiring of highly skilled immigrant workers, according to a recent study by Business Roundtable (BRT). BRT examined the immigration policies of 10 advanced economies to identify and evaluate the best immigration policies to promote economic growth. The United States ranked 9th out of 10 competitor countries, ahead of only Japan. The analysis found that America’s near-bottom ranking among major advanced economies is due to laws and regulations that impose unrealistic numerical limits and excessive bureaucratic rules on hiring workers that the country’s economy needs. The findings come just days before the H-1B cap is expected to be reached. The authors of the report consulted with multiple Berry Appleman & Leiden professionals around the world as experts on immigration policies of the subject countries. The full report can be found here.

– 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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