1. REMOTE WORK IN COLOMBIA: AN OVERVIEW -This article provides an overview of remote work policies and practices in Colombia.
2. CANADA -The Entry/Exit Program is a significant development that has been many years in the making.
3. COLOMBIA -There have been several developments.
4. ITALY -The working holiday visa will soon be available bilaterally between Italy and Hong Kong.
5. RUSSIA -There have been a variety of developments.
6. New Publications and Items of Interest -New Publications and Items of Interest
7. ABIL Member / Firm News -ABIL Member / Firm News
This article provides an overview of remote work policies and practices in Colombia.
In Colombia, the immigration law establishes that those foreign individuals who work remotely and enter into a local agreement must apply for a visa whether or not they enter Colombia.
Likewise, and according to Decree 1067 of 2015, any natural or legal person who joins, employs, or admits a foreign individual through any modality, especially a labor, cooperative, or civil relationship that generates a profit, must require a visa that allows the activity, occupation, or trade declared in the visa application. Moreover, all foreigners who provide any type of service through local contracts must be registered in the platforms of Migration Colombia (SIRE) and the Ministry of Labor (RUTEC) to comply fully with the current immigration regulations. Additionally, they need to register their visas and be issued the foreigners’ ID card, which must be processed in Colombia.
The Entry/Exit Program is a significant development that has been many years in the making.
Part of the Beyond the Border Action Plan, the Entry/Exit Program is a joint Canada-U.S. initiative that establishes a coordinated entry/exit information system to facilitate the exchange of traveler biographic information (such as name and date of birth). Collected upon entry at the common land border between the two countries, a record of entry into one country is now considered a record of exit from the other. In addition to the exchange of this data with the United States at land borders, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will collect exit data on all travelers leaving by air. Air carriers will begin sharing their data in 2020 and 2021. Consequently, overstay indicators will not begin appearing within the entry/exit search results for temporary residents who have overstayed their allowable time in Canada until the air carrier information is shared.
There have been several developments
Present and Future of the Mercosur Visa
Colombia, as of 2004, became an Associated State of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), which has not only dealt with trade matters but has also come to regulate the mobility of people in the region. A clear example of this is the Mercosur visa, which is granted by the mutual reciprocity principle, and which seeks to authorize nationals of the countries that are part of the agreement to transit through these countries and, among others, to develop tourism and business activities.
The Practice of Regulated Professions by Foreign Workers
In Colombia, it is common for human resources (HR) departments to handle the employment of foreign workers. This is why it has become indispensable for HR staff to know the requirements for such workers to be legally employed, not only from the perspective of labor and social security, but also with respect to migration. Under the immigration regulations, the following, among others, must be taken into account: the visa, the registration of the visa, the foreigner ID card, notifications in SIRE and RUTEC, and permits to perform regulated professions.
Start of PEP Renewal
Migration Colombia has begun the process of renewing Special Permits for Permanence (PEP) that are about to expire for those Venezuelan nationals who are in the national territory.
Details: See http://www.tannus.co/en/start-of-pep-renewal/
Migration Flexibility for Venezuelans
The exodus of Venezuelan nationals to Colombia and the world continues, motivated by the unfortunate situation of the neighboring country, which is still going on and does not seem to have a short-term solution. For this reason, the flow of migrants is increasing, especially to South American countries, and therefore some nations have decided to modify their immigration laws. Countries such as Peru and Chile have tightened their controls and recently decided to request visas for all Venezuelans. On the contrary, Colombia continues to ease requirements and grant benefits for the entry and stay of these migrants.
The working holiday visa will soon be available bilaterally between Italy and Hong Kong.
On July 5, 2019, Italy and Hong Kong signed an agreement to mark the establishment of a bilateral Working Holiday Scheme (WHS).
Under the WHS between Hong Kong and Italy, youths aged between 18 and 30 years from each country may apply for a visa that will allow them to stay in the other country for up to 12 months. During that period, they may work to finance their stay or study short-term courses. The annual quota from each side will be 500.
The agreement was signed by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Dr. Law Chi-kwong, and the Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Government of the Italian Republic, Manlio Di Stefano, at the Central Government Offices, Tamar.
Details: Visa application procedures for applicants from Hong Kong will soon be available on the website of the Consulate General of Italy in Hong Kong at https://conshongkong.esteri.it/consolato_hongkong/en/
There have been a variety of developments:
Russian Government Approves Agreement With Republic of Croatia
The Russian government has approved an agreement with the Republic of Croatia, which amends a previously signed agreement on citizens of one country visiting the other. According to the agreement, the citizens of one country will be able to visit the other country without a visa for 90 days out of every 180 days, provided they have a valid identity document. The agreement is under discussion between the two countries.
Quota for Engaging Foreign Labor Slightly Increased
The Ministry of Labor and Social Development has slightly increased the quota for engaging foreign labor this year. The increase was made in all Russian regions, although it was not large, at 6 to 10 percent on average.
Updated High-Migration Risk Countries List
The high-migration risk countries list has been updated. Inclusion of a country on the list means that documents filed for the work permits, visas, invitations, and other purposes for citizens of these countries will be additionally reviewed by government officials, which will almost always result in delays in processing as well as denials of applications and/or the necessity to undergo additional administrative procedures; for example, a general manager of the inviting company may be required to be interviewed.
E-Visas to be Introduced Starting January 2021
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Prime Minister and heads of several responsible government agencies (Foreign Affairs Ministry, Internal Affairs Ministry, and Federal Security Service) to introduce a unified e-visa for foreign citizens to enter Russia starting January 1, 2021.
This will be a short-term visa (up to 16 days) and will combine several possible purposes of entry: tourist, business, humanitarian, and guest. A visa fee will be levied.
The unified e-visa will be issued for those visiting all territories of the Russian Federation (with the exception of special zones, organizations, and places where foreign nationals need special permission to enter).
Foreign Citizens Now May Enter Kaliningrad Region Using Electronic Visas
As of July 1, 2019, foreign citizens of certain countries can apply for an electronic visa to enter the Special Economic Zone in the Kaliningrad region.
Entry using electronic visas is allowed only through certain border control posts:
- Air border control post in Kaliningrad (Hrabrovo);
- Sea border control post in Kaliningrad: Kaliningrad, Baltiysk, Svetliy;
- Road border control posts in Bagrationovsk, Gusev, Mamonovo, (Gzhehotki), Mamonovo (Gronovo), Morskoye, Pogranichniy, Sovetsk, and Chernyshevskoye;
- Rail border control posts in Mamonovo and Sovetsk.
Also, the International Affairs Ministry was expected to update the website where foreign nationals can submit applications for electronic visas. It is possible to file documents for an electronic visa through https://evisa.kdmid.ru/ru-RU.
Electronic visas have been issued in Russia since August 1, 2017. On the basis of such visas, it is already possible to visit the Primorskiy Region, Kamchatka, and Sakhalin. According to International Affairs Ministry data, more than 37,500 people from 18 countries have visited Russia since the introduction of the procedure.
At the moment, according to the information from the International Affairs Ministry’s Consular Department, citizens of designated countries can apply for electronic visas (entry should be made through the specified border control posts. A list of such posts is published on the Consular Department webpage at https://evisa.kdmid.ru/ru-RU).
For the application, the electronic visa applicant does not need an invitation letter, and a personal appearance at the consulate is not required. This visa is issued free of charge. The average waiting time is 20 minutes. To apply for an electronic visa, it is necessary only to visit the International Affairs Ministry Consular Department website, complete the application form with passport data, and attach a photo.
Electronic visas are issued only for short-term visits. Such visas are only issued for 30 calendar days, starting from the issuance date. The allowed stay is up to 8 days only within the validity period. The validity period or the allowed stay cannot be extended.
Bill Simplifying Regime of Stay for Foreign Citizens Who Work in Cultural Pursuits Filed to Federation Council
The bill introduces the following:
- Issuance of ordinary business visas up to 30 days to foreign citizens who are entering Russia for not more than 30 calendar days for participation in performances (organization of performances and/or events on the basis of civil agreements for an agreed fee or free of charge) during which such foreign citizens perform literary works, art, or folk art, or are entering Russia on the invitation of government cultural institutions to participate in art, educational, scientific, or pedagogical work.
This category of foreign citizens does not require a work permit, work visa, or patent, and the inviting party does not require permission for engaging foreign labor.
- Issuance of ordinary business visas up to 1 year, and in case of reciprocity up to 5 years, to foreign citizens who are entering Russia to perform scientific research or teach upon the invitation of scientific and higher education organizations (with the exception of religious education organizations) for higher education programs that have government accreditation.
Bill Simplifying TRP (Temporary Residence Permit) and PRP (Permanent Residence Permit) Procedures for Certain Categories of Foreign Nationals is Under Review
The State Duma is reviewing a bill to simplify procedures for certain categories of foreign nationals applying for TRP and PRP in Russia.
As in the previous versions of the bill, the following is suggested:
- The possibility for Ukrainian nationals to apply for TRP without the need to first receive a quota for the TRP application filing, provided they are refugees;
- Documents for TRP processed within 4 months instead of 6 months;
- The possibility for a foreign national to apply for annulment of the TRP;
- Specific comment that TRP or PRP will be annulled in case the foreign national spends more than 6 months in a calendar year (in total) outside of Russia;
- Several categories of foreign nationals to have the ability to file PRP applications without the need to apply for the TRP first: foreign citizens who were born in RSFSR, who are native speakers of the Russian language, who have relatives or spouses permanently living in Russia, who were deported from Crimea, and qualified foreigners as well as HQS (highly qualified specialists);
- PRP to have unlimited validity (except for PRPs issued to qualified specialists and HQS, who will receive PRP for 3 years).
Chinese Border Control Officers Checking Contents of Smart Phones of Russian Citizens Who Enter China
It has been reported recently that Chinese authorities are checking the contents of smart phones belonging to Russian citizens crossing the China-Russia border in Guangzhou. In particular, popular messenger apps, email, and photos were checked. Checks were explained as an attempt to find those having compromising information, although there are no details on what information can be considered compromising, other than noncompliance with immigration laws. At the same time, Russian citizens have been detained who tried to enter China on the basis of business visas with the real aim of performing work activities in China.
Based on the principle of reciprocity, the Russian government may unofficially introduce the same kinds of checks.
Maldives: Agreement on Visa-Free Entry Has Come Into Force
Effective July 25, 2019, an agreement with the Government of Maldives on visa-free entry has come into force.
According to the agreement, citizens of either country may enter the other country and stay for up to 90 days. The total limit of stay will be determined by legislation of each country.
If the citizens of one country wish to stay longer in the territory of the other country or to perform work, study, or obtain permanent residence, they must apply for the appropriate visa from the authorities of the country where they wish to stay.
Andorra: Government Approves Agreement Providing for a Visa-Free Regime
Russia now has an agreement with the Government of Andorra to introduce a visa-free regime between the countries. According to the agreement, citizens of either country will be able to enter the other country and stay for up to 90 days out of every 365 days, starting from the first entry.
If the citizens of one country wish to stay longer in the territory of the other country or to perform work or commercial activities, they must apply for the appropriate visa from the authorities of the country where they wish to stay.
Botswana: Government Approves Agreement Providing for a Visa-Free Regime
Russia now has an agreement with the Government of Botswana to introduce a visa-free regime between the countries. According to the agreement, citizens of either country will be able to enter the other country and stay for up to 30 days, the total limit of stay being 90 days out of every 180 days.
If the citizens of one country wish to stay longer in the territory of the other country or to perform work, study, or obtain permanent residence, they will be required to apply for the appropriate visa from the authorities of the country where they wish to stay.
China: Government Approves Agreement Providing for a Visa-Free Regime for Tourist Groups
Russia has approved an agreement with the Government of China to introduce a visa-free regime between the countries for tourist groups.
According to the draft of the agreement, “tourist groups” are a group of citizens of the other country, from three up to 50 persons, headed by a representative of a tourist organization who enters with tourism purposes.
Members of the tourist group can travel only with the group, accompanied by the group leader (representative of the tourist organization) and according to a travel plan approved in advance (travel plan and other information about the trip must be confirmed by documentation).
The overall stay of foreign citizens in the territory of the receiving country cannot exceed 21 days.
Professional Mastership Championships
An organization approved by the Russian Government to represent Russia in the “Worldskills International Championship” will be able to hire foreign nationals without the need to receive corporate employment permission for the period of preparation and the events of the organization in the territory of Russia.
Foreign nationals will be able to work at championships in Russia without the need for a work permit or patent. Invitation letters to such foreigners will be issued irrespective of the allocated quota. The list of championships is determined by the Russian Government.
Visa Formalities Simplified for Artists and Scientists
According to a new law, a standard business visa valid for 30 days can be issued to foreign citizens who enter Russia for a period of not more than 30 days:
- For an artistic tour (organization of performances and/or events on the basis of civil agreements for an agreed fee or free of charge) during which such foreign citizens perform literary works, art, or folk art; or
- Upon invitation of government cultural institutions to participate in art, educational, scientific, or pedagogical work.
These categories of foreign nationals do not need to apply for a work permit or patent as well as a work visa.
Employers can engage such foreign citizens without applying for a corporate employment permit (Law: On the status of foreign citizens in Russia).
Year of Theatre: Visas for Guests are Free of Charge
The Russian Government has issued an order under which foreign participants and guests of events of the Year of Theatre 2019 can receive visas to Russia free of charge. Mass media participating in the events can also apply for Russian visas free of charge at Russian consulates abroad.
Applications for visas are filed by the Ministry of Culture and members of the Year of Theatre 2019 organization committee.
2019 Quota Amended
The Ministry of Labor and Social Development has again redistributed the quota for foreign labor for this year. Quotas have been insignificantly raised for almost all Russian regions, including Moscow.
Citizenship for Qualified Specialists
Qualified specialists soon will be able to apply for Russian citizenship after only one year of working in Russia, starting October 2019. These include foreign citizens and stateless persons who work in Russia as qualified specialists.
To be eligible a foreign citizen must work in a specific position (the list of occupations is approved by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development), and his or her employer must have made the necessary payments to the Russian Pension Fund.
The list is lengthy, including occupations such as midwife, veterinarian, doctor, laboratory assistant, psychiatrist, statistician, gas welder, chief project engineer, chief metallurgist, director of economics, various types of engineer, mathematician, nurse, medical laboratory technician, process pipeline installer, pharmacy laboratory specialist, locksmith, ship repairman, pharmacist, electrician, medical assistant, grinder, drilling technician, and others.
Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers:
- The latest immigration news is at https://www.abil.com/news.cfm.
- The latest published media releases include:
- ABIL Says Proposed Change to Public Charge Rule Would Exclude Immigrants from Government Programs
- New Data Show Increase in H-1B Denials and RFEs
- ABIL Urges Administration to Change “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order
- ABIL Member Kuck Baxter Immigration Commercial Nominated for an Emmy
- ABIL Members Note Immigration Threats for Employers in 2018
- ABIL is available on Twitter: @ABILImmigration.
- Recent ABIL member blogs are at http://www.abilblog.com/.
Charles Foster, of Foster LLP, was featured along with some of the nation’s experts on immigration reform in the “Rational Middle Immigration Documentary Series, exploring how to solve the United States’ immigration challenges and remake the U.S. economy while protecting U.S. values, workers, and families. The first season is a collection of short films and is available by clicking here.
Klasko Immigration Law Partners was named for the fourth year in a row to the 2019 Best Places to Work annual list published by the Philadelphia Business Journal.
William Stock, of Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP, was placed on Human Resource Executive Magazine’s and Lawdragon’s annual joint publication of the “best of” lawyer list for its 12th year. In 2018, the firm’s managing partner, H. Ronald Klasko, was inducted into Lawdragon’s Hall of Fame. For more information, see Klasko Law Partners, LLP website, as well as Lawdragon.
Charles Kuck was quoted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution in “Georgia’s Immigration Court Judges Among Toughest in Nation for Asylum.” “I have never seen [immigration] courts as dire as these ones [in Georgia] in the context of granting asylum, which seem to be so far out of the mainstream, not just of other courts around the country but of the actual law itself of asylum,” he said.
Mr. Kuck was quoted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution in “New Details: ICE Detainee From Mexico Dies in South Georgia.” “It is unconscionable. It should be shut down,” Mr. Kuck said of the Stewart Detention Center.
Mr. Kuck recently discussed “the flawed logic of the new Expedited Removal reg, and 9 things we can do to protect ourselves from ICE over-enforcement! We also talk about the Padilla/Matter of M-S- ruling on asylum bonds.” See #TheImmigrationHour on Twitter.
Mr. Kuck was quoted by the New York Times in “What Happens After an ICE Raid? Explaining the Deportation Process.” Mr. Kuck noted that authorities in the past have used ruses to coax their targets into cooperating, like pretending to be looking for someone else.
Mr. Kuck has released a new podcast series, the Immigration Hour. The latest episode discusses the “raids” that did not occur, the economic impact of the current climate, the role of Ken Cuccinelli as new Director of USCIS, and the “new” anti-asylum regulations. The podcast is available at Stitcher.
Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC has opened a new office in Adel, Georgia, near the Irwin, Folkston, and Stewart Detention Centers, which hold more than 5,000 detained immigrants. The new office will be run by Elizabeth Matherne, who is the former Southern Poverty Law Center’s director for the Irwin Detention Project.
Robert Loughran presented “Update on Nonimmigrant Visa Processing at U.S. Consulates Abroad” on May 18, 2019, at the Federal Bar Association’s Immigration Law Conference in Austin, Texas.
Mr. Loughran presented “How Employment-Based Immigration Practice Has Evolved Under the Current Administration to Include Litigation” on June 13, 2019, at the State Bar of Texas Annual meeting in Austin.
David Isaacson, of Cyrus D. Mehta & Partners PLLC, has authored a new blog entry, “Expansion of Expedited Removal: Why Pushing to the Limits of the Statute Unconstitutionally Deprives People of Due Process of Law.”
Cyrus Mehta and Stephen Yale-Loehr were quoted by the Times of India in “As U.S. EB-5 Visas Become Expensive, Indian Applications Expected to Slump.” Mr. Yale-Loehr said, “The new EB-5 changes will affect investors from India in a variety of ways. First, I predict a surge of EB-5 petition filings until November 21. After that, I expect a sharp decline in EB-5 petitions, as fewer people will be able to satisfy the new minimum investment amount.” Mr. Mehta noted that many of the attractive projects that are designated in targeted employment areas in metropolitan areas may no longer receive such a designation after November 21, so the investment will go from $500,000 currently for such a project to $1.8 million. “Under the current RBI [Reserve Bank of India] guideline of only allowing $250,000 to be remitted out of India per financial year, the higher investment amounts will serve as a further disincentive. I predict that there will be a rush to file EB-5 applications before the rule change on November 21.
Cyrus Mehta has published a new blog entry, “Save Optional Practical Training for Foreign Students.”
Bettina Offer and Gabriele Mastmann, of Offer & Mastmann, and Gunther Mävers were nominated by Best Lawyers in Germany and Handelsblatt for immigration.
Angelo Paparelli was quoted by Law360 in “How Attorneys Can Brace for Rising EB-5 Compliance Checks.” Mr. Paparelli said that unannounced site visits can be unstructured, but a regional center should establish a formal procedure for communicating with officials from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and take charge of the process. He said a designated representative from the center should ask officers to identify themselves, whether they have a judicial subpoena or warrant, and what specifically they are seeking. He said they should also engage counsel and suggest following up via email to provide requested documentation in an organized manner. A lawyer can then act as an intermediary to narrow the scope of the site visit, asking whether USCIS is interested in a particular investor or investment project, he noted. The article is available by registering at Law360.
Mr. Paparelli was profiled in the Los Angeles Daily Journal. The profile notes, among other things, that along with compliance audits, counsel and due diligence in mergers, acquisitions and corporate restructuring, Mr. Paparelli focuses on newly developed problems with sponsored worker immigration issues. “This is a time of historically unprecedented executive branch opposition to the legal, employment-based process for sponsorship of highly skilled noncitizens and intense immigration-related work site enforcement,” he said, noting that it is essential to maintain clients’ confidentiality due to fears of government retaliation. The article is available by subscription at https://www.dailyjournal.com/.
Rodrigo Tannus has authored several new articles in Diario la República:
- “Presente y futuro de la visa Mercosur“
- “Profesiones reguladas por trabajadores extranjeros“
- “Flexibilizacion migratoria para venezolanos“
Stephen Yale-Loehr was quoted by Axios in “Lutheran Denomination Claims it is the First ‘Sanctuary Church Body’.” Mr. Yale-Loehr noted that although U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers frequently stay out of a church if undocumented immigrants are staying there, churches do not provide federal legal sanctuary. “I think for publicity reasons, immigration enforcement does not like to go into churches,” he said.
Mr. Yale-Loehr was quoted by Reuters in “U.S. to Expand Rapid Deportation Nationwide With Sweeping New Rule.” Mr. Yale-Loehr said the new policy will create chaos and fear in immigrant communities and could have unintended consequences. “U.S. citizens could be expeditiously removed by error. You don’t have a lot of room to challenge that. You can’t go before an immigration judge,” he noted.
Mr. Yale-Loehr was quoted in several other media outlets about the expansion of expedited removal:
- New York Times: “Trump Administration Expands Fast-Tracked Deportations for Undocumented Immigrants“
- Law360: “DHS Vastly Expands Deportation Authority,” available by registering here.
Mr. Yale-Loehr was quoted by Tampa Bay Times in “Despite Trump’s Claims, ICE Is Arresting Way More Immigrants Without Criminal Records—Especially in Florida.” Immigration enforcement agents can now “round up anybody they could find, whether they had a criminal conviction or not,” he noted.
Stephen Yale-Loehr was interviewed by Raw Story in “Immigration Expert Explains Why Trump’s Migrant Policy Won’t Work.” Among other things, in response to a question asking for his thoughts on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he said, “All countries need some kind of immigration enforcement agency. The question is how to manage immigration enforcement humanely and effectively. Moreover, Congress will never appropriate enough money to round up and deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants estimated to be in the United States. We should focus our limited priorities on removing terrorists, not people who simply overstayed their visas.”
Mr. Yale-Loehr discussed “Immigration Meritocracy,” regarding his new research project studying merit-based immigration, what a “merit-based” immigration system means, and how it would work in the United States, in a podcast presented by the Everyday Immigration Podcast, produced by LionCeau Productions.
Mr. Yale-Loehr was quoted by a variety of news outlets regarding reports of possible immigration raids:
- Voice of America: U.S. immigration raids planned. Mr. Yale-Loehr said, “Given the inefficiencies in the immig ration court system, many people may have been ordered deported illegally because the immigration agency didn’t have their correct address to notify them about their immigration court date. In such cases, they may have the right to reopen their immigration case,” he said. Mr. Yale-Loehr noted that undocumented people living in the U.S. have certain constitutional rights. “Immigration agents are not legally allowed to forcibly enter a home [without authorization]. Immigrants can refuse to open the door when an agent approaches, unless the agents have a valid search warrant.”
- Reuters (several newspapers): “Two thousand people deported is not that large in the annual scheme of things,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, pointing out that the administration of former President Obama deported more than 400,000 people a year during his first term. “On the other hand, the mere fact that they are announcing these raids is sending fear among immigrants and is causing them to hide or take other actions,” he said. The article notes that President Trump will want to show his supporters that he is delivering on campaign promises to crack down on illegal immigration, a signature policy objective of his administration. “He’s been trying to do something for months,” Mr. Yale-Loehr said.
Mr. Yale-Loehr was also quoted in the following media on the same topic:
- Lawandcrime.com: ICE scheduling raids to arrest alleged undocumented immigrants – what to know
- Daily Mail: Trump-backed ICE raids have already started in California ahead of thousands of immigrants being rounded up nationwide this weekend, claim lawyers
- Quartz: The best ways to help immigrants in the US caught up in ICE raids
- Syracuse.com: On eve of planned immigration raids, Syracuse advocates remind people of their rights
- City & State: New York’s limited power to resist ICE raids
- Business Insider: Immigrants have rights when ICE comes to arrest them, but experts warn this only goes so far
- Univision: Did you know that a deportation order can be challenged? (Spanish)