Latest Updates in Global Immigration

Latest Updates in Global Immigration

In the dynamic landscape of global immigration, several countries have recently introduced updates to their immigration policies, affecting various aspects of travel, work, and residence. The following highlights provide insights into the latest developments from Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United States.

Canada: International Experience Canada 2024 Opens

Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRC) has officially opened the 2024 season of the International Experience Canada (IEC) Program. The program facilitates cultural exchanges by allowing young people aged 18–35 from partner countries and territories to work and travel in Canada. Canada has expanded its youth mobility partnerships, recently signing agreements with Finland, Iceland, and Ukraine, enhancing opportunities for international youth.

China: Temporary Reduction of Visa Fees

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced a temporary 25% reduction in visa fees effective from December 11, 2023, to December 31, 2024. Notably, this reduction includes consulates in the United States, where fees for US citizens have been lowered. The move aims to encourage international travel by making visa applications more accessible during the specified period.

Denmark: Updated Income Statistics from January 1, 2024

Denmark’s Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) has published updated income statistics, effective from January 1, 2024. These statistics play a crucial role in determining the eligibility of job offers under various immigration routes, including the Pay Limit Scheme, Positive List, and Fast Track Scheme. The income statistics, sourced from the third quarter of 2023, will be regularly updated, with the next update expected on April 1, 2024.

Finland: Processing Backlog in Family Applications

Finland is currently experiencing a backlog in the processing of family-based residence permit applications, with approximately 11,800 applications awaiting decisions. Despite the increase in applications over the past two years, the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) assures that the majority of applications based on family ties are being decided within a reasonable timeframe. Migri emphasizes the importance of careful application submission, document legalization, timely communication of family relationship changes, and passport renewal.

Ireland: Initiative to Facilitate Christmas Travel

The Immigration Services Delivery (ISD) in Ireland acknowledges a processing backlog for residence permit renewals, affecting individuals seeking to travel internationally during the Christmas and New Year period. To address this, the Minister for Justice is issuing a Travel Confirmation Notice, allowing individuals to travel on recently expired Irish Residence Permit (IRP) cards if they have submitted renewal applications in advance. Travelers are advised to contact their carriers in advance and present necessary documentation to immigration authorities if requested.

New Zealand: Extension of 90-Day Trial Periods

The New Zealand government has announced its intention to extend 90-day trial periods to all employers. However, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) clarifies that accredited employers and those on the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) are exempt from this extension. The move aims to ensure fair treatment of migrants by accredited employers, emphasizing genuine labor needs or skills gaps.

Switzerland: Consultation on Digitization of Schengen Visas

Switzerland has initiated a consultation on legislative amendments required to implement the new EU regulation on Schengen visa applications. The proposed regulation mandates the submission of visa applications through an electronic EU platform, with visas issued in digital form. Exemptions will be defined for special humanitarian cases or situations with limited internet access. The digitalization of visa procedures, applicable from February 1, 2024, covers short-stay Schengen visas and visas for stays exceeding 90 days.

United States: Updated Guidance on Conditional Permanent Residence

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued updated guidance on family-based conditional permanent residence, consolidating information on eligibility, filing, and adjudication for Form I-751. The update clarifies procedures for changing the basis of filing in cases of waivers based on battery or extreme cruelty. It also highlights the possibility of adjusting permanent resident status on a new basis for individuals whose conditional permanent resident status is terminated due to a failure to timely file Form I-751.

United States: New Filing Location for Certain Forms

USCIS has announced a change in the filing location for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, when filed for a pending Form I-140. The transition aims to centralize digitization for downstream electronic adjudication, with the change applicable from December 15, 2023. The adjustment does not apply to forms filed concurrently with associated applications, and USCIS will communicate a filing location change for these forms in the near future.

United States: USCIS Reaches Fiscal Year 2024 H-1B Cap

USCIS has reached the congressionally mandated caps for H-1B visas for fiscal year 2024. Non-selection notices will be sent to registrants, indicating that they are not eligible to file an H-1B cap petition based on this registration. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions exempt from the cap, including those for current H-1B workers seeking extensions, changes in employment terms, changes of employers, and concurrent H-1B positions.

In conclusion, these global immigration updates reflect the ongoing efforts of countries to adapt to changing circumstances, enhance mobility, and streamline immigration processes for the benefit of individuals, employers, and host nations. It is essential for stakeholders to stay informed about these developments to navigate the evolving landscape of international migration effectively.

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