2017-03-30 Update: VisaPro.com – US Immigration

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Italy: Measures to Fight Against Illegal Immigration Bolstered (Mar. 29, 2017) On February 18, 2017, new legislation on the fight against illegal immigration entered into effect in Italy. (Decree Law No. 13 of February 17, 2017, Urgent Provisions for the Acceleration of International Protection Procedures and for the Fight Against Illegal Immigration (D.L. No. 13), NORMATTIVA (in Italian).) More Efficient Handling of Non-EU Citizens The new legislation provides for accelerated procedures to identify and define the legal situation of non-European Union citizens and to fight illegal immigration and the trafficking of migrants. (D.L. No. 13, art. 15(1).) In accordance with EU legislation, the director of Italy's National Central Police for Crime Prevention under the Ministry of the Interior, after consultation with the Italian Committee for Strategic Analysis of Anti-Terrorism, has the authority to adopt a decision to reject the entry of a migrant from outside the EU into the national territory. (Id. art. 15(1).) To better identify non-EU citizens under international protection, EU residence permits issued for long-term residence to foreigners who are beneficiaries of international protection must contain the phrase protection recognized by Educators on [date]." (Id. art. 9(1)(a)(1).) Pursuant to EU legislation, should foreigners holding these residence permits become subject to removal procedures, the EU states that have recognized such permits must implement removal procedures after consultation with the EU state that originally issued the permit. (Id. art. 8(1)(b)(2).) When due to force majeure it is not possible to implement the repatriation of foreigners, judicial authorities must order the restoration of detention for the time strictly necessary to carry out the expulsion order. (Id. art. 19(2)(b).) Detention centers must be located outside urban areas and must be furnished with appropriate public facilities and structures to ensure respect for the human dignity and personal freedom of the per …

Israel: Amendment Authorizing Revocation of Israeli Nationality Passed (Mar. 23, 2017) On March 6, 2017, the Knesset (Israel's parliament) passed the Nationality (Amendment No. 13) Law 5777 (Amendment Law). (Ministry of Justice website (scroll down to issue No. 2611 (Mar. 16, 2017) (in Hebrew).) The Amendment Law amends the Nationality Law, 5712-1952 (the Law). (SEFER HAHUKIM [BOOK OF LAWS, official gazette, SH] 5712 No. 95, p. 146, as amended.) The Law authorizes the Minister of Interior to revoke the nationality of any person who has obtained Israeli nationality based on false information within three years after that person became an Israeli national. (Id. ¬ß 11(a).) The Law also authorizes the Administrative Court, in response to a request by the Minister of Interior, to cancel the Israeli nationality of any person if: the nationality has been acquired more than three years earlier based on false information; or the person has committed a breach of loyalty towards the state, as long as he/she will not become stateless as a consequence of the cancellation; and if he/she becomes stateless, the person will be granted a permit of permanent residence as authorized by the Minister of Interior. (Id. ¬ß 11(b).) The Law provides that for the purpose of cancellation of nationality, it is presumed that persons who permanently reside in a country or an area listed in the supplement to the Law will not remain stateless. (Id.) The countries and areas listed are: Afghanistan, the Gaza Strip, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. (Supplement to the Law.) The Law generally defines breach of loyalty as engaging in, assisting, or soliciting the perpetration of a terrorist act or actively taking part in a terrorist organization; engaging in treason; and acquiring citizenship or permanent residence in any of the countries or areas listed in the above-cited supplement. (Law, ¬ß 11(b)(2).) According to the Amendment Law, a person has a right to be present in a judicial hearing where revocation of his/her citizenship is considered. T …

Israel: Prevention of Entry of Foreign Nationals Promoting Boycott of Israel (Mar. 17, 2017) On March 6, 2017, the Knesset (Israel's parliament) passed the Entry into Israel (Amendment No. 28) Law, 5777-2017 (the Amendment Law) (SEFER HAHUKIM [BOOK OF LAWS, the official gazette, SH] 5777 No. 2610, p. 458 (3/14/17), Ministry of Justice website (scroll down to issue No. 2610 (Mar. 14, 2017) (in Hebrew)). The Amendment Law amends the Entry into Israel Law, 5712-1952 (the Law). (SH 5712 No. 111 p. 354, as amended.) The Amendment Law prohibits the grant of a permit for entry to and residence in Israel to any person who is not an Israeli citizen or alternatively does not hold a license for permanent residence in Israel if he or she, or the organization or the body for which he or she operates, has knowingly published a public call to engage in a boycott against the State of Israel or has made a commitment to participate in such a boycott. (Amendment Law, ¬ß 1, adding ¬ß 2(d) to the Law.) For the purpose of the prohibition, a is defined in accordance with the Law for Prevention of Harm to the State of Israel by Boycott, 5771-2011 (SH 5771 No. 2304, p. 972). Accordingly, ‚… boycott against the State of Israel"- intentionally abstaining from [engaging in] economic, cultural, or academic contact with a person or with another element [organization], solely because of a link to the State of Israel, one of its institutions, or an area under its control, in a way that may inflict [on the person or the element] economic, cultural, or academic harm. (Law for Prevention of Harm to the State of Israel by Boycott, 5771-2011, ¬ß 1.) Under special conditions, which must be given in written form, the Minister of the Interior is authorized to deviate from the prohibition under the Amendment Law and grant a permit for entry or residence to a person found to have engaged in the prohibited boycott. (Amendment Law ¬ß 1, adding ¬ß 2(e) to the Law.) …

European Union: Court of Justice Rules Member States Not Required Under EU Law to Issue Humanitarian Visas (Mar. 14, 2017) On March 7, 2017, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) held that Member States are not obligated under European Union law to issue humanitarian visas to asylum seekers, because such applications fall within the scope of national law. (Case C-638/16, X and X v. √âtat belge (Mar. 7, 2017), CURIA.) Facts of the Case On October 12, 2016, the petitioners, a Syrian family from Aleppo, submitted an application for a visa with limited territorial validity at the Belgian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, on the basis of article 25, paragraph 1(a), of the EU Visa Code. In their application, they stated that the purpose was to subsequently apply for asylum in Belgium to enable them to leave the besieged city of Aleppo. (Case C-638/16, supra, at 19 & 20; Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 Establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code), 2009 O.J. (L 243) 1, EUR-LEX, as amended by Regulation (EU) No. 610/2013, 2013 O.J. (L 182) 1), EUR-LEX.) The Belgian Immigration Office rejected the visa application and stated that the applicants intended to stay more than 90 days in Belgium and that Belgian diplomatic offices were not authorized to accept asylum applications. (Case C-638/16, supra, at 21.) The applicants challenged the decision before a Belgian court. The court requested a preliminary ruling from the ECJ as to whether the obligations" referred to in article 25, paragraph1(a), of the Visa Code cover, inter alia, all the rights guaranteed by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (EU Charter) and whether the Member States have discretion to issue a visa if it is considered under international obligations." (Id. at 28.) The Ruling In its ruling, the ECJ first noted that the EU Visa Code only deals with the procedures and conditions for issuing visas for transit through or intended stays in the territory of the Member States not exceeding 90 days in any 180-day period. (Id. at 41.) It de …

England and Wales: Restaurant Owners Disqualified from Running a Business After Employing Illegal Workers (Mar. 8, 2017) Two directors of a restaurant in England were recently fined ¬£100,000 (about US$125,000) for employing five individuals who were not legally entitled to work in the United Kingdom. It is a criminal offense under section 15 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 to employ a person who is not able to lawfully work in the UK; the offense is punishable upon conviction with a penalty of up to ¬£20,000 (about US$25,000) per worker employed. (Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, c. 13, LEGISLATION.GOV.UK; Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986, c. 46, LEGISLATION.GOV.UK; Press Release, The Insolvency Service, Directors of a Kingston Restaurant Disqualified for Six Years for Employing Illegal Workers (Feb. 10, 2017).) The company went into liquidation owing ¬£76,853 (about US$95,500) to creditors, ¬£30,000 (about US$37,000) of which was the outstanding penalty imposed by the Home Office's Immigration and Enforcement for the illegal employment of undocumented workers. (Directors of a Kingston Restaurant Disqualified for Six Years for Employing Illegal Workers, supra.) Home Office Immigration Enforcement, an executive agency, was established in April 2012 to prevent abuse, track immigration offenders, and increase compliance with immigration law, according to its website. (About Us, GOV.UK (last visited Feb. 23, 2017).) The Insolvency Service, another executive agency, has recently begun to work closely with Immigration Enforcement and take action both against insolvent companies and companies that remain active and are not subject to insolvency proceedings but that have not complied with the statutory obligations under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act to ensure that all employees are lawfully able to work in the UK. In cases where the Insolvency Service finds these obligations have not been met, disqualification orders have been used against the directors of the companies. (Company Director Disqualification, GOV.UK ( …

Slovenia: Mechanisms Introduced for Stricter Border Control of Refugee Influx (Feb. 9, 2017) On January 26, 2017, the Parliament of Slovenia adopted amendments to the laws on aliens and on state border control that if implemented would allow the government to introduce a special temporary system of border checks and prevent the admission of refugees into the country. (Slovenia Passes Law Allowing Migrant Border Pushbacks, AFP (North European Service) (Jan. 26, 2017), Open Source Enterprise, Doc. ID: EUR2017012673892732.) A constitutional majority (two-thirds of the votes of the deputies present) is needed for the approval and imposition of the measure, as required for laws related to issues of national defense and territorial integrity according to article 124 of the Slovenian Constitution. (Id.; Zakon o Tujcih [Aliens Act], URADNI LIST RS [OFFICAL GAZETTE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA] 2008, No. 71, arts. 11, 26, & 64-66, most recent English translation (2012) available at INFORMATION FOR FOREIGNERS WEBSITE; Constitution, OFFICIAL GAZETTE OF THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA, No. 33/91-I (Dec. 23, 1991, as amended), Republic of Slovenia Constitutional Court website.) Changes to the Aliens Act Under the amendments to the Aliens Act, the government would have the authority to refuse foreigners who do not meet requirements entry into Slovenia and to expel those who have entered the country unlawfully through a simplified procedure. The Interior Ministry, the government agency in charge of the national police and border control, could recommend the application of both of these measures on refusal of entry and on expulsion if it could establish that the have become a threat to law and order or internal security of Slovenia." (Slovenia Passes Law Allowing Migrant Border Pushbacks, supra.) In such cases, the government would be required to seek parliamentary approval in order to carry out the measures. (Id.) Individual requests for asylum would be reviewed by the national police agency, and the Ministry of Interior will decide on appeals for …

Indonesia: New Task Force to Monitor Foreigners (Jan. 13, 2017) On January 6, 2017, Indonesia's government announced a plan to revise its current method of oversight of foreigners in the country. Due to concern that foreigners may enter Indonesia and pursue goals other than those for which they were granted entry, the administration will establish a task force that would track the movements of foreigners within the country. According to the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister, Wiranto, the monitoring ensure foreigners who enter and move across Indonesia do not have a hidden agenda, such as working illegally, or even committing terror acts and being involved in the illegal drug trade." (Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Indonesia to Set up a Task Force to Monitor the Movement of Foreigners, JAKARTA POST (Jan. 7, 2017).) Wiranto commented that the new task force will supplement oversight functions in the current system, which is designed to monitor foreigners when they first enter Indonesia but has less coverage of what they do once inside the country. Under the new arrangement, he said, local administrations will have augmented abilities to follow the actions of foreigners in their areas. (Id.) The new task force's responsibilities will be similar to those of the former foreigner oversight team, a unit under the National Police established under the Suharto regime (1965-1998) but abolished in 2011 by the adoption of a new Immigration Law. (Id.; Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 6 of 2011 Concerning Immigration (May 5, 2011), Directorate General of Immigration website; Undang-Undang Republik Indonesia Nomor 6 Tahun 2011 Tentang Keimigrasian (May 5, 2011), House of Representatives of Indonesia website; Alice Donald, Rise and Fall of Strongman Suharto, BBC NEWS (Sept. 28, 2000).) According to Commander General Syafruddin, the Deputy Chief of the National Police, the police will now have a role in monitoring the activities of foreigners, under the coordination of national security officials. …

Japan: Foreign Caregivers Will Soon Be Able to Work in Japan (Dec. 27, 2016) An amendment to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (Immigration Control Act) and a new law, the Act on Adjustment of Technical Training of Foreigners and Foreign Technical Trainees' Protection (Technical Training Act), were promulgated in Japan on November 28, 2016. (Acts No. 88 & 89 of 2016, KANPO, Extra Edition No. 261 (Nov. 28, 2016), at 22, KANPO website (in Japanese).) The amendment and the new Act will be effective within one year of the promulgation date. (Act No. 88 of 2016, Supp. Provisions, art. 1; Act No. 89 of 2016, Supp. Provisions, art. 1.) By 2025, all Japanese baby boomers (those born from 1947 through 1949) will be 75 years of age or older. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) estimates that by that year there will be 20 million people who are 75 years of age or older, and there will be a shortage of caregivers for them. (Welfare Service Workers Special Committee, Social Security Council, Securing Caregivers Toward 2025, at 1, MHLW website (Feb. 25, 2015) (in Japanese).) Therefore the Japanese government has looked to foreigners to fill the gap. Immigration Control Act Revisions The amended Immigration Control Act adds a new category of resident status for foreign nurses and caregivers. (Immigration Control Act, Order No. 319 of 1951, amended by Act No. 88 of 2016, Attached Table.) National licenses as nurses or caregivers will be required to obtain the status. (Id.) Currently, students who have studied nursing and have graduated from accredited schools can receive the license without taking a national exam. However, a national exam system will be established in 2022. (Rapid Increase of Number of Foreign Students, 10 Times, Skills" in Japan, MAINICHI NEWSPAPER (Oct. 29, 2016) (in Japanese).) Currently, it is hard for foreigners with nursing licenses to obtain resident status. However, after the amended Act becomes effective, it will be easier for them to obtain a job as well as the resident s …

Israel: Representation of Haredi and New Immigrants in Public Service and on Boards of Directors of Government Companies (Dec. 21, 2016) On December 12, 2016, the Knesset (Israel's parliament) passed the Law for Proper Representation of Members of the Haredi Population and of New Immigrants in Public Service (Amendments), 5777-2016. (Proper Representation Law, Knesset website (scroll down to issue no. 634) (in Hebrew).) The Proper Representation Law amends the State Service (Appointments) Law, 5719-1959 (SEFER HAHUKIM 5719 [Book of Laws, the official gazette, SH] No. 279 p. 86, as amended), and the Government Companies Law, 5735-1975 (SH 5735 No. 770 p. 132) by requiring the state to give representation" to Haredi and to new immigrants. The new Law defines Haredi as any persons who themselves or their spouse or child studies or has studied in Jewish ultra-orthodox educational institutions. New immigrants are those who immigrated to Israel as adults and are within 12 years of their arrival in the country. (Id. ¬ß 1, amending State Service (Appointments) Law, ¬ß 15A.) The status refers to persons who immigrated under the Law of Return, 5710-1950, which applies to Jews and members of their families. (Law of Return, 5710-1950, SH 5710 No. 51 p. 159.) The new Law thus adds Haredi and new immigrants to the categories of persons whose representation in the public sector is already encouraged, namely, persons with disabilities; members of the Arab community, including the Druze and Circassians; and persons born in or children of those born in Ethiopia. (State Service (Appointments) Law, ¬ß15A(a).) The Law applies similar requirements for representation of the two new categories of persons on boards of directors of government companies, introducing in the Government Companies Law the same criteria for fair representation of certain categories of persons required under the State Service (Appointments) Law. (Law ¬ß 2, adding ¬ß 18A2 to the Government Companies Law.) …

Israel: Naturalization Procedures for Gay and Non-Gay Partners to Be Harmonized (Dec. 9, 2016) On December 8, 2016, Israel's Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, announced that the government would make the procedures for naturalization of gay partners of Israeli nationals the same as those for non-gay partners. Mandelblit's announcement was made in response to a petition filed with the High Court of Justice by the Israeli Gay Fathers Association (GFA). (Telem Yahav, Attorney General Approved an Historic Change: Equality for Gay Couples in Acquiring Citizenship, YNET (Dec. 8, 2016) (in Hebrew); Mor Shimoni, Israel to Ease Citizenship Process for Same-Sex Couples, JERUSALEM POST (Dec. 8, 2016.) According to the petition, the state has applied differential treatment with regard to naturalization of gay Israelis who marry foreign nationals abroad. Specifically, the GFA argued that the state implements faster procedures for heterosexual couples, usually requiring the foreign spouse to spend a four-year waiting period in Israel for naturalization, instead of the seven-year period required for gay partners who marry Israeli nationals abroad. In addition, at the end of the process, gay spouses must give up their foreign nationality, while heterosexual spouses are permitted to retain it. (Yahav, supra; Shimoni, supra; Handling the Status of Partners of Israeli Citizens, Including Same-Sex Partners, Guideline No. 5.2.0009 (Oct. 7, 2013), Israel Government Portal (in Hebrew).) Having decided that it would harmonize the naturalization procedures applicable to gay couples and heterosexual ones, the state specified that the new procedure would only affect the process of naturalization of gay partners and would not affect the non- recognition of same-sex marriages conducted in Israel. (Yahav, supra.) …

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