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  • Qatar: Amir Ratifies Country’s First Asylum Law
    (Nov. 8, 2018) On September 4, 2018, the amir of Qatar ratified Law No. 11 of 2018 Regulating Political Asylum. (His Highness Issues Law Regulating Political Asylum, AL-SHARQ (Sept. 4, 2018); Law No. 11 of 2018 Regulating Political Asylum, AL-JARIDAH AL-RASMIYAH [OFFICIAL GAZETTE], vol. 15, 12 Oct. 2018, pp. 9–16, Ministry of Justice’s Al-Meezan legal portal.) This Law is the first in the nation’s history governing political asylum (despite the fact that Qatar is not a state party to the UN’s 1951 refugee convention and its 1967 protocol.) (Status As At: 07-11-2018,Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, UN Treaty Collection (UNTC); Status as at 07-11-2018, Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, UNTC.) Law No. 11 of 2018 consists of 18 articles, most of which are described below. Article 1 defines “political asylees” as any persons outside their country of nationality or habitual residency if they not citizens who are unable or unwilling to return to that country due to a justified fear of execution or bodily punishment, torture, inhumane or degrading treatment, or persecution on account of their ethnicity, religion, or affiliation with a specific social group, or due to their political beliefs. (Law No. 11 of 2018, art. 1.) Article 3 of the Law prohibits the government of Qatar from providing the following types of individuals with an asylum status: (1)  Individuals who commit serious nonpolitical crimes outside the state of Qatar (2)  Individuals who commit war crimes or crimes against humanity (3)  Individuals who commit crimes or acts against the objectives of the United Nations (4)  Individuals who are dual citizens (Id. art. 3.) Article 4 establishes a Committee for Political Asylees affiliated with the Ministry of Interior (homeland security). (Id. art. 4.) Article 6 provides that the minister of interior has the legal right to grant a person applying for asylum three months of temporary residency, subject to renewal, until a final decision is ma …
  • India: Tripura State Hopes to Follow Assam in Establishing National Register of Citizens
    (Nov. 5, 2018) The working president of the Congress Party in the Indian state of Tripura, Pradyot Debbarman, filed a petition before India’s Supreme Court on October 24, 2018, requesting that a National Register of Citizens be compiled for his state. Debbarman’s petition is the second one filed on this issue with the Supreme Court, the first being a petition by the regional Tripura People’s Front political party heard by the Court on October 8. (Seema Guha, National Register of Citizens: Foreign Hand, INDIA LEGAL (Oct. 28, 2018).) Background Tripura is an impoverished former princely state in Northeast India that, until it joined India in October 1949, was dominated by 19 major, culturally similar tribal groups. (Biswajit Ghosh, Ethnicity and Insurgency in Tripura, 52(2) SOC. BULL. 221, 226 (Sept. 2003), JSTOR website (by subscription).) Even before it joined India, the state received many migrants from Bengal, but relative unity between the tribal and nontribal peoples was maintained. However, since the mid-1960s an anti-Bengali tribal insurgency has evolved aimed at the retribalization of Tripura through, among other things, stemming the influx of migrants and the influence of their Bengali language and culture, and restoring tribal lands that had been illegally transferred to or settled by Bengali refugees. (Id. at 229.) This insurgency has undergone various phases, from tribalism and cultural protest to ethnic violence and terrorism to attempts to unite the tribals as a political force. (Id. at 230, 233, 239–40.)  Ultimately, however, “the unchecked influx of migrants has completely changed the demographic pattern. The original inhabitants of Tripura have long been reduced to a minority by Bengali Hindus from both West Bengal and Bangladesh.” (Guha, supra.) According to scholar Biswajit Ghosh, [a]lthough these refugees have contributed to the economic development of Tripura in many ways, the marginalization of the tribal peasants and elite has created a psychol …
  • Egypt: President Ratifies Law Amending Residency and Citizenship Laws
    (Aug. 27, 2018) On August 14, 2018, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified Law No. 173 of 2018, which allows foreign nationals who deposit at least 7 million Egyptian pounds (EGP) (about US$391,000) in local Egyptian banks to be granted a five-year residency and the opportunity to apply for Egyptian citizenship. (Law No. 173 Amending Law No. 26 of 1975 and Law No. 89 of 1960, AL-JARIDAH AL-RASMIYYAH [OFFICIAL GAZETTE], vol. 32 (Duplicate (b)), 14 Aug. 2018 (in Arabic).) Law No. 173 amends Law No. 26 of 1975 on Citizenship and Law No. 89 of 1960 on the Entry and Exit of Foreigners. Article 1 of the new Law amends article 17 of Law No. 89, which regulates the residency of foreigners. (Id. art. 1.) The new law also adds a new category of residency for foreigners, called “deposit residency.” In addition, article 2 of Law No. 173 adds a new article (article 20 duplicate) to Law No. 89, which stipulates that foreigners who deposit at least EGP7 million or the equivalent in foreign currency at a state-run Egyptian bank are eligible to apply for a new type of residency permit. (Id. art. 2.) Article 3 of Law No. 173 adds article 4 duplicate to Law No. 26 of 1975. Article 4 duplicate provides that Egyptian citizenship may be granted to all foreigners who have lived in Egypt under a “deposit residency” for at least five consecutive years prior to applying for Egyptian citizenship. Those foreigners must also meet all other requirements of citizenship under Law No. 26. (Id. art. 3.) According to a report issued by Parliament’s Defence and National Security Committee, the new amendments target foreign investors as part of Egypt’s efforts to boost foreign direct investment in the country. They are also aimed at strengthening investors’ confidence that they would be investing their money in a stable environment. The Committee’s head, General Kamal Amer, said foreigners’ spouses and children would not be eligible for citizenship unless they resided in the country. (Ayat al …
  • Hong Kong: Court of Final Appeal Grants Same-Sex Partner Right to Dependent Visa
    (July 30, 2018) On July 4, 2018, Hong Kong’s highest court, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal, issued a judgment that paves the way for the granting of dependent visas to same-sex partners. (Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal, Press Summary: QT v. Director of Immigration, Hong Kong Judiciary Legal Reference website (last visited July 25, 2018).) The plaintiff, QT, is a British national, who entered into a same-sex civil partnership with her partner in England under the UK’s Civil Partnership Act 2004. Her partner was offered employment in Hong Kong and granted an employment visa. QT’s application for a dependent visa, however, was refused by the Director of Immigration on the ground that the existing policy was to admit a spouse as a dependent only if he or she was party to a monogamous marriage consisting of one male and one female. (Id.) QT challenged the decision and her application for judicial review was dismissed in the Court of First Instance. The Court of Appeal, however, unanimously allowed QT’s appeal, and gave permission for the Director of Immigration to appeal to the high court. (Id.) The Court of Final Appeal rejected the Director’s assertion that an obvious difference exists between marriage and a civil partnership for the purpose of dependent visa policy. According to the Court, marriage and civil partnership are each a status recognized under UK law. The Court stated, “Civil partnership is not called marriage but in almost every other respect it is indistinguishable from the status of marriage.” It also noted that same-sex marriage is not recognized under the Hong Kong law, and the appeal does not involve any claim that same-sex couples have a right to marry under Hong Kong law. (Id.) The Court concluded there was no rational connection between the existing policy and the stated twin aims of attracting foreign talent and maintaining strict immigration control. According to the Court, the existing policy ran counter to the aim of encouraging talent to …
  • Afghanistan: Distribution of Controversial Electronic Identity Cards Launched
    (July 19, 2018) The distribution of controversial Electronic National Identity Cards (known as the e-Tazkira) throughout Afghanistan was launched on May 3, 2018, by Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, with Ghani becoming the first person in the country to receive the card. The president cited security concerns as the factor that made him start the process, noting that the attackers in a recent suicide attack in Kabul may have used fake IDs. (MPs Slam Government’s Decision to Distribute Electronic ID Cards, ARIANA NEWS (May 5, 2018); Ghani Launches Distribution of Long-Disputed e-ID Cards, ARIANA NEWS (May 3, 2018).) The move was met with strong opposition from the Chief Executive (CE) of Afghanistan and members of Parliament, who expressed concern that it would provoke division in the country. (Id) Background Parliament passed the Population Registration Act (PRA) in 2013, with the law entering into force in 2014. The main objectives of the Act include verifying the citizenship of citizens by e-Tazkira; regulating the affairs related to registering the population of the country; collecting information about the population of the country; and accurately determining the number of births, deaths, marriages, and divorces. (Qaanoon-e Sabt-e Ahwaal-e Nofoos [Population Registration Act] 1393 [2014], arts. 2 & 4, Ministry of Justice website (in Dari).) The PRA specifies the contents of the identification cards in article 6. After the Act came into force, President Ghani issued a presidential decree endorsing the inclusion of nationality and ethnicity in the e-Tazkiras. The nationality of a citizen would be “Afghan,” while the ethnicity listed on the card would refer to one of the ethnic groups residing in the country. (Mohammad Hassan Khitab, Ghani Endorses Changes to Population Registration Act, PAJHWOK AFGHAN NEWS (Mar. 2, 2017).) Ghani’s inclusion of the term “Afghan” as the common nationality for all the ethnic groups in the country proved controversial, however, and sparke …
  • China: New Visa-Free Policy for Hainan Island
    (Apr. 30, 2018) On April 18, 2018, China’s newly created State Immigration Administration (SIA) issued a circular announcing a new visa-free policy that will allow visitors from 59 countries, including the United States, to enter Hainan Province and stay for 30 days without obtaining a visa. (Guojia Yimin Guanli Ju Gonggao [State Immigration Administration Circular] (Apr. 18, 2018), SIA website (in Chinese).) The new policy will take effect on May 1, 2018. According to the SIA circular, these visitors must be traveling to Hainan for sightseeing on an ordinary passport and be received by a travel agency incorporated in Hainan. After entering Hainan, they are permitted to stay only within the jurisdiction of the province without going to other areas of China. (Id.) The new visa-free policy aims to nurture the tourism industry of the island province, which is also China’s southernmost province. Hainan currently has a visa-free policy in place that allows group visitors from 26 countries to enter Hainan and stay for 15 or 21 days, depending on the country of origin. (Cui Jia, Hainan to Offer 30-day Visa-Free Period for Visitors from 59 Countries, CHINA DAILY (Apr. 18, 2018).) The SIA was officially established on April 2, 2018, as part of the major plan to restructure China’s central government that was announced in the March 2018 National People’s Congress session. Under the management of the Ministry of Public Security, the SIA is assigned the functions of immigration and border control, including making and implementing immigration policies; exit and entry control; and foreigners’ stays. (Zhang Yan, New Immigration Department Set Up, CHINA DAILY (Apr. 3, 2018).) …
  • Mexico: Bilateral Accords Signed with the United States
    (Mar. 29, 2018) Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Luís Videgaray, and US Secretary of Homeland Security, Kerstjen Nielsen, witnessed the signing of three instruments of bilateral cooperation on March 26, 2018. The agreements aim to improve the economy on both sides of the border, especially benefiting workers and companies. (Firman México y EUA Instrumentos de Cooperación en Beneficio de la Economía en Ambos Lados de la Frontera, SECRETARÍA DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES (Mar. 26, 2018).) First, the Mexican Secretariat of Finance, through its Tax Administration Service (Servicio de Administración Tributaria, SAT), and the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to combat commercial and customs fraud, as well as smuggling and other illicit activities in foreign trade operations. The MOU was signed after months of negotiation. (Id.) Secondly, the Mexican SAT and US CBP signed an MOU in order to integrate the current Cargo Pre-Inspection Program with the Unified Cargo Processing Program into a single program called the Joint Cargo Inspection Program. This will facilitate the process of importing and exporting merchandise, as well as the inspection of shipments and means of transport on both sides of the border. The Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Relations explained that this instrument will increase efficiency by avoiding duplication of processes, specifically by allowing cargo to enter the United States from Mexico and vice versa with a single review. (Id.) Lastly, the National Service of Health, Safety and Agricultural Quality (an agency under the Mexican Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food) and the US CBP signed a letter of intent that establishes areas of collaboration on issues of interest related to cross-border trade in agricultural products. (Id.) …
  • Saudi Arabia: Authorities Launch New “Nation Without Violators” Campaign Targeting Illegal Foreign Workers
    (Feb. 23, 2018) On February 12, 2018, the Public Security Division of the Ministry of Interior announced that it had launched a number of raids against illegal foreign workers violating the Saudi Residency Law of 1952. (Mohammed Rasooldeen, Expats Arrested for Violating Saudi Labor, Residency and Border Security Laws, ARAB NEWS (Feb. 12, 2018); Law No. 17-225-1337, as amended, art. 2, issued 4 May 1952, Ministry of Interior website.) The raids came after the launch of a campaign called “A Nation Without Violators,” which targets foreign nationals who do not have valid residency permits for work in the kingdom or who came to the kingdom for purposes other than work and overstayed their visas. During these raids law enforcement officials arrested and detained not only foreign-national visa violators but also individuals who harbored those foreign nationals and facilitated the foreign nationals’ illegal residency. (Id.) The number of foreign nationals who were arrested and detained for violating the Residency Law reached 562,961. (Id.) Moreover, as of January 23, 2018, 144 Saudi citizens had been arrested and charged with facilitating the violation of the Residency Law by foreign nationals. The Ministry of Interior has reportedly released 131 of them, with 13 still being detained. (The Number of Those Arrested Under “Nation Without Violators” Rose to 455,963, OKAZ (Jan. 23, 2018).) In addition to the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Labor has joined the campaign against illegal foreign workers, declaring that it has assigned 800 labor inspectors to conduct visits to work sites across the kingdom. The inspectors have reportedly conducted 70,250 visits so far. The goal of those visits is to check the validity of foreign workers’ work permits and ascertain whether any employer has violated the Residency Law by employing illegal residents. (Nawal Al-Jabr, “A Nation Without Violators.” Order Is Above All, AL-RIYADH (Feb. 14, 2018).) The Saudi Residency Law of 1952 impo …
  • China: New Talent Visa Rules Published
    (Feb. 9, 2018) On January 9, 2018, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China) published the rules on the issuance of the talent visa, a new type of visa designed to attract more foreign talent to the country. The Implementation Measures Regarding the Foreign Talent Visa System (Talent Visa Measures) provide that, effective November 28, 2017, qualified foreign talents may obtain the talent visa (R visa), which is valid for five to ten years with multiple entries. The Measures were jointly issued by the SAFEA, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), and the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) on the date the Measures went into effect. (Waiguo Rencai Qianzheng Zhidu Shishi Banfa [Implementation Measures Regarding the Foreign Talent Visa System] (Nov. 28, 2017), SAFEA website.) Legal Provisions The issuance of the talent visa was addressed by Chinese law as early as 2012 when the PRC Exit and Entry Law was adopted. The Law provides that, effective July 1, 2013, “talent introduction” would be considered one of the reasons for the issuance of an ordinary visa. (Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Chujing Rujing Guanli Fa [PRC Law on the Administration of Exit and Entry] (adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on June 30, 2012, effective July 1, 2013) (Exit and Entry Law) art. 16, The Central People’s Government website.) Authorized by the Exit and Entry Law, the State Council promulgated a regulation governing visa issuance and foreigners’ stays in China—the Regulation on the Administration of the Entry and Exit of Aliens—which went into effect on September 1, 2013. The Regulation specifies that an R visa will be issued to top foreign talents and specialized talents urgently needed by China. (Laney Zhang, China: New Visa Rules Passed, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Aug. 26, 2013).) Detailed rules concerning the issuance of this new type of visa, however, were not published until now, with the Talent …
  • Italy: Constitutional Court Issues Decision on Citizenship Oath
    (Jan. 18, 2018) On November 8, 2017, the Italian Constitutional Court issued a decision on requiring an oath of citizenship from an immigrant whose disabilities prevented her from taking it. (Decision No. 258 of November 8, Issued in a Constitutional Legitimacy Case by Incidental Procedure (the Decision), GAZZETTA UFFICIALE [OFFICIAL GAZETTE, G.U.] (Dec. 13, 2017) (in Italian), G.U. website.) The Decision declared article 10 of Law No. 91 of February 5, 1992, unconstitutional because the article does not exempt from the citizenship-oath requirement a person who is incapable of taking the oath due to serious and proven conditions of disability.  (Id., holding 1; Law No. 91 of February 5, 1992, New Rules Governing Citizenship (G.U. Feb. 15, 1992) (in Italian), Normattiva website.) The Decision also denied the Ordinary Tribunal of Modena’s request that the Court declare unconstitutional article 7, paragraph 2 of Presidential Decree No. 572 of October 12, 1993, and article 25, paragraph 1 of Presidential Decree No. 396 of November 3, 2000. (Id., holding 2; Presidential Decree No. 572 of October 12, 1993, on the New Rules Governing Citizenship (G.U. Jan. 4, 1994), (in Italian), G.U. website; Presidential Decree No. 396 of November 3, 2000, Regulations for the Revision and Simplification of the Civil Status Resolution (G.U. Dec. 30, 2000) (in Italian), G.U. website.) Background of the Case The case under consideration involved a minor female petitioner affected by partial epilepsy and severe mental retardation. The Court noted that during the hearing to test her competence to provide the required oath, the minor appeared “disoriented in time and space.” (Decision, holding 2 (all translations by author).) The Ordinary Tribunal of Modena then raised the issue of the constitutionality of several Italian legal provisions because the provisions, which required immigrants to provide an oath in order to obtain Italian citizenship, did not exempt persons with disabilities that pr …


Archived Snapshot: 2017-03-30

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.) …