Immigration Updates – 27th of January

Contributor(s): Daniel King
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    General Updates

    Canada

    The government has announced that the previously-announced expansion of eligibility to work in Canada to spouses and working-age children for workers at all skill levels will start on 30 January 2023.

    From that date, the following may be eligible for an open work permit:

    • The spouse, common-law partner or dependent child of
      • a work permit holder who
        • works in a job of any Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) category (0 to 5), OR 
        • is the principal applicant and has an open work permit (example: post-graduation work permit holders at all skill levels); OR
      • the spouse, common-law partner or dependent child of an economic classes permanent resident applicant who holds a work permit.

    Spouses and dependents of workers in a TEER 4 or 5 job under the low-wage stream of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Agricultural Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are not yet eligible.

    Hungary

    Hungary has launched EnterHungary for applications for registration certificates, residence cards and permanent residence cards for European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and non-EEA family members. Previously, registration was completed in person.

    Kazakhstan

    Effective 27 January 2023, visa-exempt nationals of the Eurasian Economic Union member states (Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Russia) are only permitted to stay in Kazakhstan for 90 days in any 180-day period.

    Previously, these visa-free nationals could perform a “visa run” – briefly exit Kazakhstan after 90 days and then re-enter Kazakhstan for another 90 days. This could be repeated indefinitely. This strategy has been used regularly in the past year by many of the 400,000+ Russian nationals fleeing Russia’s troop mobilisations.

    With the change, any EEU national wishing to remain longer than 90 days in Kazakhstan must obtain a temporary residence permit for employment, study, medical treatment or family reunion.

    Citizens of 54 countries who can stay in Kazakhstan for up to 30 calendar days at a time are also now limited to 90 days in any 180-day period.

    The Philippines

    Foreign nationals registered in the Philippines must report in person to a participating office of the Bureau of Immigration on or before 1 March 2023 (the end of the annual reporting period).

    Those reporting must take with them their original identity card (ACR I-Card) and a valid passport (unless refugees or stateless).

    All foreign nationals must report in person and cannot send a representative in their place (with few exceptions).

    Foreign nationals who do not report by the end of the reporting period may be subject to penalties.

    United States

    US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is extending the validity of Permanent Resident Cards (also known as Green Cards) for petitioners who properly file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, or Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status for 48 months beyond the card’s expiration date. This change started on 11 January 2023, for Form I-829 and will start on 25 January 2023, for Form I-751.

    USCIS is making this change to accommodate current processing times for Form I-751 and Form I-829, which have increased over the past year.

    USCIS has updated the language on Form I-751 and Form I-829 receipt notices to extend the validity of a Green Card for 48 months for individuals with a newly filed Form I-751 or Form I-829.

    USCIS will issue new receipt notices to eligible conditional permanent residents who previously received notices with an extension shorter than 48 months and whose cases are still pending. These receipt notices can be presented with an expired Green Card as evidence of continued status, while the case remains pending with USCIS. By presenting an updated receipt notice with your expired Green Card, individuals remain authorized to work and travel for 48 months from the expiration date on the front of their expired Green Card.

    As a reminder, conditional permanent residents who plan to be outside of the United States for a year or more should apply for a re-entry permit by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, before leaving the United States.

    COVID-19 Updates

    China

    Effective 6 February 2023, Chinese travel agencies are permitted to arrange outbound group travel for Chinese nationals to twenty countries.

    The permitted countries are Argentina, Cambodia, Cuba, Egypt, Fiji, Hungary, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, the Maldives, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand.

    Nigeria

    On 23 January 2023, the federal government announced that all travellers arriving in Nigeria must provide evidence of COVID vaccination at the port of entry.

    Travellers are not, however, required to upload vaccination proof to the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP).

    Unvaccinated foreign nationals may have to be vaccinated at the airport.

    United States

    US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is extending certain COVID-19-related flexibilities until 23 March 2023. Under these flexibilities, USCIS considers a response received within 60 calendar days after the due date set forth in the following requests or notices before taking any action, if the request or notice was issued between 1 March 2020, and 23 March 2023, inclusive:

    • Requests for Evidence;
    • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
    • Notices of Intent to Deny;
    • Notices of Intent to Revoke;
    • Notices of Intent to Rescind;
    • Notices of Intent to Terminate regional centers;
    • Notices of Intent to Withdraw Temporary Protected Status; and
    • Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant.

    In addition, USCIS will consider a Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, or a Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA), if:

    The form was filed up to 90 calendar days from the issuance of a decision we made; and

    We made that decision between 1 November 2021, and 23 March 2023, inclusive.

    USCIS anticipates that, barring changes presented by the pandemic, this will be the final extension of these accommodations, and requesters must comply with the response requirements set forth in any request or notice dated after 23 March 2023.

    As a reminder, the reproduced signature flexibility announced in March 2020 became a permanent policy on 25 July 2022.

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