Archive - January 2021

Countries that made it to the US list of H-2A, H-2B eligibles

List of eligible countries for H-2A, H-2B visas

DHS has announced the list of nations the nationals of which can take part in the visa programs of H-2A and H-2Bunder US immigration this year. The list has been made in consultation with the DOS. The notice with the names of the eligible countries will be available from January 13, 2021.

From January 19, 2021, the nationals of the following countries will be eligible to receive H-2A and H-2B visas:

  • Philippines
  • Moldova
  • Greece
  • Slovakia
  • Kiribati
  • Montenegro
  • Germany
  • Singapore
  • Belgium
  • Andorra
  • Grenada
  • Chile
  • Austria
  • Mexico
  • Colombia
  • South Korea
  • South Africa
  • San Marino
  • Solomon Islands
  • Slovenia
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Brazil
  • Portugal
  • Serbia
  • Norway
  • France
  • Honduras
  • Vincent & the Grenadines
  • Mongolia
  • Jamaica
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • Czech Republic
  • Panama
  • Brunei
  • Monaco
  • Sweden
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Peru
  • Australia
  • Spain
  • Argentina
  • New Zealand
  • Barbados
  • Bulgaria
  • Guatemala
  • Malta
  • The UK
  • Ireland
  • Iceland
  • Estonia
  • Mozambique
  • Ukraine
  • Nicaragua
  • Taiwan
  • Ecuador
  • Latvia
  • Romania
  • The Netherlands
  • Madagascar
  • Nauru
  • Timor-Leste
  • Canada
  • Poland
  • El Salvador
  • Israel
  • Lithuania
  • Turkey
  • Luxembourg
  • Vanuatu
  • Croatia
  • Paraguay
  • Thailand
  • Liechtenstein
  • Hungary
  • North Macedonia
  • Uruguay
  • Denmark
  • Japan
  • Italy
  • Tuvalu
  • Switzerland

Moldova, the Dominican Republic, and Paraguay can participate only in the H-2A program.

Philippines and Mongolia can participate only in the H-2B program.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to the USA, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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The most powerful passports for 2021 revealed now!

Note:

DHS – Department of Homeland Security

DOS – Department of State

Germany’s pressing needs challenged by low skilled-migration

Germany has low skilled immigration

The German government, like many other EU countries, is finding it hard to attract skilled workers to the country as immigration has been largely blocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Germany’s BAMF has brought out the facts behind the significant slowdown in the essential immigration of skilled foreign workers including nurses and other healthcare professionals. They have mostly attributed the situation to COVID-19.

The influx of skilled people arriving on Germany work visa has slumped and picked up at a rate much lesser than what was expected. However, efforts are on and the immigration processes are carried on effectively to overcome the situation.

The major reasons BAMF cited are:

  • Travel bans imposed by many countries
  • Embassies not working to full capacity
  • Retention of skilled labor by countries, especially those in the health sector

4,500 visas were issued in Germany for nurses and other health workers between January 2020 and September 2020. But this number counts too less compared to the results of the skilled worker program running at full capacity.

The demand for these healthcare workers is increasing in Germany. Addressing this challenge is presently the task that Germany is tackling. Skilled foreign nationals, especially in the healthcare sector, who are willing to work abroad and are able to migrate could take this as an opportunity and move to Germany to mutually benefit from this situation.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Germany, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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New Blue Card rule – More min. salary for foreigners in the EU

H-1B selection going to be based on wage levels in the US

New wage level based system replace H-2B lottery

The annual H-1B cap lottery in the US has been replaced with a selection process based on salary levels. This new system will come into effect in 60 days.

This system of the lottery was proposed by the Trump administration before the US elections. But now that January 20, 2020, will see Joe Biden take over as America’s new President, there’s a possibility that this could be rescinded.

Under this new system, those who earn the highest salaries in their respective jobs and job locations will get the greatest priority. The H-1B cap visas under this system would first be awarded to those sponsored by US companies in Level 4 wage level. This will be followed by Level 3 wage candidates. This will continue until the annual quota of 85,000 will have been met.

The DHS has stated that the new system related to US immigration will reduce abuse and incentivize employers who can now use the H-1B visa program to fill relatively low-skilled, low-paid positions first.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to USA, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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New filing location for investor applications in the US from Jan 5

Note:

DHS – Department of Homeland Security

Denmark stops the world at its gates till Jan 18, 2021

Denmark bans arrivals till Jan 18, 2021

Denmark has banned travelers of any country from entering its territories from Jan 9, 2021, to January 18, 2021. The presence and spread of a new mutated COVID-19 virus in the EU and the UK have put the country on alert. So, this measure was taken to safeguard its people from another wave of infections. This temporary suspension of arrivals to Denmark on a travel visa is a precautionary measure much needed in this crucial time of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also urged the citizens of Denmark not to travel to other countries as this new strain of the virus is said to be capable of spreading much faster.

This new decision would mean no entry into Denmark on a visitor visa or any other type of visa. At this time, when there’s a lot of hope to overcome the pandemic crisis as the COVID-19 vaccine has started to roll out, Denmark doesn’t want to upset the situation by allowing another surge in infections.

Denmark has however planned to introduce an encouraging step to allow travel. It’s using a digital “vaccine passport” for travel to world destinations. It will let all citizens who got the COVID-19 vaccine to travel to countries that have a norm for them to hold such a document certifying vaccination to be allowed entry.

The vaccine passport will be implemented in early 2021. Those who get vaccinated passport will get the passport via the public health website of Denmark.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Europe, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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Portugal’s Golden Visa is a new opportunity for foreign investors

The most powerful passports for 2021 revealed now!

The most powerful passports for 2021 revealed now

For those who are interested in the most powerful passports in the world, the Henley Passport Index will be of good help. It’s the most sophisticated and rigorous measure of global access, ranking passports on the basis of factors like:

  • Freedom to travel
  • Which type of visa allows you to visit which countries
  • The history of changes in your passport
  • The comparative status and ranking of your passport with others
  • The reasons for the scope of access your passport gives
  • The passports that can be added to your current passport to provide greater mobility

The Henley passport index bases its rankings on data from IATA. It’s improved upon by extensive research conducted in-house, support from the commentary of experts, and regular updates.
There are many passports that help travelers to not need a travel visa to enter another country. It will also be interesting to know which passport will allow another passport to be added to it that gives you added power to access different countries.
The Henley Passport Index has revealed the most powerful passports for 2021. The top 10 powerful passports of the world belong to the following countries:

Powerful passports give you more power to work abroad without having to apply for visa. This means those who hold such passports have a privilege in many instances of accessing opportunities in desirable destinations for which others have to struggle more.
If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Europe, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.
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US immigration to get back on track under Biden administration

New filing location for investor applications in the US from Jan 5

USA changes filing location for I-924

The filing location for Form I-924 has changed from January 5, 2021. The location has also changed for Form I-924A. Earlier, applicants used to file these forms at the California Service Center. From January 5, applicants must send their applications to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox.

The fee for filing the application must be paid via a personal check, money order, credit card, or cashier’s check.

Form I-924 must be filed by a business that wants to get the EB-5 regional center status. The EB-5 visa is an investor visa that’s meant for those coming to the USA to invest through a USA Regional Center Project or directly in a new business. The business must create and maintain at least 10 full-time jobs for at least 2 years.

Form I-194A is used to show that a regional center is eligible for that designation. The form must be filed annually with USCIS within 90 days after the fiscal year has expired (I.e., on or before 29 December).

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to USA, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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Trump extends the period of restrictions on US work visas

Note:

USCIS – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

DACA shows signs of comeback in the USA

DACA applications approved in 2020

Hope returns for DACA, as a DHS report revealed that 171 new applications for DACA US immigration were approved between November 14, 2020, and the end of 2020. There were 2,713 applications made in total out of which at least 500 were rejected or denied.

Nicholas Garaufis, a US District Judge, recently gave an order to the federal government to issue a public notice that states that new applications for DACA immigration will be accepted. They will be accepted on the terms existing before Donald Trump suspended the program in 2017.

As of now, the DACA immigration program protects about 650,000 people from getting deported from the US. These people are also deemed eligible for work permit to work in USA.

Besides processing new applications, USCIS has claimed that approved 61,844 DACA renewals, rejected 2,842 applications, and denied 326 applications towards the end of 2020.

The President-elect Joe Biden has expressed his resolve to reinstate DACA fully and provide a route to US citizenship through this immigration program. The latter is however subject to congressional approval.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to USA, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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Trump extends the period of restrictions on US work visas

Note:

DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

DHS – Department of Homeland Security

USCIS – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

New Blue Card rule – More min. salary for foreigners in the EU

Higher minimum salaries for new Blue Card applicants

The EU Member States that have implemented the Blue Card directive have revised and published the new minimum salaries EU employers have to pay third-country citizens they hire. The minimum salaries have been increased yet again. The new minimum salaries were made applicable from January 1, 2021.

The rule applied to new Blue Card applicants

The minimum salary requirements for first-time applications and renewals are as follows:

  • Occupations with shortage: minimum annual salary raised from €43,056 to €44,304
  • Occupations without shortage: minimum annual salary raised from €55,200 to €56,800

The new minimum salary isn’t applicable to those who got their EU Blue Card or renewed it before January 1, 2021. This means that the applications for Blue Card or its renewal must have been filed after January 1, 2021 to have the new salary applied. It’s also applicable to those applications filed before the end of 2020 but is still pending with a contract that begins tenure on or after January 1, 2021.

The increase in minimum monthly salary in the Netherlands is from €5,403 to €5,567.

Anyone from a third country wishing to obtain the Blue Card must first prove that they possess higher professional qualifications. This will include a recognized university degree and a contract for employment or a job offer with a salary that stands above the average salary in the EU Member State he/she is submitting the application in.

For highly-skilled third-country nationals willing to work overseas, this will be a step that will attract them to EU.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Europe, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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Australia’s new move, intl. students get more work-time in HYPERLINK “https://www.y-axis.com.au/blog/australias-new-move-intl-students-get-work-time-agri/”agri

Portugal’s Golden Visa is a new opportunity for foreign investors

Portugal's Golden Visa update

What could be better about Portugal’s residency-by-investment program? Well, the Portuguese authorities have made some updates in the program to help invite foreign investors in low-residency regions of the country. This investor visa program is widely known as the Golden Visa program.

Portugal’s Council of Ministers have decided to modify the program under the legislative authorization given by the State Budget Law of 2020. The aim of the Golden Visa program will be achieved through:

  • Activities that have high social and environmental value
  • Activities with significance to cultural heritage
  • Productive investment
  • Urban rehabilitation
  • Job creation

The new program will come into effect in July 2021. There will be a transitional period imposed from then on that will extend to the year end.

Under the program, investors will get Portugal residency and will be free to move throughout EU countries. But they won’t be able to invest in big cities like Porto and Lisbon.

As of now, there are 8 types of investments deemed eligible under the Golden Visa program. The investors can obtain residency in Portugal if they invest €500,000 in ecotourism, renewable energy, organic agriculture, and similar environmental projects.

Though the move is aimed at attracting more foreigners and foreign investments, there are voices in Portugal that differ with the efficacy of this program. In fact, these people suggest that another scale of investment could have been decided for this program. They also warned against is the risk of corrupt people with doubtable integrity to enter the country, using the scheme to launder their money.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to Europe, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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Trump extends the period of restrictions on US work visas

US immigration to get back on track under Biden administration

US immigration under Joe Biden

One of the greatest changes expected from Joe Biden, the new President-elect, is the way the US handles US immigration and looks at immigrants. There are many positive decisions expected from the new government taking charge in the US in a few days.

The Trump administration has been issuing executive orders, memos, and passing regulations that have shrunk the opportunities for non-immigrants to work in the US. The new government may not be quick to undo all that in one shot but will have to be prudent and careful in untying the issues created by those decrees.

The usual procedure for any “finalized” regulation that has been put into effect is to undo them by issuing a round of notice and comment. Such notice/comment can be used to withdraw the rule or make a settlement in litigation.

For those regulations due to be finalized after January 20, 2020, the swear-in day of Joe Biden, an executive order will be issued to postpone the date of finalization by 60 days. This will give time to the new government to make a well-thought-of decision regarding the regulation. What could be best kept will be maintained and what should be avoided will be withdrawn.

The April 20, 2020 proclamation

The Trump administration had made the proclamation in April 2020, citing the threat of COVID-19 that all aliens as immigrants will be barred from entering the US for 60 days. This suspension barred the opportunity for immigrants to come to work in USA holding visas like H-1B and L-1. These visas are the only pathways that highly educated foreign nationals including international students have to become employment-based immigrants.

The scope of the suspension was increased to other visa categories too during the June 2020 proclamation. Again, on December 31, 2020, Trump extended the period of 2 earlier proclamations until March 31, 2021.

The Biden administration will have to find out and establish that the suspension of entry applied to specific categories of foreign nationals won’t go against the interests of the USA.

The Biden administration could rescind executive orders like that of the ban on entry of people from predominantly Muslim countries without notice or comment. The Biden administration will have many challenges to meet including restoring refugee and asylum programs, overcoming huge backlogs in visa application through the times, and solving the financial distress of USCIS.

Restoring the H-1B and L-1 visas will help educated candidates all over the world to come to the USA to work, settle, and eventually become citizens. The expectations from Joe Biden are high in this direction. After all, the odds are stacked against the USA too. Due to visa restrictions, companies are outsourcing their jobs to other countries. The shortage of talents coming from other countries will drain the opportunities like having a new start-up company that will in-turn employ more people including Americans.

Continuing Trump’s policies that resulted in ever-increasing H-1B visa denial will destroy the chances of US universities to regain international students. Such a mistake isn’t expected from the Biden administration. International students look forward to work in USA after their studies in US universities, for which an H-1B visa is essential.

Already there’s a 13% downfall in first-time Freshman enrolment that was registered in Fall 2020.It has a connection to Trump’s anti-immigration stance. New physical enrolments of students in the US have come down by 72%. The fall in foreign enrolment due to students starting online courses overseas is 43%. This creates a challenging task for the Biden administration to bring up policies that lure international students to join US institutes in Fall 2021.

Moreover, the Trump administration had implemented the decision to limit the period of stay of international students in the US and scrapped the H-1B lottery. This has created another crisis by keeping out international students from eventually entering the US labor market. But Biden is likely to strongly support the students. So, OPT that includes the STEM extension earlier introduced by Obama will be preserved under the Biden administration.

The restriction imposed on H-1B and L-1 visas is also challenging the capacity of the US to establish, acquire, or expand US businesses. The decline on this front has been at a rate of 37.7% between 2018 and 2019 as per the findings of the US Department of Commerce.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit, Invest or Migrate to the USA, talk to Y-Axis, the World’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company.

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France grants citizenship to honor foreign frontline workers

Note:

USCIS – United States Citizenship and immigration Services

OPT – Optional Practical Training

STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math