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Grace Shie is a partner in Mayer Brown’s Washington DC office and a member of the Employment & Benefits group focusing on global mobility and immigration. She advises multinational companies on employee mobility and management of the work corps across the globe, including in major financial centers and emerging markets. Grace’s background includes five years in Hong Kong where she managed a top-ranked immigration practice covering Greater China and coordinated matters for clients in the Asia-Pacific region. Grace, who is fluent in Mandarin, continues to maintain a practice focus on inbound expatriate movement into China and Hong Kong, as part of Mayer Brown’s new global worksite initiative. In addition, she has a longstanding command of US immigration and manages global immigration matters across all worldwide regions.

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In advance of hosting the FIFA World Cup in late 2022, Qatar has announced new restrictions on the entry of foreign nationals. Specifically, all foreign nationals seeking to enter Qatar as visitors will need to carry a “Hayya” Card as of November 1, 2022. Visitors must hold match tickets in order to qualify for the Hayya, which can be applied for online. Qatari citizens and foreign nationals holding a residence permit may continue to enter Qatar as usual. Qatar’s move to require foreign visitors to hold match tickets in order to enter the country has been anticipated since a draft decision of the Ministry of Interior earlier this year.

Continue Reading Qatar Restricts Visitor Entry During World Cup

As of July 2022, Costa Rica officially opened the application process for the country’s new remote worker visa under the immigration category “Stay (Estancia) for Remote Workers and Service Providers.” Like many countries, Costa Rica suffered a hit to its tourism sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. The country created the digital nomad visa in an effort to attract long-term visitors and stimulate the local economy. The law enabling the new visa category was signed in August 2021, but administrative and logistical requirements have delayed implementation until now.

Continue Reading Costa Rica Launches New “Digital Nomad” Visa

The European Commission has announced the creation of an automated electronic visa waiver program, the European Travel Information Authorization System (ETIAS), to be launched in May 2023. The new visa waiver program is intended to facilitate travel across borders while better identifying security risks for the bloc. ETIAS is one of several recent updates to the European Union’s migration scheme, including the digitalization of Schengen visas.

Continue Reading EU Announces Long-Awaited Electronic Visa Waiver Program

What’s the State of Play Today?

  • Low unemployment rates and a shortage of STEM talent continue to drive visa sponsorship of foreign workers by US employers.
  • H-1B visas have a ceiling of six years, unless workers are sponsored by their employers for “green cards” early in the process (typically by year four).
  • Many employers, particularly in the tech arena, are offering foreign workers “green card” sponsorship as of the start date with the company as a recruitment incentive.
  • Companies sponsoring workers for employment-based green cards are required to show as part of the application process that they couldn’t find any qualified American workers to fill the job, a job market testing program known as “PERM” sponsorship.
  • A major technology company agreed on October 19, 2021 to pay a financial penalty of up to $14.25 million, which includes $4.75 million to the US government and up to $9.5 million to eligible victims of alleged discrimination.
  • The government’s suit claimed that the company had illegally reserved jobs for foreign workers it was sponsoring for permanent residence instead of searching for and considering available US workers.
  • The Department of Justice complaint alleged that the company improperly deviated from normal recruiting standards by requiring applications for PERM-sponsored roles to be mailed to the company rather than, as was the standard practice for general recruiting, submitted online.
  • The complaint further alleged that the company did not post these positions on its careers website, as was its standard practice for general recruiting, which appeared to result in very low numbers of US worker applications for the PERM roles.
  • The Department of Labor (DOL) also executed a settlement with the company based on its audit of certain of the company’s pending PERM applications, in which the company agreed to engage in additional notice and recruitment for US workers and as a result of which the company will face ongoing audits by DOL.
  • As part of the settlements, the government will monitor the company’s PERM program for the next three years, and DOL will conduct additional audits of the company’s PERM filings.


Continue Reading Sponsoring Foreign Workers for Green Cards in 2021: Top 10 Issues for Employers to Validate in the Wake of a $14.25 Million Financial Settlement

Mayer Brown announced that Elizabeth (Liz) Espín Stern, managing partner of the firm’s Washington DC office, has been recognized in Corporate Counsel’s 2021 Women, Influence & Power in Law Awards in the “Innovative Leadership” category. The awards honor general counsel, in-house leaders and law firm partners who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the empowerment

Several news outlets, including Reuters, AP and NBC, are reporting that a condition of reopening travel to the United States may include vaccination against the SARS-COV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.  These reports come only ten days after the White House confirmed that the travel bans currently in place for travelers from 33 countries will remain

Starting May 3, South Korea implemented the Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) pilot program, an optional system for foreign nationals from 21 visa-exempt countries, including the United States. In April, the South Korean Ministry of Justice confirmed the pilot program would continue until August, after which the program would become mandatory for visa-exempt foreign nationals in September 2021.

Continue Reading South Korea Will Mandate Electronic Travel Authorizations for Foreign Travelers Beginning in September

In response to the rise of COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, the country’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced the implementation of new entry restrictions for foreign visitors.  Specifically, foreign nationals without a valid Alien Resident Certificate (ARC card) will be temporarily barred from entry to Taiwan.  This means holders of visitor or residence visas with COVID-19 special permits, as well as transit travelers, will be banned from entry, including those travelers who plan to apply for ARC cards following arrival in Taiwan.  Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis for emergencies and on humanitarian grounds.  This travel ban is in effect from May 19 to June 18, 2021. 
Continue Reading In Response to Rising COVID-19 Cases, Taiwan Further Bans Foreign Visitors

US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual instructing officers to give deference to prior determinations when adjudicating extension requests involving the same parties and facts unless there was a material error, material change, or new material facts.  With this update, USCIS is reverting in substance to prior