On November 1, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) found that labor shortages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic do not qualify as a “one-time occurrence” justifying the hiring of H-2B temporary workers. The H-2B program allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers to fill temporary non-agricultural positions in the United States. Before hiring an H-2B worker, the employer must file an application with DOL. In particular, the employer must demonstrate that a “temporary” need for foreign workers exists due to: (1) a one-time occurrence; (2) the seasonal nature of the business; (3) a short-term spike in demand (i.e., a peak load); or (4) the intermittent nature of the work. Continue Reading DOL Finds that Pandemic is not Sufficiently “Temporary” for H-2B Program
On November 1, 2021, Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that entry restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue through at least February 14, 2022. Under the CECC restrictions, arriving passengers are required to quarantine for 14 days following arrival, and to complete a 7-day self-health management period after the end of quarantine.
As previously reported, starting November 8 the Japanese government will begin permitting entry into the country for business purposes of fully vaccinated foreign travelers. Such foreign travelers and all Japanese nationals will only be subject to a three-day self-quarantine. The requirements for business travel have not yet been formally announced, but as per a recent Nikkei article some of the expected requirements include the host company of a foreign traveler being responsible for complying with protocols for infection prevention and submitting an implementation plan to relevant governmental authorities. More details are expected to be announced in the coming days. Continue reading at Mayer Brown’s COVID-19 blog.
On October 30, 2021, the Chilean government announced another extension of the country’s border closure due to COVID-19, effective through November 30, 2021. However, the extension comes with important modifications to the country’s “Protected Borders Plan,” including relaxed quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers and the addition of the Punta Arenas airport for international travel.
Effective November 8, 2021, the Biden Administration will rescind the COVID-19 travel restrictions banning most travel from Europe, Brazil, India, China, Iran, and South Africa. In its place, the Administration will impose new COVID-19 prevention protocols on all international air travelers, including those coming from countries not previously impacted by the COVID-19 travel bans. On October 25, 2021, the White House provided specific operational details describing how the program will be implemented and who will — and will not — be impacted by the new rules. Continue Reading U.S. Announces Operational Details for Replacement of Travel Bans with Vaccine Mandate on November 8
In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many countries have imposed both inbound and outbound restrictions on international travel. These restrictions can affect the ability of foreign national residents to reenter their host countries after even brief trips abroad. With the holidays approaching, resident foreign nationals who wish to travel outside their host countries must plan well in advance to ensure compliance with all departure and reentry requirements. Failure to do so could negatively affect their immigration status.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published details in the Federal Register about how it will implement the temporary “safe haven” program, also called Deferred Enforced Departure – (DED), for certain Hong Kong residents in the United States. The notice also provides instructions for employers regarding acceptable documentation to hire workers under this program.
The U.S. government administers an annual Diversity Immigrant Visa Program that, historically, offers one of the most expeditious paths to legal permanent residency and the American dream. Registration is currently open through November 9, 2021. The application is submitted electronically and registration is open to candidates around the globe, including to foreign workers in the United States who seek a “fast-track” to permanent residency.
With dramatic declines in COVID-19 infections, Japan is removing domestic business restrictions. Despite calls by influential business circles to reopen Japan to foreign business travelers, the country remains largely closed to all foreigners and entry for even business purposes remains in principle suspended. For example, over 370,000 foreign nationals with Japanese government-issued precertification for entry into Japan (as of October 1, 2021) remain unable to enter the country. Visa issuance is also extremely limited. As most developed countries have reopened their borders and with a new prime minister now in place, it remains to be seen how the Japanese government will respond to pressures to resuscitate international business stymied by COVID-19. Currently, 10 day quarantine measures upon entry into the country are in effect for all Japanese nationals and other entrants regardless of vaccination status.
Please see the recent article published by Nikkei Asia for more information.
The Israeli Ministry of Interior released a new set of regulations for the Short-Term Employment Authorization (SEA) B-1 Work Visa. The new regulations include shortened visa processing times, increased duration of stay, and overall simpler application processes for candidates wishing to obtain a work visa for short stays.