BRAZIL – Residence Permit for Property Investment

The National Immigration Council has published Normative Resolution 36/2018, which regulates the issuance of a residence permit on the basis of real estate investment in Brazil.

Read more:

BRAZIL – Residence Permit for Property Investment

This alert was prepared using information provided by Newland Chase.

BRAZIL – New Visa for Receiving Technical Training

On 26 October 2018, the government published Normative Resolution 35/2018, regulating the issuance of a temporary visa and residence authorisation for receiving training related to the operation or maintenance of equipment or other goods produced in Brazil.

Read more:

BRAZIL – New Visa for Receiving Technical Training

This alert was prepared using information provided by Newland Chase.

INDIA – Evidence of Local Operations Required at Hyderabad FRRO

Effective immediately, the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (the FRRO) at Hyderabad requires evidence of the visa sponsor’s local business operations in Hyderabad.

Read more here:
This news alert was prepared using information provided by Lawquest.

Immigo Latest Feature Updates

We’re pleased to say we have a few new enhancements to Immigo which you will see today/tomorrow; as follows:

Less Easy to Delete Stuff By Mistake

  • You now can’t delete Applicants or Cases directly from the Applicant or Case “library”; only from the profile pages (i.e. you have to open the Applicant or Case first).
  • You can’t delete an Applicant if he or she has any Cases.

Changes to the Case Module for Easier User Interface and Reporting

  • Case Status is now on the Process tab
  • There is a new Case Status available of Closed Enquiry

Company Edits for Easier User Interface

  • Bills To on the Company profile has been moved to underneath “Is billing office”.

Notifications and Reports

  • Company Notifications (and Reports) now have an “is billing office” filter.
  • In Fee Reports you can report on Sending Company and Host Company
  • In Fee Reports you can filter and report on Case Tags
  • There are notification events on Cases for Credits Added and Invoice Generated.

As always, let us know if you have any questions or suggestions for further improvements!  We are always pleased to hear from you 🙂

Spotlight on Africa

This is the first of a new series of articles by our sister company Newland Chase, exploring different regions across the globe, and first published here.

This article was written by Peregrine’s Maude Burger-Smith, and Jeanette Ryan of Newland Chase.

Why Africa?

There is a growing interest in Africa and many companies are now considering Africa as a place to do business. Africa’s long-term economic potential has never been in doubt. The continent has 600 million hectares of uncultivated arable land, 40 percent of the world’s gold, 90 percent of its platinum, 8 percent of its oil, 26 percent of its liquid natural gas, and abundant additional resources. However, it has been seen as a region of frontier nations, mostly too risky or ill-developed to invest in — except as a source of commodities. But businesses are finally recognising the potential in this region.

Since 2000, Africa has been growing consistently at about 1 percent above the global average and the ambitious consumption-hungry middle class has tripled in the last three decades to around 400 million people. Foreign direct investment created 188,400 new African jobs. Yet economic growth across the continent remains resilient. Despite the headwinds, growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) will beat the emerging markets average, and be outstripped only by developing Asia. Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia and Cote d’Ivoire are among 22 economies in SSA that are expected to grow by more than five percent this year.

The top 5 sectors which offer the highest growth for Africa over the next two years are Agriculture, Mining & minerals, Oil & gas, Hotels & tourism and Infrastructure projects.

Challenges 

Infrastructure – reliable infrastructure remains a key risk in Africa. There are no uniform standards deployed to measure quality. Roads are poor and congested. There are also natural disasters which take their toll – flooding and earthquakes are common.

Power and communications – Africa’s energy grid and communications infrastructure is chronically underdeveloped and inadequate leading to outages, poor connection and unreliability.

Political issues – during 2014, a number of African countries — including the Central African Republic, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burkina Faso and the Gambia — experienced political and social unrest. Insurgency was a factor in Nigeria and parts of East Africa. Yet despite these setbacks, 12 elections were held across the continent last year, and 7 resulted in a change of leadership. This year’s elections in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, notably achieved a peaceful transfer of power.

Bribery and corruption – many companies cite corruption and bribery as a big barrier to investment. Companies will need to establish robust monitoring of processes and decisions to identify and manage potential practices.

HR issues – much of Africa’s growth will rely on finding skilled and experienced staff. Africa’s labour markets generally lack people with the necessary technical skills and relevant industry experience, meaning that companies must grow their own talent. While a lot is being done at local level in schools and universities, it will take time for this to filter through to the workforce. In the meantime companies will need to rely on existing employees willing to transfer to Africa to transfer key skills and knowledge. Many employees cite health and safety as concerns in relocating to Africa.

Companies should ensure their global mobility programme supports transfers to Africa. A notable inclusion particularly for Africa should be support of the employee’s health and safety concerns. The company should fund the cost of immunisations, provide local briefings on arrival to ensure employees are supported with their health & safety being a priority. The employee should know of the potential cultural differences and know how the company will offer local support in that regard. Many companies are realising now that not offering  employees a visit in advance the transfer can have a detrimental effect on the employee. Culture shock can lead to the loss of productivity and revenue if not addressed correctly. If an assignee has only limited time in which to achieve their objectives, and they struggle to adapt on arrival, the company risks financial loss and assignment failure.

Visa/immigration issues 

Immigration in Africa is complex and often full of uncertainty in terms of application of the laws and time-frames. It is an area fraught with attempted bribery and widespread corruption. However, failure to have the correct permits to work in a country can result in imprisonment/deportation of employees and cancellation of business licenses for the employer. The stakes are therefore high, and getting it wrong, can have severe ramifications. Recent applications for visas and work permits were often prepared in-house.  This is changing and companies are seeking to engage specialist immigration service providers to manage their immigration compliance. Not all countries offer permanent residence or allow dependants to travel with certain types of short term work permits.

How can Newland Chase help? 

With many clients operating in Africa for many years, Newland Chase’s Global Immigration team can provide you with the expertise and specialist knowledge you need to ensure your Immigration programme adapts to local requirements to ensure compliance in Africa. We highlight below considerations for you when considering moves to Africa.

Sponsors

Sponsor are needed in the host country but depending on the country you may be able to have a client sponsor the application.

Assignment v employment 

Some African countries allow the continuation of an overseas employment contract but many do not. Countries such as Angola, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Nigeria require a local employment contract so a long term assignment is not an option into those countries. Nigeria and Mozambique offer a temporary work permit option to facilitate short term work usually up to 2 months.

Local payroll v overseas payroll

Interestingly in Africa, some countries allow a choice of payroll location. This can be the case where a local employment contract is required. Nigeria and Kenya are two such countries. With security concerns, employees may welcome the idea of splitting payroll.

Restrictions on employing foreign nationals 

While some countries allow a client to sponsor applications and not all require a local contract, there are certain countries where it is not possible to employ a foreign national without having a local entity, as the entity will need to employ a certain amount of foreign nationals in order to employ foreign nationals, or have authorisation from the Ministry to employ foreign nationals in certain positions.

Training of local employees 

Immigration policy is being used as a vehicle to train and develop local employees. It has been a concern of many that relying on an expatriate population is not sustainable to growing the economy. With that in mind, some countries require an understudy to be selected and even named on the application form to grant the employment permit to the foreign national.

Processing time 

The application process can vary from country to country. Nigeria requires the application to be submitted in the Nigerian Consulate in the employee’s home country. This can be perceived as a quicker process but a work authorisation has already been secured in Nigeria in the form of the expatriate quota.

Ethiopia requires the employee to be in Ethiopia to submit the work permit application.

For all counties be mindful of the documents needed for the application process. Legalisation of documents can take time depending on the origin of the document and the country concerned. Some countries require translations in addition to legalisations. In South Africa for local hires, there is an accreditation process which verifies the employee’s professional and/ or academic background which can take several weeks/months to conclude before an application can be submitted.

The often uncertain application of the legislation and a high level of bureaucracy and corruption mean that assignees and their employers need to take extra care to ensure compliance. The assistance of in country service providers to keep the company up to date with legislation changes and to assist with the work permit applications is considered best practice.
Please do not hesitate to contact Newland Chase at enquiries@newlandchase.com.

Guest Post: Holding Your Breath for an H-1B is Not a Plan – Have a Global Plan for Talent

This is a guest post by Glenn Faulk and Katharine Salem of Luminary Global, LLC.

 H-1B Applicants:

As many human resource professionals know, this April 1-7 is when many overseas employees applying for an H-1B visa will hold their breath to be amongst the lucky 85,000 petitions selected by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for review and (hopefully) approval.

What are the odds your H-1B application will make it? To give some idea, in early April 2015, USCIS received 233,000 petitions to fill both the 65,000 “general-category” H-1B slots and the extra 20,000 petitions reserved for “advanced-degree” professionals (85,000 H-1B slots available).   According to USCIS, if more petitions are received than slots are available, USCIS will use a computer-generated, random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption.

On top of these odds, even if an H-1B application is initially accepted for processing, small oversights or mistakes in completing the form or in paying the H-1B fee can result in a refused application, leaving the employee and the company scrambling to find alternatives in a very short window of time.

Not allowing for refused applications, 2015 had a raw percentage of a mere 36% likelihood that a particular H-1B petition would be accepted for review.

In these days of global talent, ensuring that your assignees have enough time to consider such things as quotas or lottery systems when filing for a new or renewed status is going to be critical to retaining your hard-won talent.

In addition, for those “Millennial” employees who are in F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) or eligible J-1 applicants, pinning hopes on receiving an H-1B to continue their employment could leave young talent struggling with the real loss of their status and uprooting their new careers.  And, it leaves HR scrambling to find other employees to cover the duties of a departing H-1B hopeful.

International Business Travel: “Visa” vs. “Status”

For global immigration purposes, it is not uncommon for employees in a particular US immigration status to require travel abroad for business, pleasure or work.   Employees applying for visas to other countries while resident in the United States are generally referred to as “third-country national” or “TCN” applicants.

TCN applicants submitting visa applications to another country’s consular post in the United States generally must provide evidence that they:

  1. Have valid US status (generally, a status other than tourist or business visitor) at the time of submitting a visa application to the other country’s consular post (i.e., the category of stay and date of expiration noted on the entry stamp and I-94 entry record at time of admission to the United States), and
  2. Can provide evidence of “returnability” to the United States, which generally requires that a TCN applicant have either a US visa stamp or Green Card that is valid for a certain period of time beyond the intended dates of stay and have ability to readily re-enter the United States (i.e., multiple-entry visa).

For H-1B extensions: If an employee is extending his or her H-1B status, and H-4’s for family, please bear in mind that once he or she receives Approval Notice (Form I-797), the employee and approved family members have status to remain in the US.  However, should this employee and/or family members be required to depart the United States, he or she may be required to have a valid H-1B or H-4 visa stamp to apply for a visa to another country or to re-enter the United States.

It is important to factor into H-1B/H-4 extensions when and whether the employee and family extending status will also require applying for a new H-1B/H-4 visa in their passports.  Realising at the eleventh hour that an employee or family member requires a new H-1B/H-4 visa in order to secure authorisation to travel abroad for business or pleasure is not fun for the employee or the company.

For employees who are applying to change status from F-1 or J-1 status, the same rules apply for those employees the company is considering for international business travel.

In addition, HR should factor in the time needed to arrange for a new international assignment with work authorization, or repatriation to the employee’s home country. If children are included, add to this the time needed to transfer schools before a new school year begins.

The Bottom Line: 

Two months from now, USCIS will open the H-1B petition queue.

Now is the time for H-1B applicants and HR to take time to discuss the “What if?” of not receiving a slot or if an H-1B application is refused.  It’s not a pleasant discussion to have, but as the US economy gains some steam, the odds this year of not getting an H-1B may be higher than last year.

Also, as international business travel usually has tight turn-around times for the company and the employee, H-1B/H-4 visa extension applicants and F-1/J-1 change of status applicants should approach HR about future business travel plans outside of the United States to determine timing and strategy to secure new H-1B/H-4 or F-1/J-1 visa stamps.

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Written by Glenn Faulk and Katharine Salem for Luminary Global LLC. 

Luminary Global Immigration is a consulting firm offering global immigration solutions to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and multinational corporations. Our services are for all outbound destination countries, except the United States. For any matters pertaining solely to inbound US immigration, we provide referrals and support to a trusted network of U.S. firms.

Disclaimer: The LGI news library postings are of a general nature and for informational purposes only.  Information posted does not constitute legal advice, nor should it be construed to serve as a substitute for legal advice.  LGI Library postings are based upon information obtained through various public news resources, industry affiliates, and through LGI’s global alliance network.  Content may be reused or reproduced either with posted credit to both LGI and authors, or through written permission granted by LGI and/or parties holding copyright or other intellectual property rights for specific content.  For more information, please contact LGI at info@luminary-global.com.