In early October, we reported that US visa processing in Turkey had been suspended amid security concerns, and that the government of Turkey had responded with a suspension of visa processing for US citizens.

As of November 11, 2017, the US Mission to Turkey announced that it has resumed nonimmigrant (temporary) visa processing at posts in Turkey on a limited basis, with a reduced number of visa appointments available. Individuals who have an appointment scheduled for a future date may attend that appointment unless they are notified that the appointment has been cancelled. Appointments cancelled as a result of the earlier suspension may be rescheduled through the online consular appointment system.

Individuals from Turkey who have valid US visas may continue to travel to the United States.

The Turkish Embassy in Washington, DC has also announced the resumption of visa processing for US citizens on a limited basis at its diplomatic and consular missions in the United States.

The information currently available on this situation is quite limited, but Mintz Levin will monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available. In the meantime, please contact your Mintz Levin immigration attorney with any questions.

The UK Home Office has announced plans to offer an optional premium service for requests made through the Sponsor Management System (SMS). This service will allow Sponsors to pay a fee of £200 for expedited processing of certain types of requests including Certificate of Sponsorship allocation and Level 1 user appointment.

This service is being offered in an attempt to address the long processing times that many Sponsors have experienced when making routine requests through the SMS. In some instances, the Home Office has estimated as long as 18 weeks for the processing of requests. Such long wait times can be extremely burdensome on Sponsors who hope to hire recruits from outside of the UK to meet immediate staffing needs.

The law creating this new premium service will go into effect next month. From there, the Home Office will work toward implementation, but a specific timeline for when the service will be available to SMS users has not yet been announced.  We will provide additional information when it becomes available.

Should you have any questions, please contact GlobalVisas@mintz.com.

The United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Island) went to the polls June 23rd and voted to leave the European Union. Some pro-leave “Brexit” campaigners argued for the ability to limit migration of EU workers as an important issue in the run-up to the referendum.  But what practical effect would a UK exit from the EU have on immigration to that country?  Continue Reading Brexit: Immigration consequences to the UK leaving the EU?

Canada has mandated registration in a new electronic travel authorization program (“eTA”) for many individuals who do not require visas to travel to Canada. Introduced in August 2015, the program becomes mandatory for many visa-exempt individuals traveling to Canada by air on or after March 15, 2016. Individuals traveling to Canada by land or sea are exempt from registering. Citizens of the United States are exempt from the eTA system regardless of whether they travel to Canada by air, land, or sea.  Continue Reading Canada Mandates New Electronic Travel Authorization Program

Many US employers are exploring opportunities to expand globally. Due to the English-speaking special relationship between the US and the UK, employers may first look to the UK to for international expansion. However, companies should keep in mind the current difficulty for employers to secure valid work visas.

In both June and July, the cap on Tier 2 visas in the United Kingdom was reached and over 1,300 visa application by companies were rejected. The cap was reached for the first time since it’s 2011 introduction in June.

Tier 2 Visas are available to skilled workers with an offer of employment from a government certified employer. This category includes workers falling under the UK’s skills “shortage occupation list” as well as intracompany transfers. Shortage occupations to date include engineers and scientists. The UK Migration Committee has opened a comment period for recommendations as to which additional occupations should be added to the skills shortage or which occupations require highly specialized experts.

To use a favo(u)rite British phrase being repeated about the situation, the arbitrary cap is “not fit for purpose.” We expect employers will find it increasingly difficult to bring the skilled workers they need to the United Kingdom from outside the European Economic Area.