India Outsourcing Service Changed in the United States
Indian consulates in the U.S. awarded a new contract to BLS International Services Limited to provide visa and other immigration services to U.S. residents, since July 1, 2013.
The previous provider, Travisa Outsourcing, ended its services on June 28, 2013.
Any visas still being processed by the Indian consulate as of June 28 were passed to BLS International, and must be picked up from their offices.
For information on BLS and details on consular applications, please see visa.blsindia-usa.com/.
Workers in Canada May Self-Nominate for Permanent Residency
On June 20, 2013, the government in Alberta, Canada, announced a change to its Immigrant Nominee Program that will help temporary foreign workers remain in the province longer.
Under the current regulations, workers who want to obtain Canadian permanent residence are required to be nominated by their employer.
The new policy will allow eligible foreign workers to nominate themselves for permanent residence. Applicants must have at least two years of Alberta work experience in a key, in-demand occupation and meet other program and federal government criteria.
“That will give us more permanency, more stability, fewer social issues, lower costs for employers and some glimmer of ultimate hope for thousands of workers who inevitably want to stay in the country,” said Alberta Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk.
The deadline for submitting applications is November 28, 2013. For more information, see: http://www.albertacanada.com/immigration/campaigns/ainp-awe.aspx
Cayman Islands Cracking Down on Work Visas
Tighter restrictions will soon make it more difficult for individuals to obtain work visas in the Cayman Islands. The government in the British territory has decided to restrict the number of expatriates it will allow, due to a growing unemployment rate locally.
According to Bloomberg, roughly half of the workers on the island relocated there from overseas, yet unemployment among local residents is over 10 percent. By limiting the number of visa approvals, the government intends to provide more jobs for Caymanians.
“We’ll always need a certain level of foreign labor,” Eric Bush, the chief immigration officer for the Cayman Islands, told Bloomberg. “But it’s about finding that right balance. We’re a small nation that cannot have an influx of individuals who may turn out to be a burden.”
HR professionals should be aware of the new tighter restrictions. Foreign workers who are currently located on the islands will also be affected, because the government will make it more difficult to renew work visas. In October 2013, approximately 2,000 foreigners that are in the Caymans could be forced to leave when their visas expire.
Still, government officials insist they will do their best to help current foreign residents stay put while also increasing jobs for Caymanians.
New Employee Registration Requirement in Sweden Takes Effect
Since July 1, 2013, companies in Sweden are required to register their foreign employees with the Swedish Work Environment Authority. This new regulation applies to anyone working in Sweden for five days or more, including European Union nationals, and the notification must occur the same day a transferee begins his or her assignment.
HR professionals need to be vigilant about this law because, in addition to new assignments, it applies to any transferees who have already been working in Sweden during the past five years.
Fortunately, foreign employees can be conveniently registered online at www.av.se/posting. The employer is also required to appoint a contact person in Sweden. This person must be able to show documentation as evidence that Swedish employment laws are complied with, for example a valid employment contract.
The notification must also include the dates of the assignment; the company name, address and contact information; the services involved in the position; the location of the position; and the employee’s name and date of birth. Any changes must be reported within three days.
The Swedish government is implementing these harsher restrictions in an effort to enforce labor laws. They hope that by requiring each employer to register its workers and maintain a local contact, it will be easier to monitor compliance with health, safety and work hour regulations.
If a company is found to be in violation of these new rules, there will be strict penalties and fines.
‘High-Risk’ Expats Required to Pay £3,000 Bond to Enter the U.K.
Starting in November 2013, visitors from what the United Kingdom has deemed “high-risk” countries will be required to pay a cash bond of up to £3,000—over $4,600—to enter the U.K. Certain new arrivals from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Ghana will be affected, and the goal is to eventually cover everyone from those countries.
According to New Delhi Television (NDTV), this new regulation will require anyone from these countries, aged over 18, to pay for a six-month visit visa. It is currently only a pilot project and may not be permanent, but HR professionals should still be aware of the bond and make proper arrangements for any visiting employees who may be affected. The bond will be refunded if the visitors leave the U.K. before their visas expire.
The countries that have been classified as “high-risk” were chosen because of allegedly high levels of immigration abuse and fraud. The government believes the new program will be very effective in minimizing violations of immigration laws, as well as keeping the immigrant population selective. Prime Minister David Cameron wants the annual net migration in the United Kingdom below 100,000 by 2015, NDTV reported.
“This is the next step in making sure our immigration system is more selective, bringing down net migration … while still welcoming the brightest and best to Britain,” said Home Secretary Theresa May.
Elaine Martin is director, Immigration Services, for Paragon GeoImmigration, a provider of global business immigration services in more than 150 countries. To read the original article on SHRM.org, please click here.