LawQuest Immigration Alerts - November 2017

America – Still a Popular Destination among Indian Students!

On Monday, November 13, 2017, the U.S. Department of State Bureau Educational and Cultural Affairs along with the Institute of International Education, reported that Indian students account for 17.3 percent of the total number of international students in America.  This year, the total number of international students in America increased by three percent from last year, while the number of American students studying outside of the U.S. increased by four percent.  

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Japan To Simplify Visa Rules for Indians by January 01, 2018

The Japanese Embassy to simplify visa application procedure for multiple-entry-visa for short-term stay for Indians by January next year.

The applicant’s employment certificate and support letter will not be required when the applicant applies for multiple-entry-visa.

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New Policy Memo Provides Guidance on the L-1 ‘Function Manager’ Classification

The requirements to make a case for the L-1A ‘function manager’ classification are clearly spelled out in Matter of G-Inc., decided by the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO).  The November 8th Policy Memorandum issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) designates AAO’s decision in Matter of G-Inc. as an Adopted Decision.  Accordingly, this adopted decision serves as a policy guidance and applies to and binds the USCIS officers.  While adjudicating L-1A petitions for the function manager classification, the USCIS officers are directed to follow the reasoning in this decision. 

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Immigration Through Investment Program to Various Countries

Immigration of Indian nationals to foreign countries via various investor-visa programmes was not very popular until a few years ago.  Lately, increasing number of Indians are considering the option of immigration to countries such as US, Canada and certain European countries by investing in businesses in these countries. The goal or motivation for obtaining a foreign passport can be varied - ranges from a better standard of living, education, advanced healthcare, business opportunities - to a visa-free ease of travel. 
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Citizenship to Robots

Recently, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia made headlines with its act of granting honorary citizenship to Sophia, a humanoid robot. Though the move has been criticized for various social and ethical reasons, it certainly raises a question of importance in present times where artificial intelligence is being developed at an accelerating pace: can a robot be granted citizenship of a country?
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Canada’s 3-Year Immigration Plan

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently announced its ambitious 3-year plan to admit approximately one million immigrants to Canada by 2020. As stated by Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, the aim of the plan is to offset the demographics of an aging population and declining birth rate.
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Supreme Court Refuses Interim Stay on Linking of Aadhaar Card to Bank Accounts and Mobile Numbers

The Supreme Court on November 03, 2017 refused interim stay on the linking of Aadhaar Card to bank accounts and telecom service providers stating that the Constitution Bench is to decide on the validity of the matter on the ground that it violates a citizen’s right to privacy.  
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The Proposal for Merit-Based Immigration to the USA

During his first address to the U.S. Congress in February 2017, President Donald Trump had emphasized on the need for a merit-based immigration system. The terrorist attack in New York City on October 31, 2017 has again given him a reason to require the expedient execution of a policy in this respect as the terrorist is confirmed to have entered the U.S. under the Diversity Immigrant Visa, also known as the ‘Green Card Lottery’, a lottery administered by the Department of State that annually makes available approximately 50,000 permanent resident visas, irrespective of the applicant’s qualifications and skills.

Provident Fund for Expatriates in India

Expatriates working in India were brought under the ambit of the country’s social security law – the Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (EPF Act) - in October 2008. 

Foreign nationals employed with an establishment in India to which the EPF Act applies are required to make provident fund (PF) contributions.  These employees contribute 12% of their basic salary to the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme (EPFS) and employers are also required to make a matching contribution to the scheme. 
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Proxy Voting Rights to NRIs

On November 8, 2017, the Central Government of India informed the Supreme Court of India that it proposes to grant “proxy voting” rights to Non-Residential Indians (NRIs) by amending the Representation of People’s Act, 1951, the law dealing with the conduct of elections in India. The Government intends to introduce a Bill regarding the same before the Parliament during its Winter Session. The Supreme Court has given the Government a deadline of 12 weeks to carry out its intention.

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