Global Immigration Client Alert

WORLDWIDE – Holiday Season May Delay Work Permit/Visa Application Processing

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Government offices generally are short-staffed or close during the holiday season. As a result, processing delays should be expected for visa and work permit applications during the months of December and January, particularly in Latin America and Europe.
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Companies seeking work permits, residence permits or visas for foreign nationals who will begin their assignments in early 2008 should anticipate processing delays during the holiday season in December and January, particularly in Latin America and Europe. Many consular posts as well as labor and immigration authorities operate with a reduced staff or close their offices during the holiday season while applications for work visas and permits generally increase during this period for assignments scheduled to begin early in the following year.

Listed below is a selection of immigration office and consular post closings for the holiday season. Please be advised that this is not an exhaustive list of closings.

ASIA / PACIFIC

China: Government offices will be closed on January 1, 2008. Authorities have not yet published the official public holidays for the Chinese New Year, but closures from February 4 to 6, 2008 are expected.

New Zealand: All immigration offices will close at midday on Monday, December 24, 2007 and will not reopen until Thursday, January 3, 2008. Other government office closures will vary. New Zealand’s consular posts will be closed, at a minimum, December 25 and 26, 2007, and January 1 and 2, 2008.

Singapore: All government departments and offices will be closed December 25, 2007 and January 1, 2008. Additionally, all government offices will be closed on December 20, 2007, a public holiday in Singapore.

EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST, and AFRICA

Austria: Labor authorities will not be processing applications between December 19, 2007 and January 9, 2007. The immigration office in Vienna will have a reduced staff over the holiday season.

Finland: The Directorate of Immigration will be closed December 24 through 26, 2007, and January 1, 2008.

Italy: All government offices will close at mid-day on December 24 and 31, 2007 and will be closed on December 25 and 26, 2007 and January 1, 2008. From December 23 to January 8 processing times slow down due to reduced staff.

Norway: The Directorate of Immigration will be closed December 24 through 26, 2007 and January 1, 2008.

Spain: Most government offices will be closed December 24, 25, 31, 2007 and January 1 and 2, 2008.

Sweden: The Labor Board and Migration Board will both be closed December 24 through 26, 2007, and January 1, 2008.
Switzerland:
Basel-town: The labor market authority office will be closed on December 24, 25, 26, 31, 2007 and January 1, 2008. The migration authority will be closed on December 24, 25, 26, 31, 2007 and January 1 and 2, 2008
Geneva: The labor market authority office will be closed from December 24, 2007 to January 2, 2008. The migration authority office will be closed from December 24, 2007 to January 2, 2008.
Vaud: The labor market authority office will be closed from December 24, 2007 to January 3, 2008. The migration authority office will be closed December 24, 25, 31, 2007 and January 1 and 2, 2008.
Zurich: The labor market authority and migration authority offices will be closed from December 24, 2007 to January 7, 2008.

LATIN AMERICA

Most government offices in Latin America will be closed on December 24, 25, 31, 2007 and January 1, 2008.

The content of this alert is provided for informational purposes only.