How to navigate the backlog in immigration services

How To Navigate The Backlog In Immigration Services

Here's what to do if theres a backlog in your immigration case
Aug 01, 2022
There has been mounting criticism over the visa delays and immigration processes for applicants who have applied for a visa or require immigration services for several countries. The delay in immigration visa backlog has been driven by numerous factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to many delays which have as a result led to a larger backlog.

From famous sports personnel to many business travellers and those requiring business immigration services, visa delays and wait times are affecting applicants globally. Immigration difficulties for U.S. visitor visas came to a head this week as Ferdinand Omanyala’s paperwork arrived a single day before his race in the United States for the World Athletics Championships.

Across the world, and in Africa in particular, others awaiting visa appointments at local embassies have chimed in about their own experiences.  Office closures due to COVID-19 and global political issues have created a backlog of pending applications for many governing authorities. There are many applicants from various locations who are awaiting visitor visas. The process for applying for a visitor visa will include various steps, according to a formal appointment with the local consulate in most cases. This will depend on the applicant's nationality and the purpose of their visit. In some cases, the wait time for appointments is incredibly delayed.

An example of this includes the U.S. embassies around the world. There are significantly backlogged periods for all visa types, including for those with green cards, family members of US residents who are looking to apply for a visitor visa and many more.

Some examples of US consulates with long waiting times include:
- Nairobi (689 days)
- Mexico City (592 days)
- Istanbul (477 days)
- Toronto (439 days)
- Cairo (413 days)
- Manila (388 days)

Whereas another number of cities, (Kyiv, Khartoum, Caracas, Tripoli, Moscow, for example) are closed or accepting emergency appointments only. This may vary depending on the visa type that is required and the timelines associated with it. It is crucial to consider these longer waiting periods on top of the standard timeframes to anticipate a visa.

In some cases, visa requirements and timelines can vary depending on nationality and where you are applying from. If you require more information concerning the various visa types available and the processes needed in order to apply or be applicable for those visa types, see our guidance here: Centuro Connect Immigration Support.

What can companies and individuals do to navigate the visa backlog?

With this in mind, individuals and organisations alike should consider the below guidelines to ensure the process is as smooth as possible.

1.      Anticipate delays

Many governing bodies have issued statements to confirm that they are working through a backlog of applications.

·        In the US there are some 409,645 pending applications in the backlog
·        Priority and super priority long-term applications for the UK have been suspended since March 2022 to allow the immigration authority time to catch up on pending applications
·        This week, Australia announced that 60,000 permanent visa applications lodged by skilled workers based overseas will go to the top of the pile, at the expense of applications by temporary visa holders already in Australia.

2.      Consult with a professional

The information posted on government websites may use overly complex jargon and be difficult to understand, whilst information in other spaces is often out of date. Referring to a clear and trusted source, like the Centuro Global Immigration Assessment Tool, that outlines the process and timing expectations for global immigration needs, or seeking advice from an immigration lawyer will help ensure that applicants apply for the correct type of visa or work permit.

3.      Verify compliance requirements before submitting the application

Whilst some agencies may connect with the applicant to request further information, others may cancel a pending application and require the individual to refile at an additional expense. On June 21st, Lebanese sprinter, Noureddine Hadid, was initially denied a US visa to compete in the World Athletics Championships on the grounds that the documentation submitted was insufficient to prove intent to return home.

He was permitted to send in further support information and received his approval on July 7th – only 1 week before the start of the Championships.

4.      Consider priority processing

When travel is imminent, budget for rush or priority processing options with a guaranteed document return date (if applicable). Some examples of countries which have priority processing options for certain types of visas are:

·        UAE
·        China
·        Italy
·        Ethiopia
·        Paraguay

If you are an individual who is looking to move abroad or perhaps embark on a new career journey as a digital nomad or remote worker, these visa backlogs may impact you too. It might be harder to convince your employer to allow for remote working or to support you in your visa application processes.

We have therefore put together the below guidance to help support you in convincing your employer to allow you to work remotely.

How to convince your employer to allow you to work remotely

A. Provide accurate Global Guidance

  • Does your employer already have an international remote working policy Cost solutions?
  • Accountability: how do you best demonstrate what options are viable for both yourself as well as your employer?
  • Comparing locations – provide options of what is possible and available to you

B. Take action – provide an expert-led solution  

Demonstrate to your manager how you will compliantly work from anywhere. This includes:

- Immigration options & processes (If required)
- Payroll Setup & Payment options  
- Employment laws in your intended country of work and contractual requirements from your employer
- Benefit packages- Entity Setup ( if required)
- Tax implications and solutions*

C. Settle into your new home; compliantly

Even the best of moves / most wanted moves can be stressful. To prepare yourself, you should consider:
- Time to process necessary formalities (visas, employment contracts, payroll etc)
- Relocation services ( you’ll need some help settling into your new home )
- Insurance and required assistance

Start working from anywhere, and let us help you in showing your employer that it is cost-effective, quick and easy to stay compliant. It is important to plan ahead and to leave plenty of time to ensure that the visa backlog does not disrupt your intended trip or relocation. If you require any advice or support, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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