Updates

Government of UK to Freeze Bank Accounts of Illegal Immigrants

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that effective January 2018, banks and building societies in Britain will carry out UK visa status checks on over 70 million current accounts. The UK Government plans to freeze bank accounts of those who have stayed in the UK beyond the duration stipulated.....

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Government of UK Doubles Issue of Tier-1 Exceptional Talent Visas

As part of the UK government’s ongoing reforms to welcome talented people from across the globe, Prime Minister Theresa May, has announced to double the number of visas offered annually through the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visas from 1,000 to 2,000 to the non -EU nationals. The visa will be .....

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NRIs, PIOs and OCIs – are not required to Link Bank Account, PAN with Aadhaar

Good news for all Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs). The UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) elucidated that as most NRIs, PIOs, and OCIs are not eligible to enroll for Aadhaar, therefore, are not required to link ba.....

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Ten-Year Bar for Australian Visa Applicants Providing False Information

The Australian Government has introduced new rules that bar visa applicants from entering Australia for ten years if they provide false or misleading information in their visa applications or indulge in visa fraud. The new rules will be effective from November 18, 2017 vide proclamation of the Migra.....

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Indians Visiting the UAE Under Visa-On-Arrival Cannot Change Status

With effect from November 2017, Indian nationals visiting the UAE under a 14-day visa-on-arrival cannot change their status to another visa type while in the UAE.  Those who wish to change their visa type after they have entered the UAE under a visa-on-arrival need to exit and re-enter the UAE .....

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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 o.....

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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. The applicant will be r.....

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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) designa.....

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Poorvi Chothani receives the We Inspiration Award 2017

Poorvi was honored to receive the WE Inspiration Award presented at the ThinkBig 2017 Event, organized by WEConnect India International Association on November 13, 2017 in Gurgaon.  The 'We Inspiration' category is awarded to women entrepreneurs who have successfully overcome challenges and ste.....

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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. T.....

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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 .....

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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 respec.....

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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. Further, the Su.....

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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 bir.....

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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 b.....

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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 bu.....

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Indian IT Companies are the Biggest Consumers of L-1 Visas

According to data of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Indian IT giants became the biggest consumers of the non-immigrant work visa - L-1 visa - for the fiscal years 2015 and 2016.  L-1 visas are available to employees of an entity or corporation with offices in b.....

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USCIS Changes Deference Policy – Raises the Standard for Visa Extension Approvals

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new binding memo on October 23rd rescinding earlier policy that required officers to give deference to prior decisions, in processing nonimmigrant visa extension applications.  This new policy affects all employment extension petition.....

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Trump’s Third Travel Ban Blocked Yet Again

President Trump’s latest travel ban which was set to take effect on October 18th, was blocked yesterday by a federal judge in Hawaii.  The latest ban imposed travel restrictions on citizens of Chad, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.  The federal judge&rsq.....

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LawQuest Participated at the EB5 & Investment Immigration Expo held in Mumbai

Poorvi was a speaker on the "The Facts on Immigration Programs for Indian citizens" panel at the EB-5 Investors Magazine’s 2017 Mumbai EB-5 & Investment Immigration Expo held from October 4 - 5, 2017 at the St. Regis Mumbai (http://www.eb5investors.com/co.....

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Premium Processing Service Now Available for All H-1B Visa Petitions

On October 3, 2017, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had resumed Premium Processing Services, for all type of H-1B petitions, including the extension of stay petitions for the fiscal year 2018. The USCIS had temporarily suspended the Premium Proces.....

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Consular Officers Grace LawQuest 2017 Diwali and Dance Party

LawQuest was delighted and honored to have the presence of various Consular Officers at their Diwali & Dance Party on October 7, 2017.  It was truly a pleasure to dance and dine with Consular Officers from the Belgian, German, Korean, Bangladeshi and New Zealand Consulates in Mumb.....

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Indian Investors Rush to Apply as the EB-5 Program Extended to December 8, 2017

Under the EB-5 program, increasing number of Indian nationals are shelling out half a million US dollars in order to get themselves and their families permanent residence status in the US, and eventually American citizenship.  The EB-5 is an investment program which allows foreign nationals to .....

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New Citizenship Residence Criteria in Canada from October 2017

Recent amendments by the Government of Canada to the Citizenship Act which came into effect on June 19, 2017 has confirmed that additional alterations regarding criteria for Canadian citizenship will come into effect as on October 11, 2017. The new changes will aim at reducing the age requirement fo.....

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Wives Deserted or Harassed by an NRI Spouse to Receive Aid of Up to USD 6,000

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) constituted a high-level committee headed by retired judge Arvind Kumar Goel to consider the legal challenges faced by women who are harassed or deserted by their Non – Resident Indian (NRI) spouses.  To assist overseas Indian nationals in times of .....

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Changes in Hong Kong Visa Rules Make Travel Regulations Stricter for Indian Nationals

Due to increase in the number of foreign nationals seeking economic asylum in Hong Kong, Immigration Department’s Assistant Director, Ma Chi-Ming introduced an online registration platform for all Indian nationals planning to travel to Hong Kong from January 23, 2017. This online platform will.....

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RFEs in H-1B Cases Increase by 45% in 2017

The number of RFEs (Request for Evidence) being issued by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has shot up by 45% this year as compared to the previous year.  An RFE is usually issued when any document or evidence required for adjudicating a visa petition is not provid.....

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New U.S. Travel Restrictions Unveiled

President Trump signed a proclamation on Sunday, September 24, 2017, imposing new restrictions on entry to the U.S. on foreign nationals.  This proclamation will replace his prior travel ban which expired on September 24th. The new travel rules will apply to citizens of Chad, North Korea, Venez.....

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Introduction to Electronic Travel Authorisation by Qatar

Recently at the UNWTO’s (United Nations World Tourism Organization) General Assembly which took place in Chengdu, China, Qatar’s Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) announced that the holders of valid visas or Residence permits from the US, Canada, New Zealand, U.....

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Increased U.S. Employment Visa Scrutiny

Recently, the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has been conducting site visits of U.S. employers using L-1B visas, as has been reported by Bloomberg BNA.  The L-1B visa is used for transferring foreign workers with specialized knowledge from their overseas workplace to.....

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Visitors to the U.S. Need to Beware of New Grounds

Foreign nationals visiting the U.S. can now be denied entry, or those already in the country can be asked to leave, on the basis of a new ground – if such individuals fail to follow through on their stated plans for three months.  The Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, in a recent cable s.....

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LawQuest at the Worldwide ERC Global Workforce Symposium in Chicago - September 27 - 29, 2017

LawQuest, a leading immigration firm from India, will be participating in Worldwide ERC®'s - Global Workforce Symposium in Chicago, from September 27 - 29, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  Worldwide ERC® is an organization, headquartered in Washington D.C., tha.....

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Chakma, Hajong Refugees: Centre to urge Supreme Court to modify its 2015 order

The Union minister of state for Home, Kiren Rijiju stated that the Centre will urge the Supreme Court to modify its 2015 order of granting citizenship to Chakma, Hajong refugees in north east India without diluting the rights of the indigenous people.  The Chakmas and Hajongs were originally r.....

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Premium Processing Services Resumed for H-1B Cap Cases

The USCIS has resumed premium processing for H-1B visa petitions subject to the fiscal year 2018 from September 18, 2017. However, the USCIS has not yet resumed this service for H-1B extensions. As indicated by the USCIS on September 18, 2017, it will resume premium processing for all remaining H-1B.....

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Hope for the Young Undocumented DREAMers in America?

With the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) program being wound down by March 2018, the U.S. Congress is under increased pressure to pass federal legislations to safeguard the interests of DACA recipients– the DREAMers – who could be subject to deportation upon expiration of th.....

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Impact of “Buy-American Hire American” Executive Order on F-1 Students

The U.S. Department of State, in August 2017, made revisions to the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) pursuant to President Trump’s “Buy American Hire American” Executive Order (EO) of April 2017.    The FAM provides policy and procedure guidance to consular officers adjudicat.....

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DACA Program to End in March 2018

On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced that it will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after six months – on March 5, 2018.  The six-month period is intended to give the Congress time to come up with legislation to provide a solution for the 80.....

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In-Person Interviews for Green Card Applicants

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that effective October 1, 2017, applicants of employment based green cards will be required to attend an in-person interview during the I-485 (adjustment of status) stage of the green card process.  The adjustment of st.....

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Supreme Court Puts ‘Triple Talaq’ on Pause

The Supreme Court of India, on August 22, 2017, struck down the Islamic practice of ‘triple talaq’ as being violative of the Indian Constitution, directing law makers to enact a new legislation.  The apex court has put a six month ban on this practice. The triple talaq practi.....

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AIESEC Sponsored Interns Will Now Have To Apply for an Intern Visa

The Indian government in March 2017, added a new visa category – the Intern Visa.  The Intern Visa is available to foreign nationals desiring to pursue internships with an educational institution, company or NGO in India.  Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) published detail.....

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President Trump Endorses Bill Aimed at Slashing Immigration

President Trump endorsed a new bill – the ‘Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (Raise) Act’ - aimed at cutting back legal immigration by 50% over a decade. The Bill, sponsored by Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Purdue,   introduces a points-based.....

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2017 Sees a Dip in H-1B Applications from India

This year, per the USCIS’s report, the government received 3,36,000 H-1B petitions (both new petitions and extensions) and approved 1,97,129 as of June 30, 2017.  One of biggest users of the H-1Bs - technology outsourcing companies - are seeking lesser number of H-1B visas compared to the.....

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India May Revise Its Visa Forms to Detect Criminals

It has been reported that the Indian government is working on a revised visa application form to capture a foreign applicant's criminal history including cases of child abuse, and so on.  The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr. Kiren Rijiju has been reported to have said that in the existin.....

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Restrictions on India’s Medical Visa for Pakistan

A Medical Visa for India is available to foreign nationals desiring to seek medical treatment in recognized hospitals and medical centers in India.  The initial duration of the Medical Visa is up to one year or the period of treatment, whichever is lesser, with a maximum of three entries during.....

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No Automatic Arrest in Dowry Cases Until Allegations are Verified

Dowry is a big social evil, unfortunately, still prevalent in the Indian society.  Dowry is the property and money that a bride brings to her husband’s house at the time of her marriage.   Although dowry was legally prohibited in 1961 in India, it continues to be practiced throu.....

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The U.S. and Canada: Deviating Immigration Law and Policies

There are some significant variances which can be seen in the immigration law and policies of Canada and the U.S. Given the current climate under the Trump administration, the U.S. each day is becoming overtly anti-immigrant whereas Canada on the other hand being an immigrant-friendly country is agg.....

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Electronic Tourist Visas (e-TV) – Use Prudently

International travelers whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing, casual visit to meet friends or relatives or to attend a short-term yoga programme, are eligible to enter India on an electronic tourist visa (e-TV). The validity of this type of visa is 60 days from the date .....

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India’s Intern Visa: More Clarity and Guidelines

The Indian government had introduced a new visa category – the Intern Visa - earlier this year in an effort to keep up with growing business needs and trends.  The Intern visa is available to foreign nationals intending to pursue an internship&.....

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An Innovative Approach by the Israeli Government

The State of Israel recently launched a new type of visa called the “Innovation Visa Program”, which is a joint project of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Interior which is the State agency that issues visas to Israel. This visa program might be of interest as it is specifica.....

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Mandatory Biometric Enrollment for India Visa Applicants at VFS Global Centers, South Africa effective July 17, 2017

Biometric enrollment comprising fingerprints and facial image scans will be taken along with the visa applications at the VFS India Application Centers in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.  Applicants availing the electronic visas however, will be required to enroll their biometrics wit.....

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New Information Sharing Standards for U.S. Travel

The U.S. Department of State sent out a cable on July 12, 2017 to all U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, instructing them to inform their host governments regarding new standards pertaining to U.S. travel and immigration.  These new standards that have been set out in the State Department.....

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Arrival and Departure Record - Form I-94 - for Foreign Nationals

A foreign national entering the U.S. is issued a Form I-94 by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the port of entry.  The Form I-94 is essentially an arrival/departure record that states the date until which the foreign national can lawfully remain in the U.S., after which he or she i.....

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Issuance of New I-9 Form for Employment Verification

The USCIS has issued a revised version of Form 1-9, the use of which will become mandatory beginning September 18, 2017.  The Form I-9 is used by employers for verifying identity and employment authorization of newly hired employees.  The key change in the new form is the revision related .....

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Public Access File – A Crucial Piece of Immigration Compliance

All U.S. employers that sponsor an H-1B foreign worker are required to maintain certain documents related to the worker in a Public Access File (“PAF”) which is to be kept either at the employee’s actual place of work or the employer’s principal place of business.&n.....

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Global Entry for Indian Citizens

The U.S. Global Entry programme has rolled out for the Indian citizens on July 3, 2017 thereby allowing expedited clearance of pre-approved, low risk travellers. Besides Indian citizens, U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders) and citizens of Colombia, United Kingdom, Ger.....

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PIO Conversion to OCI extended until December 31, 2017

The Indian government has extended the June 30, 2017 deadline for applying for conversion of Person of Indian origin (PIO) cards to Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards until December 31, 2017.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in 2014 that the PIO and OCI cards .....

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Trump’s Travel Ban Comes to Life Again

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 26, 2017, revived parts of President Trump’s executive order of a travel ban, by permitting the government to impose the 90-day ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries along with a 120-day hold on the refugee program in cases where ther.....

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Supreme Court Raises the Bar for Revoking US Citizenship

The US Supreme Court in its June 22nd ruling, has made it harder for the government to strip naturalized immigrants of their US citizenship.  In the case of Maslenjak v. United States, Divna Maslenjak, a naturalized citizen was deported because she had lied on her naturalization application, an.....

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Canadian Government Opening Pathways for Highly Specialized Global Talent

The Canadian Government has opened the doors to the highly skilled, specialized, in-demand foreign nationals who will help in the growth of Canadian entities’ businesses by bringing the Global Skills Strategy into effect on June 12, 2017. This new strategy aims at attracting foreign investment.....

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An Added Burden to an Already Tedious Process

The U.S. Department of State recently introduced a new supplemental questionnaire that will enable Consulate officers to obtain information for enhanced screening of certain visa applicants applying for immigrant as well as non-immigrant visas.  As a part of the screening process, the U.S. Con.....

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LawQuest and Dentons Teamed up with Sol’s Arc to Extend Educational Concessions for Children with Disabilities

LawQuest and Dentons teamed up with Sol’s Arc, India’s first parallel school offering special education, to extend educational concessions for children with disabilities in Maharashtra, India. Many children with mental disabilities in India wish to sit the secondary school board ex.....

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DOL to Enforce all Laws More Aggressively on the Administration of U.S. Non-Immigrant Visa Programs

The U.S. Secretary of Labor had directed the Department of Labor (DOL) to enforce laws within its jurisdiction that govern the administration and enforcement of non-immigrant visa programs. This announcement was made to protect the rights of the U.S. workers more aggressively against those entities .....

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Enforcement of 2014 Rule Affects Intra-Company Transfers to Serbia

Serbia’s Law on Employment of Foreigners enacted in 2014 laid down a provision in Article 19 which stated that foreign national employees of a company located outside Serbia assigned to work at an affiliated local company in Serbia are initially limited to a maximum of one year......

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Foreign Expats are now Exempt from Aadhaar Card Requirement

In April 2017, the Indian government had made it mandatory for all individuals subject to income tax in India to quote their Aadhaar Card number in their income tax returns, with effect from July 1, 2017. This applied to all tax paying Indians as well as foreign nationals who wou.....

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Taking Time Off as an F-1 Student

Foreign students who desire to study in American universities require an F-1 visa (student visa) to be able to do so. International students in F-1 status are required under US immigration law to be enrolled full-time during their regular semesters. Often times, students may have to take time off du.....

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Upcoming: 2017 AILA Global Immigration Forum, New Orleans, Louisiana

In 2017, our Managing Partner, Poorvi Chothani, will be speaking at two annual American Immigration Lawyers Association conference in New Orleans. 2017 AILA Global Immigration Forum: Protectionist World – Are We Singing the Blues? On June 20 - 21, 2017, Mrs. Chothani will be presenting on th.....

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The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce Seminar on US Immigration: Is the US Really Closing its Doors?

The seminar organized by The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce's (IACC) and LawQuest covered topics like President Trump’s recent executive orders, other government initiatives and pending Congressional bills which will impact general travel to the US, undocumented foreigners in the US, the EB.....

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American Immigration Lawyers Association - Bangkok District Chapter (BDC) Conference 5th Annual Conference

The BDC has hosted their conferences in a host of interesting and exciting cities in Asia. The 5th Annual AILA BDC Conference in Chennai was organized and chaired by Mrs. Poorvi Chothani. Chennai was chosen as the conference venue to allow BDC members to be able to meet and interact face to face.....

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Go Green!

Most offices consumer a lot pf paper. In an initiative to reduce our carbon footprint our Managing Partner, Poorvi Chothani planned a tree planting picnic outside Mumbai city at The Kamala Farms in Shahpur organised by Bindu Mittal who is passionate about saving the Earth. It was a fun day out.&.....

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Winner IDEX Legal Award for Social Impact Initiative of the Year 2016

The 2016 TrustLaw Awards were held in September in New York. LawQuest was a finalist for the IMPACT AWARD which recognizes projects that demonstrate significant impact for an NGO or social enterprise, their community, and beyond.  We researched Disability Law and the Right to Education in India.....

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LawQuest has been awarded the Contributor With Most Popular Article In UK Award by Mondaq

LawQuest has been awarded the "Contributor With Most Popular Article In UK" Award by Mondaq

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LawQuest Bestowed with TrustLaw Recognition of Excellence Award

LawQuest was granted "TrustLaw Recognition of Excellence" award at the inaugural TrustLaw Regional Dinner of Excellence held on July 22, 2016 in New Delhi.  This event was hosted by Thomson Reuters Foundation in conjunction with the Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF) to promote the practice of .....

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