What are the changes? Many government offices close for a number of holidays across the world at the end of the year and in early 2015. Christmas and New Year’s Day will close most government agencies for one or more days on and around Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

What does the change mean? Companies applying for work permits and other services should file applications early to avoid the seasonal rush.

  • Implementation timeframe: Now through January.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas and permits.
  • Who is affected: Companies requesting immigration, labor and other services from government offices.
  • Impact on processing times: Applicants should expect office closures, shortened business hours and reduced staff during the holiday period.
  • Business impact: Holiday delays may impact business schedules and assignments.
  • Next steps: Companies should work with their BAL attorney to finalize and submit applications.

Background: Almost all countries have holidays scheduled for Dec. 25, 2014, and Jan. 1, 2015. Many countries will also reduce business hours in the days surrounding Christmas and New Year’s and close completely on Dec. 26 and Jan. 2. Most Islamic countries will also close Jan. 3 to observe Eid Mawlid al-Nabi, Prophet’s Birthday.

Some countries may close for extended periods in the coming months. Russia observes a New Year’s holiday Jan. 1- 5 and Orthodox Christmas Jan. 7. China does not mark Dec. 25 as an official public holiday, but will close Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day and the week of Feb. 19-26 to celebrate the lunar Chinese New Year.

BAL Analysis: Companies should anticipate slower processing of visas, residence permits and work permits until offices reopen in early January. Employers should be cognizant of these closures and plan to file immigration-related applications as soon as possible.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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