What are the changes? The Christmas and New Year’s holidays will close many government and private offices around the world for at least two days, with many countries observing longer holiday periods at the end of the year and the beginning of 2016.

What does the change mean? Employers should file as early as possible for visas, work permits and other services to avoid delays during the holiday closures.

  • Implementation timeframe:Now through January.
  • Visas/permits affected:All visas and permits.
  • Who is affected:Companies needing immigration, labor and other services from government offices.
  • Impact on processing times:Processing will be slower due to office closures, shorter business hours and reduced staff.
  • Business impact:Holiday delays should be factored into business schedules and assignments.
  • Next steps:Companies should finalize and submit applications as soon as possible.

Background: Most countries will observe Dec. 25, 2015, and Jan. 1, 2016, and many countries will also reduce business hours in the days surrounding Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Some countries may close for extended periods in the coming months. Russia observes a New Year holiday and Orthodox Christmas Jan. 1-10, with offices reopening Jan. 11. China does not mark Dec. 25 as an official public holiday, but will close Jan. 1-3 for the New Year’s holiday and Feb. 7-13 for the Chinese lunar New Year. South Africa will close offices for varying periods between Dec. 22 and Jan. 11. Mexico’s immigration services will be closed for three weeks Dec. 18 – Jan. 6.

BAL Analysis: Companies should anticipate slower processing for visas, residence permits and work permits from now until offices reopen in early January and they should 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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