Government services curtailed; delays expected

8 Apr 16

VENEZUELA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Government agencies have significantly reduced operating hours in an effort to save energy, a change that is expected to cause significant processing delays.

What does the change mean? Most government agencies will be closed Fridays. Agencies will operate on a reduced schedule Monday through Thursday, when they will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Anyone in need of work permits, visa renewals, document legalization or other immigration-related services should be prepared for delays that could last months.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing. Delays should be expected at least through June.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits, visas and all other immigration-related services.
  • Who is affected: Anyone applying for work permits, visas or in need of other immigration-related services, such as document legalization.
  • Impact on processing times: The reduced hours are expected to significantly delay processing times.
  • Business impact: Employers may need to adjust timelines and start dates if employees are affected by the slowdown in processing times.

Background: Venezuela is often hampered by processing delays, but the changes – which took effect today – will further exacerbate the challenge of obtaining immigration services in a timely manner.

It is not clear how long the reduced hours will last. A notice published in Venezuela’s Official Gazette said the schedule will remain in place until the effects of the El Niño weather system pass. The notice does not list a date when hours will return to normal, but employers should expect that Venezuela will operate with reduced hours at least through May.

Delays are expected to persist into June or even longer because officials will have a backlog to work through even after normal hours resume.

BAL Analysis: Those in need of immigration services in Venezuela should submit applications as early as possible and be prepared for significant delays. Employers should work with their BAL professional to strategize how best to obtain immigration services in Venezuela over the next few months.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Venezuela. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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