Throughout the coming months, countries across the world will be celebrating with national holidays for religious or cultural reasons. These range from Eid-ul-Adha (Eid, the Festival of Sacrifice), which begins on the 6th November, to Thanksgiving in the United States of America, Christmas in the United Kingdom and the Chinese New Year beginning the 23rd January.
During many of these holidays consulates and embassies around the world will see reduced staff or altered opening times, some closing altogether. Government immigration departments will also be affected as offices close on public holidays. It follows therefore, that the processing of visa applications – from work permits to settlement or residency applications – will be significantly affected, with delays to processing times.
In light of this, clients who anticipate a need for moving assignees another country on short term contracts in the near future, or individuals who are seeking to apply for a visa or lodge a residence application, should consult with their Newland Chase immigration specalist to ascertain whether their applications may be affected by any consulate closures or processing delays. In particular, if work permit applicants have a start date in another country of early January 2012, they should ensure that the application and supporting documents will be lodged with the appropriate country”s consulate or embassy well before the end of November 2011.
Some of the most significant national holidays
6 November 2011: Eid-ul-Adha, Middle East
This is the second most important religious festival in the Muslim calendar, and commences after Muslims worldwide have completed the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
The celebrations last for 3 days and countries with majority Muslim populations will experience government and private office closures, such as the United Arab Emirates where public offices will be closed between 5-7 November.
The Saudi Arabian embassy in the UK will be closed between 7-10 November 2011.
24 November: Thanksgiving, USA and Canada
Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November each year to commemorate a feast held by the Pilgrims in 1621.
Most public offices, businesses and schools will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but many private offices and companies will also be closed on the 25th November.
December-January 2012: Christmas and New Year, the United Kingdom and Europe
In the UK, families celebrate, for religious or cultural reasons, on the 25th December. This year, public holidays will be held on the 26th and 27th December, and the 2nd January 2012.
All government offices will close during the UK on these dates, and British embassies around the world are likely to have reduced opening times.
It must be noted that other countries in Europe will also hold national holidays at the end of December, and therefore you should consult with your Newland Chase specialist as to whether your application could be affected.
23 January 2012: The Chinese New Year, the Far East
Commencing on the first day of the lunar calendar, this is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar when families share in traditional activities and the festival continues for 15 days.
Government offices, schools and many businesses in China will be closed for the first 7 days of the Chinese New Year.
Whilst we appreciate that the closure of government offices around the world may cause disruption and frustration, we would advise all our clients that with sufficient planning and forethought, unnecessary delays can be avoided.