As of September 18, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed premium processing service for H-1B petitions filed as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 cap quota, which includes 65,000 regular H-1B filings and 20,000 additional petitions for candidates holding a U.S. Master’s degree. Premium processing is not resumed for other types of H-1B filings, such as normal-course H-1B Extension of Status or Amendment filings. The H-1B nonimmigrant category allows for the U.S. employment of skilled workers in specialty occupations, such as information technology, academic research, and accounting, and requires candidates to hold a minimum of a U.S. Bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken action against two companies in a bid to protect small Australian businesses from unfair contracts.
One of Australia’s largest, privately owned waste management companies is the first to be taken to task by the ACCC over alleged unfair contract terms with small businesses since changes to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) came into effect in November 2016.
On 11 September 2017, the Commonweath Parliament passed the Treasury Law Amendments (2017 Enterprise Incentives No.2 Bill). The new legislation:
- introduces a ‘safe harbour’ exclusion from civil liability for directors faced with insolvent trading claims and
- makes unenforceable ipso facto clauses in certain contracts which allow a party to terminate the contract for the sole reason of an insolvency event.
Dispute resolution clauses: When the road to a binding determination is paved with non-binding options
The recent case of Contract Control Services v Department of Education and Training  VSC 507 provides further clarification on what constitutes a ‘method of resolving disputes’ for the purpose of satisfying the requirement in section 10A of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 (Act). The case makes it clear that it is possible to mandate a process of dispute resolution that includes non-binding steps, so long as it culminates in a binding determination.
Contract Control Services (CCS) entered into a construction contract with the Department of Education and Training (DET) in 2013 for construction works and related goods and services for the construction of the Bendigo Senior Secondary College Theatre Project.
On September 11, CVM Instruction 590 was promulgated, promoting specific changes in CVM Instruction 358, which provides for disclosure of a material act or fact, and CVM Instruction 461, which regulates regulated securities markets.
There were no fundamental changes in the principles governing procedures for disclosure of material acts or facts, but rather specific changes.
The Medication Market Regulation Chamber (CMED) opened yesterday, September 13, 2017, public consultation on a resolution that provides for the administrative process for the determination of infractions and the application of penalties arising from conduct that violates the market regulatory norms of medicines.
The proposed resolution defines the applicable infractions and penalties, including specifying how fines are determined, through the use of predefined formulas. The intention is to optimize the management and analysis of administrative processes, outlining the steps of establishing and instructing sanctioning procedures, as well as providing for the possibility of voluntary reparation prior to the initiation of administrative proceedings and subsequent redress, important innovations of the CMED. In addition, this resolution also institutionalizes the Commitments for the Adjustment of Conduct to be concluded on the initiative of CMED itself or at the request of the interested party.
On September 5, 2017 in the newspaper Dienas Bizness Inese Hazenfusa, Partner at TGS Baltic, comments on the regulatory sandbox for financial technology companies or fintech companies. Among other things, Inese states that the regulatory sandbox is a safe place, where an entrepreneur may try one’s innovative ideas and solutions in real life within the existing regulatory framework and in close communication with the state supervisor of the respective field. Thus, it creates possibility to identify potential risks on time and to prevent them.
Mantas Gofmanas, TGS Baltic Senior Associate
As the Board of the Bank of Lithuania adopted new Information Disclosure Rules (the “Rules”), the Lithuanian national regulation in connection with prevention of market abuse, disclosure of inside information, disclosure of information about managers’ transactions, also regulation in connection with persons in possession of inside information, etc., has been finally fully harmonised with requirements of Regulation No. 596/2014 on market abuse (the “MAR”) and related regulatory technical standards and implementing technical standards.