Iraq: Delays Expected in Processing Immigration Applications for Companies in the Oil and Gas Sector

The Federal Supreme Court issued a ruling invalidating the Iraq Cabinet’s decision that established the Iraq National Oil Company (INOC) on the basis that the decision was unconstitutional. As a result, the INOC, which was established two years ago, will no longer be allowed to operate. The INOC was part of the Ministry of Oil and played an important role in the immigration process as a liaison between oil and gas companies and the Ministry of Interior for issuance of visa invitation letters and approvals. It is expected that the Ministry of Oil will establish new mechanisms for private sector companies and government agencies responsible for visa approval to liaise with each other now that the INOC will no longer be operating. This is likely to take a significant amount of time, and, combined with the current political unrest in Iraq, may negatively affect immigration processes for companies in the oil and gas sector by lengthening processing times for related visas and creating uncertainty around how the new processes will operate. Additionally, companies with oil and gas contracts approved by INOC may be required to redraft their contracts to meet new criteria and resubmit them to a new body within the Ministry of Oil. Further information will be provided to affected clients.

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