Continuing Resolution extends EB-5 Program until January 2018

As expected, the House and the Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (the “CR”) last night which extended the Federal budget until January 19, 2018.  It is expected that the President will sign the CR today. This new short-term extension made no changes to any federal programs, and as a result, the EB-5 Regional Center Program has been extended in its existing form, meaning individual investors may continue to file I-526 petitions until this date. Read more ›

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TNs in Trouble? Responding to Recent Changes in the TN Economist Classification

USCIS has issued new guidance on the TN nonimmigrant classification for economists. Following a Policy Memorandum dated November 20, 2017, USCIS will no longer classify financial analysts, market research analysts, and marketing specialists in the TN economist category. Effectively immediately, these restrictions apply to new applications for TN status, extensions of previously approved applications, and international travel of employees presently in TN economist status. Read more ›

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How House Joint Resolution 123 Impacts EB-5

On Friday, December 8, 2017, President Trump signed House Joint Resolution 123, the “Continuing Appropriations Act”, which prevented a U.S. federal government shutdown.  The Act provided a short-term extension which will keep the U.S. federal government open through December 22, 2017.  Within this continuing resolution, no changes were made to any federal programs.  As a result, the EB-5 Regional Center Program has been extended in its existing form, meaning individual investors may continue to file I-526 petitions until this date.  Read more ›

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Top U.S. Immigration Official Announces Quadrupled Employer Compliance Audits

Employers can expect an increase in immigration compliance audits and investigations by “four to five times” beyond their current levels, the director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) announced yesterday. Read more ›

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U.S Non-Immigrant Visa Service Suspended in Turkey

The U.S. State Department has temporarily suspended the issuance of non-immigrant visas at all U.S. government diplomatic facilities in Turkey on October 8, 2017. “Recent events have forced the United States government to reassess the commitment of government of Turkey to the security of U.S mission and personnel,” the statement by the U.S mission in Ankara said. Read more ›

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EB-5 Program Is Extended Without Changes Until December 8, 2017

On September 8, President Trump signed into law H.R. 601 which will keep the U.S. federal government open through December 8, 2017.  As a result, the EB-5 Regional Center Program is now extended until such date without any changes.  Read more ›

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President Trump Issues New Travel Ban Expanding Countries Affected By Travel Restrictions

On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued a Proclamation enhancing the vetting capabilities and processes for detecting attempted entry into the United States by terrorists or other public safety threats.  The Proclamation suspended and limited, subject to categorical exceptions and case-by-case waivers, entry into the United States of nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and North Korea.

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This Year’s Diversity Visa Lottery Opens Oct. 3—For Possibly the Last Time?

The U.S. State Department recently announced that it will begin accepting applications for this year’s Diversity Immigrant Visa Program—commonly referred to as the diversity visa (DV) lottery system—starting on Tuesday, October 3. Applicants whose DV cases are among those selected in the lottery and are subsequently approved may apply for a green card beginning on October 1, 2018.

In an annual random lottery system, the State Department selects 50,000 immigrant visa applications from a pool of foreign national applicants who are citizens of countries with historically low immigration rates to the United States. However, foreign nationals considering applying in this year’s DV lottery are strongly encouraged to do so, as this year may be the program’s last. The Trump Administration as well as numerous prominent members of Congress repeatedly call for an end to the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.  Read more ›

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Rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

On September 5, 2017 DHS rescinded the June 15, 2012 memorandum issued by President Obama which established the “DACA” program. The “DACA” rescission requires individuals that are seeking an extension of their status to file on or before October 5, 2017 in order to extend their employment authorization and “DACA” status. The government will reject all applications to renew DACA that are filed after this date.

In light of the DACA rescission, employers should continue with their standard I-9 compliance protocols. Employers should not focus their attention merely on employees who possess an employment authorization document that was issued pursuant to DACA. Doing so could result in a discrimination lawsuit against the employer by the affected employee. Employers may wish to generally remind their employee population as a whole of the impending deadline. Employers may also look to implement a 60 or 90 day notice period for those requiring I-9 re-verification to provide employees with ample time to gather and present other List A, B, or C documents for re-verification purposes.

On September 14, 2017 President Trump announced that the he along with the Democratic minority leadership were working on legislation that would provide protection to “Dreamers.” The President stated in part, “We agreed to a plan to protect our nation’s Dreamers from deportation,” adding that there would be a “border security measure that does not include a wall” included in immigration legislation. It is hoped that an agreement is reached on this legislation in the coming days.

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USCIS Reinstates Premium Processing for H-1B Cap Subject Petitions

USCIS announced on Monday, September 18, 2017, that it will immediately accept premium processing requests of all H-1B visa petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 cap.  H-1B cap petitions filed in April 2017, requesting a start date of October 1, 2017, can now be upgraded to premium processing.  This includes petitions filed for the 65,000 H-1B visas allotted per fiscal year, as well as the 20,000 additional H-1B visas set aside for workers with a U.S. master’s degree or higher educational degree.  Employers who have F-1 students/employees currently working under the “cap gap” protection, and whose work eligibility will expire as of September 30, 2017, should consider upgrading their petitions to premium processing.  Employers can file Form I-907 Request for Premium Processing with a $1,225 filing fee with the USCIS office where the H-1B petition is pending.

In addition to the resumption of premium processing for H-1B visa petitions subject to the FY2018 cap, USCIS previously resumed premium processing of H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers and for certain H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap.  Premium processing remains temporarily suspended for all other H-1B petitions, such as extensions of stay.  USCIS plans to resume premium processing for all other remaining H-1B petitions not subject to the FY2018 cap as agency workloads permit.

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Posted in H-1B Visa Petitions
About ABCs of Immigration Law
The global economy has become increasingly transactional and transcontinental. Since 9/11, there have been many amendments to immigration laws in the United States that have largely affected both individuals and businesses. Cozen O'Connor's immigration law blog, ABC's of Immigration Law, focuses on the interests and the challenges faced by those individuals and business impacted by immigration laws.
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