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Archive for the ‘Immigration & I-9 Services’ Category

BILL TO ENACT SWEEPING CHANGES TO THE U.S. IMMIGRATION SYSTEM FACES STEEP ODDS IN CONGRESS

Posted on: August 7th, 2017

By: Kenneth S. Levine

blogOn February 13, 2017, Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue jointly introduced Senate Bill 354 (otherwise known as the “RAISE Act”). This legislation went largely unreported until August 2nd when the White House staged a press conference with both Senators to announce the Administration’s support of the bill.

The RAISE ACT seeks to effectively replace the United State’s current employment-based immigration system with a “points-based” system that is largely reflective of the immigration systems utilized in Canada and Australia. Under this new system foreign national applicants would be awarded “points” towards permanent residency based on factors such as age, English language proficiency, education, work experience, special skills, etc. Foreign nationals that had already reserved their place in the existing green card quota would be required to submit a new application under the points system.

The Act reduces the total amount of green cards issued by the U.S. government per year to 500,000, which amounts to a 50% reduction based on the current yearly green card quota of 1,000,000. Along with dramatically altering the employment-based permanent residency system, which is primarily contingent upon an employment offer, the RAISE Act eliminates all family-based green card categories except for spouses and children. The Act also eliminates the Diversity Lottery green card system and caps refugee admission to 50,000 per year.

One notable feature of this legislation is that the prestigious Aliens of Extraordinary Ability (EB-1) category would cease to exist. Only foreign nationals who have obtained a Nobel Prize (or other “comparable” award), Olympic Medals or a first place medal in an international competition would receive points towards permanent residency under the new system.

Based on the considerable bi-partisan criticism of the bill in the immediate aftermath of the White House’s August 2nd press conference, it appears that the RAISE Act has little chance of becoming enacted into law. FMG Immigration Attorneys will continue to keep our clients apprised of any new developments on this issue.

For additional information related to this topic and for advice regarding how to navigate U.S. immigration laws you may contact Kenneth S. Levine of the law firm of Freeman, Mathis & Gary, LLP at (770-551-2700) or [email protected].

USCIS RESUMES PREMIUM PROCESSING FOR “CAP-EXEMPT” H-1B CASES

Posted on: July 24th, 2017

By: Kenneth S. Levine

On July 24th U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the immediate reinstatement of the premium processing program for certain cap-exempt H-1B petitions. An H-1B visa may now be filed under premium processing if the Employer (i.e., Petitioner) is:

* An institution of higher education;

* A nonprofit related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education; or

* A nonprofit research or governmental research organization.

Prior to today, USCIS had reinstated premium processing only for H-1B petitions filed under the Conrad 30 Waiver Program for physicians. UCICS indicated in the July 24th announcement that premium processing would be reinstated for all categories of H-1B petitions as workloads permit. FMG Immigration Attorneys will update our clientele once H-1B premium processing has been fully reinstated.

For additional information related to this topic and for advice regarding how to navigate U.S. immigration laws you may contact Kenneth S. Levine of the law firm of Freeman, Mathis & Gary, LLP at (770-551-2700) or [email protected].

Revised Form I-9 Now Available

Posted on: July 18th, 2017

By: Layli Eskandari Deal

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a revised Form I-9 which is now available (https://www.uscis.gov/i-9). Employers may use the old version of the form (dated 11/14/2016) or the new version (dated 07/17/2017) until September 17, 2017. Thereafter, employers must use the new version of the form for all new hires and reverifications. Storage and retention rules for the I-9s remain the same (https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/retain-and-store-form-i-9). Notable changes to the form are:

  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) has been added to List C as an acceptable document.
  • All certification of report of birth issued by the U.S. Department of State (Forms FS-545, DS-1350, FS-240) has been added to List C #2
  • USCIS has renumbered all the options on List C except for the Social Security Card.

All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each person they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens.

For additional information related to this topic and for advice regarding how to navigate U.S. immigration laws you may contact Layli Eskandari Deal of the law firm of Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP at (770-551-2700) or [email protected].

UPDATE ON H-2B VISA AVAILABILITY

Posted on: July 17th, 2017

By: Kenneth S. Levine

The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security announced on June 17th an expansion of the H-2B visa quota. DHS Secretary Kelly, pursuant to his departmental authority, designated an additional 15,000 H-2B visas on top of the current 66,000 annual quota. 

It was made clear in the announcement that the 15,000 additional H-2B visas will apply solely to the current fiscal year.  FMG Immigration Attorneys expect that this new availability of H-2B visas will not last long.  As such, any businesses interested in pursuing an H-2B visa should decide promptly whether or not to proceed with the sponsorship process. 

For additional information related to this topic and for advice regarding how to navigate U.S. immigration laws you may contact Kenneth S. Levine of the law firm of Freeman, Mathis & Gary, LLP at (770-551-2700) or [email protected]

UPDATE ON THE FOREIGN ENTREPRENEURS RULE

Posted on: July 12th, 2017

By: Kenneth S. Levine

In an official memo issued on July 10th the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a delay in the implementation of the “International Entrepreneurs Rule” until March 14, 2018. This rule provided foreign nationals an opportunity to be “paroled” (i.e., admitted) into the U.S. to run their own business if they could show at least $250,000 of investment capital from established, reputable investors.  The program was originally scheduled to go into effect on 7/17/2017.   Prominent venture capital companies in Silicon Valley estimated that approximately 3,000 applications were expected to be filed in the first year alone.

The rule was originally introduced by the previous administration after numerous media reports of entrepreneurs starting successful businesses in other countries after they were unable to obtain a work visa in the U.S.   For example, the typical U.S. work visa sought by entrepreneurs (known as the H-1B visa) is problematic because this visa is predicated on direct employer sponsorship.  While a foreign national entrepreneur may be “sponsored” for an H-1B visa by the company they created, current regulations require the visa holder to prove that they will serve as an employee and be managed and supervised by a Board of Directors.

FMG Immigration Attorneys have learned that various business organizations may challenge the legality of the Department’s decision by arguing that the rule delay constitutes a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). For now, the future of this program remains uncertain.

For additional information related to this topic and for advice regarding how to navigate U.S. immigration laws you may contact Kenneth S. Levine of the law firm of Freeman, Mathis & Gary, LLP at (770-551-2700) or [email protected].