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

Presidential Proclamation on Expanded Travel Ban

Posted on: September 29th, 2017

By: Layli Eskandari Deal

The President announced a revised travel ban on September 24, 2017. The new travel ban removes Sudan from the list but adds 3 additional countries to the list. Each designated Country has specific restrictions and they are as follows:

1. Chad – Entry into the United States of nationals of Chad, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2) and business/tourist (b-1/B-2) visas is suspended.
2. Iran – Entry into the United States of nationals of Iran as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended, except that entry of nationals of Iran under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitors (J) visas is not suspended, although such individuals will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
3. Libya – Entry into the United States of nationals of Libya, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B- 2) visas, is suspended.
4. North Korea – Entry into the United States of nationals of North Korea as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended.
5. Somalia – Entry into the United States of nationals of Somalia as immigrants is suspended, and nonimmigrants traveling to the United States will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
6. Syria – Entry into the United States of nationals of Syria as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended.
7. Venezuela – entry into the United States of certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family members as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B- 2) visas is suspended.
8. Yemen – entry into the United States of nationals of Yemen as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B- 2) visas, is suspended.

Also, Secretary of Homeland Security recommended that nationals of Iraq who seek to enter the United States be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if they pose risks to the national security or public safety of the United States.

The suspension of entry does not apply to:

1. Any individual who already is a lawful permanent resident of the United States (green card holder).
2. Any foreign national who was admitted or paroled into the United States on or after the effective date of this new Order.
3. Any foreign national who has a document other than a visa that allows travel to the United States and seek admission, valid on effective date or after the date of this Order, such as an Advance Parole Document.
4. Any dual national of a country designated when the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country.
5. Any foreign national traveling on diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Visa, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 visas.
6. Any foreign national been granted asylum, any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States, or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection on the Convention Against torture.

The indefinite bans immediately impact nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen with no bona fide relationship to a U.S. person or entity, and will take effect for all other impacted nationals of those countries, as well as nationals of Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela, on October 18, 2017.

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].

Another Extension of the EB-5 Regional Center Program

Posted on: September 14th, 2017

By: Kenneth S. Levine

untitledA continuing resolution entitled H.R. 601 was signed a few days ago by President Trump. The primary purpose of this latest CR was to approve an allocation of funding for federal government operations through December 8, 2017. However, H.R. 601 also included a provision for a three month extension of the EB-5 Regional Center Program. This latest extension, which comes after a string of previous extensions, leaves intact the program’s current regulatory minimum level of investment ($500,000).

The EB5 investors program remains politically controversial. It is certainly possible that the administration will seek to make changes to the program through Congress by this December. However, in the absence of Congressional action, a further extension of the program is widely anticipated within the next few months.

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].

Where Did the Dream Go?

Posted on: September 6th, 2017

By: Layli Eskandari Deal

DACA-Application[1]On September 5, 2017, President Trump announced an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  The program was established on June 15, 2012 and deferred the deportation of foreign nationals that were brought to the United States as children and granted them work authorization.  This group of individuals has become known as “the Dreamers.”  The DACA program is scheduled to sunset once each Dreamer’s work authorization expires.  Those individuals will not be able to renew their status and will be vulnerable to removal from the United States.

While there is some uncertainty surrounding the end of the DACA program, here is what we know:

  1. No new applications will be accepted as of September 5, 2017;
  2. Pending DACA applications will be adjudicated;
  3. If an individual’s status is set to expire on or before March 8, 2018, USCIS will accept a renewal application, but the request must be submitted no later than October 5, 2017;
  4. All pending travel documents (advance parole documents) requests will be denied and no new requests will be accepted.

Now we look to Congress to address the fate of these Dreamers.  There seems to be support in both the House and Senate through multiple bills that provide relief for Dreamers, but it is hard to predict the ultimate outcome of any future legislative attempt to address the status of Dreamers.

In the interim, our suggestion for employers with Dreamers within their workforces is to continue to employ those individuals until the expiration of their employment authorization documents.

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].

 

USICS Raises the Bar on Entry Level H-1B Visas

Posted on: August 31st, 2017

By: Kenneth S. Levine

ROFWebsite_Dixon_H1B[1]

Companies that employ H-1B workers should be aware that USCIS has greatly elevated the scrutiny of “entry level” H-1B visa cases. Since April 2017 FMG Immigration Attorneys have advised clients that USCIS has telegraphed a clear intent to apply a stricter level of legal scrutiny to all H-1B visa cases. It is now apparent that one tactic to carry out this objective involves a novel legal argument that a “level 1” salary wage cannot qualify a position as a “specialty occupation.” Immigration Law practitioners across the U.S. have reported receiving this type of Request for Evidence (RFE) over the past few months.

In these RFEs USICS will generally summarize DOL’s “Level 1” regulatory definition and then argue that the entry wage level means that the sponsored position is not “specialized” or “complex” enough to merit an H-1B approval. Previously, for entry level H-B positions, USCIS would usually cite the Occupational Outlook Handbook in advancing an argument that the employer’s educational requirements did not qualify the position as a “specialty occupation.”

It is clear that USCIS has now adopted an internal policy that all level one H-1B cases will be treated as legally insufficient. FMG Immigration Attorneys are currently devising legal strategies to address this issue. It is expected that this trend will continue for some time and that ultimately the Agency’s “level 1” legal theory will be aggressively challenged in Federal Court.

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].

Get Ready for In Person Interviews For All Green Card Applicants

Posted on: August 30th, 2017

By: Layli Eskandari Deal

In October 2017, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will start conducting in-person interviews for all green card categories, including employment-based cases. Previously, most employment-based green card cases were exempt from in-person interviews and were reviewed and adjudicated at a Service Center. This change is a direct result of the Executive Order signed by President Trump in March. USCIS has stated that the interview process is a means to improve the detection and prevention of fraud.

In-person interviews are common in family-based cases. As USCIS phases in the new cases for interviews, we can expect long delays at USCIS Field Offices where these interviews will take place.

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].