Category Archives: Immigration Planning & Compliance

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Immigration Enforcement and Deadlines: A Pause for Disasters

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has put a hold on immigration enforcement operations in areas affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Routine non-criminal immigration enforcement operations will not be conducted at evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks, according to a joint announcement issued by ICE and US Customs and Border Protection in connection with Hurricane … Continue Reading

Higher Costs for Highly Skilled Foreign Workers in Store for Employers?

Despite the absence of new regulations or policies enacted following the President’s “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order, a recent shift in the adjudication of H-1B visas indicates the Administration’s policy initiatives are already being accomplished behind the scenes. Employers should be aware that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is exercising greater scrutiny over H-1B petitions, issuing requests … Continue Reading

Up Against the Wall: New Immigration Measures Impact Employers

Employers will likely experience new challenges as the Trump Administration continues to expand its immigration enforcement efforts. Immigrants–including lawful permanent residents—can be subject to deportation for relatively low-level, minor offenses such as jaywalking and driving without a license. Employers can be subject to criminal penalties if a foreign national employee inadvertently falls out of legal status. Employees with family members … Continue Reading

Revised Version of the Form I-9 Became Mandatory on January 22, 2017

As of January 22, 2017, U.S. employers should be using the new Form I-9 for Employment Eligibility Verification, available here.

Federal immigration law requires that U.S. employers use the Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of new employees and to re-verify continuing employment authorization of existing workers who hold temporary employment authorization only. All U.S. employers … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates Guidance on National Origin Discrimination

As we observed (here), the heated tone of the recent presidential election poses unprecedented challenges for employers attempting to manage employee interactions in the workplace, especially when issues related to immigration and national origin inevitably come up. Right on cue, on November 21, 2016, the EEOC, emphasizing the rising numbers of immigrant workers in many of the United … Continue Reading

Immigration Laws Impacting the Workplace

The H-1B visa program has been one of the most successful programs in U.S. immigration history, allowing for U.S. entities to hire and place highly skilled workers, holding at least a bachelors’ degree or the equivalent, into specialty occupation positions with their companies. However, the rigid cap of 85,000 new annual H-1B visas (which includes a carve out of 20,000 … Continue Reading

Glitch in State Department Systems Causing Worldwide Visa Issuance Delays

U.S. embassies and consulates abroad recently suspended issuing any U.S. visas as a result of worldwide technical issues with State Department computer systems. These technical problems cause considerable delays to foreign nationals waiting for their visa to be issued prior to traveling to the United States. The suspension is global, and does not apply to any specific visa category or … Continue Reading

H-4 Visa-Holders’ Eligibility for Employment Authorization Announced

Effective May 2015, certain spouses of H-1B visa-holders who are present under H-4 status will be eligible to apply for an employment authorization document, or EAD. Currently, those in H-4 status—the category assigned to spouses and children of H-1B visa-holders—are not authorized to work in the States, creating economic and personal hardship for these families during lengthy wait periods for … Continue Reading

Employers Should Begin Preparation for Opening of FY 2016 H-1B Cap

The beginning of the calendar year is the perfect time for employers to begin planning for the FY 2016 H-1B cap filing season, which will begin on Wednesday, April 1, 2015.

Commensurate with the nation’s economic growth, the demand for H-1B visas is expected to surpass years past. The H-1B quotas for FY 2016 are again capped at 65,000 petitions … Continue Reading

President Obama Outlines Executive Action on Immigration

President Obama has ambitiously announced several executive actions that have the potential to impact undocumented immigrants, as well as employers, foreign national workers, and their spouses. While these efforts are focused on administrative relief for undocumented immigrants who apply to remain in the United States, these executive actions potentially offer significant benefits to the employment-focused immigration community.… Continue Reading

Opening of the 2016 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program Announced

The State Department has announced that it will accept applications for the FY 2016 “diversity immigrant visa” lottery beginning October 1, 2014. Applicants who are selected and approved may submit their green card applications starting on October 1, 2015.

The State Department annually accepts “diversity immigrant visa” applications from qualified individuals born in certain countries with historically low rates of … Continue Reading

New I-9 Form For Employers

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published Introduction of the Revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form in the March 8, 2013, Federal Register. The new Form I-9 is available here. Employers should use the new form as soon as possible but have until May 7, 2013 before they will be penalized for not doing so. In addition, employers … Continue Reading

Temporary Visa or More Permanent Solution? Immigration Law 101 at the Akerman Labor & Employment Law Seminar Has the Answers

The U.S. employer that wishes to have a foreign national conduct business with its company or work for its company in the United States should determine if a temporary visa or a more permanent immigration solution is required for time spent in the United States. As part of this strategy, the U.S. based employer should work closely with the foreign … Continue Reading

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