Category Archives: Immigration Planning & Compliance

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Suspending Entry for Temporary Workers: What Employers Need to Know

On Monday, President Trump issued a Proclamation restricting certain foreign workers from entering the U.S. through the end of 2020, claiming it is necessary to curb the “economic contraction resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.” The ban specifically targets work visas that many American employers rely upon to fill U.S. labor shortages. With the stated purpose of reducing competition against Americans … Continue Reading

Homeland Security Eases Policy on Expired Documents and Extends Remote Verification for Form I-9

In light of COVID-19, the federal government has extended temporary guidance relating to remote verification and relaxed restrictions on documents supporting I-9 verification. With respect to the latter, given ongoing stay-at-home orders and restrictions on renewing state driver’s licenses, state ID cards, and other forms of List B identity documents due to COVID-19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has … Continue Reading

Return to Work: Key Immigration Issues for Employers

As federal, state, and local government authorities pave the pathway to re-opening America in the ever-changing COVID-19 environment, employers should be prepared to address key immigration issues likely to arise. To ensure continuity of business operations and alleviate disruptions in the workforce due to immigration noncompliance, employers should develop a plan now to carefully transition non-U.S. citizen employees back into … Continue Reading

New I-9 Form Required But Verification Relaxed for Some Employers

Amidst the fast changing pace of employer benefits and obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has implemented changes to ensure that immigration worksite compliance continues. Beginning May 1, 2020, employers must use the newer 10/21/19 edition of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, but may also benefit from relaxed I-9 procedures intended to comply with social … Continue Reading

Suspending Entry for Certain Green Card Applicants: How Does it Impact Employers and Foreign National Employees?

President Trump’s latest Executive Order temporarily suspends the issuance of certain Immigrant visas (Green Card) at U.S. Consulates and Embassies overseas and halts Green Card applicants from entering the United States. However, it does not have an immediate impact on U.S. nonimmigrant workers in valid status such as H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, L-1A, L-1B, O-1, and other temporary worker visa classifications. … Continue Reading

Handling Foreign National Healthcare Workers in the Pandemic

Healthcare workers – critical to the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic – are needed more now than ever, yet the bureaucracy surrounding employment of foreign national healthcare workers creates roadblocks. With the closing of Consulate offices and suspension of Premium Processing, employers must be creative in navigating options for obtaining approval for foreign national healthcare workers and must be … Continue Reading

Deadline Rapidly Approaching To Register Online for H-1B Visa Lottery

The rush is on: U.S. employers looking to hire foreign professionals through H-1B sponsorship must register online for the annual lottery by noon (12:00 pm) EST on March 20, 2020. Employers petitioning for cap-subject H-1B hopefuls are required to register electronically through myUSCIS and pay a $10 registration fee to be entered in the yearly draw. The H-1B online registration … Continue Reading

Preregistration Process Brings Revamp and Uncertainty to H-1B Visa Program

U.S. employers wanting to hire foreign professionals should identify those eligible for H-1B sponsorship as soon as possible to allow sufficient time to navigate newly required procedures in March 2020, including using the H-1B electronic registration system. Employers petitioning for cap-subject H-1B hopefuls are now required to register electronically and pay a $10 registration fee between March 1 and March … Continue Reading

Anticipated Changes to Employment-Based Green Card Processing

U.S. employers and foreign workers could soon face significant additional burdens and years-long delays in the employment-based green card process. Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 (H.R. 1044), which seeks to eliminate the per-country limit on employment-based immigrant visas (i.e., “green cards”). The legislation proposes instead to treat all foreign … Continue Reading

Sanctuary Cities in the United States: Sinking or Swimming?

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is one step closer to eliminating protections availed in so-called sanctuary cities. On May 6, 2019, the federal immigration authority launched a new program that encourages local law enforcement to arrest foreign nationals in cities that have chosen to be a safe haven for immigrants. This program, which debuted in Largo, Florida, comes on … Continue Reading

USCIS Introduces Two-Phased Approach to Premium Processing for FY 2020 H-1B Cap Cases

As of April 1, 2019, U.S. employers requesting a change of status for H-1B hopefuls should request Premium Processing by concurrently filing visa petitions with Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, available here. But don’t expect the Federal Immigration Service to begin working immediately. In a statement released on March 19, 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services … Continue Reading

Changes Coming Soon to H-1B Work Visa Program?

Employers are facing a crackdown on the H-1B visa program with a long-awaited immigration reform in the pipeline. On November 30, 2018, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a notice of proposed rulemaking that seeks to (1) increase the number of H-1B visa recipients who have master’s degrees or higher from U.S. academic institutions; (2) ensure “a more meritorious selection” … Continue Reading

Waitlisted: U.S. Employers Face Longer Delays for Hiring H-1B Workers

Employers are alerted the extended suspension of Premium Processing will mean postponed start-dates for H-1B workers well beyond the expected October 1 annual start date. Moreover, because H-1B change of employer requests filed on or after September 11, 2018 will be subject to “normal” processing times, ranging anywhere from four to six months, employers better move fast to file these … Continue Reading

SOS: Students Stuck Outside

A new and unexpected policy change will cause problems for students who plan to process visa applications from abroad. Foreign nationals who overstay their student visas could be barred from re-entering the U.S. under a draft policy memorandum issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on May 11. The new policy, which will supersede existing policy that’s … Continue Reading

Big Brother to Review Visa Applicants’ Social Media History?

Handing over access to your social media account might be the next big move in U.S. immigration law. In a formal notice issued on March 30, 2018, the Department of State advised that it plans to require nearly all visa applicants to the U.S. to submit five years of social media handles for specific platforms identified by the government, with … Continue Reading

Employers Relying On H-4 Dependent Spouse Visas Better Move Fast as April 1 Lottery Looms

Proposed changes to the rule authorizing employment for H-4 status holders could spell an increase in H-1B petitions this upcoming fiscal year, and ultimately, increased sponsorship costs for employers. Consequently, employers with workers who presented an H-4 EAD card as their I-9 employment eligibility documentation are strongly advised to consider sponsoring such workers who qualify for H-1B status in the … Continue Reading

Big Brother is Watching You: Feds Now Vetting Foreign Workers Via Social Media

Employers may need to start “following” the information their foreign national workers share on Twitter or Facebook, as the Department of Homeland Security is turning social media into the federal government’s latest surveillance tool. In October, the Modified Privacy Act System of Records was quietly implemented placing Facebook likes, interests, friends, Instagram photographs, Twitter tweets, work information shared on LinkedIn … Continue Reading

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

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