Immigration law is always a hot topic here at Berardi Immigration Law, and it was an especially hot topic in 2015 in regard to new developments in the business immigration field. We’ve been keeping track on our blog; as 2016 begins, here’s a look back at some of the highlights:
- USCIS Issues Final H-1B Simeio Guidance
This decision made by USCIS in July 2015 affected some H-1B workers who changed job sites, which caused concern for many employers and employees. According to the guidance issued by USCIS, H-1B employees with worksite location changes after April 2015 required an amended H-1B petition. Read more about it at: https://berardiimmigrationlaw.com/immigration-blog/uscis-issues-final-h-1b-simeio-guidance
- DHS proposes changes to OPT period
In an effort to improve the optional practical training program (OPT) — which allows foreign students (F-1) or graduates to temporarily work in the U.S. — the Department of Homeland Security proposed a few changes. These included extending the time students and graduates can work in the U.S., adding wage protections for students and workers, and requiring employers to provide formal training and mentoring plans.
- USCIS Releases Long Awaited New L-1B Guidance
The L-1B visa category allows multinational companies to transfer employees with “specialized knowledge” from the company’s foreign operations to their U.S. entity. The new guidance, which would be applied to L-1B applications pending or field on or after August 31, included new criteria and a list of specific factors for adjudicators. For more details, see our post: https://berardiimmigrationlaw.com/immigration-blog/uscis-releases-long-awaited-new-l-1b-guidance
- H-4 Dependent Spouses May Now Apply for Employment Authorization
Previously, USCIS did not permit H-4 spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants to apply for work authorization. This changed on May 26 for H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status. If you’re an H-4 and want to see if you meet the criteria for an EAD, read our blog on this topic: https://berardiimmigrationlaw.com/immigration-blog/h-4-dependent-spouses-may-now-apply-for-employment-authorization
- Changes Affect Individuals Awaiting Permanent Residency Applications
It was announced in October that the visa bulletin system, which provides the most current immigrant visa availability information, would be undergoing some major changes. The Department of State would now be posting two distinct charts (instead of one, as it has always done) listing dates for each Family-Based and Employment-Based preference category and country of chargeability. The first chart, titled “Final Action Dates,” displays the dates by which DOS or USCIS must make a decision on one’s application for permanent residence. The second chart, titled “Dates for Filing Applications,” displays the dates by which an individual can actually submit his or her application for permanent residence. Find more details at: https://berardiimmigrationlaw.com/immigration-blog/changes-coming-to-visa-bulletin
Stay up-to-date on the latest developments in immigration law in 2016 and beyond on Berardi Immigration Law’s blog. If you are interested in immigrating to the United States, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!