Fee Announced for H-1B Electronic Registration

USCIS announced yesterday the fee involved with the newly required electronic registration of H-1B cap petitioners. The fee is $10 for each electronic registration, and it is intended to recover the costs spent on the new H-1B registration system. The proposed fee for electronic registration is...
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The ‘Buy American and Hire American’ Executive Order Two Years Later

On April 18, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order titled “Buy American and Hire American.” The President insisted that the Executive Order would favor American workers more so than the policies already in place. He also intended, among other things, for the “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order to address his concerns with the H-1B visa program. The President thought that the H-1B lottery system should be modified so that H-1B visas would only go to the most skilled and highest-paid applicants. He also insisted that the H-1B system should not be allowed to replace American workers with foreign workers. The new Executive Order was meant to address these flaws in the H-1B program. Technically, the executive order did not create any laws or modify any that already existed. Instead, the Order set in place a policy for the maximization of the production, and sale of goods, products and materials produced in the United States. With an eye toward fulfilling the mandate of the “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has applied new rules, directives and adjustments to safeguard the jobs of American workers and to avert abuses of […]
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Proposed Changes to H-1B Rule Could Spell Major Changes to Lottery System

In an effort to make the H-1B visa program more effective and efficient, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new notice of proposed rulemaking. This proposed rule is also prompted by the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order, which specifically suggested reforms to the H-1B program to ensure that these visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries.  This proposed rule would require H-1B cap-subject petitioners to electronically register with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during a designated registration period. Additionally, this proposed rule would place more emphasis on merit-based aspects of a petitioner. USCIS would reverse the order by which it selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption. This move is projected to increase the number of beneficiaries with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education selected for an H-1B cap number, should this proposed rule take effect.  The current H-1B program allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialized occupations who posses a body of specialized knowledge and a minimum of a bachelor’s degree on a temporary basis. USCIS generally receives more petitions than required by congressional mandate. In order to reconcile […]
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Breaking News: President Trump Signs Executive Order Regarding Family Separation

On June 20, 2018, President Trump signed an executive order titled “Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation.”   Earlier on June 20th, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and White House lawyers drafted an executive order that aimed to end the practice of separating families at the border, which has been given much attention following the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” prosecution policy, which holds that all foreign nationals illegally entering the U.S are immediately detained and placed into proceedings. Because current case law provides that children cannot be detained, they have been separated from their parents and typically placed with other family members, foster care or in facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services. This practice has garnered significant controversy over the last few days.  The order signed by President Trump reiterates his administration’s emphasis on urging Congress to address U.S. immigration law. However, the document also asserts that the administration also espouses the policy of maintaining migrant family units. The executive order includes two major directives. The first directive instructs the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that migrant families are kept together. The second directive instructs the Department of Defense to assist in housing […]
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President Trump Issues New Travel Ban Barring Travel from Seven Countries

Sunday night, President Trump issued a new executive order indefinitely banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban and adding North Korea, Chad and Venezuela. Sudan has been dropped from the list. The new order cites threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the United States. The new order, which will take effect on October 18, imposes a permanent ban on travel, rather than the 90-day suspension that President Trump authorized soon after taking office. Officials say his new action was the result of a deliberative, rigorous examination of security risks designed to avoid the chaotic rollout of his first ban. The addition of non-Muslim countries could address the legal attacks on earlier travel restrictions as discrimination based on religion. Beginning next month, most citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea will be banned from entering the U.S. Citizens of Iraq and some groups of people in Venezuela who seek to visit the U.S. will face restrictions or heightened scrutiny. The original ban caused turmoil at airports in January and set off a furious legal challenge to the president’s […]
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Breaking News: USCIS to Expand Interviews for All Employment-based Adjustment of Status Applicants

USCIS announced yesterday that beginning on October 1, 2017, they will begin expanding in-person interviews for applicants moving from an employment-based nonimmigrant status to Lawful Permanent Resident status through the filing of an Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) application. This change comes as part of President Trump’s Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” It is part of USCIS’s comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud and further enhance the integrity of the U.S. immigration system. Previously, employment-based adjustment of status applicants did not require an in-person interview with USCIS officers in order for their application for permanent residency to be adjudicated. However, USCIS did have the ability to call an applicant in for an interview if they felt the need arose. USCIS notes that conducting in-person interviews will now provide USCIS officers with the opportunity to verify the information provided in an individual’s application, to discover new information that may be relevant to the adjudication process, and to determine the credibility of the individual seeking permanent resident status in the United States. This change will likely result in over 100,000 additional in-person interviews conducted each year, which we […]
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Travel Ban Update: New Compromise

The Supreme Court has announced a new compromise over President Trump’s travel ban. The government may enforce tight restrictions on refugees, but it must also adhere to the expanded definition of close familial relationship, which was handed down by Hawaii District Court Judge Derrick Watson last week. What has happened since the Supreme Court got involved? On June 26, the Supreme Court narrowed lower court injunctions blocking the President’s travel ban. In effect, the 90-day hiatus prohibiting foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the U.S. was reinstated. The Court added, however, that demonstrating a bona fide relationship to a close family member or entity in the U.S. is enough to avoid the travel restrictions. Among others, legal permanent residents and individuals already holding a valid visa were also exempt. The only problem was that the Court did not define close family member. The term was left to the government’s own interpretation. Initially, it was understood to include a parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling (whether whole or half). It did not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, fiancés and any other “extended” family members. […]
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