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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The Modernization of the InfoPass System

In 2004, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) implemented InfoPass, a free online service providing applicants with the option to schedule an appointment with a USCIS immigration officer through the USCIS website. Since then, InfoPass has been modified, updated and refreshed many times. More recently, USCIS developed a pilot program to replace InfoPass entirely.  The pilot program, titled the Information Services Modernization Program, was introduced for testing in the Spring of 2018. USCIS was pleased with the results of the program and it became implemented nationwide in November of 2018. The Information Services Modernization Program will ultimately replace the traditional InfoPass system entirely by September of 2019. Based on surveys and other data, USCIS determined that most people who made in-person information service appointments through InfoPass could have received the same information by calling the USCIS Contact Center or checking the USCIS website. The new system is intended to streamline information services by centralizing case status inquiries and information resources in the USCIS Contact Center. There, applicants can receive immediate assistance through online messaging and live phone-based support. By ending InfoPass and redirecting applicants to the Contact Center, USCIS hopes to focus more support on those applicants facing emergency […]
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Israel Signs an Investor Treaty with the United States

The E-2 visa category offers foreign entrepreneurs who wish to invest in an American business the opportunity to come to the United States. The E-2 visa carries with it many distinct advantages. Unlike other visa categories, the E-2 visa allows the applicant to be self-employed, which makes it a better option for entrepreneurs than other employment-based visas, such as the H-1B or O-1 visa. Additionally, the E-2 visa is good for up to five years, a longer term than some of the other available categories. E-2 investors may also be able to obtain E-2 status for certain employees that are needed to help establish and run a business in the U.S. Of course, there are restrictions for those interested in applying for an E-2 visa. First, at the most basic level, there are two qualifications for an E-2 visa that must be met: (1) an investment of a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. enterprise and (2) development and direction of the enterprise as the sole purpose of arrival in the United States. Second, only investors from countries with which the United States has a treaty investor agreement are eligible. Very recently, the United States has signed a long-awaited […]
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Breaking News: Certain Ports of Entry No Longer Allowing L-1 Renewal Applications for Canadian Citizens

Berardi Immigration Law has recently learned that certain ports of entry along the Canadian border are now refusing to process petitions for renewal L-1 applications that are presented by Canadians pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This new policy affects both individual and blanket L petitions.  Initial reports indicated that this was a problem only at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) locations near Calgary. However, it has since expanded throughout several ports of entry and preclearance locations including Toronto Pearson International Airport (preclearance), Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, Montréal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (preclearance), Edmonton, Seattle, Pembina, Warroad, Pt. Roberts, Sumas, and more. Over the weekend, we have been informed that the Peace Bridge located in Buffalo, New York is now also enforcing this policy. This impacts all ports of entry under the Buffalo jurisdiction, including the Rainbow Bridge, Queenston/Lewiston Bridge, and Thousand Islands Bridge and all ports of entry on the northern New York/Canadian border. All L-1 renewal petitions for Canadians must now be submitted directly to USCIS for adjudication. The ports of entry that are refusing to process these petitions are relying on a section of the regulations (8 CFR §214.2(l)(15)(i)), which state that petition extensions […]
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USCIS Reaches the H-1B Cap for 2020

The H-1B program provides an avenue for businesses in the United States to bring foreign nationals into the country to work. But, not just any foreign national will qualify for an H-1B visa. H-1B visas apply only to foreign workers with at least a bachelor’s degree and to occupations that require “highly specialized knowledge.” For example, H-1B visa holders often work in the fields of science, engineering, information technology, teaching and accounting. Making H-1B visas even more selective, the United States Congress has mandated a cap for the number of H-1B visas that will be offered every year. The cap is currently 65,000. There is, however, an exemption from the cap for an additional 20,000 foreign nationals who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher. Of course, the number of applications from businesses in the United States for H-1B visas greatly exceeds the cap. The open filing period for H-1Bs began on April 1, and by April 5, USCIS announced that they had received enough applications to meet the cap of 65,000. In total, USCIS received 201,011 H-1B petitions during the filing period. Due to the large number of applications, the applicants that will receive H-1B visas are chosen […]
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USCIS Launches H-1B Employer Data Hub

On April 1, 2019, USCIS launched the H-1B Employer Data Hub, a search tool/information base that provides information to the public. Some employers in the United States use the H-1B program to temporarily employ foreign workers in certain occupations. The Data Hub helps the public to view which employers petition for H-1B workers and calculate approval and denial rates. A petitioner can be searched by fiscal year, NAICS code, employer name, city, state or ZIP code. Data for individual fiscal years is available to download on the H-1B Employer Data Hub Files page. USCIS has also created the Understanding Our H-1B Employer Data Hub page to help the public use the data hub and understand the terminology used within.  USCIS will provide quarterly updates and annual releases of the data and anticipates updating the data hub on a quarterly basis. For example, data for the first quarter of a fiscal year (October through December), will be provided in April of that fiscal year.  If you have questions on the H-1B category or are interested in applying for an H-1B visa, be sure to contact Berardi Immigration Law today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys!
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Client of the Month: Monica Chang

Berardi Immigration Law is proud to have helped our client, Monica Chang, obtain a five-year E-2 Investor Visa! Monica is the owner of San Korean Kitchen, a manufacturer and distributor of authentic and traditional Korean delicacies and beverages located in Mill Valley, California. (You can learn more about Monica’s business here.) Monica had a vision to share her favorite Korean foods with the world.  After establishing her business here in the United States, Monica began the search for a U.S. immigration attorney. After speaking with several different firms, Monica decided to retain Berardi Immigration Law. Monica says, “I was immediately impressed by how attentive they were to my situation. They gave me a sense that my case was important, and I was in good hands.  They were professional and diligent but still able to give a human context when dealing with me and my case.”  Monica worked closely with our Senior Associate Attorney Gabriella Agostinelli to fully prepare the many documents and forms that need to be submitted for the E-2 visa process. Here at Berardi Immigration Law, we take pride in offering our clients “white-glove” service. We don’t leave our clients with unanswered phone calls or emails for weeks […]
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