As we start a new year, we would like to share with you some of our most popular legal alerts from 2019. Our top-read alerts range from construction, labor & employment, tax, immigration, trusts & estates, cooperatives & condominiums, real estate, corporate & securities, litigation and intellectual property, reflecting the broad array of our full-service practice. We hope that our alerts have been valuable to you and your colleagues, and demonstrate our commitment to providing helpful information to you.
U.S. employers are gearing up for H-1B cap season, which has traditionally commenced on April 1 each year. This year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has introduced an unprecedented procedure - an electronic preregistration requirement. The preregistration period will run from March 1 to March 20 and USCIS will select through a random lottery those petitions which may be filed in the 90-day filing period.
A seemingly benign application form known as the DS-160 nonimmigrant visa application form is completed online by all applicants seeking to work in temporary visa status in the United States. The form, available on the Consular Electronic Application website, may seem like an easy undertaking but in fact, there are traps that the unwary applicant must be aware of as they move through the form and answer the questions solicited. Specific areas of concern relate to the coordination of activity and background checks between the DS-160 U.S. State Department form, the U.S. Citizenship Services petition process, which prompts a foreign national to complete the form, the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) and U.S. consular posts abroad and how each of these agencies interact and share information with each other.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule requiring employers to pay a $10.00 non-refundable fee for each H-1B cap registration submitted, once the electronic system is implemented. This final federal rule becomes effective on December 9, 2019 and will affect H-1B cap-subject petitions filed in the April 2020 cap season.
For foreign nationals working in the United States on temporary work visas, it is best to plan well in advance for international travel. Verify all immigration documents are in order prior to your departure for that long-anticipated holiday visit to friends and family to assure that the return trip is not bumpy!
On June 11, 2018, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned an immigration appeals court decision granting asylum to a Salvadoran woman, Ms. A.B., fleeing domestic abuse. This decision rejects nearly two decades of precedent and is the latest development in defining asylum eligibility.
On March 30, 2018, the U.S. Department of State issued a notice of request for public comment in the Federal Register regarding a new rule it intends to apply to all visa applications by foreign nationals for visitor visas, temporary work visas and immigrant visas. This rule includes a proposal that an estimated 14.7 million people annually will be asked to submit their social media usernames for the past five years prior to submitting their visa application.
On April 12, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had completed the H-1B cap lottery selection process.
On Monday, October 16, the U.S. Department of State announced that due to a technical issue, the DV-2019 entry period that commenced on October 3 has been closed. The Department of State further advised that all entries submitted between October 3 and October 10 would be voided and excluded from the system.
In December 2015, President-elect Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” This idea of a Muslim ban has taken many iterations with the latest being an “extreme vetting” on Muslims entering the United States.
Lawyers say it will take time for same-sex couples to receive the federal benefits now available to them after Wednesday's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court declaring the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional (NYLJ, June 27). And they warned that those wed in New York should remain wary about venturing into any of the 37 states where their marriages are not recognized.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that as of June 11, 2012, it had reached the statutory cap for both Regular and Master’s Degree H-1Bs for Fiscal Year 2013. The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000 and 20,000 for the Master’s Degree. The USCIS will reject cap-subject petitions for H-1B specialty occupation workers seeking an employment start date in Fiscal Year 2013 that arrive after June 11.
USCIS announced this week that there are only 19,800 H1B cap visa numbers remaining in the pool of H1B visas it allocates each fiscal year. Once USCIS has received 19,800 H1B petitions, employers will only be permitted to employ H1B employees who have previously held H1B visa status, and new H1B petitions may only be filed commencing in April 2012 for October 1st, 2012 employment start dates.
In the wake of the financial meltdown and subsequent signs of economic recovery, opportunities are becoming more prevalent for those looking to diversify and expand their investments. Luckily, there are various ways to acquire funding for development projects that are both available and underutilized. The Employment-Based visa program is one such tool, particularly the EB-5 visa category.
One of your best employees is nearing the expiration of his eligibility to work in the United States in H-1B1 status. How do you protect both your company and your investment in this employee?
As immigration continues to grab the headlines, it is interesting to note that these reforms often directly affect hiring processes and procedures. As enforcement of immigration regulations increase in tandem with fines, and in some cases criminal prosecutions, it is important to review your firm’s I-9 procedures.