Recent figures disclosed by the U.S. State Department show that the number of F-1 and J-1 foreign student and exchange visitor visas issued annually fell by 42.5 percent between 2015 and 2018, prompting the American Immigration Council (AIC) to note that the United States has become a less welcoming destination for international students.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its final rules for public inspection, vastly constricting the number of immigrants who might be deemed eligible for lawful permanent residence. As previously detailed in our October 2018 article, applicants for permanent residence must prove under current law that they would not likely become public charges to the United States and rely on public benefits. Now, the grounds for determination will be expanded to include those with limited income, lack of education and skills, age or health-related issues.
On June 17, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it is embarking upon a strategy to decrease processing times based on location for applications for U.S. citizenship and applications for adjustment of status.
The EB-5 immigrant investor program, first introduced in the early 1990s, has not had an overhaul since its inception. Major changes will apply to all I-526 petitions filed on or after the Effective Date of November 21, 2019. Anyone filing during the next four months, therefore, would be eligible to file immigrant petitions at the current investment level. It is expected that with the rush to filing, the wait times for high volume countries including China and India will be prolonged by many years. Some of the larger Regional Centers that attract most of the EB-5 capital typical for their projects will likely no longer qualify under the new regulations and there is some question whether the new rule will become law. Lawsuits or congressional action could stymie implementation of the new regulations.
As is the case with most countries, foreign nationals are generally required to have a passport valid for six months beyond the period of their intended stay to be admitted to the United States. Foreign nationals planning to stay for more than 90 days generally also need to have a valid visa. Visa requirements can be waived under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if the foreign national is a citizen of an eligible country or are lawful permanent residents of the United States or Canada.
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.