Mr. Mulvaney Meet Mr. Miller

In remarks that can only be described as bizarre, White House Chief of Staff Mulvaney has declared that America needs more immigration. I realize the White House is a really big building and so he and Stephen Miller may not have met but, since the beginning of the Trump Administration, Miller and his cronies have imposed restrictions on legal immigration that has reduced the number of persons coming to the US on legal visas by almost 16% and the number of individuals coming on legal immigrant visas (green cards) by over 25%. The attacks and restrictive policies have been targeting high demand occupations such as registered nurses and software engineers. Maybe when Mr. Mulvaney gets back into DC, the WH can get their storylines and strategies straight. I’d like to view this as a positive development but, given the track record of this administration, it is more likely that Mulvaney will next be seen as a contributor on a news talk show.

Retrogression Strikes Hard at EB3 !

The Department of State (DOS) has released the March Visa Bulletin and as predicted, the Final Action Date for EB3 for all countries has retrogressed back to Jan 1, 2017 (aside from India and China which are at 2009 and 2016 respectively). The Dates for Filing chart remains unchanged at Jan 1, 2019. The USCIS has declared that they will accept I-485 filings in March using the Dates for Filing chart. Retrogression occurs when there is an oversubscription (demand exceeds supply) for a particular category. The DOS went on to state that they do not expect any forward movement in the EB3 category in the foreseeable future meaning that we may get no forward movement until Oct 2020, the beginning of the new fiscal year. New legislation is the only remedy.

New Form I-9

On Jan. 31, 2020, USCIS published the Form I-9 Federal Register notice announcing a new version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. This new version contains minor changes to the form and its instructions. Employers should begin using this updated form as of Jan. 31, 2020. Employers may continue using the prior version of the form (Rev. 07/17/2017 N) until April 30, 2020. After that date, they can only use the new form with the 10/21/2019 version date. The version date is located in the lower left corner of the form.

The major changes are to the form’s instructions, which include:

1. Clarified who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer
2. Updated USCIS website addresses
3. Provided clarifications on acceptable documents for Form I-9
4. Updated the process for requesting paper Forms I-9
5. Updated the DHS Privacy Notice

New USCIS Forms !

Following its Supreme Court victory, the White House has begun the implementation of the new public charge rules, which will have far-reaching implications for both employment and family based cases. The new forms to be used in all USCIS filings as of Feb 24, 2020 have been released and can be reviewed here.

USCIS Scores Victory in Federal Court Over H-1b Company

We often hear about the victories that IT cos. have been scoring over the USCIS when litigating H-1b denials relative to specialty occupation, beneficiary qualifications, and employer-employee relationship issues; and, the wins are numerous. We rarely hear about the losses but, recently a Federal Court in Az. ruled against an IT company’s pursuit of a preliminary injunction over 18 denials. The Court ruled that the company had not proven irreparable harm in denying the motion. The lawsuit remains pending on the substantive issues. A full copy of the decision can be read here.

Travel Ban Explained

On Friday, January 31, 2020, President Trump issued a new set of travel restrictions for nationals of certain foreign countries. This is an expansion of the “travel ban” issued in 2017, as both draw their power from the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212(f).
The foreign nationals affected are those from Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, and Nigeria.
This does not affect nationals of those countries if they are already present in the U.S. For example, if you have a Nigerian employee on H-1B, they may remain employed. You are also perfectly fine to start or continue a permanent residency case (PERM, I-140, I-485) via employment-based sponsorship.
Non-immigrant visas, such as H-1b, TN, L-1, O, etc are not impacted.
Students are also unaffected. For example, you may continue to employ a Kyrgyzstani student on Optional Practical Training. Nationals from affected countries are also permitted to extend or change status in the U.S.—they may apply for a STEM OPT extension, and/or you may place them into the H-1B lottery.
The most heavily affected are those candidates who are outside of the United States and going through National Visa Center processing for an immigrant visa. Nationals of those four countries are no longer able to seek immigrant visas through U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, regardless of the location of the post. If you have candidates who are currently part of the offshore immigrant visa process, you need to inform the candidate as soon as you can that their case may continue to be processed, but that their case will be placed into administrative processing or outright denied if this ban remains in effect.
Dual citizens are unaffected so long as they seek an immigrant visa on their non-affected passport.
This set of restrictions will affect your employees’ family members who are not in the United States and seeking to immigrate under the follow to join rules. Permanent resident or U.S. citizen employees who are attempting to bring their family members—spouses, parents, siblings, and the like—are now unable to bring them here on an immigrant visa if the family member is a national of one of those four countries. H-1B or L-1A/L-1B employees may still bring their spouses and Under-21-Children on H-4/L-2 visas.
If you have specific cases, please contact your HLG atty. to discuss.

Trump Immigration Policy Cheered in Toronto !

With the denial rate of H-1b visas in the mid 30% over the past 2 quarters and inching closer to 40%, ever wonder where all of those talented engineers and computer professionals are going ? Looks like they are landing nicely in Canada. Check out this latest article from NPR.

February Visa Bulletin

The Department of State (DOS) has recently released the February Visa Bulletin and there is very little forward movement in the Final Action Dates chart. Several categories remained the same and India EB2 jumped forward by 1 single day ! As expected, the Dates for Filing Chart stayed the same. The DOS issued a warning indicating that they expect retrogression in the “rest of the World” EB3 category as early as March. The USCIS has announced which 485 applications they will accept in Feb and they are using a combination of the dates for filing and final action charts depending upon your country of chargeability. Check the language carefully to understand how it may impact you.

By |January 23rd, 2020|Green Cards|0 Comments|

HLG to Host H-1b Lottery Conference Call

HLG will be hosting a free conference call for clients on Tues Jan 14th at 2:30 eastern to provide information on the new electronic registration system and the H-1b cap lottery filings for this year. Register here.

By |January 8th, 2020|Events|0 Comments|

January Visa Bulletin

The Department of State (DOS) has released the January 2020 Visa Bulletin and there is a lot of activity. Most notably, in the Dates for Filing chart, EB3 for the Philippines and all other countries retrogressed to Jan 1, 2019. In the Final Action chart, EB1 for the all other countries jumped forward 4 mos. but, all other categories remained essentially the same with forward movement ranging from 3 days to 2 weeks. The USCIS has announced that they will accept I-485 filings in January based upon the Dates for Filing chart. Also, included in the Visa Bulletin were projections for coming months and there was a lot of bad news with the prediction that EB3 for all other countries is expected to retrogress by March and EB2 may retrogress as early as April.

By |December 30th, 2019|Green Cards|0 Comments|