During a time when the H-1b visa is under seemingly constant attack, at least one Senator thinks we need an expansion of the program, along with greater US worker protections. Get an update on Senator Hatch’s plan from CIO.com
Lots of updates recently, but, here is the latest announcement from AILA National on the expansion of additional countries to the list “Contrary to rumors apparently circulating, AILA National has no confirmation of additional countries being added to the travel ban. The executive order anticipates that additional countries could be added. Clearly, it is impossible to guess where, when, or how the president will use this authority” We will continue to keep you updated as developments occur. AILA has created a AILA public page to post breaking news on the travel ban.
Another update, late this afternoon, the DOS released an DOS emergency travel alert providing assurances that persons with dual nationalities wherein one nationality was subject to the ban but, another nationality was not; would not be considered subject to the ban.
Yesterday, the White House announced that the Travel Ban in effect since Sat. for nationals from 7 designated countries would not be applicable to U.S. permanent residents. This is welcome news after the uncertainty caused by the EO and its implementation. Further bad news for nationals from the 7 designated countries, the USCIS has confirmed that it has stopped the processing of all petitions and applications submitted with the exception of N-400 (naturalization application). Processing will resume only after the ban has been lifted. Yesterday’s report of an expansion of the banned country list to include additional countries remains unconfirmed but, not denied.
It has been widely reported this morning that there is a new list being circulated from the White House that will add 9 more countries to the travel ban list. These include: Egypt, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia, Venezuela, southern Philippines, Sahara (Mali), Sulu/Sulawesi Seas Littoral. Nothing has bene confirmed but, the information has come from a very credible source, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Until more information is known, we advise anyone from one of these countries NOT to travel outside of the U.S. If you are outside of the U.S. and have a visa appointment, we advise you to keep that appointment and upon visa issuance, travel into the U.S. as quickly as possible. We will continue to keep you updated as developments occur.
Updated via post on 2-2-2017 12:17 pm
If you like statistics and are missing baseball box scores, check out the report recently released by the DHS on non-immigrant admissions in FY 2015. As you read this, keep in mind that admission does not equal people as the same person may make multiple admissions in a year if they travel internationally.
As confirmation hearings begin on Senator Jeff Sessions becoming the next Attorney General, it is enlightening to hear what he has said on H-1b visas. In an interview published in 2016 for Breitbart, Sessions made claims such as “over half of US STEM grads can’t find jobs”; “IT wages have not gone up since 2000” and, “there is no shortage of skilled workers in the U.S.” Check out the full story here.
In the first week of the new Congress, Rep Issa (R-CA) re-introduced a bill HR 170 designed to reform the H-1b program. The key component in the bill would raise the dependency exemption from $60,000 to $100,000. This same bill previously failed at the Committee level in 2016. It is expected that this will be but, the first, of bills introduced to change the H-1b visa program.
The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Administrative Law Judges (OALJ), has determined that in certain circumstances, an employer can deduct H-1B visa fees from an employee’s final paycheck.
In this case, Matter of Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society, October 26, 2016, the OALJ determined that Woodmen Life did not violate any DOL regulation by deducting $5800 from the employee’s final payment for reimbursement of H-1B attorney and filing fees pursuant to an agreement which was entered into voluntarily by the employee.
Although the DOL found that §655.731(c)(9), which speaks to “authorized deductions from an employee’s required wage and specifically prohibits an employer from seeking recoupment of H-1B attorney fees and expenses from the required wage, even if the employee consents” was not applicable to this case since the deduction for the attorney’s fees came from the benefits side of the equation and not from the employee’s required wage, the DOL’s stated that the regulation is “far too broad and not supported by the plain language of the regulation.” The DOL further clarified that “an H-1B employer is prohibited from imposing its business expenses on the H-1B worker – including attorney fees and other expenses associated with the filing of an LCA and H-1B petition – only to the extent that the assessment would reduce the H-1b worker’s pay below the required wage, i.e. the higher of the prevailing wage and the actual wage.”