Immigration Reform ? Possible in 2017 ?

It is being widely reported that the Trump Administration may be interested in trying to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) this year. Several of President Trump’s key advisers are unabashedly anti legal immigration but, to get CIR passed, it is likely that the legislation will need to contain some positive improvements in the legal immigration programs in order to get the needed votes to succeed. As legislation moves forward, we will keep you updated.

Start-up Entrepreneur Rule Delayed

Last week, the Trump Administration delayed the implementation of the Start-up Entrepreneur Rule until March of 2018. Although the rule as written, would have impacted only a limited number of investors each year, its delay after federal rule making and a notice and comment period, is believed by many to provide further proof that, in spite of campaign claims to the contrary, President Trump’s administration is as much of an enemy of legal immigration as illegal.

August Visa Bulletin

The Department of State (DOS) recently released the August Visa Bulletin Big jumps were seen in EB3 India and EB3 Philippines however, these jumps were not unexpected as the DOS continues to make progress toward meeting the Dates for Filing chart released at the beginning of the fiscal year. In theory, by the end of the fiscal year, all dates listed in the Oct 2016 Dates for Filing chart will have been met during the fiscal year. EB2 for the Philippines and the rest of the world (ROW) retrogressed but, they are expected to return to current when the new fiscal year starts in Oct 2017.

SCOTUS partially re-instates the Trump Muslim Travel Ban

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling which in effect did, 3 things: granted the Trump administration request for a full hearing which will be held in October; overturned the travel ban for those persons with no bona fide relationship with a US person or entity; and, upheld the injunction on the remaining parts of the ban. As a practical matter, this should mean that persons, from the affected countries, with existing work visas and/or advance parole cards should be able to freely travel consistent with the conditions of those already issued documents however, given the discretionary power given to CBP officials, we recommend that you carefully consider whether traveling is in fact, necessary and prior to undertaking any travel, consult with your immigration attorney to be prepared. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has issued a press release on the ruling.

AILA Annual Conference

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will be holding its annual legal conference in New Orleans this week and 9 attorneys from HLG will be attending. HLG attorneys, Cadence Moore, Lisa Galvan and Dwight Myfelt will be speakers. We will be providing client specific updates after the event.

By |June 20th, 2017|Events|0 Comments|

July Visa Bulletin

The July Visa Bulletin has been released by the Department of State (DOS) and there was exciting news for many. The EB3 worldwide all other category is almost “current” as it jumped to June 8, 2017; the EB3 India category jumped ahead 9 mos.; and, the EB3 Philippines category jumped ahead 1 year. Unfortunately, there was also bad news for many as retrogression continues to be an issue for persons from India and China.

Do I (Still) Qualify for the H1B Master Cap?

On May 31, 2017, USCIS released a memo clarifying that to be eligible for an H-1B cap exemption based on a Master’s Degree, the school from where the beneficiary obtained their degree has to have been a U.S. “institution of higher education” when the degree was earned. The policy memo cites to Matter of A-T- Inc., an “adopted decision,” meaning the decision is binding policy guidance for all USCIS personnel.

As you probably know, there are only 65,000 H-1B visas available under the cap each year, with an additional 20,000 for people who have earned a master’s degree or higher in the U.S. In their decision, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) stated, “[U]nder our interpretation, an individual who earns a degree from a (pre-)accredited institution may continue to qualify for the Master’s Cap exemption even if the institution later closes or loses its (pre-)accreditation status.”

This will be an important memo to keep in mind as USCIS has, in some instances, gone back and reviewed a beneficiary’s initial H1B petition – and which cap they were counted under – while adjudicating a current extension. Even when the beneficiary has been in the U.S. for over 5 years.

DOL releases PERM data

The DOL recently released FY 2017 2nd Q PERM data. Note that the denial rate has increased slightly and over 25% of cases are either under audit or appeal.

HLG to host seminar in NJ/NYC

HLG will host a seminar in the NJ/NYC area on Fri. Aug 18th. The seminar will discuss some of the changes that have been made that impact business immigration and will give practical advice on how to address those changes in your business. Registration is free. For details go here.

By |May 22nd, 2017|Events|0 Comments|

June Visa Bulletin

Retrogression rears its ugly head again in the June Visa Bulletin as the EB1 categories for India and China retrogressed from “current” to Jan 2012. This was predicted in the prior Visa bulletin and noted in this space so no surprise but, still troubling. It is expected that the dates for these 2 categories will return to ‘current’ with the new fiscal year and the October bulletin. Other categories saw small but, steady movement forward.