On January 28, 2019, E-Verify resumed operations after being offline for more than a month due to the government shutdown. The program, which allows participating employers to electronically confirm the work eligibility of new hires, was temporarily suspended as a result of the government shutdown. During that time, employers were unable to access their E-Verify accounts and were unable to comply with the program’s regular deadlines, resulting in a backlog of matters that must now be processed.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expected to advance its plan to rescind the H-4 employment authorization document (EAD) program before a March 18, 2019, deadline imposed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Save Jobs USA v. DHS, a lawsuit challenging the legality of the H-4 EAD rule.
On January 31, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published its H-1B registration rule in the Federal Register, formalizing changes to the H-1B selection process.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the reinstatement of the premium processing program for a limited number of H-1B petitions.
The holiday season may already feel like a distant memory and five-day workweeks may once again be the norm, but not everything is back to business as usual for U.S. employers this January.
There may be a partial government shutdown if Congress cannot come to an agreement on a spending bill before midnight on December 21, 2018. Without an agreement, roughly 25 percent of funding for the federal government will expire.
On December 6, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reached the statutory numerical limit or “cap” on the number of petitions for temporary nonagricultural workers “who may be issued H-2B visas or otherwise granted H-2B status” for the first half of fiscal year (FY) 2019, thus completing one of the briefest cap periods for the first half of the year in more than five years.
The busy holiday travel season is upon us. With it comes the potential for longer processing times and altered holiday schedules at airports and U.S. consulates and embassies abroad. Foreign nationals who plan to travel internationally between now and the new year should prepare in advance to minimize travel hiccups, especially if they must attend a visa appointment while outside the United States.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is encouraging international travelers to apply for Electronic System Travel Authorization (ESTA) as early as possible, but no later than 72 hours before they plan to travel to the United States.
On December 3, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) introduced a new plan that would require employers to pre-register all potential H-1B candidates for selection in the H-1B lottery.
On November 16, 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director L. Francis Cissna suggested that USCIS will discontinue its policy of denying certain pending I-131, Application for Travel Document applications when an applicant travels internationally.
A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration’s recent immigration policy barring individuals from seeking asylum if they entered the United States anywhere other than at an official port of entry.
A three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a nationwide preliminary injunction issued by a California district court, temporarily preventing the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
On October 31, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced in the Federal Register that it will continue to honor, at least temporarily, the temporary protected status (TPS) designations for nationals of Sudan, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Haiti.
On October 17, 2018, Canada’s federal Cannabis Act went into effect, legalizing the use and possession of a limited amount of marijuana for adults over the age of 18. The new law makes good on a campaign promise by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and makes Canada the second country to legalize marijuana use on a national basis. It is intended to make Canada’s marijuana industry safer by keeping the drug out of the hands of kids and steering profits away from criminals. This newfound freedom (and tax revenue), however, may come at a cost to those trying to cross the border into the United States, where marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its fall 2018 regulatory agenda, laying out its rulemaking goals through 2019.
The United States has reached a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The new deal is largely focused on cross-border trade and tariffs, and adopts NAFTA’s immigration provisions with minimal changes.
Beginning October 1, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will begin a staggered rollout of a new notice to appear (NTA) policy.
There were no lazy days of summer to be had in 2018—at least not when it came to the introduction of new immigration policies by the Trump administration. The momentum with which it announced and implemented new policies over the course of July and August was dizzying, not only because there were so many changes but also because those changes were substantial. This article provides an overview of this summer’s most notable immigration policy changes and their likely impact on employers.
Chief executive officers (CEOs) from more than 50 companies signed a letter sent to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen expressing their concern about the current course of immigration policy in the United States. Using words like “unfair,” “arbitrary,” and “inconsistent,” the CEOs alleged that the immigration system is not only disruptive to business operations but also “undermines economic growth and American competitiveness.”
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the extension of its suspension of premium processing for all H-1B cases subject to the annual quota (also known as “cap cases”) for fiscal year 2019.
A recent court filing by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reaffirms the agency’s commitment to rescinding the H-4 rule, which provides work authorization to eligible spouses of certain H-1B visa holders who are in the process of becoming lawful permanent residents.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has revised its website and announced that it will now allow F-1 students participating in the optional practical training (OPT) extension for individuals in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to work at third-party sites as long as the student’s employer can demonstrate that it has a bona fide employment relationship with the student, in addition to meeting all other training obligations.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a revised final policy memorandum updating the recently implemented unlawful presence policy that changed the way USCIS calculated unlawful presence for foreign students and exchange visitors.
On August 3, 2018, Judge John D. Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of fully reinstating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program but stayed the effective date of the court order for 20 days to allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) time to appeal.
The rate of requests for evidence (RFEs) and denials issued for H-1B and L-1 petitions by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is up considerably, according to a new report by the National Foundation for American Policy. The findings, which are based on data released by USCIS, corroborate what many employers had already suspected—that it is getting harder to secure work authorization for foreign nationals, even those that are highly-skilled.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it is postponing the enforcement of its June 28, 2018, policy memorandum allowing USCIS officers to issue notices to appear to those deemed unlawfully present in the United States after the denial of an immigration benefit.
A recent announcement by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shows that the agency is making good on its promise to quadruple the number of worksite inspections it conducts. Data released by ICE shows that between October 1, 2017, and July 20, 2018, its Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit opened 6,093 worksite investigations—a number three and a half times greater than the total investigations opened the year before. With more than two months to go before the end of fiscal year 2018, ICE seems well-positioned to meet its goal.