E-Verify Resumes Operations and Provides Instructions for Employers

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.

H-2B Visas in High Demand for Fiscal Year 2019

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.

Pack Your Bags and Your Documents—Holiday Travel Tips for Foreign Nationals

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.

Navigating Canada’s New Cannabis Law—Don’t Let an Employee’s Immigration Status Go Up in Smoke

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.

Immigration Policy Changes Leave Employers Wishing USCIS Took a Summer Vacation

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.

CEOs Say Recent Policy Shifts by USCIS Undermine Economic Growth and Disrupt Business Operations

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.”

USCIS Reverses Course, Allows STEM OPT Students to Work at Third-Party Sites

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.

Data Confirms Significant Uptick in H-1B and L-1 RFEs and Denials

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.

ICE Ramps Up Worksite Enforcement Efforts: 6 FAQs on the Audit Process

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.