Impressive! For years there has been no queue for people who want to immigrate due to employment and are not from India, China and the Philippines. Now these 192 countries, commonly referred to as “the rest of the world” or “ROW”, have to wait longer than just processing times for work certificates (PERMS) and immigration visa applications (I-140s). And this is without amending the law, including a proposal that is currently in the Senate and that extends waiting times for the ROW to 10-15 years.
If you currently have a recognized work permit, it is important that you submit your I-140 petition today through premium processing and at the same time submit your status adjustment requests (I-485) if you are in the United States. Otherwise, you will have to wait at least a year (if not “years”) to complete the immigration process. This backlog at ROW shows the increasing demand for workers in all areas of our economy and the failure of our legal immigration system to keep pace with the modern economic era. Unfortunately, neither the President nor Congress live in the real world when it comes to immigration and the economy. So don’t expect real solutions this year. At most we get leaking plasters on open wounds. Nothing will solve this problem until both parties, like adults, sit together in open hearings and debates where we as a country want to be in two generations and then find a rational and fact-based solution to our immigration laws.
We will keep you up to date on all important news via our newsletter. At Kuck Baxter Immigration, we strive to provide you with the latest information via our Twitter feed, Facebook, Linkedin, our blog and our newsletter podcast, Don’t forget to check them out and don’t hesitate to send your questions or comments. Information and knowledge are power.
Upcoming events and Kuck Baxter Immigration Media
We are actively involved in our immigrant community at local and national levels. Last week we gave employers, community activists and foreign students three different presentations in the community on different immigration issues.
We speak regularly at community events, training seminars for lawyers, human resource conferences, and at universities in the United States. If you would like us to speak to your group for free, let us know! Visit our website and attend an event! We also do a Facebook Live every week, in English and Spanish, every Friday at 2pm. Follow us on our Facebook Side and start the action! You can also follow us on our Youtube Page with hundreds of videos on all topics related to immigration.
Have you watched our blog and podcast?
Our blog is updated every week with information, the latest news and answers to important questions.
You can also listen to our top 50 podcast reviews. Podcast “The Hour of Immigration”That we post every Tuesday. The last episode dealt in detail with S386, what it means for immigrants to apply for a visa from employers and what to do with the latest changes. Download it and listen to it. If you have any comments on the podcast or topics we should talk about at the immigration lesson, let us know!
Here is the Immigration News you need to know now
IMMIGRATION NEWS IN BRIEF:
Iranian Americans stopped when they returned from Canada – More than 60 Iranian Americans have been reportedly detained for questioning when they recently returned from Canada via Washington State.
USCIS Announces Formal Announcement of Implementation of H-1B Electronic Registration Process and Timeframe – From March 1 to March 20, 2020, USCIS will open a first registration period for the numerical allocations for the 2021 H-1B financial year.
Trump administration is considering expanding the travel ban to other countries, insiders say – People familiar with the draft plan said information could be released as part of campaigns marking the third anniversary of President Trump’s first travel ban, announced on January 27, 2017.
Immigration provisions in the newly enacted Defense Act – On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which contains several provisions related to immigration.
Research has shown that counterfeit companies are taking advantage of the F-1 student visa program –NBC found that 14 “suspicious” companies employed more than 5,500 foreign students as part of the optional internship program.
Trump signs legislation to expand the EB-5 Regional Center program and others – In addition to preventing a government shutdown, highlights include extending the expiry date of the EB-5 program for regional centers until September 30, 2020.
EADs for six TPS countries extended until January 4, 2021– The DHS has extended the validity of work permit documents issued under the TPS names mentioned in the notice for certain TPS beneficiaries from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras and Nepal until January 4, 2021.
USCIS begins accepting requests from Liberians under the new law – On December 26, 2019, USCIS announced that it would accept applications from certain Liberian citizens to change their status to a lawful permanent residence under a new law.
DHS, DOJ propose to extend the rules for extending the bars to asylum – A new common rule proposal from the Department of Homeland Security (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration) and the Department of Justice (Executive Office for Immigration Exams) would include seven additional mandatory barriers to asylum.
The January Visa Bulletin contains projections in employment-related categories – The State Department’s Visa Bulletin for January 2020 contains information about possible monthly movements in the employment-related categories and about programs that are about to expire.
USCIS updates guidance on travel by TPS beneficiaries in relocation procedures – This update particularly applies to beneficiaries who have a definitive move application, are leaving the United States and are returning on probation with an early travel document.
ICE increases the deportation of DREAMers – According to reports, all DACA recipients whose deportation cases have been administratively closed will be reopened.
Ministry of Justice regulates immigration-related discrimination lawsuit against large personnel companies – The Department of Justice has entered into a settlement agreement with Adecco USA Inc., one of the largest personnel companies in the United States.
House adopts draft law to combat labor shortages in agriculture; Outlook for the Senate unclear – Among other things, the draft law would open the way for legal workers to legal status, enable additional green cards and facilitate the hiring of H-2A workers.
USCIS Announces Implementation of H-1B Electronic Registration for FY 2021 Cap Season – USCIS will open a first registration period from March 1 to March 20, 2020.
USCIS extends guidelines for determining “good moral character” – Among other things, the agency’s policy manual updates include additional examples of unlawful acts and instructions for USCIS experts, and identify unlawful acts that may affect the determination of good moral standards based on precedents.
Two courts approve the Trump Administration’s requests to examine the inadmissibility of public charges – A related litigation continues before other courts.
Raising hundreds of Saudi aviation students in the U.S. after the attack on Pensacola – According to reports, more than 800 students nationwide are affected by the “break”, although they are still allowed to take part in training.
USCIS proposes fee increases – USCIS has proposed a drastic increase in fees for family, business and naturalization applications. The comment window was very short; Comments were due by December 30, 2019.
Regulatory agendas are not just wish lists any longer – The Trump Administration’s recently published regulatory agenda redefines the term “specialty”, significantly limiting the types of professions that qualify for H-1B, eliminating the H-4 EAD, dramatically increasing compliance costs, and The parameters are redefined. For the L-1 visa, limit the scope of the optional internship for foreign students after graduation and increase the supervision of the EB-5 program.
Only if you were sure to be on Twitter again – The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law filed a lawsuit on behalf of two documentary organizations claiming how dangerous it is to force people from repressive countries to disclose pseudonymous activities related to political or other censored behavior in their home countries.
9. Circuit approves government application for a public levy – The 9th District Court of Appeals voted 2 to 1 to approve the government’s motion to defer the public injunction.
Client alert for premium processing cases Effective December 2, 2019, the premium processing fee has been increased from $ 1410 to $ 1440. USCIS has also proposed a new rule (published in the Federal Register on November 14, 2019) to extend the adjudication time for premium processing
Action for injunctive relief against health insurance – An Oregon-based federal judge, and now the 9th Circle, blocked the October presidential proclamation that immigrants who entered the United States would have to show that they had either health insurance or access to health insurance within 30 days of entry ,
ABIL Global: Australia – The Australian government has made concerted efforts to encourage migrants to settle in regional areas rather than cities.
ABIL Global: Great Britain – After an exhausting process lasting years, the Brexit is practically inevitable.
Here are the details from the headings:
Iranian Americans stopped when they returned from Canada
Reports have surfaced following the increasing tensions between the United States and Iran that more than 60 Iranian-American nationals have been detained for questioning on their return from Canada via the state of Washington. The questions reportedly contained political opinions in some cases. Most were released, some after up to 10 hours of questioning. Others were at least temporarily refused entry.
A spokesman for the US Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) said: “Social media posts stating that the CBP detains Iranian Americans and refuses to enter the United States because of their country of origin are wrong.” Meanwhile, Washington Governor Cyrus Habib said that he had personally received worrying news from friends that she or her family members had been stopped and questioned at the Peace Arch border crossing in Blaine, Washington.
Details: news articles, https: //www.nytimes.
The American Islamic Relations Council (CAIR) has published “Know Your Rights” materials in many languages, including “Know Your Rights When Traveling” https://www.cair.com/
USCIS Announces Formal Announcement of Implementation of H-1B Electronic Registration Process and Timeframe
On January 9, 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) published a notice in the Federal Register that officially announced the implementation of the H-1B registration process for H-1B petitions for the 2021 fiscal year.
From March 1, 2020 to March 20, 2020, USCIS will open a first registration period for the numerical allocations for the 2021 H-1B financial year. The agency released the following details:
· During this period, petitioners with an H-1B degree, including those eligible for higher education exemption, must first register electronically with USCIS and pay the corresponding $ 10 registration fee for H-1B for each submission.
· Potential petitioners or their proxies must electronically submit a separate registration specifying each person for whom they wish to petition H-1B. Duplicate registrations are prohibited.
As described in the final rule for H-1B registration, USCIS randomly selects the number of projected registrations required to achieve the numerical assignments for H-1B for the 2021 fiscal year after the first registration period if more than a sufficient number of registrations have been received and notify registrants with selected registrations by March 31, 2020 at the latest.
Potential petitioners with selected registrations are entitled to submit a petition on the topic of the 2021 financial year only for the person named in the registration and within the registration period specified in the registration certificate.
· USCIS will inform employers of the exact deadline for submitting the application
· H-1B petition, which will in any case last at least 90 days, but may be longer at USCIS discretion. Employers have the option to submit their petitions as soon as they are eligible (i.e. until April 1) so that the beneficiary can reach an upper limit if necessary.
· USCIS may determine that registrations may continue to be accepted or an additional registration period may be opened if it does not receive enough registrations and subsequent petitions that are projected to achieve the numerical assignments.
Kuck Baxter Immigration recommends a thorough review of all potential H-1B petitions In front To send the registration. For example, prior to submitting a registration, preliminary talks should be held about educational credentials, job classifications, wage levels, job descriptions, evidence of professional qualifications, and establishing the link between the petitioner and third party websites. It would be most unfortunate if an employer were informed of a selection to be informed later that his H-1B petition would likely be rejected due to a degree or a specific professional question.
Details: USCIS announcement, https: // www.
Trump administration is considering expanding the travel ban to other countries, insiders say
The Trump administration is reportedly considering significantly expanding its travel ban to other countries, possibly seven. The plan has not yet been finalized and a draft that is in circulation does not indicate which countries can be included. People familiar with the draft plan said information could be released as part of campaigns marking the third anniversary of President Trump’s first travel ban, announced on January 27, 2017.
Immigration provisions in the newly enacted Defense Act
On December 20, 2019, President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act for the 2020 financial year (p. 1790). Immigration-related provisions include:
· The ability for certain Liberians who have been in the United States since November 20, 2014 to change their status. The new law is expected to include more than 4,000 Liberians and their spouses, children, and unmarried adult children. The U.S. citizenship and immigration authorities have announced that they will accept such applications through the new Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF) program by December 20, 2020.
· On-site probation of employees and their family members on a case-by-case basis.
· Added 4,000 additional visas to the Special Immigrant Visa Program for Afghan interpreters who have worked with the U.S. military.
Protection of transient protection status (TPS) recipients and deferred arrival upon arrival (DACA) action against involuntary separation from the U.S. Armed Forces.
$ 1.38 billion for President Trump’s border wall.
Details: invoice text, https: //www.congress.
Research has shown that counterfeit companies are taking advantage of the F-1 student visa program
A recent investigation by NBC News / NBC Bay Area found that counterfeit companies that provide false employment evidence take advantage of the F-1 student visa program, which allows students to stay in the U.S. after completing their degree to gain practical work experience. One defendant reportedly admitted to providing false employment evidence for nearly 2,700 students, for example.
NBC announced that its efforts to contact employees of 14 “suspicious” companies have been answered with a number of dead end business addresses and unconnected phone numbers. Emails, phone calls and social media messages remained unanswered except for two companies. In both of these cases, an official on the phone verified his identity, but refused to speak about his company. “NBC found that U.S. Immigration and Customs records indicate that these 14 companies employed more than 5,500 foreign students under the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program in 2017.
Kuck Baxter Immigration suggests that foreign F-1 students should seek employment from legitimate companies that offer a job that is directly related to a student’s main study area. Obtaining an incorrect work certificate has a serious impact on the student’s ability to maintain F-1 status and also affects the student’s eligibility for future immigration benefits.
Details: NBC Bay Area Report, https: // www.
Trump signs legislation to expand the EB-5 Regional Center program and others
President Donald Trump signed a law for the 2020 financial year that contains several provisions related to immigration. In addition to preventing a government degree, the highlights include:
· Expiration date extended to September 30, 2020 for four immigration programs: the EB-5 Regional Center program for certain immigrant investors, the Conrad State 30 program for certain foreign doctors with J-1 status, E-Verify, and certain foreign religious workers
· A new ombudsman who investigates misconduct by the Department of Homeland Security personnel and violations of the rights of detained migrants
· Arrangements for unannounced inspections of detention facilities and their visit by lawmakers
· Information published publicly about the number and categories of people in U.S. immigration and customs detention
$ 1.38 billion for President Trump’s border wall
Details: invoice text, https://docs.house.gov/
EADS for six TPS countries extended until January 4, 2021
The Ministry of Internal Security has extended the validity of work permit documents (EADs) issued in accordance with the provisions of the TPS until January 4, 2021 from the current expiry dates from January 2, 2020 (for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan ). January 5, 2020 (for Honduras); and March 24, 2020 (for Nepal).
Details: Federal Register Notice, https: //www.govinfo.
USCIS starts accepting requests from Liberians under the new law
On December 26, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) announced that it would accept applications from certain Liberian citizens for status adjustment to a lawful permanent residence pursuant to Section 7611 of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020, Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF), signed on December 20, 2019.
A Liberian citizen has had to be physically present in the United States since November 20, 2014 until he has duly submitted a status change application to be eligible for an LRIF green card. USCIS will accept such applications until December 20, 2020. Spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and unmarried sons and daughters 21 or older of eligible Liberian nationals are also eligible for a Green Card.
Details: USCIS announcement, https: // www.
DHS, DOJ propose to extend the rules for extending the bars to asylum
A new set of common rules proposed by the Department of Homeland Security (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration) and the Justice Department (Executive Office for Immigration Review) would include seven additional mandatory barriers to asylum. The provision, which emphasizes that asylum is a discretionary measure in the sense that “Congress did not consider it compulsory to grant asylum to every eligible refugee” would change the provisions on the recognition of asylum claims and the impact of criminal convictions Clarify asylum applications. and remove rules on automatic review of asylum application denial at its own discretion.
Among other things, the ministries propose “to exclude anyone convicted of a crime with street gangs from being granted asylum, regardless of whether the offense is classified as a crime or an offense.” The Attorney General and the Secretary consider, “Persons convicted of crimes by the federal government, states, tribes, or municipalities committed to assist, promote, or promote a criminal gang.” In particular, the proposed regulation would cover such persons, “in cases in which the judge knows or has reason to believe crime has been committed to promote street gang criminal activity. “According to government departments, those entering the US and” should be convicted of crime related to street gang crime are “classified as particularly serious crimes that make them ineligible for asylum.”
The ministries also suggest, “Foreigners should not be eligible for asylum if convicted of a second or subsequent driving crime while drunk or impaired, or of a single crime that results in death or serious injury.” Eligibility for asylum would also exist.This applies to people convicted of domestic assault, stalking or child abuse in the home context in the United States, and to people who have committed battery changes and extreme cruelty in the home context, regardless of whether such behavior has resulted in a criminal conviction.
Details: Proposed rule that contains other provisions https: // www.
The January Visa Bulletin contains projections in employment-related categories
The State Department’s Visa Bulletin for January 2020 contains information about possible monthly movements in employment-related categories. The bulletin also explains the procedures for various programs that are expected to expire if not renewed by Congress, including the EB-4 special program for religious immigrants, the EB-5 pilot program for immigrants from the Regional Center, and the Conrad 30 program for foreign waivers, medical graduates working in underserved areas, and E-Verify.
Details: Visa Bulletin for January 2020, https: //travel.state
USCIS updates guidance on travel by TPS beneficiaries in relocation procedures
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has updated the website USCIS Policy Manual Clarify the effects of travel by temporarily protected people outside the United States against whom relocation proceedings have been initiated.
In particular, according to USCIS, this update covers beneficiaries who have a definitive move notice and are leaving the United States and returning with an early probation travel document. TPS beneficiaries in relocation procedures who temporarily travel abroad with the approval of the Ministry of Internal Security (DHS) are still subject to these relocation procedures. If they are under a final removal order, the trip will not carry out or not fulfill the order, USCIS said. The person concerned is still subject to the collection order.
Details: USCIS policy warning, https://www.uscis.gov/
ICE increases the deportation of DREAMers
The United States Immigration and Customs Service (ICE) has reportedly escalated the resumption of deportation cases that, under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, had long ago been administratively closed against “DREAMers”. ICE informed CNN that all DACA recipients whose deportation cases have been administratively closed will be reopened. ICE said that “the recalculation of administrative cases is nationwide and is not limited to a particular state or region.”
Ministry of Justice regulates immigration-related discrimination lawsuit against large personnel companies
The Department of Justice announced on December 20, 2019 that it has entered into a settlement agreement with Adecco USA Inc. (Adecco), one of the largest human resources companies in the United States. Mit dem Vergleich wird die Behauptung gelöst, dass das Büro von Adecco in Gardena, Kalifornien, gegen die Antidiskriminierungsbestimmungen des Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) verstoßen hat, indem es einen rechtmäßigen ständigen Wohnsitz und andere arbeitsberechtigte Nicht-US-Bürger bei der Überprüfung ihrer Arbeitserlaubnis diskriminiert hat. Der Vergleich löst auch Vorwürfe auf, dass das Unternehmen bei Verwendung von Software zur Überprüfung der Beschäftigungsfähigkeit unnötige Arbeitsgenehmigungsunterlagen von Nicht-US-Bürgern aufgrund ihres Staatsangehörigkeitsstatus angefordert hat.
Im Rahmen des Vergleichs zahlt Adecco zivilrechtliche Strafen in Höhe von 67.778 US-Dollar, stellt sicher, dass die Form-I-9-Software allen relevanten Regeln und Vorschriften entspricht, und unterwirft sich den Überwachungs- und Berichterstattungsanforderungen. Darüber hinaus wird Adecco sicherstellen, dass relevante Mitarbeiter an einer Schulung teilnehmen, die von der Civil Rights Division genehmigt wird, und eine Wissensbewertung durchführen, um ihr Verständnis der relevanten Regeln zu demonstrieren.
“Die Arbeitgeber müssen sicherstellen, dass ihre Onboarding-Software den einschlägigen Gesetzen entspricht, und dürfen aufgrund des Staatsangehörigkeitsstatus einer Person keine unnötigen Anforderungen an Arbeitsgenehmigungsunterlagen stellen”, sagte Eric Dreiband, stellvertretender Generalstaatsanwalt der Civil Rights Division.
Details: Vergleichsvereinbarung, https: // www.
House verabschiedet Gesetzesentwurf zur Bekämpfung des Arbeitskräftemangels in der Landwirtschaft; Aussichten des Senats unklar
Mit einem überparteilichen Votum von 260-165 verabschiedete das US-Repräsentantenhaus ein Gesetz, das den Mangel an landwirtschaftlichen Arbeitskräften beheben soll, indem es den Landarbeitern den Weg zum legalen Status ebnet, zusätzliche Green Cards ermöglicht und die Einstellung von H-2A-Arbeitnehmern erleichtert. Die Gesetzesvorlage würde E-Verify unter anderem auch für landwirtschaftliche Arbeitgeber und Kappenarbeiter bundesweit verpflichtend machen.
Mit dem Gesetz wird der Status eines zertifizierten Landarbeiters (CAW) festgelegt. Der Gesetzentwurf besagt, dass das Department of Homeland Security (DHS) einem Antragsteller, der (1) vor dem 30. Oktober 2019 mindestens 1.035 Stunden Landarbeit geleistet hat (2), den CAW-Status gewähren kann, der unzulässig oder abschiebbar war an diesem Datum und (3) war in den Vereinigten Staaten von diesem Datum an bis zum Erhalt des CAW-Status ständig präsent. Die Gesetzesvorlage würde CAW-Antragstellern zusätzliche Gründe für die Unzulässigkeit von Straftaten auferlegen und einige andere Gründe unanwendbar machen. Der CAW-Status wäre 5,5 Jahre gültig und könnte verlängert werden, und das DHS könnte dem Ehepartner oder den Kindern eines Hauptausländers einen abhängigen Status gewähren.
Mit dem Gesetzentwurf werden verschiedene Änderungen am H-2A-Programm vorgenommen, z. B. (1) die Methode zur Berechnung und Anpassung des Mindestlohns für H-2A-Arbeitnehmer geändert und (2) festgelegt, wie ein Arbeitgeber die Anforderungen erfüllen kann, die er bei der Einstellung von US-Arbeitnehmern zu erfüllen versucht Arbeitnehmer, (3) die H-2A-Arbeitgeber verpflichten, bestimmte Mindestarbeitszeiten zu gewährleisten, und (4) das Programm für die ganzjährige landwirtschaftliche Arbeit zur Verfügung stellen und eine Visa-Zuteilung für die Milchindustrie reservieren.
Die Gesetzesvorlage sieht auch vor, dass das DHS ein Pilotprogramm einrichtet, das bestimmten H-2A-Arbeitnehmern die Beantragung des Status „portabel“ ermöglicht. Dies gibt dem Arbeitnehmer 60 Tage, nachdem er die Position verlassen hat, eine neue Beschäftigung bei einem registrierten H-2A-Arbeitgeber zu sichern.
Die Aussichten im Senat sind unklar. Berichten zufolge haben einige Republikaner Einwände gegen die Lohnberechnungsformel und die Bereitstellung von Amnestie für undokumentierte Landarbeiter sowie gegen die mangelnde Einbeziehung des Fleisch- und Geflügelsektors.
Details: Text von H. R. 5038, https: //www.congress.
USCIS erweitert die Leitlinien für die Bestimmung des „guten moralischen Charakters“
Die US-amerikanischen Behörden für Staatsbürgerschaft und Einwanderung (USCIS) haben kürzlich ihre Leitlinien zur Bestimmung des guten moralischen Charakters (GMC) erweitert.
Am 13. Dezember 2019 erweiterte die USCIS ihre Richtlinien zu rechtswidrigen Handlungen, die einen Antragsteller möglicherweise daran hindern, die GMC-Einbürgerungsvoraussetzung zu erfüllen. USCIS said this update to its Policy Manual provides additional examples of unlawful acts and instructions for USCIS adjudicators, and further identifies unlawful acts that may affect GMC determinations based on judicial precedent. USCIS said this update does not change the impact of an unlawful act on the agency’s analysis of whether an applicant can demonstrate GMC. Adjudicators “are not limited by the examples listed in the Policy Manual,” USCIS noted.
On December 10, 2019, USCIS issued separate policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual about how two or more convictions for driving under the influence (DUI) or post-sentencing changes to criminal sentencing might affect GMC determinations. USCIS said it was implementing two decisions from the attorney general, Matter of Castillo-Perez and Matter of Thomas and Thompson,
Based on those two decisions, USCIS noted that “[w]hen applying for an immigration benefit for which GMC is required, applicants with two or more DUI convictions may be able to overcome this presumption by presenting evidence that they had good moral character even during the period within which they committed the DUI offenses.” Also, USCIS said, “[p]ost-sentencing orders that change a criminal alien’s original sentence will only be relevant for immigration purposes if they are based on a procedural or substantive defect in the underlying criminal proceeding.”
· USCIS’s December 13 guidance is at https://www.uscis.gov/
· USCIS’s December 10 guidance is at https://www.uscis.gov/
USCIS Proposes Fee Increases
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed dramatic increases in fees for family, business, and naturalization filings. Comments were due initially by December 16, 2019. The comment period was extended later to December 30, 2019. Make no mistake, fees are going up!
Regulatory Agendas Are Not Just Wish Lists Any Longer
The Trump administration recently published its regulatory agenda, and it is far-reaching and comprehensive. Of interest for employers, the proposals would redefine the term “specialty occupation” to dramatically narrow the types of occupations that qualify for H-1B;eliminate the H-4 employment authorization document, dramatically increase the compliance burden and redefine the parameters of the L-1 visa; narrow the scope of post-degree optional practical training for foreign students, and increase oversight of the EB-5 program.
Many of these proposals will likely be challenged in court. Employers and their counsel should be ready to challenge these rules as appropriate.
Details: Department of Homeland Security semiannual regulatory agenda, https://www.govinfo.
Just When You Though It Was Safe to Get Back on Twitter
When the Trump administration announced in 2018 that it would be screening applicants’ social media postings (both randomly and via consent given on application forms) for all identifiers used in the past five years, many lawyers and advocates immediately expressed concerns about privacy and security.
Two organizations have sued to prevent these intrusions into applicants’ private lives without reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing or some other legitimate interest. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law filed suit on behalf of two documentary film organizations. The lawsuit raises concerns about the dangers of forcing persons from repressive countries to reveal pseudonymous activities related to political or other censored conduct within their home country.
9th Circuit Grants Government’s Motion on Public Charge Rule
Effective December 2, 2019, the fee for Premium Processing has increased from $1,410 to $1,440. In related news, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has also proposed a new rule (published in the Federal Register on November 14, 2019) to extend the Premium Processing adjudication time so USCIS has 15 business days to process petitions/applications, as opposed to the current timeframe of 15 calendar days.
Comments on the proposed rule were due by December 16, 2019.
Details: News article, https://www.
Health Insurance Proclamation Injunction Granted
A federal judge in Oregon has blocked a Presidential Proclamation issued in October 2019 that would have required immigrants to the United States to either prove they have private, unsubsidized health insurance within 30 days of entering the country or prove they have the funds to cover unanticipated medical costs once in the United States.
Judge Michael Simon ruled that “the President’s Proclamation requiring legal immigrants to show proof of health insurance before being issued a visa by the State Department is inconsistent” with the Immigration and Nationality Act. The injunction is nationwide pending resolution of the case. The underlying lawsuit alleged that the proclamation would effectively separate families when the intending immigrant is the beneficiary of a petition designed to encourage and support family unity. While the President justified the proclamation by saying “immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our healthcare system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs,” according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2017 three-quarters of the 27.4 million uninsured people in the United States under age 65 were U.S. citizens.
The Australian government has made a concerted effort to encourage migrants to settle in regional areas rather than cities.
The Australian government recently introduced two new Provisional Regional Visas:
- Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa, SC491 (subclass 491)
- Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa, SC494 (subclass 494)
In November, a permanent visa was introduced—the Permanent Resident (Skilled Regional) Visa, SC191—to dovetail with the new Provisional Visa. At the same time, the current Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Visa (SC187) and the Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (SC489) were phased out.
The Skilled Provisional Visa is intended to provide an easier pathway for skilled migrants and dependent family members who are prepared to live and work in regional Australia, to obtain a Provisional Visa and ultimately Permanent Residence.
The SC494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa will provide an Australian business, located in regional Australia, to nominate employees in a substantially greater range of occupations than are currently available.
The Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa will provide an opportunity for skilled applicants who are nominated by a State or Territory Government, or sponsored by an eligible family member, to live and work in regional Australia.
An essential condition of both of these visas is that the visa holders must live and work in regional Australia for at least 3 years to become eligible for the Permanent SC 191 Visa. This condition also applies to family members, which means dependent children must attend school or university in a regional area. Visa holders who leave a regional area run the risk of either visa cancellation or becoming ineligible to apply for a permanent visa.
Regional Provisional Visa holders will not be precluded from applying for certain permanent visas.
What is meant by regional Australia? The new legislation effectively defines regional Australia as being all of Australia except for the cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
The list of skilled occupations available for the SC494 visa is a combination of the current Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Regional Occupation List (ROL), which effectively makes a total of 650 occupations available for the SC494.
For more on the Skilled Migration Lists review, see https://docs.employment.
SC494—Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa
The process for the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Visa is substantially similar to that for the former SC457 Visa and the current SC482 Visa.
Visa applicants must be sponsored by an employer that has been duly approved as a Sponsor and must be the subject of a valid nomination. The visa applicant must:
- Have an occupation on the relevant Skilled Occupation List;
- Be duly skilled and experienced in the occupation;
- Provide evidence of at least 3 years of full-time experience in the nominated occupation;
- Be under 45 years of age;
- Have good English language skills; and
- Meet the relevant health and character requirements.
This new visa category has been very favorably received by mining companies and others that operate in the regional areas because a far broader range of occupations than in the past is available from which staff shortages may be filled.
The introduction of the SC494 does not affect the current SC 482 Temporary Skills Shortage Visa or the SC 186 (Permanent) Employer Nomination Visa.
SC491—Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa
Applicants for the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa must meet certain eligibility criteria:
- Receive an invitation to apply for the lodgment of an Expression of Interest
- Be duly nominated by a State or Territory or sponsored by a family member residing in the regional area of Australia
- Have an occupation on the relevant Skilled Occupation List
- Be under 45 years of age
- Have good English skills
- Meet the Points Test mark (65 points) and meet the health and character requirements
- Family members who may sponsor a visa applicant and who live in regional Australia include:
- Child or stepchild
- Brother, sister, adopted brother, adopted sister, stepbrother, stepsister
- Uncle, aunt, adopted aunt, adopted uncle, step aunt, or step uncle
- Nephew, niece, adopted nephew, adopted niece, step nephew, or step niece
- First cousin
The sponsoring family member must be 18 years or older, an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen and, as previously stated, be usually resident in a regional area.
As noted above, the pass mark for the Points Test is 65 points. Some additional points have been added as an incentive to apply for this visa relating to sponsorship by a state or family member living in a regional area, advanced study at a university in a regional area, and partner skill qualifications.
It has been stated that applicants for the Regional Provisional Visa will receive priority processing. What this means in practice remains to be seen.
Global: United Kingdom
After an exhausting years-long process, Brexit is all but inevitable.
An exhausting 1,267 days have passed since the United Kingdom (UK) voted by referendum to leave the European Union. Remarkably, and contributing to an overall sense of fatigue, this relatively short period saw multiple failed attempts at passing a Brexit deal, two general elections, and three Prime Ministers. Now, however, with the Conservative Party’s recent sweeping general election victory and the reinstatement of Boris Johnson as leader, Brexit is all but inevitable.
So, what’s next for UK immigration?
The House of Commons passed the latest Withdrawal Agreement on December 20, 2019, but it must pass the House of Lords and receive Royal Assent to be ratified by the UK. Under the terms, European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals’ rights will remain much the same through December 31, 2020. Assuming the agreement is ratified, those wishing to remain longer will need to apply for permission under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) by 30 June 2021. Successful applicants will be granted either “settled” status (for those who can demonstrate 5 years of continuous residence), or “pre-settled” status (for those with fewer than 5 years), which will allow them to remain in the UK, access benefits, and eventually apply for citizenship, should they choose.
EEA and Swiss citizens arriving after December 31, 2020, will need to seek permission under what the government is referring to as a “firmer and fairer Australian-style points-based immigration system,” set to take force in January 2021.
While this new system was featured in the 2019 Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto, no specific details have yet been released other than well-worn political slogans such as “attracting the best and the brightest” and “integration and openness.” However, if indeed analogous to Australia’s system, prospective migrants would be subject to a points-based evaluation that would consider attributes such as age, occupational qualifications, work experience, English language skill, and educational level.
It is imperative that the government outline details for the new system soon to allow businesses and individuals to prepare for the quickly approaching road ahead.
New Publications and Items of Interest
S. 2603 Resolving Extended Limbo for Immigrant Employees and Families (RELIEF) Act. Proposed by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), S. 2603 seeks to eliminate the family and employment green card backlog by increasing the number of green cards. Furthermore, the RELIEF Act would classify children and spouses of lawful permanent residents (LPRs) as immediate relatives and exempt derivative beneficiaries of employment-based petitions from annual green card limits. Specifically, S. 2603 would
· Eliminate the family and employment green card backlog over five years in the order in which applications were filed;
· Keep American families together by classifying spouses and children of LPRs as immediate relatives and exempting derivative beneficiaries of employment-based petitions from annual green card limits;
· Protect “aging out” children who qualify for LPR status based on a parent’s immigration petition;
· Lift country caps; and
· Extend the “hold harmless” clause from H.R. 1044 that exempts immigrant visa petitions approved prior to enactment from the lifting of country caps to petitions approved for five years after enactment.
The full text of the bill is at http://www.visalaw.com/wp-
H-1B outlook for 2020. “Expect More Lawsuits and Restrictions on H-1B Visas in 2020,” published by Forbes, says 2020 is unlikely to be an improvement over 2019 for companies that hire foreign-born scientists and engineers on H-1B visas, and that companies should expect 2020 to bring more restrictions.
How to prepare for immigration raids, Cornell University’s immigration technology clinic has developed an automated online interview to help people prepare if they or others are worried about being detained or deported. It can help people prepare their family, manage their property, close out their bank accounts, and perform other emergency preparations. The online interview is available in English and Spanish at https://www.immi.org/en/
Responding to large-scale immigration raids. The Immigration Justice Campaign and the American Immigration Lawyers Association have released information on what to do in the event of large-scale interior enforcement actions. Sehen https://www.
CBP accountability, This website documents litigation across the United States in an effort to establish U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) accountability and transparency. The website, which also directs readers to additional resources, is a joint project of the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties, the American Immigration Council, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. Sehen https://
Immigrant and Employee Rights Webinars, The Department of Justice’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section is offering free webinars to the public. The webinars are for workers, employers, and advocates. For more information or to register, see https://www.justice.gov/
How to safeguard your data from searches at the border is the topic of several recent articles and blogs, See, https://www.nytimes.com/
Government Agency Links
Follow these links to access current processing times of the USCIS Service Centers and the Department of Labor, and the Department of State’s latest Visa Bulletin with the most recent cut-off dates for visa numbers:
USCIS Service Center processing times online: https://egov.uscis.
Department of State Visa Bulletin: https://travel.
Visa application wait times for any post: https://travel.state.
Kuck Baxter Immigration — In The News
Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC published its US legal guide for Corporate Immigration. It can be found at https://iclg.com/practice-
Charles Kuck released the latest edition of his podcast, the Immigration Hour. The January 14th edition examines the proposed changes to Senate Bill 386, tries to figure out what President Trump’s H-1B Tweet was about, and taks about the detrimental effects of lower immigration rates in 2019 on our economy. elimination of “per country limits” for employment based immigration visas, and the prospects of that litigation. The podcast is at https://www.stitcher.com/
Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC has opened a new office in Adel, Georgia, near the Irwin, Folkston, and Stewart Detention Centers, which hold more than 6,000 detained immigrants. The new office is managed by our Senior Counsel Elizabeth Matherne, the former Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Irwin Detention Project.
We have changed the location of our podcast–The Immigration Hour— to Stitcher. We are entering our 12th year of continuous broadcasts. Listen here each week for our latest take on immigration and immigration law!
You can also get constantly updated news on our Facebook Seite,
Feel free to reach out with any questions or for help in your immigration case at 404-816-8611 or [email protected]
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