TPS Extended for South Sudan, but Ended for Sudan

Posted in Employment Authorization, Sudan, TPS

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of South Sudan, but announced the end of TPS designation for citizens of Sudan.

Per the announcement, citizens of South Sudan may apply for an 18-month extension of TPS, until May 2, 2019, due to the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary conditions in the country.  Current beneficiaries of South Sudan’s TPS designation seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register (the deadline for re-registering was published in the Federal Register). Those who re-register and request a new employment authorization document (EAD) may receive an automatic extension of their expiring EAD for up to 180 days from the date their current EAD expires.  Once approved, the new EADs will have an expiration date of May 2, 2019.  Individuals should re-register and file their EAD applications as early as possible to avoid lapses in employment authorization, particularly as EAD applications are taking at least 90 days to process.

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Greenberg Traurig Attorney Ian Macdonald is Quoted in Law360

Posted in L-1B, Visas

Greenberg Traurig Shareholder Ian Macdonald was recently quoted in the Law360 article, “L-1B Site Visit Shift Reported As Trump Ramps Up Scrutiny.” The L-1B visa allows a company to transfer an employee with “specialized knowledge” from a foreign office to a location in the United States. Macdonald discusses the new development of increased site visits on the L-1 visa enforcement front, particularly for skilled foreign workers with pending renewal requests. To read the full article, please click here.

USCIS to Resume H-1B Premium Processing for Petitions Filed under FY2018 Cap

Posted in Conrad 30 Waiver Program, Employment Authorization, H-1B, H-1B Cap, H-1B Premium Processing, USCIS

USCIS announced today that it will resume its premium processing service for all H-1B petitions that are subject to this year’s H-1B cap.  This news provides much needed relief to employers and foreign nationals, particularly in those situations where an employee is relying on F-1 optional practical training (OPT) cap gap provisions for work authorization. F-1 OPT cap gap work authorization will expire on Sept. 30, 2017, leaving foreign nationals unable to work unless their H-1B petition is approved before Oct. 1, 2017, or they are able to secure alternative work authorization, which is unlikely for most.

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New DOS Rule Regarding Misrepresentation – An End to the 30/60 Day Rule

Posted in Department of Homeland Security, Immigrant Visa, Visa Waiver Program, Visas

On Sept. 1, 2017, the U.S Department of State (DOS) updated the Field Adjudicators Manual (FAM) at 9 FAM 302.9-4(B)(3).  The Field Adjudicators Manual (FAM) serves to guide consular officers in their adjudications process, and this particular section provides guidance regarding “misrepresentation” by applicants “at the time of visa application or to DHS when applying for admission or for an immigration benefit.” The changes include the addition of a section entitled “Inconsistent Conduct Within 90 Days of Entry.” The new language effectively eliminates the prior “30/60 day rule” which found a presumption of misrepresentation only if an alien engaged in activity inconsistent with their nonimmigrant status within 30 days of admission, and generally no basis for misrepresentation if an action was taken after 60 days.  A finding of misrepresentation can have extreme consequences.  With this recent change there are several things to keep in mind:

  • New guidance may have negative consequences for individuals who have relied upon the old rule as well as those who make immigrant filings in the future.
  • Individuals cannot engage in any activity within a 90-day period of entering the United States that is inconsistent with the immigration classification under which they entered the country.
  • Those who do perform activities that are inconsistent with their status may be found to have made a willful misrepresentation when securing the visa at the Consulate or when entering the United States and being inspected by an immigration officer.  Such individuals may be found inadmissible and barred from entering the United States for life.
  • Types of impermissible conduct:
    • Getting married in the United States within 90 days of entering the country on a visa that requires an intent to return to your home country (e.g., B visa, Visa Waiver Program, J-1, F-1, etc.)
    • Working without authorization
    • Enrolling in school when such activity is not permitted by the visa (for example B visas and the Visa Waiver Program do not allow for school enrollment)
  • The new rule was announced without any warning or period of public comment.  Public comment is not required but the sudden nature of the change increases the number of potential individuals impacted.
  • Under the old rule if an individual engaged in any of the above conduct within a 30-day period, a finding of fraud or misrepresentation could be presumed.  Now that period is extended to 90 days.

GT’s Ian Macdonald Discusses Advance Parole Denials in Law360

Posted in Advance Parole, USCIS

Greenberg Traurig Shareholder Ian Macdonald was recently quoted in the Law360’s article, “Attorneys Sound the Alarm over Advance Parole Denials,” discussing an increase in advance parole (AP) renewal denials. Attorneys have noticed a shift in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) handling of AP applications, particularly with an increase of renewal denials as early as March of this year. To read the entire article, please click here.

For more information on Advance Parole, click here.

President Signs Bill Including Immigration Measures (Update)

Posted in Conrad 30 Waiver Program, E-Verify, President Trump's Administration

As an update to our recent post late Friday evening, The president signed H.R. 601 – Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017, making  this important government continuance and public safety measure, incuding important Immigration programs, law.

All government functions are continued until Dec. 8 under this law, including immigration measures for EB-5, E-Verify, Conrad 30, and Religious Workers.  By virtue of this extension, It will be necessary for lawmakers to consider further action prior to Dec. 8 to provide for continuing appropriations and reauthorization of many programs, such as the National Flood Insurance Program, the government debt ceiling, and other measures discussed above.

Greenberg Traurig’s Ian R. Macdonald Quoted in The National Law Journal

Posted in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Immigrant Visa, Immigration Law, President Trump's Administration, Visas

Greenberg Traurig Shareholder Ian Macdonald was recently quoted in the National Law Journal article, “What Employers Should Consider After Trump’s DACA Decision,” discussing the Trump Administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and what actions employers should take to ensure they are compliant.  Macdonald addresses the potential risks and compliance hurdles for companies moving forward.  To read the entire article, please click here.

Congress Approves Package of Government Continuance and Public Safety Measures, Including Important Immigration Programs

Posted in Conrad 30 Waiver Program, E-Verify, President Trump's Administration

The president and congressional leaders reached an agreement earlier this week on a package of government continuance and public safety measures.  This package includes a Continuing Resolution, Debt Extension, Hurricane Harvey relief resources, and extension of the National Flood Insurance Program. The extension maintains and continues government funding and reauthorization until Dec. 8, 2017. The Senate approved the negotiated agreement on a bipartisan 80-17 vote on Sept. 7 with House approval on Sept. 8 by a vote of 316-90.

The continuance provisions include important Immigration measures, such as EB-5, E-Verify, Conrad 30, and Religious Workers. It is expected that the president will sign this agreement.

Greenberg Traurig Attorney Ian R. Macdonald Featured in USA Today

Posted in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program

Greenberg Traurig Shareholder Ian Macdonald was recently quoted in the USA Today article, “As Trump phases out DACA, here’s what it means,” discussing the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  Macdonald addresses the potential issues that could arise as DACA enrollees work permits expire and what potential impact that might have.  To read the entire article, please click here.

 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Announces the Rescission of DACA

Posted in Advance Parole, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Immigration Law, President Trump's Administration, USCIS

On Sept. 5, 2017, Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump Administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  DACA is a mode of temporary relief given to children (now college-aged or older) who entered the United States without inspection with their parents and allowed them to apply for temporary work authorization if they met certain criteria.  This policy was established through an Executive Order issued June 2012 by the Obama Administration.  Since then, DACA has undergone scrutiny and much debate, and with the change of administrations, it has been clear that this policy would change, if not end.

AG Jeff Sessions announced that DACA will end, with a wind-down process overseen by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  Effective immediately, the following will happen as per the recently released DHS memo:

  • DHS will adjudicate, on a case by case basis, initial requests that have been accepted as of today (Sept. 5).
  • After today (Sept. 5), DHS will reject all DACA first-time applications.
  • DHS will adjudicate all properly-filed renewal applications as of today, and will continue to adjudicate applications for those whose benefits will expire by March 5, 2018.  Those applications will only be accepted until Oct. 5, 2017.  All other renewal requests will be rejected.
  • Current approvals and valid employment authorization document (EAD) cards will not be revoked and will remain valid until the expiration dates.
  • No new advance parole (AP) applications (an AP is permission to travel) will be accepted or approved and current/pending AP applications will be closed (fees refunded).  Currently, valid Advance Parole will still be valid and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will retain the discretion to admit a person based on the AP.
  • Discretion will be retained by DHS to terminate or deny deferred action at any time deemed appropriate.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not provide this information proactively to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CBP for enforcement proceedings, but this policy may be modified.

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