On April 9, 2015, the Administrative Appeals Office (“AAO”) issued a decision that will set precedence for future H-1B cases to come. Specifically, the case – Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC – decided the issue of whether a change in geographic worksite location for an H-1B worker is considered a material change and, as such, would require not only the filing of a new Labor Condition Application (“LCA”), but also an amended H-1B petition. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has now issued guidance on when an amended H-1B petition will need to be filed for a change in worksite location. Continue Reading
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced on May 19, 2015, that it will temporarily suspend premium processing service for all H-1B extension petitions, effective May 26, 2015, through July 27, 2015. This announcement is made in light of the imminent implementation of employment authorization for certain H-4 spouses so that all applications for employment authorization filed by qualified H-4 spouses may be adjudicated in a timely manner.
The USCIS will continue to process all H-1B petitions filed prior to May 26, 2015 with a premium processing request; however, for all petitions filed prior to May 26, 2015, if the USCIS is not able to adjudicate within the 15 calendar day window, it will refund the $1,225 filing fee. Continue Reading
The Department of State’s June Visa Bulletin on a whole brought relatively few changes of note.
Progress was made in the EB-2 category, where priority dates for Indian nationals advanced six months from April to October 1, 2008. Similarly, Chinese nationals experienced forward movement of one year in priority dates, with the Department of State (DOS) now processing cases with priority dates of June 1, 2013 or before.
The EB-3 category remains virtually unchanged across all areas, with the exception of the Philippines which retrogressed nearly two and half years from July 2007 to January 2005. Filipinos whose immigrant petitions were filed under the EB-3 skilled and professional workers category are now subject to a ten-year retrogression backlog.
In the EB-5 category, Chinese nationals with approved I-526 petitions carrying a priority date of May 1, 2013 or earlier are now current. Those with later priority dates will have to wait until their number is called and there are no timeline estimates available at this time.
Those individuals that have been impacted by a visa retrogression of any kind are encouraged to check the DOS Visa Bulletin each month in order to see if visa processing dates have moved under their approval category.
USCIS has officially announced that it has completed all data entry for fiscal year 2016 H-1B cap-subject petitions. Per the regulations, USCIS conducted its random lottery for H-1B cap-subject petitions that would be selected for processing, as more H-1B cap-subject petitions were selected than available for the upcoming fiscal year. Employers with cap-subject petitions that were selected for adjudication should have received or will receive in the near future the H-1B receipt notice on Form I-797C. USCIS also will begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected in the lottery. USCIS will release an announcement once all the petitions have been returned.
Greenberg Traurig attorneys Dianne Coady Fisher, Jillian Bunyan, Laura McAllister Cox, Nataliya Rymer, and Jennifer Hermansky attended International House of Philadelphia’s 54th Global Gala: Korea held May 9 in Philadelphia. The gala brought together supporters of the multicultural residential facility in University City that houses more than 800 students, scholars, and professional trainees each year from as many as 95 countries, including the United States.
Global Workforce Strategies: Risk, Compliance and Managing Your Global Workforce
Please join Greenberg Traurig’s Global Workforce Strategies team, in conjunction with the Labor & Employment Practice, for a timely webinar focused on some of today’s most challenging cross-border issues that international businesses are facing while managing a global workforce. These matters span labor, employment and immigration for businesses both inside and outside of the United States. Our panelists will discuss key risk and compliance issues that in-house counsel and human resources professionals must frequently navigate to stay ahead of the curve in regards to global workplace risk. Continue Reading
Starting in March 2016, Canada will require individuals who may visit Canada without a visa to first obtain approval from its electronic travel authorization system (eTA). Visitors to the United States will recognize eTA as similar to the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), which is used by the United States to pre-screen its visa-exempt visitors. Applicants will be able to use the eTA system starting Aug. 1, 2015.
The eTA will only be required for visa-exempt individuals seeking to travel to Canada by air for a short-term visit. Applicants must pay a CAD $7.00 processing fee and the resulting electronic travel authorization will be valid for five years or until the applicant’s passport expires, the eTA is cancelled, or a new eTA is issued. The eTA will include the applicant’s name, date, place of birth, gender, address, nationality, and passport information.
Notably, U.S. citizens are exempt from the eTA requirement, as are individuals who already have a Canadian visitor visa in their passport.
The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) has solicited amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs on whether the beneficiaries of certain I-140 immigrant visa petitions have standing to participate in the administrative adjudication process, including standing to appeal to the AAO. An amicus curiae brief is a written statement of law or legal opinion written by someone who is not directly related to, or a party to, the specific case under consideration.
This is an important consideration for foreign nationals who are the beneficiaries of an I-140 immigrant petition filed by a U.S. employer who are transferring to a new U.S. employer under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty First Century Act (AC21) portability provisions. Given the lengthy adjudication process for permanent residence applications, AC21 provides an opportunity for employees to transfer to a new employer if the following conditions are met: a) the employee has an I-485 Adjustment of Status pending for at least 180 days and b) the employee will continue to work in the same or similar occupation as reflected in the underlying PERM labor certification and I-140 petition. The I-140 petition must also be approved. However, even if these conditions have been met, there are many other issues that can interrupt the permanent residence process in this scenario. Continue Reading
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced the release of a new version of Form I-407, Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status. It is important to note that voluntarily relinquishing lawful permanent resident status may be beneficial for certain individuals and preferable to being deemed to have abandoned it. Why would someone want to give up their lawful permanent resident status (green card) in the United States considering the numerous challenges associated with achieving this great benefit?
If the individual moves to another country with the intention of making it their primary domicile, it is likely the individual will be deemed to have given up their green card and will not be admitted back into the United States as a lawful permanent resident. As such, keeping the green card or trying to maintain it after having permanently relocated abroad may be detrimental for a number of reasons, including tax consequences and/or expense of trying to enter the United States with the abandoned green card and being turned around. What can often happen is that the person is deemed to have abandoned his/her green card but still is obligated to pay U.S. income taxes on worldwide income. Continue Reading
As reported, this year’s H-1B cap is now closed and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has completed the lottery. USCIS indicated yesterday that it is delaying H-1B premium processing requests filed under this year’s cap until April 27, 2015. Contrary to this announcement, it appears USCIS is accelerating its processing of premium processing cases, as Greenberg Traurig has started to receive electronic receipt notices from the California Service Center. The firm has also found that the Vermont Service Center has started to cash filing fee checks on premium processed cases (no receipt notices as of yet). Greenberg Traurig will keep you posted on any further developments.