The Hard Lessons of Hiring Unauthorized Workers

Posted in Department of Homeland Security, General

Employment of unauthorized workers can have serious consequences for both the workers and the employers who knowingly employ them. This hard lesson was learned last week by the owners of a Chinese restaurant located in the Charleston, South Carolina area.

Dao Ping Lin and his wife Jin Xian Yang owned and operated the Osaka restaurant and knowingly employed multiple unauthorized workers at the restaurant. Following an anonymous tip, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began an investigation and discovered that Mr. Lin and Ms. Yang employed at least five unauthorized workers, housed them in a house owned by Mr. Lin, and transported the workers between the house and restaurant using passenger vans owned by Mr. Lim. Ms. Yang paid the workers in cash, a practice revealed when it was discovered that she was structuring cash withdrawals in the amount of $9,800 in order to avoid the reporting requirements for bank transactions in excess of $10,000. In addition, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Postal Service began their own investigations when postal inspectors discovered that Mr. Lin and Ms. Yang bought nearly $86,000 worth of money orders during two months in 2009. All of the money orders were in amounts just below the $3,000 limit that triggered reporting requirements.

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DOL Announces Historical PERM and LCA Records will be Purged

Posted in General

Employers should take note of two important changes announced by the Department of Labor. First, after a 30-day period of public notice and review, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) approved the revised retention schedule of the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC), determining that PERM labor certification applications and supporting documentation may be destroyed pursuant to an approved disposition schedule. The disposition schedule approved by the OFLC permits the retention of records, including hard-copy and electronic documentation, for five years after the issuance of a final determination letter or the occurrence of a final action, subject to an active investigation or a litigation hold.

Second, NARA identified the annual disclosure files housed on the FLC Data Center, as well as the quarterly disclosure data files and OFLC Annual Reports located on the OFLC Performance page, as permanent records. However, Labor Condition Applications (LCA) archived in the LCA Online System were deemed to be beyond the retention period of five years from a date of final determination or final action. As of Oct. 17, 2014, the LCA Online System was decommissioned. In keeping with its records schedule, the OFLC will no longer entertain requests for record searches in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests or provide information regarding duplicate certifications for LCAs processed in the LCA Online System.

U.S. Consulate in Calgary Closed for the Month of November

Posted in Global Immigration

The U.S. Consulate General in Calgary, Canada will be closed for visa appointments for the month of November 2014. The closure results from planned renovations to the facility.

Visa processing in Calgary is planned to commence as normal in December 2014.

For individuals in the Calgary area who require a visa to travel to the United States and who have plans on doing so during the holidays, GT strongly urges that you make an appointment during the month of October to ensure timely processing of your application in time for the holidays.

National Visa Center Announces Fee Changes

Posted in Visas

Effective September 12, 2014, the Department of State will increase the Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fees for family-based immigrant visa petition types, and decrease the Immigrant Visa Application Processing fees for all other immigrant visa petition types. Therefore, applicants who received a fee invoice prior to September 12, 2014, will be eligible to pay the listed fee on the fee bill invoice.

For the new fee amounts, please refer to the applicable petition types listed below:

  • I-130 (Immediate Relative and Family Petitions): $325.00 per applicant
  • I-140 (Employment-Based Petitions): $345.00. per applicant
  • Other petition types including I-360 (Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant): $205.00 per applicant


Norwegian Embassy in Malawi Issues Visas for 12 Countries

Posted in Global Immigration

In addition to Norway, the Embassy of Norway located in Lilongwe, Malawi now handles visa applications for Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, as well as Schengen visa applications. The Embassy website boasts that no other Norwegian diplomatic mission represents so many countries.

SCOTUS Grants Certiorari to Two Immigration-Based Cases for 2015 Term: Will the Government Have to Explain Its Exercise of “Discretion”?

Posted in Immigration Law

The United States Supreme Court is back in session as of last Monday, Oct. 6—often referred to as “First Monday” due to the fact that the term must begin on the first Monday of October by law. Among its roughly 50 case docket, featuring headliners that will refine Fourth Amendment jurisprudence and agency regulatory authority, the Justices will tackle two cases that stand to have a considerable impact on American immigration law and procedure.

The first of those cases, Mellouli v. Holder, concerns the issue of whether a noncitizen—even a green card holder—can be mandatorily detained and deported for possessing drug paraphernalia. Continue Reading

Infosys Whistleblower Retaliation Claim Filed in New Jersey

Posted in Foreign Workforce

A former Infosys Ltd. employee filed a lawsuit late last week in New Jersey federal court alleging that he was pressured to resign from the company and that the company continues to retaliate against him by refusing to rehire him. This is the second lawsuit he has filed against Infosys. As previously discussed on this blog , he filed a whistleblower lawsuit in 2011, claiming that his supervisors had retaliated against him after he raised concerns that Infosys was violating immigration laws, triggering a federal investigation into Infosys’s conduct which resulted in a $34 million settlement with federal prosecutors in October 2013 to settle “allegations of systemic visa fraud and abuse of immigration processes.” His earlier lawsuit was dismissed on state-law grounds in 2012.

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New Forms Required for India Work Visa Applications Filed in United States

Posted in Visas

Cox & Kings Global Services Pvt. Ltd (CKGS) now requires all Indian employment visa applicants in the United States to include a signed checklist and declaration form with their applications. As we reported in May 2014, CKGS is India’s visa application service provider in the United States. In addition to required information and documents, the checklist sets out the different steps of the visa application. By signing the declaration, the visa applicant agrees to comply with the terms of the visa and promises not to seek an extension or change of status after arriving in India.

To avoid delays and rejections, employers should take care to ensure that the signed checklist and declaration forms are included with all Indian employment visa applications. The checklist and declaration forms are available at the CKGS website. Failure to include the checklist and declaration forms when filing a case will result in a rejection and processing delay.


South Africa Tightens its Immigration Laws

Posted in Visas

As we reported earlier this month, South Africa instituted some important changes to its immigration laws this year. South Africa has utilized the familiar “carrot and stick” approach in its immigration overhaul: while it has extended the validity of its major employment visas, South Africa has also imposed additional immigration compliance requirements and penalties on both employers and visa holders. Global employers should particularly be aware of the following:

New requirements for all sponsoring employers. South Africa now requires all companies that employ visa holders to maintain the following on file: a certified copy of the foreigner’s passport; a copy of the visa or permanent residency permit; proof of the capacity in which the foreigner is or was employed; a copy of the foreigner’s IRP5 form or certificate of earnings and job description, respectively.

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U.S. Government Offices in India, Singapore and Malaysia will be Closed During Upcoming Holiday

Posted in Global Immigration

U.S. Embassies and Consulates in India, Singapore, and Malaysia will be closed on Wednesday, October 22, for the Diwali (Deepavali) holiday. Immigration services for visa applicants will not be available while offices are closed for the Diwali (Deepavali) holiday. It is encouraged to submit applications before the holiday to avoid delays.