Greenberg Traurig and EB5 Investors Magazine to Co-Host Webinar on Visa Retrogression and the Impact on Chinese EB-5 Applicants

Posted in EB-5 Program, Visas

As previously reported by Greenberg Traurig’s Business Immigration & Compliance Practice, the U.S. Department of State announced on August 23, 2014, that immigrant visa numbers for Chinese nationals in the EB-5 category will become unavailable through September 30, 2014, which will mark the end of Fiscal Year 2014. To address this development, Greenberg Traurig and EB5 Investors Magazine will co-host a complimentary webinar on Wednesday, September 3rd at 1:00 pm ET outlining the impact of the visa retrogression for the EB-5 community.

Discussion topics include:

  • Legislative Update from Capitol Hill
  • What Retrogression Means for Regional Centers and Projects
  • The Impact on I-526 Filings and Green Card Applications Through Consular Processing and Adjustment of Status

To register for the complimentary webinar, please complete the registration form.

 

Greenberg Traurig Attorneys Kate Kalmykov and Jennifer Hermansky Serve as Editors for Immigration Law Book

Posted in General

Greenberg Traurig attorneys Kate Kalmykov and Jennifer Hermansky served as editors for the recently released What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Immigration Law reference book. The publication highlights the primary areas of immigration law encountered by attorneys of varying disciplines and the impact immigration law has on each, including complex mix of statutes, regulations, and federal and administrative courts and agencies. The book summarizes immigration principles in varying areas of the law, including family immigration, employment-based immigration, naturalization and removal defense, and serves as a reference for attorneys who may encounter non-citizen clients in their practice of law. The book can be purchased from the American Bar Association through this link.

DOS and CBP Announce Fix for Certain Visa Applicants Who Are Experiencing Consular Delays Due to Recent Technical Challenges

Posted in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Visas

For the past two weeks the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs has been experiencing technical problems with its passport and visa system. These problems have resulted in worldwide delays in passport, citizenship, and visa document issuance.

In an effort to address these delays the Department of State (DOS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have announced the following remedial steps: 

  • DOS and CBP will, on a case-by-case basis, waive nonimmigrant visa (H-1B, L-1, O-1, etc.) requirements for admission into the United States. In particular, applicants whose U.S. travel involves an “emergency” (i.e., humanitarian travel and life-and-death situations) or impacts U.S. national interests may request consideration for special travel permission. Unfortunately for most applicants urgent business/U.S. employment needs are not typically considered emergencies, but DOS will review such applications on a case-by-case basis. 

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Department of State Releases New Guidance Regarding Ongoing Consular Consolidated Database and Visa Issuance Delays

Posted in Visas

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) recently issued a series of updates regarding the Consular Consolidated Database’s (CCD) ongoing performance issues, which have significantly delayed the issuance of U.S. visas and other immigration-related records worldwide since technical glitches were initially detected late last month. According to the agency’s newly released FAQs, the database originally malfunctioned due to a standard software upgrade performed July 20, 2014. Since that incident, which also impacted the system’s back-up capability, the database was restored with limited operational capacity and has produced documents for “just over half of all approved travelers.” At this time, the DOS is prioritizing immigrant visas, adoption cases and emergency nonimmigrant visa cases. Nearly all passports, including emergency travel documents, are being issued on time. However, the FAQs underscore that “it will take some weeks” before standard turnaround times are in effect, with backlogged visa applicants advised to expect delays of 10 to 14 days before full functionality is restored and pending applications can be printed.

For up-to-date information regarding CCD delays and other immigration-related developments, please continue to visit the Immigration Compliance blog.

Greenberg Traurig Immigration Shareholder Ian Macdonald Featured in Corporate Counsel’s ’6 Immigration Law Mistakes GCs Make When Going Global’

Posted in General

As corporations move into international markets, there are several considerations to take into account to avoid high-profile security problems, political pitfalls and a potentially damaged reputation. Greenberg Traurig Immigration Shareholder Ian Macdonald recently discussed a few of these considerations in a Corporate Counsel article entitled “6 Immigration Law Mistakes GCs Make When Going Global.” The article highlights several immigration law errors that can be averted when equipped with proper knowledge. These include:

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Obama Administration Announces Plans to Advance Immigration Reform Through Executive Action

Posted in Immigration Reform

Citing Congressional inaction on long-standing efforts to pass immigration reform, President Obama announced, on June 30th, his intention to use executive authority to make potentially far-reaching changes to the nation’s immigration system. Speaking one year after the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill that has failed to elicit a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, the President directed his team to compile and recommend available immigration-related executive actions by the end of Summer 2014. While most substantive immigration reforms require Congressional approval, the President is expected to continue and possibly expand the Deferred Action program, which grants work authorization and deportation relief to undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as minors and meet certain criteria, as well as to fine-tune current deportation guidelines, strengthen border security, and increase legal assistance to individuals in deportation proceedings.

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Immigration Reform Efforts are Still Alive

Posted in Immigration Reform

Despite the recent resignation announcement of the House Majority Leader, immigration reform is still very much alive.

As reported by Greenberg Traurig just this week, the call to reform the country’s immigration system is louder than ever on and off The Hill. Immigration reform continues to garner strong and vocal support by CEOs, industry leaders and more. Placing the success or failure of immigration reform on the shoulders of one elected official is not an accurate metric. Indeed, several elected officials who strongly support immigration reform, and have for many years, won their respective primary with few challenges stemming from their support of immigration reform. Now is the time to move forward and refocus efforts to reform our country’s immigration system.

U.S. Supreme Court Narrowly Interprets Provisions of Child Status Protection Act

Posted in Visas

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in upholding the Board of Immigration Appeals’ restrictive interpretation of the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA). In Scialabba v. Vuellar de Osario, the Court addressed the issue involving immigrant (permanent) petitions on behalf of individuals with dependent children who age out – that is, turn 21 – during the pendency of the petition.

U.S. immigration law allows citizens and lawful U.S. permanent residents to file petitions for immigrant (permanent) visas for qualifying family members, such as spouses, siblings, and children of varying ages – from minors to adults. The individual being sponsored is referred to as a principal beneficiary of the petition; the principal’s spouse, minor child or children (an unmarried child under 21 years of age) are referenced as derivative beneficiaries. Generally, derivative beneficiaries are entitled to have the same immigrant status, in the same order as that granted to the primary beneficiary. The CSPA provides several provisions to protect minor derivative beneficiaries from losing their eligibility for immigrant status as they age while waiting for available visa numbers. This Act enables the freezing of a derivative’s age below 21; converting a petition from one category to another without the need to file a new petition, and the retention of one’s priority date – a place in line for permanent residence – assigned to the initial petition of which the aged-out child was unable to take advantage.

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Leading Executives Urge Congress to Act Now on Immigration Reform

Posted in Global Immigration, Immigration Reform

CEOs from top corporations have joined the chorus of companies pushing for Immigration Reform. In a letter to Congress, these executives outlined several areas that need to be addressed through meaningful Immigration Reform in order for companies to successfully conduct business, including:

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Global Immigration Series – Doing Business in Brazil: Navigating Complex Immigration Laws

Posted in Global Immigration, Visas

Visas and Work Permits

In contrast to Mexico’s relatively flexible immigration laws that we discussed last month, Brazil’s immigration laws are much more complicated and so require more advance planning from HR and Global Mobility Managers. Most importantly – in terms of timing – the majority of people require visas before traveling to Brazil. Citizens of nearly two-thirds of the countries in the world, including the United States, require visas to enter Brazil, whether for business or work. Because of the World Cup, Brazilian Consulates have been focused on issuing World Cup and tourist visas to ensure soccer fans can make it to the games. Increased visa applications combined with intermittent labor strikes have considerably slowed visa processing times. For example, the Brazilian Consulate in Miami is taking 45 days to issue a business visa. Work permit applications, which are processed by the Ministry of Labor, are taking at least 12 weeks.

The first step in planning an employee’s business trip to Brazil is to determine whether the employee’s activities qualify as business or work. In recent years, Brazilian authorities have sought to clarify the difference between business and work. Unfortunately, Brazilian legislation does not give a definition of “business” and so employers should contact immigration counsel before deciding whether to apply for a business or work visa. Based on past practices of Brazilian authorities, the following activities generally qualify for a temporary business visa: making business contacts, holding interviews, negotiating sales and deals, and attending or speaking at seminars. It is important to note that an employee working in a technical area likely will not be permitted to enter Brazil on a business visa for training or knowledge sharing purposes. These activities are more appropriate for a work visa. In addition, temporary business visitors may not receive remuneration while in Brazil.

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