President Unveils New Immigration Reform Plan

Posted in President Trump's Administration, Visas

Today, President Trump hosted a Rose Garden event unveiling his new immigration plan. The theme of the address, “Modernizing Our Immigration System for a Stronger America,” focuses on border security and modernizing the employment-based immigration systems to be more merit-based, according to the president.

A new initiative called the “Build America Visa” would replace certain employment-based visas with a “merit-based visa to attract the best and the brightest.” The president explained the Build America Visa as follows:

Like Canada and so many other modern countries, we create an easy-to-navigate points-based selection system. You will get more points for being a younger worker, meaning you will contribute more to our social safety net. You will get more points for having a valuable skill, an offer of employment, an advanced education, or a plan to create jobs.

We lose people that want to start companies, and, in many cases, they’re forced to leave our country; go back, usually, to the country where they came from; and they’ll startup companies, and some of those companies are among the biggest and most successful companies today in the world.  They could’ve started them right here in the United States, where they wanted to do it in the first place. Now they’ll have a chance. (Applause.)

Priority will also be given to higher-wage workers, ensuring we never undercut American labor. To protect benefits for American citizens, immigrants must be financially self-sufficient.

Finally, to promote integration, assimilation, and national unity, future immigrants will be required to learn English and to pass a civics exam prior to admission. (Applause.)

The president’s remarks can be found here.

Please check back as we will update this matter and others as information becomes available.

For more on President Trump’s Administration, click here.

Visa Bulletin – June 2019

Posted in China, EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, India, Visa Bulletin, Visas

The U.S. State Department has just released the June 2019 Visa Bulletin, and the headline is the significant retrogression in EB-1 India, where the Final Action Date goes back to January 2015. There is slow forward movement in almost all employment-based categories; EB-1 China remains unchanged and EB-3 India remains more advanced than EB-2 India.

For more visa bulletins, click here.

Continuation of TPS for Nepal and Honduras

Posted in honduras, nepal, Temporary Protected Status, TPS

On May 10, USCIS published notice in the Federal Register that DHS will not implement or enforce the decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Honduras or Nepal pending the resolution of the Ramos v. Nielsen appeal (9th Circuit, filed Oct. 12, 2018), or by other order of the court. Beneficiaries under the TPS designations for Nepal and Honduras will retain their TPS, provided that an individual’s TPS status is not withdrawn because of ineligibility. (84 FR 20647, 5/10/19).  The notice further announces that DHS is extending the validity of TPS-related documentation for Nepalese TPS beneficiaries through March 24, 2020. The TPS designation for Honduras remains in effect through Jan. 1, 2020. In the event the preliminary injunction in Ramos v. Nielsen is reversed and that reversal becomes final, DHS will allow for a transition period for TPS beneficiaries.

For more on temporary protected status, click here.

Final Rule Released to Provide 30,000 Additional H-2B Visas This Fiscal Year

Posted in Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor Immigration Compliance, H-2B

Today, May 8, 2019, after much anticipation, the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor posted a joint rule in the Federal Register providing 30.000 additional seasonal workers for American businesses. 

Based on interest, we also provide a link to the Attestation for Employers Seeking to Employ H-2B Nonimmigrant Workers released to facilitate the process. 

Please consult your GT attorney for additional information and check back here for updates.

For more on H-2B visas, click here.

˘ Not admitted to the practice of law.

Federal Agencies Release Prepublication Joint Rule for Additional H-2B Visas

Posted in Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, H-2B, Visas

On May 6, the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Labor issued a prepublication of the joint temporary rule setting forth the process for accessing 30,000 additional H-2B visas. It is expected that on formal publication of the rule in the Federal Register May 8, eligible U.S. employers documenting returning worker status (over the last three fiscal years) and irreparable harm standards can start the application process for designated and qualified additional workers. 

Please refer to the temporary rule for additional details, or contact your GT attorney. Return to the Inside Immigration blog for additional information on this and other subjects.

For more on H-2B visas, click here.

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OMB Completes H-2B Numerical Increase Rule Review

Posted in Department of Homeland Security, H-2B, Immigrant Visa

On April 30, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced the completion of its review of the regulation providing additional H-2B for fiscal year 2019-

Agency: DHS-USCIS

RIN: 1615-AC38

Status: Concluded

Title: Exercise of Time-Limited Authority to Increase the Fiscal Year 2019 Numerical Limitation for the H-2B Temporary Nonagricultural Worker Program

Stage: Final Rule

Economically Significant: No

Received Date: 04/22/2019

Legal Deadline: None

** COMPLETED: 04/30/2019

Completed Action: Consistent with Change

OMB approval of the final rule allows DHS to move forward with publication of a final rule and expected release of the additional H-2B visas in the near future.

Please check back as this matter and others are updated when information becomes available.

For more on H-2B visas, click here.

˘ Not admitted to the practice of law.

Greenberg Traurig’s Kristen Burke and Sarah Amendola’s Article on Immigration Enforcement Published in Texas Lawyer

Posted in Department of Homeland Security, I-9 Audit, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Immigration Law

Of counsel Kristen Burke and Associate Sarah Amendola, attorneys in Greenberg Traurig’s Immigration and Compliance Practice, wrote an article published in Texas Lawyer titled  “The Era of Tougher Immigration Enforcement.” The commentary addresses DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has escalated its efforts to oversee and enforce I-9 compliance, both in terms of conducting audits and worksite raids. The authors believe it is more important now than ever that employers understand and properly implement processes in line with the relevant immigration compliance requirements to minimize the risk of six-figure fines and other penal actions, including criminal prosecution and debarment from federal contracts. In addition to audits and raids, they outline suggested best practices.

To read the full article, please click here.

Greenberg Traurig Attorney Courtney Noce is Quoted in Law360*

Posted in E-2 treaty investor, Israel, USCIS

Courtney Noce, shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s Immigration and Compliance Practice, was recently quoted in an April 24 Law360 article titled “New Israeli Visa to Woo Tech Startups.” The article discusses the E-2 investor visa program opening up to Israeli startups. To read the full article, please click here.

*Access to this article requires a Law360 subscription.

UPDATE: Israel to Join Countries Qualified for E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

Posted in E-2 treaty investor, E-Visas, Israel

As previously announced on our blog, the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa will soon be available to Israeli nationals wishing to make a substantial investment in or set up a business in the United States. USCIS announced on April 22 that eligible Israeli nationals already in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, as well as their dependents who are also already in the United States, can request a change of status to E-2 classification starting May 1, 2019.

The U.S. Embassy in Israel announced on April 11, 2019, that it will implement the U.S. E-2 Investor Visa for Israeli nationals beginning May 1, 2019.

For more on E-2 visas, click here.

 

Presidential Memorandum on Combating High Nonimmigrant Overstay Rates

Posted in President Trump's Administration, Visa Waiver Program, Visas

On April 22, President Trump, in a quick turn to interior immigration enforcement, issued a Presidential Memorandum (Memo) initiating a process to develop administration initiatives to address visa overstays in the United States. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security released the Fiscal Year 2018 Entry/Exit Overstay Report, stating a total overstay rate of 1.22%, or 666, 582 overstay events, among other metrics.

The Memo directs federal agencies to develop plans to address, mitigate, and enforce immigrations laws. The Memo deliverables include the following, among others:

  • Within 120 days of the date of this memorandum, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall provide to the president recommendations to reduce B-1 and B-2 nonimmigrant visa overstay rates from the identified countries.  With respect to any of the identified countries, the recommendations may include, as appropriate and to the extent consistent with applicable law, a proclamation, relying on authorities such as sections 212(f) and 215 of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(f) and 1185(a)), suspending or limiting entry of nationals of those countries who hold B-1 or B-2 visas; targeted suspension of visa issuance for certain nationals; limits to duration of admission, to be implemented by the Department of Homeland Security; and additional documentary requirements.
  • Within 180 days of the date of this memorandum, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide to the president a summary of the Department of Homeland Security’s ongoing efforts to reduce overstays from countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program, to include any recommendations for additional action necessary and appropriate to ensure the integrity and security of that Program.
  • Admission Bonds. The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall take steps to develop measures required for imposing admission bonds as a means for improving compliance with the terms and conditions of nonimmigrant visas. The secretaries shall provide a status report to the president within 120 days of the date of this memorandum.

Please see a previous post on the 2017 Entry/Exit Overstay Report and legislation addressing interior immigration enforcement in the last congress and the current congress (H.R. 2260, the ”E-bonding for Immigration Integrity Act of 2019”).

Please check back, as updates on this process and others will be posted as information becomes available.

For more on visa overstay policies, click here.

˘ Not admitted to the practice of law.

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