Continued Delays in Employment Authorization Document USCIS Processing Times

Posted in Employment Authorization Documents (EAD), USCIS

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) processing times for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) applications continue to increase despite already being at record highs. EADs are relied upon by many categories of foreign nationals to allow them to work lawfully in the United States. The processing times vary by USCIS Service Center, in addition to the category in which the applicant is eligible for employment authorization. The largest percentage of EAD applicants are in a humanitarian-based status, which may designate specific conditions associated with an initial EAD application and its renewal. Continue Reading

You are invited: Immigration Law Webinar – A Review of 2019 and a Look Forward to 2020

Posted in Events, Immigration Law

A number of changes to U.S. immigration law occurred in 2019. As we look ahead into the new year, we continue to see new and proposed changes to U.S. immigration policy. This webinar will discuss significant developments from 2019 as well as a summary of potential changes to the U.S. business immigration system in 2020.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST

Register here.

Presenters:

Jay Ruby
Shareholder
Laura Reiff
Shareholder
Courtney Noce
Shareholder

 

Registration Requirement for Petitioners Seeking to File H–1B Petitions on Behalf of Cap-Subject Aliens

Posted in H-1B, H-1B Cap, USCIS, Visas

On Jan. 9, 2020, USCIS posted a Notice in the Federal Register announcing the implementation of the H-1B registration process for H-1B cap-subject petitions. USCIS notes:

The initial H-1B petition registration period will begin on March 1, 2020. Starting on that date, USCIS will require H-1B cap-subject petitioners, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, to first register electronically with USCIS and pay the associated H-1B registration fee before being eligible to properly file an H-1B cap-subject petition for the Fiscal Year 2021 H-1B numerical allocations. USCIS intends to close the initial registration period on March 20, 2020 and will announce the actual end date on its website. After the initial registration period closes, USCIS will conduct the initial selection process, and petitioners with selected registrations will be eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for those selected registrations during the associated filing period.

The Notice issued today also provides background and other relevant information to implement the 2020 process. As always, please consult your GT attorney about this notice or any other questions, and check back to our blog as updates will be provided as information becomes available.

Read more on H-1B petitions.

President Trump Signs Appropriation Packages Extending Vital Programs Like EB-5 and Preventing a Government Shutdown

Posted in EB-5 Program, Executive Actions, government shutdown, Immigration Law, President Trump's Administration

On Dec. 20, 2019, President Trump signed H.R. 1865, an eight-bill appropriations bill that extends the vital EB-5 program until Sept. 30, 2020, among other things. The president also signed H.R. 1158, a four-bill appropriations package that deals mainly with national security issues. Upon his signature,  these actions fund and maintain the operation of government until Sept. 30, 2020.

Congress Releases 12-Bill Funding Package to Extend Vital Programs Such as EB-5 and to Prevent a Government Shutdown

Posted in EB-5 Program, government shutdown, Immigration Law

On Dec. 16, Congressional leaders negotiated and debuted a $1.37 trillion spending package to fund the operational needs of the country and extend vital programs such as EB-5.

The massive spending package is in two packages with Division 1-Extensions, Title 1, Immigration Extensions calling for the EB-5 extension:

17 SEC. 104. Section 610(b) of the Departments of

18 Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related

19 Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993 (8 U.S.C. 1153 note)

20 shall be applied by substituting ‘‘September 30, 2020’’ for

21 ‘‘September 30, 2015’’.

Read the full text of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020.

The House plans to consider the packages this week and send to the Senate with time to prevent a government shutdown at midnight on Dec. 20.

USCIS Announces More Fees and Fee Increases—UPDATE: Extension of Comment Period

Posted in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Department of Homeland Security, USCIS

As we previously reported here, USCIS published a notice of proposed rulemaking for an adjustment of fees to meet operational needs. Today, USCIS announced an extension of the comment period on the proposed fee increases for future years from Dec. 16 to Dec. 30, 2019.

USCIS stated:

SUMMARY: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending the comment period for its November 14, 2019, notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM or “proposed rule”) regarding the USCIS Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements. DHS is also announcing the availability of supplemental information to inform the public of information related to the NPRM. This supplement describes the projected costs associated with supporting immigration adjudication and naturalization services for which USCIS will reimburse U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This document also clarifies the comment period on the proposed information collection revisions in the NPRM. This announcement ensures that the public has an opportunity to comment on the supplemental materials. DATES: The comment period for the NPRM published November 14, 2019, at 84 FR 62280, is extended to December 30, 2019 .

For additional information on this extension, please see here or contact your GT attorney directly. Please check back, as this and other items are updated as events warrant.

USCIS Implements H-1B Registration for Next Year’s H-1B Lottery

Posted in H-1B, H-1B Lottery, H-1B Registration

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), after publishing the final rule for a new H-1B lottery process in January 2019 has announced that the testing period is now over for the registration process in relation to the H-1B lottery and implementation will go into effect for the  fiscal year 2021 H-1B cap. See the USCIS press release here

Employers who wish to file H-1B cap-subject petitions for their employees must pay a $10 registration fee to register each employee it wishes to place in the lottery. This process is designed to streamline and reduce paper waste that had been the practice for so many years, and instead have the employer or their authorized representatives complete a registration process that will only need basic information about the company and the employee.

The initial registration period will open from March 1 through March 20, 2020. During this period, the electronic registration must be submitted by the employer or its authorized representative. If the number of registrations exceeds the H-1B numerical allocation, a lottery will be conducted between March 20 and March 31, 2020. Only those petitioners with the selected registration, with the specific prospective candidate, will be able to file a cap-subject petition for only that candidate. Note that the H-1B petition will still need to be adjudicated on its merits. Duplicate registrations by the same employer for the same employee will be discarded. 

The Department of Homeland Security plans to publish a notice in the Federal Register in the next few weeks to formally announce the implementation of this process. For more updates, please contact your GT attorney or subscribe to this blog.

Greenberg Traurig’s Kristen Walker Ng Honored as 2019 National Law Review ‘Go-To Thought Leader’ on Immigration

Posted in Awards, Awards & Recognitions

Based on an analysis of more than 100,000 legal news articles, legal publisher The National Law Review (NLR) recognized Kristen Walker Ng, an associate in Greenberg Traurig LLP’s Immigration & Compliance Practice,  as a 2019 “Go-To Thought Leader” in Immigration.

According to NLR, the Go-To Thought Leadership Awards recognize exceptional authors in 35 legal practice areas for their contributions in providing practical guidance and highlighting timely and important legal news and developments. The awards also take into account whether articles are “reader favorites” and “quoted or cited by other publications and/or syndicated by other media.” The 75 honorees represent less than 1% of contributors to NLR’s daily legal news service.

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EB-5 Final Rule Challenged in U.S. Federal District Court

Posted in Department of Homeland Security, EB-5 Modernization Rule, EB-5 Program

On Nov. 26, 2019, a complaint for Injunctive Relief and a Temporary Restraining Order was filed by Florida EB-5 Investments, LLC against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) challenging a Nov. 21, 2019, DHS-issued final rule amending its regulations for the EB-5 program to purportedly modernize the rules (EB–5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization, 84 Fed. Reg. 35750 (July 24, 2019). Case 1:19-cv-03573 FLORIDA EB5 INVESTMENTS, LLC v. WOLF et al.

The Rule proposed many changes to the EB-5 Program, including: (i) significant increases in the requisite investment levels; and (ii) a new targeted employment area (TEA) designation process that eliminates the input of the individual states in designating such areas in which investments are made. The complaint alleges statutory and constitutional grounds to challenge the rule, claiming that it violates the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), exceeds DHS’s authority, and violates the Tenth Amendment, among others. The complaint further alleges that the Rule’s changes impact the U.S. economy and were proposed without adequate studies or analysis.

For more on EB-5 modernization, click here.

OMB Releases Fall 2019 Unified Regulatory Agenda; DHS & USCIS Expect Active Rulemakings

Posted in Department of Homeland Security, H-1B, H-4, Immigration Reform, Office of Management and Budget, OMB, USCIS

Twice a year, the Office of Management and Budget, in concert with the General Services Administration and its own Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, publish the Unified Regulatory Agenda (Unified Agenda). The Unified Agenda is a transparency program that publishes federal agency rulemakings in process. It is not a process set in concrete but rather a snapshot in time to inform the public of rulemakings and regulations being developed by federal agencies.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) postings, released Nov. 21 for Fall 2019 are here. In addition to enabling the searching of regulations by agency and content, the agencies offer a regulatory “plan” which sets out regulatory principles. The DHS statement can be found here. Continue Reading

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