Greenberg Traurig Elevates Courtney B. Noce to Shareholder in Atlanta

Posted in Awards & Recognitions, Form I-9

The Business Immigration & Compliance Practice of Greenberg Traurig, LLP is pleased to announce that Courtney B. Noce has been elevated to shareholder in the Atlanta office. Noce focuses her practice on U.S. business immigration, compliance, and enforcement actions, as well as global immigration. She represents both large multinational companies and small startups on the full range of employment-based immigration, ranging from permanent residence to nonimmigrant visa categories. Noce works closely with companies on complex challenges associated with I-9 employment verification and enforcement actions. She provides proactive strategies in the form of onsite training, internal audits and reviews, as well as deploying best practices to minimize exposure and liabilities in the event of government investigations. Prior to practicing law, Noce worked with the Georgia Department of Economic Development as a Business Development and Project Manager. Noce is fluent in Italian, proficient in French, and has basic Spanish skills.

To read full press release, click here.

Greenberg Traurig Recently Hosted The National Immigration Forum (NIF) Event With Mexican Ambassador Geronimo Gutierrez

Posted in Events, Mexico

GT hosted a Washington, D.C. reception of the National Immigration Forum (NIF) on “What Drives The Immigration Debate: A Conversation.”  Welcoming remarks were made by Eddie Aldrete, Senior Vice President, IBC Bank, and Board Chair of the National Immigration Forum that recognized Laura Reiff, immediate past Chairman of the NIF, for her former and continued service and support of NIF.

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USCIS Finalizes Guidance on Signature Requirements – With Limited Exceptions, USCIS No Longer Accepts Power of Attorney Signatures

Posted in USCIS

On Feb. 16, 2018, USCIS published the final policy memorandum on signature requirements, which changed its existing rules for signatures on written requests filed with USCIS. Effective March 18, 2018, all paper filings with the USCIS must include a handwritten ink signature and USCIS will no longer accept signatures of individuals based on power of attorney for corporate clients. The only exceptions where power of attorney signatures will still be accepted are signatures on behalf of children under 14 and individuals with disabilities. There are additional changes made by the final policy memorandum, such as a requirement that an authorized signatory must be employed by the petitioner and that USCIS may reject a form submitted with a faulty signature instead of offering the opportunity to fix the deficiency. Below is a quick summary of the key points identified by the final policy memo regarding signature requirements.

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Supreme Courts Rejects Expedited Review of DACA Case

Posted in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Department of Justice, Supreme Court

On Feb. 26, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Department of Justice’s petition for writ of certiorari in a Ninth Circuit DACA Case. The Court took the unusual step of encouraging the federal court to act stating “It is assumed the Court of Appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide the case.” This action means that DACA participants can continue to renew their DACA benefits up to and beyond the March 5 deadline as the lower court’s enforcement stay remains in effect.

GT is monitoring this closely and will provide updates.

For more information on DACA, click here.

New USCIS Memo Formalizes Additional Requirements for H-1Bs at Third Party Worksites

Posted in H-1B, President Trump's Administration, USCIS

In support of its efforts to combat H-1B fraud and consistent with President Trump’s Buy American Hire American initiative, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will now require employers sponsoring H-1B workers at third-party worksites to include additional information and documentation in their H-1B filings. The new policy memorandum “Contracts and Itineraries Requirements for H-1B Petitions Involving Third-Party Worksites“, effective Feb. 22, 2018, largely formalizes existing USCIS policy on H-1B petitions involving third-party worksites, but also spells out new requirements regarding end-client letters and itineraries.

USCIS indicates that this new memo is a continuation of USCIS’s previous policy memo on third-party worksite H-1B petitions from Jan. 8, 2010, “Determining the Employer-Employee Relationship for Adjudication of H-1B Petitions, Including Third-Party Site Placements” (also known as the Employer-Employee Memo) and that employers should provide the additional documentation and information described in the memo in order to show by a preponderance of the evidence that (1) the H-1B worker will be employed in a specialty occupation; and (2) the employer will maintain an employer-employee relationship with the H-1B worker for the duration of the requested employment period.  In short, the employer must establish that it has “specific and non-speculative qualifying assignments in a specialty occupation for the [employee] for the entire time requested on the petition.”

Companies that sponsor H-1B employees working at third-party worksites will recognize much of the additional evidence described in this memo as USCIS routinely requests these documents in Requests for Evidence.  To prove that the H-1B worker at a third-party worksite will be employed in a specialty occupation and that the employer-employee relationship exists, the memo says that employers should submit contracts and work orders, work product, and contractual agreements related to the H-1B employee’s placement.  While an end-client letter is not a new requirement, the memo specifies that the end-client letter should include a detailed description of the H-1B employee’s job duties, the job requirements, the duration of the job, the salary, hours worked, benefits, and information about who will supervise the H-1B employee. It is sometimes difficult for H-1B employers to obtain end-client letters and requiring so much information in a letter will make the process more difficult. It is also unclear why an end-client would have detailed information about an H-1B employee’s employment since the end-client is not the employer. Requiring an end-client to provide this information about an H-1B visa holder providing services at its facility also raises concerns about joint employment.

Similarly, USCIS often requests itineraries in Requests for Evidence issued on third-party worksite H-1B petitions. The memo confirms the itinerary is a regulatory requirements and that employers must provide detailed itineraries for each worksite listed in the petition or the petition will be denied.

Senate Wraps Up Immigration Debate Week

Posted in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, President Trump's Administration

Rising to the president’s challenge of addressing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) participants in the United States and maintaining a commitment to debate DACA/immigration in exchange for cooperation on last week’s Budget Agreement, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY, Majority Leader) began an immigration week debate in the U.S. Senate. The process unfolded slowly and reached a crescendo Thursday with a series of votes on various immigration packages. Due to Senate procedures, all legislative amendments were required to receive 60+ votes to proceed for Senate consideration. At the end of the process, no package – Durbin for McCain- Coons amendment (DACA + Border), Toomey amendment (Sanctuary Cities), Schumer amendment (Bi-partisan Common Sense Coalition) (DACA + Security/Wall) or Grassley (White House Four Pillars- Wall, Border, Chain Migration, Diversity Lottery ) amendment met the threshold for further action.

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Continuing Resolution and Budget Agreement Funds Government and Vital Programs, like EB-5, until March 23rd

Posted in Continuing Resolution (CR), President Trump's Administration

After extended debate, the U.S. Senate set-aside the House-passed Continuing Resolution (CR) and negotiated and passed a CR funding government and programs, including EB-5, until March 23, coupled with a sweeping 2-year budget agreement for FY 18 and FY 19.  The extended debate exceeded the previous CR time extension of midnight Feb. 8, which resulted in a lapse of Appropriations or government shut-down.

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GT’s Shaun Staller Elected to Equality Forum’s Board of Directors

Posted in Awards & Recognitions

Shaun K. Staller, an attorney in the Immigration & Compliance group at Greenberg Traurig, LLP, was recently elected to Equality Forum’s Board of Directors. A non-profit organization, Equality Forum is focused on the advancement of national and international lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights with an educational emphasis. To read more, click here.

U.S. Businesses Urge Congress to act on a Solution for the Dreamer/DACA Recipients

Posted in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

A business coalition and many of its members continues to work for passage of a permanent bipartisan legislation solution for Dreamers living, working, and contributing to our economy.   https://www.coalitionfortheamericandream.us/. More than 100 CEOs of businesses from across the industry spectrum and across the United States are represented in this effort.

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U.S. Senate legislation Introduced to Address H-1B and Employment-Based Immigration Reforms

Posted in H-1B, STEM

On Jan. 25, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced S. 2344, the Immigration Innovation Act of 2018, or I-Squared.  I-Squared has been long-championed by Senator Hatch and the reintroduction of it this Congress includes “updates for this Congress.” Per Senator Hatch-

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