Department Contacts
212.715.9421
212.715.9385
212.715.9408
212.715.9270
212.715.9439
212.715.9454
212.715.9241
212.715.9535
212.715.9244
212.715.9296
+33 (0)1 44 09 46 57

Recent Developments in Business Immigration Law


January 31, 2017 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink
On the heels of the controversial executive order barring entry of nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries, President Trump is now about to set his sights on business immigration issues. read more
January 31, 2017 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink
Last Friday, President Trump signed an executive order banning the entry of foreign nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen to the United States for a period of at least 90 days. read more
November 22, 2016 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink
Immigration changes are widely expected to be a key focal point in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration. Although we do not yet have details on how specific policies and programs will be affected, below is a summary of some potential implications of the election on business immigration. read more
August 24, 2015 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

This alert focuses on two recent developments:

  • the effect of a federal court order striking down the STEM OPT extension rule; and
  • the USCIS guidance on when to file amended H-1B petitions for changes in work location.
read more
June 22, 2015 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

This alert covers the following recent developments in business immigration law:

  • State Department Reports Technical Issues with Visa Systems.
  • USCIS Issues Guidance on When to File an Amended H-1B Petition.
  • Senate Judiciary Committee Leaders Introduce Legislation to Reform the EB-5 Regional Center Program.
read more
June 15, 2015 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink
Ted Ruthizer comments to Law360 on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Kerry v. Din. read more
May 21, 2015 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink
Read about developments surrounding the USCIS suspension of premium processing of H-1B extension petitions and the implementation of the H-4 employment authorization regulations.
read more
November 26, 2014 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

President Obama Announces Executive Order on Immigration

On November 20, President Obama announced that he will be shortly issuing a sweeping Executive Order that will provide relief to a large number of undocumented immigrants and will also facilitate the hiring and retention of skilled workers. 

read more
October 14, 2014 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink
Significant Retrogression in EB-2 India Visa Availability Beginning in November

Visa availability in the long backlogged employment-based second preference (EB-2) category for Indian nationals has advanced significantly in recent months.  As of October 2014, for example, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is accepting and approving adjustment of status applications from Indian nationals with EB-2 priority dates of May 1, 2009 or earlier.  Although still a long time to wait, the May 2009 date represents a significant, and welcomed, jump ahead from backlogs of 2004 just a few months earlier.

read more
May 12, 2014 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

In a welcome regulatory change, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed a regulation that will allow H-4 spouses of certain H-1B foreign nationals to apply for work authorization. The extension would be limited to H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B nonimmigrants who are in the process of seeking lawful permanent resident status through employment. Specifically, spouses in H-4 status would be able to apply for work authorization only if: 1) the H-1B spouse is the beneficiary of an approved I-140 petition, and visa numbers are currently unavailable in the preference category; or 2) the H-1B spouse is the beneficiary of a labor certification that was filed 365 or more days prior to reaching the end of the sixth year of H-1B status. Dependent spouses of H-1B workers who are not in the process of seeking permanent residence through employment will continue to be ineligible for employment authorization, as will the children of H-1B workers in H-4 status.

read more
April 9, 2014 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

H-1B Cap Reached

 

On April 7, after only five business days into the filing season, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had already received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory caps for both the 65,000 regular cap and for the 20,000 cap for U.S. advanced degree holders for fiscal year (FY) 2015 (October 1, 2014 - September 30, 2015). For those petitions received between April 1 and April 7, USCIS will conduct a computer-generated random selection process. Petitions not randomly selected for H-1B processing will be rejected, and the filing fees will be returned. We expect this random selection process to take place within the next few weeks.

read more
December 9, 2013 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink
Significant Retrogression in EB-2 India Visa Availability
As many of you are aware, visa availability in the long backlogged employment-based second preference (EB-2) category for Indian nationals had advanced significantly in recent months. In November, for example, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was accepting and approving adjustment of status applications from Indian nationals with EB-2 priority dates of June 2008 or earlier. Although still a long time to wait, the June 2008 date represented a significant, and welcomed, jump ahead from backlogs of 2004 just a few months earlier. read more
October 3, 2013 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink
Impact of Government Shutdown on Immigration Matters

We have received numerous questions from clients about how today’s partial federal government “shutdown” will affect immigration adjudications and other related matters. Here is what we know so far:

As U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) operations are primarily funded through user filing fees (rather than federal government appropriations), we expect the agency to continue operating as normal. All petitions and applications will continue to be accepted during the shutdown.

read more
September 16, 2013 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink
USCIS and State Department Issue Guidance on Immigration Benefits for Same-Sex Couples

Recently, both U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State issued FAQs in response to the Supreme Court's June 26, 2013 decision in United States v. Windsor, which struck down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional. DOMA had prohibited the federal government from conferring immigration and other federal benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples on same-sex married couples. Following the Supreme Court's decision in Windsor, USCIS estimates that approximately 30,000 same-sex bi-national couples may now be eligible to apply for various immigration benefits.

read more
June 4, 2013 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

Senate Bill on Comprehensive Immigration Reform Moves out of the Judiciary Committee into the Full Senate

During several weeks of debate, the Senate Judiciary Committee considered a number of proposed amendments to the employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant provisions of the comprehensive immigration reform bill known as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.  The Committee adopted several key amendments, including a proposal requiring employers to disclose their company name, address, and other details when posting H-1B positions to a mandatory recruitment website.  A proposal to increase the proposed labor certification fee, from $500 to $1,000, was also passed.  Defeated was a plan to require annual audits of at least one percent of all H-1B and L-1 employers (in addition to high-volume H and L employers, who are already subject to audits elsewhere in the bill), as was an amendment to eliminate the provision permitting employers to exempt “intending immigrants” from the calculations used for determining H-1B dependency and high-volume H-1B and L-1 usage.

read more
April 9, 2013 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

H-1B Cap Reached

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 5, 2013 that it had already received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory caps for both the 65,000 regular cap and for the 20,000 cap for U.S. advanced degree holders for fiscal year (FY) 2014 (October 1, 2013 - September 30, 2014).  April 5, 2013 was the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2014.  In total, USCIS received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions during the April 1 through April 5 filing period. 

read more
March 12, 2013 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

The New Form I-9 Has Arrived

 

Earlier today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a newly revised I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form.  (As you are likely aware, employers are required to complete Form I-9 when verifying the identity and employment eligibility of all new employees.)  Revisions include the addition of new required data fields (including fields for the employee’s telephone number, e-mail address, and foreign passport number), and a streamline of the form’s instructions. In addition, the length of the form (excluding instructions) has expanded from one to two pages.  The new form will be posted at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf.

 

read more
February 13, 2013 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

On April 1, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin accepting new H-1B petitions for professional positions. Although the petitions should be filed on March 29th (for delivery on Monday, April 1st), the start date for the employment would be no earlier than October 1, 2013.

read more
December 5, 2012 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

I.          New Legislation Introduced to Retain Foreign Talent

Over the past few months, a number of bills have been introduced that are designed to help employers recruit and retain talented foreign nationals who hold U.S. master’s or doctoral degrees in a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) field. 

read more
June 7, 2012 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

In recent weeks, three bills have been introduced that are designed to help employers recruit and retain talented foreign nationals who hold U.S. master's or doctoral degrees in one of the STEM fields. The Securing the Talent America Requires for the 21st Century Act of 2012 (STAR Act), introduced by Senator John Coryn (R-Texas), eliminates the Diversity Visa program and creates in its place a new immigrant visa (known as an "EB-2A") reserved for foreign nationals holding a U.S. STEM master's or Ph.D. degree and a job offer in a related field.   The SMART Jobs Act, introduced by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), would allow foreign nationals who have been accepted into and plan to attend a U.S. STEM master's or doctoral program to apply for a newly-created visa (known as an "F-4" visa). Should the student have a job offer within one year of graduation, the student would be immediately eligible to apply for permanent residence. Finally, the StartUp Act 2.0, introduced by Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), would create 50,000 new green cards for foreign students who hold a U.S. STEM master's or Ph.D. (It would also create 75,000 new green cards for immigrant entrepreneurs who open a new business and employ a certain number of U.S. workers).  

read more
June 7, 2012 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

In early May 2012 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced an expansion of the list of science, technology, engineering and math-related (STEM) degree programs that qualify graduates for an additional 17-month period of optional practical training (OPT) beyond the normal 12 month training period most international students receive following graduation. The expansion adds a number of different scientific or technological degree programs, including biology, management science, and civil and chemical engineering, to an already expansive list of STEM-eligible degree programs.

read more
June 7, 2012 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

On May 22, 2012, USCIS launched the first phase of its new online immigration system, known as ELIS. Individuals in a certain number of nonimmigrant categories (including visitors and students) can now utilize ELIS to file applications to extend or change their nonimmigrant status online. Following this initial release, USCIS anticipates making adjustments and improvements in response to user feedback. The ELIS system will eventually allow for the filing, processing, and adjudication of all types of petitions and applications, thereby replacing the paper and mail-based system in use today.

read more
June 7, 2012 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

On June 4, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that as of June 1, it had received 55,600 petitions towards the "regular" fiscal year (FY) 2013 H-1B cap of 65,000, and that it had received 18,700 H-1B petitions towards the "Master's" FY 2013 H-1B cap of 20,000 (the Master's H-1B cap is reserved for foreign nationals with advanced degrees from U.S. universities and colleges). We expect that all H-1B numbers (both regular and Master's cap) for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2013 - i.e., on or after October 1, 2012 - will be exhausted within the next few days.

read more
June 6, 2012 | Posted by Jeffrey A. Barlekamp, Associate | Permalink
In its last major audit push (which occurred several years ago), the DOL focused on auditing cases with requirements which exceeded what they considered to be “normal” for the job offered. For example, the DOL considers it normal to require a Bachelor’s degree and no more than two years of prior work experience for a Software Developer position. If an employer required anything in excess of these normal requirements – such as a Master’s degree, or a Bachelor’s and five years of work experience – it was likely that the case would be selected for audit, and the employer would be asked to demonstrate why it was necessary to require experience or education in excess of what was “normally” required. read more
April 1, 2011 | Posted by Matthew Dunn, Partner | Permalink

In the words of Uncle Sam, "We want you!" and quite frankly, we need you and we cannot afford to lose you.  What the United States needs right now are jobs, and based on this country's very recent economic history, it's the entrepreneurial immigrants who can create them.  The opportunities provided to these immigrants will come back to benefit us many times over.

read more
February 1, 2011 | Posted by William Johnson, Associate | Permalink
The 14th Amendment states that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States..." Recently, there has been renewed debate about whether birthright citizenship should be granted to U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. Restrictionist lawmakers have proposed a variety of measures to eliminate birthright citizenship. Some Republican Congressmen have proposed amending the Constitution. Others have proposed limiting birthright citizenship to children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents by legislation, which would go beyond keeping the children of undocumented immigrants from citizenship and would affect the children of anyone in a lawful status, including H-1Bs, L-1s, E-2s, and many others. Many of the concerns about birthright citizenship are based on the myth that undocumented immigrants benefit from having U.S.-citizen children. Leaving aside the constitutional arguments against birthright citizenship, we believe that eliminating birthright citizenship is bad policy. read more
January 11, 2011 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

H-1B Numbers Are Running Out

As you know, there are approximately 65,000 H-1B numbers available each fiscal year, plus an additional 20,000 for those who received advanced degrees from U.S. institutions of higher education. At year end, there were not many numbers left. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) advised that as of December 31, 2010, approximately 57,300 H-1B cap-subject petitions, and 20,000 H-1B petitions for aliens with advanced degrees, were receipted. Even though all 20,000 advanced degree H-1B numbers have been used, employers can still file petitions for advanced degree professionals by submitting them under the “normal” 65,000 cap.

The bottom line: If you are considering filing an H-1B petition for a foreign national, you must act now. All of the numbers will soon be exhausted.

read more