RAISE Act Proposal Likely to Thud

President Trump’s endorsement yesterday of a bill proposed by two senators (the RAISE Act) tends to make people think that it has more likelihood of becoming law than it does. The President does not make laws alone or with a few legislators. This is mainly political posturing, so if you have a stake in the current system don’t get too worried about it. But if you are a U.S. voter or company, you should let your senators and congressman know what you think. Continue reading

New I-9 Form Required as of September 18

USCIS released a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, on July 17. The form will become mandatory beginning on September 18. Baker Donelson encourages employers to take note of the change and ensure that their human resource personnel, who are responsible for checking employment eligibility of newly hired employees, switch to the new form prior to September 18.
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U.S. Supreme Court Reinstates Key Provisions of the Travel Ban

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to partially lift two injunctions that had been preventing implementation of President Trump’s travel ban executive order. Specifically, the Supreme Court ruled that the executive order may take effect but held that the travel ban may not be enforced against nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Syria, and refugees from all countries if they have a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

The Supreme Court decision limits the number of individuals who will be subject to travel restrictions to the U.S. The March 6 executive order exempted many foreign nationals from the ban, including permanent residents, dual nationals and holders of valid/unexpired visas. However, nationals of a restricted country who are not already exempt must be prepared to show their strong U.S. ties when applying for a visa or entry to the United States.
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USCIS Announces Redesign of Green Cards and Employment Authorization Documents

Beginning on May 1, 2017, USCIS will begin issuing a redesigned Permanent Resident card (green card) and Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This initiative is part of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project which was created to take a proactive approach against the threat of document tampering and fraud.

The newly designed cards use enhanced graphics and fraud-resistant security features to create cards that are highly secure and more tamper-resistant than the ones currently in use. This is also part of an ongoing effort between USCIS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enhance document security and deter counterfeiting.
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H-1B Employers: USCIS Retroactively Implements Changes for Programmers, Increased Focus on Fraud, and Invitation for Whistleblowers

In the midst of the mad flurry of H-1B cap filings, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy memorandum that rescinds guidance on H-1B adjudication for certain computer-related positions from December 2000 and announced implementation of increased measures to deter and detect H-1B visa fraud.
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Plan B for H-1B Applicants

Although you may not yet know whether your H-1B petition has been selected for processing under the FY2018 cap, it is never too early to think about alternatives and come up with a feasible Plan B.  Now that premium processing has been suspended, applicants will need to wait until they receive the USCIS Receipt notice by standard mail (hopefully by the end of April) to be certain their petition has been accepted for processing, and under current processing times will likely need to wait at least another four to five months until the H-1B petition is actually adjudicated to know they can definitely plan on remaining in the United States and work in H-1B status for their sponsoring employer. This results in a long time of wondering and waiting. We provided a summary of possible options last year here. In addition to the F-1, STEM, L-1, H-4, TN, E-3, E, and O options detailed in the May 2016 article, an individual may be able to obtain concurrent employment with a cap-exempt employer under a broader interpretation of cap-exempt employment or pursue parole as an entrepreneur under the International Entrepreneur rule effective July 16, 2017.
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Trump Pares Down Travel Ban in Revised Executive Order

On March 6, President Trump issued a revised Executive Order (EO), effective on March 16, 2017, to replace the prior order of January 27 with more limited and prospective restrictions on travel for nationals of six countries, along with suspension of visa interview waivers and refugee decisions for all countries. All people in the U.S. from the six countries should avoid international travel, and persons from all countries should anticipate possible visa processing delays.
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No H-1B Premium Processing. At All. For Who Knows How Long.

On March 3, 2017 USCIS announced that it will not honor any requests for premium processing for ANY H-1B petitions filed starting April 3 until further notice.  That includes capped and cap-exempt petitions, and petitions for initial status, change of status, extension of stay, and change of employer or other amendment.  Other classifications using Form I-129 such as L-1 and O-1 can still use premium processing.
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