Category: Immigration

How The DOL’s New Wage-Level Rule will Affect the Work Visa Program

Posted by: Park Evaluations

By: Rachel Horner The Department of Labor has issued an interim final rule just days after a judge in California blocked both USCIS’ fee hike and the Trump Administration’s ban on entry for those with work visas. The rule, titled “Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States,” will serve as an adjustment to the four-tier prevailing wage methodology used when applying for either an H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 visa. In the Level 1 tier, the minimum salary paid to those on a work visa will shift from the 17th percentile of their occupation’s income to the 45th percentile. Following the same trend, Level 2 will be moved from ...

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How New H-1B Visa Rules Could Harm the U.S. Economy

Posted by: Park Evaluations

By: Rebecca Anderson Last week, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor announced new rules for the H-1B visa system, changing the definition of “specialty occupation,” employee-employer relationships, and limiting the validity of an H-1B visa to one year for a worker placed at a third-party worksite. Overall, the new interim final rule will include fewer types of degrees, raise wages H-1B workers should be paid, and shorten the length of visas for contract workers. According to The Economic Times, the IT industry lobby group Nasscom said that the changes could potentially harm the U.S. economy by restricting access to talented workers from overseas and slowing down research and development processes due to the COVID-19 pandemic—a time ...

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Trump administration targets H-1B visas through additional new reforms

Posted by: Park Evaluations

By: Rebecca Anderson The Trump administration is striking while the iron is hot, announcing additional immigration reforms. Earlier this week, the president put forth new modifications, making it extremely difficult for skilled foreign workers to acquire United States visas. According to The Hill, the strict changes are the latest efforts by Trump and the Department of Homeland Security to publish regulations targeting H-1B visas. Visa recipients work in many different industries, with the large majority of them in the technology sector, and the visas granted to these individuals allow them to stay in the U.S. for increments of three years at a time. “We have entered an era in which economic security is an integral part of homeland security. ...

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Federal Judge Blocks the Trump Ban on Foreign Worker Visas During the Course of the Pandemic

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By: Rebecca Anderson Last week, a Federal judge ruled that President Trump and his administration had “overstepped” their authority after suspending issuance of specific work visas during the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge Jeffrey S. White of the U.S. District Court of Northern California granted a preliminary injunction to temporarily block the implementation of the order, issued in June. According to The New York Times, the sweeping order applied to thousands of companies seeking to bring workers to the United States on a wide array of visas, including the H-1B for high-skilled workers, seasonal employees on guest-worker visas and others, such as au pairs, who enter the country on cultural exchange visas. “The entry of additional workers through the H-1B, H-2B, J, ...

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Navigating the U.S. Immigration System

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By: Rebecca Anderson You don’t necessarily need to be an expert or lawyer to comprehend various immigration policies and laws, but there are a few steps one needs to take before officially declaring citizenship. It’s also important to understand the four types of immigration status in the U.S. and what makes up each category. Here are the four classes of status: U.S. Citizens: According to masslegalhelp.org, a United States citizen is simply “someone who was born anywhere in the U.S. or its territories, including Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Individuals from the American Samoa or Swain’s Islands are also considered citizens.” Those who are “naturalized”—citizenship given to someone who later becomes a resident through the U.S. Naturalization process—is also bunched in ...

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USCIS Filing Fee Increase Temporarily Halted by Federal Courts

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By: Rebecca Anderson As of this week, a district judge in California granted an injunction that temporarily halts the proposed increases made by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of schedule filing fees for incoming migrants. According to the National Law Review, this is based on the court’s preliminary ruling. This announcement comes on the heels of a former ruling in August that stated filing fees were increasing indefinitely. Ultimately, USCIS planned to implement these increases as of October 2, 2020. However, for now, immigration attorneys and clients can continue to file cases using the current USCIS filing fee structure to avoid having to rush to collect necessary documentation, etc. Why was the rule blocked? According to Boundless.com, Judge Jeffrey White of the ...

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A Breakdown of the Crisis-Era Shakeups at USCIS

Posted by: Park Evaluations

Written By: Lynn O’Brien, Senior Associate Attorney in the Northern Virginia office of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP.  The widely reported changes at USCIS have already had major consequences for foreign nationals looking to enter the United States. From fee hikes to narrowly avoided furloughs, to a proposed expansion of the premium processing program in an attempt to salvage some funds to stave off those furloughs, the leading sentiment among attorneys, petitioning companies, and would-be beneficiaries alike has been one of apprehension. With so much in flux, when will the other shoe drop? Background: A Deficit to Match the Times Like ...

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USPS Mail Delays and How they can Negatively Affect Our Immigration System

Posted by: Park Evaluations

By: Rachel Horner Furloughs, a pandemic, and a divisive political climate – it seems the USCIS has navigated through the worst. However, a new obstacle has been thrown their way: USPS mail delays. The USPS has already seen budget cuts and now they must process mail-in ballots for the 2020 election. These mail delays – which have already had a devastating impact across the country –are yet another blow to the USCIS, as they rely on the postal service to deliver paperwork, notices, visas, work authorizations, and naturalization documents to the 47 million immigrants living in the U.S. Immigration lawyers and USCIS agents alike agree that the USPS is essential to the success of the immigration process. A United ...

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Are USCIS Furloughs Still Coming?  What Happens Now to H-1B and Other Processing Times? A chat with Lynn O’Brien

Posted by: Park Evaluations

As hurricane season heats up, many in the business immigration world are beginning to wonder if USCIS will be able to weather its own stormy outlook. Furloughs and higher fees almost certainly seem to be on the agenda, with the service’s for-profit structure leaving it unequipped to handle the visa freeze instituted by President Trump’s June executive order (likely causing a reduction in petitions filed for employees outside the US who require visas to enter). Petitioning organizations seeking H-1B and L-1 visas, which have formed the backbone of the business immigration world for several years now, are faced with doubts as to the predictability in processing of these categories in the short term. Many businesses do not know ...

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Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program” Rule Proposed by DHS targets H-1B process, Could Possibly Go into Effect Soon

Posted by: Park Evaluations

By: Rachel Horner Every year, in the Spring and Fall, all federal agencies are required to submit a regulatory agenda, which lists each regulatory action the agency expects to work on within the next 12 months. It is then published in the Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. The latest Agenda, published in Spring 2020 (specifically June 30), contains a proposed rule from the DHS relevant specifically to those looking to arrive to the United States on an H-1B visa. Entitled the “Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program,” the proposal was initially set to be reviewed as a proposed rule first in December 2019, but was then moved to December 2020. However, DHS recently ...

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