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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Q & A: H-1B Cap after being away from US for one year; H-1B three-year extensions for Company B, based on Company A approved I-140; Re-capturing previously established priority dates

Question: I stayed in the US on H-1B for six years plus, based on having an approved I-140 petition, and then left the US for more than one year. I now want to return to work for a different employer in H-1B status. Am I subject to H-1B Quota Limitations? Can I use my previously established Priority Date, even though I left the employer that sponsored my I-140?


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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Impact of Government Shutdown on US Visa Matters

Courtesy of AILA:

DHS: All USCIS offices worldwide are open and individuals should report to interviews and appointments as scheduled. E-Verify is currently unavailable due to a government shutdown. Please see their notice for policies implemented due to E-Verify’s unavailability.

DOL: The Administration is working very hard to avoid a government shutdown and believes there is sufficient time to avoid such an occurrence; however, prudent management requires the Department to plan for the possibility that it may need to suspend operations should Congress be unable to pass a funding bill by midnight on Monday, September 30, 2013.

OFLC functions are not "excepted" from a shutdown and its employees would be placed in furlough status should a lapse in appropriated funds occur. Consequently, in the event of a government shutdown, OFLC will neither accept nor process any applications or related materials (such as audit responses), it receives, including Labor Condition Applications, Applications for Prevailing Wage Determination, Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, or Applications for Permanent Employment Certification. OFLC's web site, including the iCERT Visa Portal System, would become static and unable to process any requests or allow authorized users to access their online accounts.

DOL's Office of Administrative Law Judges will be unable to perform any case-related activities, including conducting hearings. Hearings that have been previously scheduled will therefore be cancelled prior to the date of the hearing, and they will not be rescheduled for hearing until an appropriations bill or continuing resolution takes effect.


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Monday, August 20, 2012

Hells Angels Sues Over Visa Denials for Foreign Members

The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club has a history of clashing with law enforcement, but the group is hoping a Washington federal judge will take its side in a new fight over federal immigration law.

In a lawsuit filed last week, Hells Angels challenged policies that bar foreign members from traveling to the United States.

Hells Angels describes itself as a club for motorcycle enthusiasts, but it's classified as a criminal organization by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In a lawsuit filed August 16 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Hells Angels claims that the "known criminal organization" designation isn't warranted and that federal officials have a blanket policy of denying visas to foreign members that conflicts with federal immigration laws.

Hells Angels, according to the complaint, has charters in 35 countries, including theUnited States, and clubs in at least four more countries are seeking to join.

 


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Q & A: B-2 visa holder risks of refusal and minimizing the same; F-1 visa as alternative option

Question: My girlfriend is from Brazil and has a B-2 visa stamp. Over the last year, she has spent more than half the time visiting me in the US. The last time she left was about three months, and now she wants to return. Does she run any risk of being denied entry, and how to minimize such risks? Can she alternatively apply for an F-1 VISA to study English?


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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

DREAM ACT DEFERRED ACTION UPDATE; PLEASE BE CAREFUL OF POTENTIAL FRAUD BY SO-CALLED "NOTARIOS"

Immigration lawyers around the United States welcomed the Administration's recent announcement that younger immigrants may be eligible for "Deferred Action" and work authorization. The policy will grant qualified immigrants the opportunity to live free from fear of deportation and allow them to work legally. This exciting new development brings hope to immigrants and their families. It is not currently a path to a Green Card or Citizenship, nor does it grant permanent legal status to anyone. It will also not extend to family members – everyone must qualify on his or her own.


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Sunday, January 29, 2012

FY2012 Visa Bulletin Predictions: Forward movement through March, steady for summer then possible retrogression

On the 23 JAN 2012 the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) posted notes from a discussion with Charlie Oppenheim of the Visa Office about visa demand in the employment preference categories, and predictions for the FY2012 Visa Bulletin.


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Sunday, January 29, 2012

SF immlawyr Q & A: I-539 application basics (being in status at the time of filing the change or extension of status)

Question: Foreign national is in H-1B status with I-94 expiring in June 2012. Spouse has indepedant L-1A status. I-129 H-1B extension pending with USCIS. Foreign national is asking RWG - in case H-1B extension is rejected, can he change status to L-2 (dependent of L-1A) without having to leave the United States?

RWG Answer: Possibly.


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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Supreme Court Limits Arizona's Overreach on Immigration, Leaves Door Open to Future Challenges

Courtesy of the American Immigration Council

Washington D.C. - In a blow to the state anti-immigration movement, the Supreme Court ruled today that the authority to enforce immigration laws rests squarely with the federal government, limiting the role that states may play in crafting state-level answers to immigration enforcement. By a 5-3 margin, the Court struck down three of the four provisions of SB 1070 that were challenged by the Obama administration as pre-empted under federal law. While the Court agreed that Arizona’s attempt to limit immigration by creating new laws and new penalties to punish undocumented immigrants was pre-empted, it found that a provision requiring local police to investigate the legal status of suspected undocumented immigrants was not pre-empted on its face. The court read this provision very narrowly, however, leaving open the door to future lawsuits based on racial profiling and other legal violations.

“Today’s decision makes clear that the federal government—and only the federal government—has the power and authority to set the nation’s immigration policies,” said Benjamin Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council. “Despite its strongly worded rejection of Arizona's effort to set its own immigration policies, the Court adopted a wait-and-see approach to the controversial racial profiling section of the law. There is already ample evidence of discrimination and abuse in Arizona, and many communities in the state will bear the brunt of the Court's unwillingness to face that reality. It's time for Congress to heed the dire warnings contained in this opinion and recommit to fixing our broken immigration system.”


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Obama Statement on SB 1070 Supreme Court decision

I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona's immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem.


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Monday, January 23, 2012

New USCIS system created to streamline the application process for immigration benefits: ELIS

What is USCIS ELIS?

USCIS ELIS is a user-friendly system created to streamline the application process for immigration benefits. It allows immigration benefit seekers and their legal representatives to create an account and file benefit requests online. USCIS ELIS provides more accurate and secure customer service. It also allows USCIS to process cases in a more efficient, consistent and secure environment.

Who will be able to use USCIS ELIS?

In this initial release, certain applicants can electronically file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Over time, USCIS ELIS will include more benefit types and increased functions.

Link to USCIS webpage with more information.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

H.R. 3012: "Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act": Bill passes House by a 20 to 1 margin; moves on to Senate

Update: There is no news on H.R. 3012, the High Skilled Immigrants Act, which was put on hold by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA).  But even without H.R. 3012, the January 2012 Visa Bulletin showed the China and India EB-2 category (for aliens with advanced degrees or equivalent, or in the national interest (NIW) advancing more than 9 months from 3/15/08 to 1/1/2009.  This rapid advancement demonstrates that demand for green cards amongst advanced degree professionals from countries other than India and China is decreasing, so unused green cards are being granted to those seeking immigration from China/India.  

More on H.R. 3012.  On 12/15/11, in order to release his hold, Senator Grassley offered an amendment that would make dramatic changes to the bill including elimination of family per country limit increase and reducing the employment based per country limit to 15%.  The amendment would also eliminate the diversity visa program and add provisions that would increase enforcement and U.S. worker protections to the H-1B and L-1 visa programs.


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