Tuesday, July 17, 2018

H-1B CAP Travel and Stamping Advisory

By Roujin Mozaffarimehr 


As H-1B Cap approvals start to trickle in, it is important for Petitioners and Beneficiaries to plan for the anticipated 10/1 start date. The following advisory is specifically for H-1B Cap cases that have been prepared for consular processing.

H-1B Approvals for Consular Processing

Once a Beneficiary’s case is approved, the next step is visa stamping at a local consulate in the Beneficiary’s home country.

We strongly advise Beneficiaries to promptly schedule a visa appointment with their local consulate after the receipt of an H-1B approval. This ensures that the Beneficiaries enter as close to the start date indicated on the form I-129 and approval notice.
Read more . . .

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

USCIS Issues New Policy Memorandum Requiring the Issuance of NTAs Following Certain Case Denials

By Roujin Mozaffarimehr 

Although the immigration court backlog has exceeded 700,000 cases as of May 2018[1], on June 28, 2018, the USCIS issued a guidance regarding Notices to Appear (NTAs), the charging document issued by DHS that schedules a foreign national for removal proceedings in immigration court.

Under the Service’s new policy, NTAs are to be issued for a wider range of cases, including cases where:

  • There is evidence of fraud;
  • There is evidence of criminal activity;
  • An applicant is denied an immigration benefit and is unlawfully present in the United States.

    See DHS Policy Memo, PM-602-0050.1.
    Read more . . .

Monday, April 23, 2018

H-1B Cap for FY 2019 Reached in Five Days

By Kalpana Peddibhotla and Roujin Mozaffarimehr

H-1B season ended almost as quickly as it began. On April 2, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting petitions for FY 2019 for the coveted visa for highly-skilled foreign workers.

Mid-morning April 6, the agency announced that it had reached the Congressionally-mandated 65,000 visa cap for regular H-1B petitions, as well as the 20,000 “Master’s exemption” cap for those with advanced U.

Read more . . .

Monday, March 5, 2018

USCIS Issues Policy Memorandum Confirming Stricter Evidence Requirements for H-1B Petitions Involving 3rd-Party Worksites

On Thursday February 22nd, The USCIS issued its latest Policy Memorandum, “Contracts and Itineraries Requirements for H-1B Petitions Involving Third-Party Worksites.” The Memorandum largely confirms our firm’s warnings over the last year regarding the stricter adjudication of H-1B petitions involving 3rd party worksites: there are no surprises in this memorandum.

The Memorandum was issued to provide “clarifying guidance regarding the contracts and itineraries that Petitioners submit in third-party worksite cases.”

The Memorandum provides this guidance through 6 points:

  1. Contracts as evidence to demonstrate the Beneficiary will be employed in a specialty occupation.

The USCIS confirms that, in addition to contracts between the Petitioner and its client for a 3rd party placement, the Petitioner is able to demonstrate the actual work assignment(s) in a specialty occupation by providing a combination of the following or comparable types of evidence:

  • Evidence of actual work assignments, which may include technical documentation, milestone tables, marketing analysis, cost-benefit analysis, brochures, and funding documents;
  • Copies of relevant, signed contractual agreements between the Petitioner and all other companies involved in the Beneficiary’s placement, if the petitioner has not directly contracted with the third-party worksite;
  • Copies of detailed statements of work or work order signed by an authorized official of the ultimate end-client company where the work will actually be performed by the Beneficiary.
    Read more . . .

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Trump Administration Backs Down After H-1B New Years’ Eve Scare.

On December 30, 2017, the McClatchy DC Bureau reported that the Trump Administration was seeking to restrict H-1B visa extensions beyond the six-year limitation through a re-interpretation of the AC21 rules. After an apparent realization that such a move was ill-conceived, subject to strong reactions from the business community, and would be hung up in court, on January 8, 2018, USCIS stated that it was not considering such a regulatory change and denied that it ever was.
Read more . . .

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

H-4 EAD in Jeopardy

Since May 2015, certain H- spouses of H-1B principals who have an approved I-140 have been able to apply for employment authorization pursuant to the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses rule. This rule has since been under attack through a legal challenge in the Courts. We have recently learned through a review of the Trump Administration’s Fall 2017 Regulatory Agenda the DHS has tentatively scheduled the release of a proposed rule rescinding the H-4 EAD rule in February 2018.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

USCIS Expands In-Person Interview Requirements for Adjustment of Status Applications for Employment and Refugee/Asylee Relative Petitions

By Roujin Mozaffarimehr

On August 28, 2017, The USCIS announced that in-person interviews will now be required for applicants with adjustment of status applications based on employment (I-140 petitions), as well as Refugee/asylee relative petitions (I-730 petitions). This new requirement will be phased in at the beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1, 2017.

This new requirement is being implemented to comply with Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States. The USCIS has confirmed in its

Read more . . .

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Department of State Revises the Foreign Affair Manual to Provide Consular Officers Guidance in light of Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order.

By Roujin Mozaffarimehr

As of August 2017, the Department of State (DOS) has updated its Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), which details the policies and procedures by which Consular Officers are to follow in the issuance of visas at appointments abroad. These revisions have been made based upon President Trump’s April 2017 Executive Order (EO) 13788, “Buy American and Hire American.” This EO posits targeted directives with the goal of “ensure[ing] the integrity of the Immigration System in order to ‘Hire American.”

Prior to the FAM revisions and the April 2017 EO, the Immigration Bar and non-immigrant visa (NIV) holders traveling abroad have been gathering anecdotal evidence of rigorous adjudications at the consulate.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Travelers Be Wary – International Travel on Pending I-131 Will be Deemed Abandonment

By Roujin Mozaffarimehr

The USCIS has changed its policy with regard to international travel while a form I-131 Application for Advance Parole is pending. In the past, the USCIS routinely approved advance parole applications where applicants traveled abroad during the pending period using an existing unexpired advance parole document, or H, K, L, or V visa. The USCIS Service Center Operation Directorate (SCOPS) has confirmed that the current policy is that travelling internationally while the I-131 application is pending will result in the denial of that application.

What does this mean for you?

If you have a pending I-131 application, please do not travel internationally until the application is approved. This also includes renewal applications, as well as renewal applications that are pending where the applicant has a current advance parole card.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

USCIS Site Visit Initiative for H-1B Dependent Employers and Consulting Companies

On July 19, 2017, MPLG attorneys attended a USCIS hosted Employment Visa Engagement event at the USPTO in San Jose, CA. Representatives from the USCIS, Western Regional, Fraud Detection & National Security (FDNS) Unit spoke at this event. They discussed their new targeted site visit program following the April 3, 2017 USCIS directive, “Putting American Workers First: USCIS Announces Further Measures to Detect  H-1B Visa Fraud and Abuse.
Read more . . .

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The January 2017 Rule

On January 17, 2017, the final rule published by the Department of Homeland Security took effect, codifying many sections of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21), as well as many other laws relating to the employment of foreign workers.

We are providing the details of the new rule now and our analyses based upon the implementation of the rule over the last 7 months. The new rule took effect 3 days before the Trump administration took office.

Read more . . .

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