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Immigration Law Blog

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Studying in the United States

The United States boasts some of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world and for many international scholars, it’s the dream of a lifetime to come study at one of them. Unfortunately, acceptance into a school isn’t enough to allow a nonimmigrant to commence studies in the U.S., they also must obtain the appropriate visa. Generally speaking, there are two different types of visas available to students: the F-1 visa and M-1 visa. The desired course of study and the type of school determines which will be needed. An F-1 visa is required to attend university or college, high school, private elementary school, seminary, conservatory or another academic institution (including a language training program). While an M-1 visa is generally required for study at a vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution.


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Monday, July 17, 2017

The Two Paths to Asylum

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

This, according to Emma Lazarus’s famous poem “The New Colossus,” is what the Statute of Liberty cries to the world. It is a reminder that America opens its doors to the most desperate of immigrants, those whose very life is threatened if they return to their home country.  In this day and age many of these immigrants are refugees seeking asylum.


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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Redesigned Form for Green Card Applicants

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published a revised Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485). Form I-485 is the application required to be filed for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident status while in the US. The new version of the Form I-485 should increase the efficiency of the adjudication process by reducing errors and requests for evidence.


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Friday, May 5, 2017

Update on Immigration News


On April 7, 2017, USCIS announced that it has received enough H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2018.

On May 3, 2017, USCIS announced its completion of data entry for all fiscal year 2018 H-1B cap subject petitions. USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap subject petitions not selected. Also USCIS will be transferring some H-1B cases from the Vermont Service Center to the California Service Center to better balance the distribution of cap cases. Petitioners and Attorneys will be notified via email if their case has been transferred.
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

President Trump Signs “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order


On April 18th, President Trump signed an Executive Order titled “Buy American and Hire American”. The Executive Order aims to discourage the use of foreign labor in the U.S. It directs federal agencies to review policies related to all visa programs and to recommend changes that would serve to prevent and address fraud and abuse in these programs. Specifically, the Executive Order instructs the Secretaries of State, Labor, and Homeland Security, and the Attorney General to “suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries” It also directs the federal government to more carefully enforce federal guidelines that prioritize the use of U.
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

USCIS Announces Completion of FY 2018 H-1B Cap Selection Process


On April 7, 2017, USCIS announced that it had received a sufficient number of H-1B Cap petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas as well as to meet the U.S. advanced degree exemption (Master’s Cap) which sets aside an additional 20,000 visas for applicants who have a Master’s degree or higher from a U.S. college or university.
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Friday, April 7, 2017

DOL Announces Efforts Aimed at “Protecting American Workers from H-1B Program Discrimination”

The Department of Labor (‘DOL”) recently announced plans to toughen regulatory enforcement of the H-1B visa program, which allows businesses to employ foreign “specialty occupation” workers on a temporary basis. It plans to take certain actions in an effort to ensure that American workers are not discriminated against by the H-1B program, including “rigorously using” existing authority to initiate investigations of H-1B program violators, considering changes to the Labor Condition Application for future application cycles, and continuing stakeholder engagement on how the program might be improved to provide greater protections for U.S workers. In addition, USCIS said it will focus work-site visits on companies that employ H-1B visa holders who work offsite and pay close attention to “H-1B dependent” businesses.
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Friday, April 7, 2017

“Computer Programmers” may no longer be eligible for H-1B visas



The USCIS recently rescinded a memorandum issued in 2000 pertaining to adjudication of H-1B petitions for “Computer Programmers”. In its place, a new memo issued by the USCIS Nebraska Service Center offers clarity on USCIS’s approach to determining whether the position of “Computer Programmer” is deemed a “specialty occupation” that would be eligible for H-1B status. Companies petitioning for H-1B status for workers in computer programming positions will need to demonstrate that these jobs are complex or specialized and require professional degrees. Applications filed using entry-level wages will also receive more scrutiny. The change appears to target outsourcing companies, who typically employ lower-paid, lower-level computer programming workers.
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Monday, March 6, 2017

USCIS Will Temporarily Suspended Premium Processing For All H-1B Petitions, Effective April 3, 2017


On Friday, March 3, 2017, USCIS announced that beginning April 3, 2017 it will temporarily suspend its premium processing service for all H-1B petitions for up to six months. During this temporary suspension, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129 requesting H-1B nonimmigrant classification.

The temporary suspension will impact H-1B petitions filed in the FY2018 regular and Master’s advance degree exemption cap as well as cap-exempt H-1B petitions. USCIS will continue to process Form I-907’s filed prior to April 3, 2017 and will notify the public prior to resumption of the premium processing program for H-1B petitions. During the suspension, petitioners may submit a request for expedited processing of an H-1B petition if they meet one of the expedite criteria listed on USCIS’ website (Read more . . .


Thursday, February 2, 2017

U.S. Department of State Provisionally Revokes all Valid Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visas for Nationals of Countries Affected by Recent Executive Order


Following the Executive Order signed on Friday, January 27, 2017 titled, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”, the United States Department of State has announced that it has provisionally revoked all valid nonimmigrant and immigrant visas of nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen with the exception of the following nonimmigrant visa classifications: A-1, A-2, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO, C-2, or certain diplomatic visas, or any visa exempted on the basis of a determination made by the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security pursuant to section 3(g) of the Executive order on a case-by-case basis and when in the national interest.

The full text of the revocation directive can be found at http://www.politico.
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Monday, January 30, 2017

President Trump Signs Executive Order on Friday, January 27, 2017 Instituting a Travel Ban for Nationals of Certain Countries


On Friday, January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”. This Executive Order had the effect of banning nationals of Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, or Yemen from entering the United States for a period of at least 90 days (potentially longer). This travel ban includes foreign nationals who have dual citizenship with one of the listed countries as well as another foreign country not on the list. U.S.
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