Toni Blackwood

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Leading the firm’s immigration team, Toni has practiced in the business immigration field since 1990. A substantial part of Toni’s practice includes partnering with clients to develop comprehensive business immigration solutions. She advises employers on workplace compliance matters, from the proper completion and maintenance of Form I-9 and designing complete compliance systems, to company participation in E-Verify.

Latest Articles

Effective October 1, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will require all applicants who are eligible for a green card based on sponsorship by their employer to appear for an in-person interview at a local USCIS field office. Previously, employer-sponsored applicants for green cards were exempt from the in-person interview requirement after USCIS determined decades ago that in-person interviews were usually unnecessary for this category of applicants. Adjudicating officers were still permitted to conduct…
It’s time to begin preparing H-1B petitions for an early April filing and October 1, 2016 effective date. What is H-1B Classification? The H-1B classification provides work authorization to foreign nationals seeking long-term, but temporary, positions in “specialty occupations” with U.S. employers. A specialty occupation is one which requires theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields including, but not limited to, architecture, engineering, business, mathematics, science, arts, law and medicine, and which require a bachelor’s…
New legislation, included as part of the government spending bill, enacts new changes to the visa waiver program (VWP), imposing additional restrictions on travelers from VWP countries.  The new changes require a consular interview for nationals of, or individuals who have traveled to, countries that have supported terrorism or other “high risk” countries, including Syria, Sudan, Iran, and Iraq, since March 2011.…
New legislation, included as part of the government spending bill, enacts new changes to the visa waiver program (VWP), imposing additional restrictions on travelers from VWP countries.  The new changes require a consular interview for nationals of, or individuals who have traveled to, countries that have supported terrorism or other “high risk” countries, including Syria, Sudan, Iran, and Iraq, since March 2011.…
Congress has agreed to an omnibus appropriations bill, which contains a number of immigration-related provisions.  Though the vote on the bill is set for December 18, it is widely expected to pass.  In it, Congress has agreed to extend the EB-5 Regional Center program without change until September 30, 2016. The EB-5 Regional Center program permits foreign nationals to obtain a green card if they invest at least $1,000,000 ($500,000 if invested in a targeted…
As part of the proposed warming of relations with Cuba, USCIS has announced changes to Cuban family-based immigration policy.  U.S.  immigration policy toward Cuba differs from policy applicable to other countries.  Under the Cuban Adjustment Act, Cubans who enter the United States have a special track to permanent residency.  Further, under the Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) Program, certain relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in Cuba can come to the United States…
As part of the proposed warming of relations with Cuba, USCIS has announced changes to Cuban family-based immigration policy.  U.S.  immigration policy toward Cuba differs from policy applicable to other countries.  Under the Cuban Adjustment Act, Cubans who enter the United States have a special track to permanent residency.  Further, under the Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) Program, certain relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in Cuba can come to the United States…
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced today that it will be extending U.S. employment authorization to certain H-4 spouses of foreign nationals in H-1B status.  Family members of H-1B workers are permitted to enter the United States in H-4 status as dependents of the H-1B worker, but they are not authorized to work.  This change permits spouses in H-4 status to apply for an unrestricted work card provided that the principal H-1B employee:  Is the beneficiary…
U.S. businesses often use the H-1B visa classification to employ non-U.S. workers in positions requiring a college degree or the equivalent. In most cases, H-1B classification conveys work authorization for a period of up to six years. The law sets a limit of 65,000 new H-1Bs per fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 set aside for workers with a master’s degree or higher. These limits are known as the “H-1B caps.” In 2013, the H-1B…