Immigration Blog

Insight, News, and Strategy on Immigration Matters Around the World

Immigration case processing times have dramatically increased in the last few years, impacting U.S. businesses and immigrant families, often causing gaps in work authorization and even loss of employment. In a January 2019 Policy Brief, AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) opined, on the basis of USCIS data, that the Agency’s processing delays had reached “crisis levels under the Trump Administration,” noting that: [t]hese ballooning delays leave families—including families with U.S. citizen spouses and children—in…
USCIS announced on Friday, February 15,, 2019, that it will resume premium processing on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 for H-1B petitions filed prior to December 21, 2018.  This follows up on the USCIS announcement at the end of January that it would resume premium processing for cap-subject petitions that were filed on or about April 1, 2018. This means that premium processing can now be requested for petitions filed before December 21, 2018 seeking: H-1B…
The deadline for Brexit is quickly approaching – March 29, 2019.  If the UK leaves the European Union without a Brexit deal, what will that mean for EU citizens working in the UK?  According to Leigh Turner, the UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations, EU citizens living in the UK will be protected.  Their specific rights are set out in the Brexit withdrawal agreement.  But since that has not yet been ratified, the UK…
Prior to the government shutdown, it seemed that the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act might pass as an amendment to the spending package with strong bipartisan support. But that was not to be. Now members of the U.S. House and Senate, led by Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), have again introduced the bill in the 116th Congress. The bill would eliminate the per-country caps and therefore speed up the processing…
For some time now, the U.S. has been on the lookout for students who enroll in graduate programs solely for the purpose of obtaining additional CPT (Curricular Practical Training), particularly when they do not “win” the H-1B  lottery. Indeed, USCIS has issued Requests for Evidence (RFEs) regarding H petitions when it suspects that a student is not really engaged in a full-time program of study, but enrolled to benefit from a university’s CPT program. Now,…
Canada has been having success in attracting more high-tech companies and employees from the United States. This trend began in 2008, when such companies in the U.S. could not obtain the number of H-1B visas they needed due to the limited number available. Microsoft opened a development office in Vancouver at that time. Since then, the problem for companies has only grown. The Trump Administration has made the H-1B program more restrictive and companies have…
Chinese authorities have been using “exit bans” to prevent U.S. citizens from leaving China. In response, the U.S. State Department is continuing its Level 2 travelers’ warning to “exercise increased caution.” The advisory was originally issued in 2018 due to “arbitrary enforcement of local laws as well as special restrictions on dual U.S.-Chinese nationals.” “China uses the exit bans coercively: to compel U.S. citizens to participate in Chinese government investigations, to lure individuals back to…
While employers and immigration attorneys are preparing for the H-1B Cap Season, DHS has posted its Final Rule for a More Effective and Efficient H-1B Visa Program. The new rule will be published in the Federal Register on January 31, 2019. As expected, the new rule provides for an electronic pre-registration requirement and reverses the order in which USCIS will select H-1B petitions during the Cap Lottery. The electronic pre-registration will be suspended until April…
Employers will have until February 11, 2019, to create cases in E-Verify for employees hired during (or just prior to) the government shutdown. Because of the month-long interruption in services, E-Verify anticipates that there will be longer-than-usual processing times and longer-than-usual delays in responses to requests for assistance. Creating Cases for Employees Hired During (or just before) the Shutdown During the shutdown, employers were still required to complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verifications within three…
Just as the end of the month-long government shutdown was announced, USCIS had its own announcement: it will resume premium processing on Monday, January 28, 2019, for all FY 2019 H-1B Cap petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption (the “master’s cap”). Form I-907 requests for premium processing will be accepted for pending cap cases, as well as those cap cases where the petitioner is responding to a Request for Evidence (RFE).…