USCIS has Completed the H-1B Initial Registration Process

USCIS has Completed the H-1B Initial Registration Process. What’s next for Employers? USCIS announced last Friday that it completed H-1B Initial Electronic Registration Process for CAP H-1Bs, and that they have started notifying employers who were selected in the Registration. USCIS says it intends to notify employer petitioners if they were initially selected by March 31, 2020. Employers who registered can check their MyUSCIS accounts to see if they have been selected. If selected, their status will show as “selected” and they should receive a notice as the below sample. What should emplo

ICE Employer Worksite Investigations Projected to Increase in 2021

While hiring may have slowed down or stopped completely this past week for non-essential businesses, US employers need prepare for increased ICE worksite investigations and I-9 audits to begin as early as the end of 2020 and in 2021. History shows that ICE lead employer worksite investigations and I-9 audits peaked in 2009, the year after the financial crisis of 2008. Current forecasts project that there will be a far worse financial crisis in 2020 due to the economic impact of COVID-19. As history tends to repeat itself, employers need to prepare themselves for possibly the highest number of I-9 related investigations in recent years. How is COVID-19 affecting I-9 Compliance? Recent Update

Important Update for Employers with Work Visa Petitions during COVID-19 National Emergency

What is going on? U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that because of the COVID-19 national emergency declared by President Trump, they will accept all benefit forms and documents with reproduced original signatures. This includes submissions of the Form I-129 dated March 21, 2020 and after. The USCIS alert states that this temporary change only applies to signatures, and that the parties involved in submitting the documents with the reproduced original signature must keep all copies of the documents with the original ("wet") signature. If the individuals or entities who submitted the form are not able to produce the original documents if requested by USCIS, this

DHS Guidance Update for E-Verify and I-9 Compliance During COVID-19 Pandemic

We are working through the fast-changing updates provided by the federal government during this trying time under the COVID-19 pandemic. USCIS has been providing guidance for employers, and the Corporate Immigration Compliance Institute is hosting a free webinar to ensure U.S. employers have the most up-to-date information to maintain compliance. I-9 Updates: DHS is deferring physical presence requirement only for employers operating 100% remotely OR in specific instances for current/future employees who are quarantined or unable to appear in person due to government lock down protocols: This means employers can now inspect new hire’s documents remotely (via video, fax, email) and obtain and

Mdivani Lawyers Taking Care of Business during Pandemic

Our message to clients and colleagues: We know you are getting updates about COVID-19 non-stop. Our firm values your business. We want to make sure you know we are prepared to diligently work on your matters through this pandemic. WE ARE PREPARED: Our attorneys are fully equipped to work from home without any business interruption. We have cloud-based phone and computer systems, remote connection, a system to support each other, and we will step in if one of us is down with the virus. We are dedicated to seamlessly taking care of our clients. UPDATE FROM DHS: Department of Homeland Security, specifically USCIS, has not given any inclination that they will be extending or changing any deadlin

USCIS Announces Temporary Suspension of Premium Processing for FY2021 Cap-Subject Petitions

What’s happening to premium processing for FY2021 Cap-Subject Petitions? In recent news, USCIS has announced a temporary suspension of the premium processing service for fiscal year (FY) 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions. USCIS will notify the public with a confirmed date for when premium processing for FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions will resume. Until such time, here are the major changes you should expect when filing: When USCIS begins accepting cap-subject petitions on April 1st any Form I-907 filed in conjunction with a cap-subject H-1B Form I-129 will be rejected. Premium processing for FY 2021 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status from F-1 nonimmigrant status will

Judge Invalidates Key USCIS H-1B Policies

What is going on? According to a Forbes article by Stuart Anderson, U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer has invalidated many significant U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) memos and policies that have led to dramatic increases in H-1B denials and Requests for Evidence (RFEs) under the Trump Administration. According to analysis by the National Foundation for American Policy, these memos have caused denial rates for H-1B petitions for initial employment to rise from 6% in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 to 24% in FY 2018. Why should employers care? Collyer's ruling could change how USCIS adjudicators review H-1B petitions for employers seeking high-skill international personnel. What

What Employers need to know about the new DHS Travel Restrictions

How is the Corona virus affecting travel to the U.S.? According to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) press release, President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation Wednesday suspending the entry of immigrants and non-immigrants who have been in the Schengen area during the 14 days prior to their planned arrival date in the United States. The Schengen area includes: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This ban is in addition to the previously announced virus-related ban

Federal Judge rules USCIS Improperly Denied H-1B Petition

What is going on? According to a Forbes article by Stuart Anderson, a federal judge has ruled that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) improperly denied InspectionXpert Corporation an H-1B petition for a Quality Engineer position that was selected in the H-1B lottery. According to InspectionXpert's employer letter to USCIS, the position requires a "Bachelor's degree or higher in Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science or a related technical or engineering field (or the equivalent)." USCIS denied the H-1B petition arguing that the position did not require a "degree in a specific specialty." Judge L. Patrick Auld rejected USCIS' argument that they could deny the petition on the

Nebraska Company to Pay $400,000 for Employing Undocumented Workers, Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Fe

According to an ICE news release, O'Neill Ventures, Inc., a tomato greenhouse and packing plant company in Nebraska, has pleaded guilty this week to conspiracy to harbor undocumented workers. During a search warrant executed by ICE in August 2018, officers found that approximately 70% of O'Neill Venture's employees did not have legal authorization to work in the United States. ICE also negotiated an ongoing oversight by the federal government into O’Neill’s labor and hiring practices and processes during a probationary term. We continue to see employers fined and charged for employing undocumented workers in the U.S. It is crucial for businesses to implement corporate immigration compliance

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