HLG’s founder Brent Huddleston spoke last month at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) Texas, Oklahoma, & New Mexico Chapter Fall Conference. He is the AILA liaison to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) office at DFW Airport (the third-busiest airport in the world), and shared insights gained in that role with Conference attendees. CBP policies change frequently and are often enforced differently from port to port, so Brent is happy to have an inside look at entry and enforcement trends and issues at DFW Airport, to share that with his clients and colleagues, and to bring their concerns to CBP.
Beginning 10/1/17, USCIS will begin phasing in in-person interviews for employment-based adjustment of status applications (I-485 applications filed with/after I-140 petitions). Previously in-person interviews were waived for these applicants due to the thorough background checks they undergo and the low incidence of fraud in employment-based cases.
The new interview requirement will apply even to multinational executives and managers and will likely cause adjudication delays for all employment-based applicants.
USCIS says the change was implemented in compliance with Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.”
HLG’s founder Brent Huddleston spoke last week at the 45th Annual Legal Issues in Museum Administration Conference, sharing solutions to immigration challenges facing some of the country’s top museums. We regularly counsel museums looking to hire world class talent, and Brent was honored to be able to share his experience.
To learn more about the Conference, please see the schedule and faculty here: https://www.ali-cle.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=courses.course&course_code=CY005
In a flurry of memoranda and press releases issued right before and during the filing window for this year’s H-1B cap lottery, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of Labor announced efforts to curtail perceived fraud and abuse in the H-1B program.
On March 31, USCIS issued a policy memorandum clarifying that entry-level computer programmer positions do not generally qualify as “specialty occupations” as required by the H-1B visa category. This memorandum supersedes the prior “Terry Way” memorandum, which provided a basis for arguing that such positions should qualify as specialty occupations. In light of the new memorandum, computer programmer positions offered at an entry-level “Level 1” wage are unlikely to qualify for H-1B treatment.
Three days later, USCIS issued a press release announcing efforts to identify potential fraud in the H-1B program via targeted site visits. The site visits will focus on 1. Cases where USCIS cannot validate the H-1B petitioner’s basic business information, 2. Companies (called H-1B dependent employers) which employ a high ratio of H-1B employees, and 3. Companies filing H-1B petitions for employees to work off-site at another company’s location.
Then on April 5, the Department of Labor issued a press release announcing its commitment to “protect[ing] U.S. workers from H-1B program discrimination.” DOL says it will focus on “rigorously” using its authority to investigate possible H-1B program violators and will also consider changing the Labor Condition Application, a DOL-administered component of the H-1B application process, to provide improved transparency.
These efforts likely reflect the current administration’s focus on reforming the H-1B program. On the campaign trail, President Trump vowed to “end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program.” That the changes were announced immediately prior to and during the H-1B filing window that opened on April 1 means they may affect already-filed H-1B petitions.
Huddleston Law Group regularly counsels clients regarding the H-1B visa program. Please contact us if you would like to discuss these issues further.
The USCIS Policy Memorandum, Rescission of the December 22, 2000 “Guidance memo on H1B computer related positions,” is available at: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/nativedocuments/PM-6002-0142-H-1BComputerRelatedPositionsRecission.pdf
The USCIS Press Release, Putting American Workers First: USCIS Announces Further Measures to Detect H-1B Visa Fraud and Abuse, is available at: https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/putting-american-workers-first-uscis-announces-further-measures-detect-h-1b-visa-fraud-and-abuse
The DOL Press Release, US Department of Labor Announces Plans to Protect American Workers from H-1B Program Discrimination,” is available at: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20170404-0
We’d like to remind employers that as of January 22, 2017, all I-9s must be completed using the 11/14/2016 N version of the form (available here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9). You can find the version date in the lower left hand corner of the form. Employers using prior versions of the form may face penalties by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Happy New Year clients, friends, and colleagues! We opened our new year with a new firm and Law360 profiled our opening today: