Immigration Help Available to Those Affected by Hurricane Irma
Trump Administration Announces End of DACA
SPECIAL IMMIGRATION RELIEF FOR THE VICTIMS OF HURRICANE HARVEY
USCIS offers immigration services that may help people affected by unforeseen circumstances, including disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. The following measures may be available on a case-by-case basis upon request:
- Changing a nonimmigrant status or extending a nonimmigrant stay for an individual currently in the United States. Failure to apply for the extension or change before expiration of your authorized period of admission may be excused if the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control;
- Re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS;
- Expedited processing of advance parole requests;
- Expedited adjudication of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
- Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate;
- Consideration of fee waivers due to an inability to pay;
- Assistance for those who received a Request for Evidence or a Notice of Intent to Deny but were unable to submit evidence or otherwise respond in a timely manner;
- Assistance if you were unable to appear for a scheduled interview with USCIS;
- Expedited replacement of lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, such as a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card); and
- Rescheduling a biometrics appointment.
Call Immigration Solutions LLC at 617-536-0584 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance to obtain Special Immigration Relief.
USCIS WLL CONDUCT INTERVIEWS FOR ALL EMPLOYMENT BASED AND DERIVATIVES' REFUGEE/ASYLEE GREEN CARD PETITIONS
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it will begin expanding in-person interviews for certain immigration benefit applicants whose benefit, if granted, would allow them to permanently reside in the United States. This change complies with Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” and is part of the agency’s comprehensive strategy to further improve the detection and prevention of fraud and further enhance the integrity of the immigration system.
Effective Oct. 1, USCIS will begin to phase-in interviews for the following:
- Adjustment of status applications based on employment (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
- Refugee/asylee relative petitions (Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition) for beneficiaries who are in the United States and are petitioning to join a principal asylee/refugee applicant.
Previously, applicants in these categories did not require an in-person interview with USCIS officers in order for their application for permanent residency to be adjudicated. Beyond these categories, USCIS is planning an incremental expansion of interviews to other benefit types.
USCIS asserted that conducting in-person interviews will provide USCIS officers with the opportunity to verify the information provided in an individual’s application, to discover new information that may be relevant to the adjudication process, and to determine the credibility of the individual seeking permanent residence in the United States. This change will most likely result in longer processing times for the adjudication of all Green Card applications.
Supreme Court Decision Affecting Trump's Travel Ban
On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court granted certiorari and consolidated two key cases in the travel and refugee ban litigation. In addition, the Court granted a partial stay of the injunctions that had been preventing implementation of Section 2(c), Section 6(a), and Section 6(b) of Executive Order 13780 (EO 13780). In its ruling, the Court held that Section 2(c) and 6(a) of EO 13780 “may not be enforced again foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The Court clarified that the sort of "bona fide relationship" that qualifies for individuals is a "close familial relationship" to a person in the U.S. As for a "bona fide relationship" to a U.S. entity, the Court indicated that the relationship must be “formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course.” The Court also held that a refugee with a credible claim of a "bona fide relationship" with a U.S. person or entity may not be excluded, even if the 50,000 cap on refugees has been reached.
HAITI’S DESIGNATION FOR TPS IS SET TO TERMINATE ON JULY 22, 2017
US Citizenship & Immigration completed a review of the conditions in Haiti and has concluded that the conditions no longer support its designation for TPS. As a result, USCIS has recommended that the Department of Homeland Security to terminate Haiti’s TPS designation effective January 22, 2018. This will allow for the extension of TPS benefits for affected individuals for an additional 6 months and for a period of orderly transition before the TPS designation is terminated.
USCIS WILL ISSUE REDESIGNED GREEN CARDS AND EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION DOCUMENTS
On April 19, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it was redesigning the Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card) and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) as part of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project. USCIS will begin issuing the new cards on May 1, 2017.
NEW MEASURES TO DETECT H1-B VISA FRAUD
Today U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced multiple measures to further deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse. USCIS believes that the H-1B visa program should help U.S. companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country; yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing, and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. Protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programs is a priority for USCIS.
Beginning today, USCIS will take a more targeted approach when making site visits across the country to H-1B petitioners and the worksites of H-1B employees. USCIS will focus on:
- Cases where USCIS cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data;
- H-1B-dependent employers (those who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to U.S. workers, as defined by statute); and
- Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location.
Targeted site visits will allow USCIS to focus resources where fraud and abuse of the H-1B program may be more likely to occur, and determine whether H-1B dependent employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers. USCIS will continue random and unannounced visits nationwide. These site visits are not meant to target nonimmigrant employees for any kind of criminal or administrative action but rather to identify employers who are abusing the system.
Employers who abuse the H-1B visa program negatively affect U.S. workers, decreasing wages and job opportunities as they import more foreign workers. To further deter and detect abuse, USCIS has established an email address which will allow individuals (including both American workers and H-1B workers who suspect they or others may be the victim of H-1B fraud or abuse) to submit tips, alleged violations and other relevant information about potential H-1B fraud or abuse. Information submitted to the email address will be used for investigations and referrals to law enforcement agencies for potential prosecution.
EAD FOR SALVADORIANS
The validity for Employment Authorization (EAD) Validity has been extended for TPS El Salvador Beneficiaries.
United States Citizenship & Immigration Services is automatically extending the validitu of certain EADs issued under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador for an additional 6 months.
On July 8, 2016, The Department of Homeland Security announced the extension of the designation of El Salvador for TPS for a period of 18 months. Hence the EADs issued pursuant to TPS were also automatically extended for 6 months,
through March 9, 2017. In order to avoid gaps in work authorizations USCIS is now automatically extending the validity of these EADs for an additional 6 months, through September 9, 2017.
This means that if you currently have an EAD that was issued under the TPS designation for El Salvador, which has a September 9, 2016 expiration date printed on the front of the card, your EAD will now expire on September 9, 2017.
To proce that you are authorized to continue working legally, you may sow the following documentation to your employer and government agencies:
- Your TPS-related EAD; and
- A Copy of the Federal Register notice announcing this automatic extension
You can find the notice by going to: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/03/06/2017-04454/automati...
USCIS WILL SUSPEND PREMIUM PROCESSING FOR ALL H-1B APPLICATIONS
On Friday March 3, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") announced that it will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions starting April 3, 2017. Premium Processing is an optional service for certain nonimmigrant and immigrant visa petitions that guarantees initial adjudication of a petition within 15 calendar days for an additional fee of $1,225. As regular processing times have increased significantly over the past 18 months from 2-4 months to upwards of 9-12 months, many petitioners are paying to have their cases premium processed to facilitate quicker start dates and international travel. USCIS provided no end date but said this suspension could last up to 6 months thus having a major impact not only on the upcoming annual H-1B cap-subject lottery but also for hiring plans for cap-exempt institutions like universities and teaching hospitals, many of which have summer/fall start dates that are now in jeopardy.
This is not the first time USCIS has suspended Premium Processing service. On May 26, 2015, USCIS temporarily suspended premium processing for extension of stay H-1B petitions. This was in response to the high volume of cases USCIS anticipated receiving due to new regulations allowing certain H-4 dependents to qualify for employment authorization. The suspension lasted two months until July 13, 2015.
The following are examples of how the suspension of Premium Processing will impact foreign nationals and their employers over the coming months:
- H-1B Fiscal Year 2018 cap-subject petitions for both the regular cap and U.S. Master's Cap: The suspension will limit if/when foreign nationals can travel abroad during cap-gap, as an F-1 student seeking readmission to the U.S. during this period would need USCIS to have approved the H-1B petition and request for change of status.
- Cap-exempt H-1B petitions: The suspension will affect when H-1B foreign nationals may start working at cap-exempt employers such as universities, teaching hospitals, and non-profit research institutions, and may even impact hiring decisions if the candidate is not eligible to start working for several months while awaiting approval of the H-1B petition. This will impact employers seeking to file both change of status and consular processed H-1B petitions.
- H-1B change of employer petitions: H-1B employees will still be able to "port" or change employers based on the new employer's petition being physically received by USCIS; however, their international travel may be affected once they are beyond the date of employment authorized on their prior H-1B approval notice until the new change of employer petition has been approved.
- H-1B extension petitions: H-1B extension petitions can be filed up to 6 months in advance of a foreign national's expiration. If timely filed, a foreign national's status and work authorization is automatically extended for up to 240 days beyond the expiration date. USCIS has stated they are prioritizing these petitions to ensure adjudication before the 240 days expire. However, foreign nationals will not be able re-enter after traveling abroad once the date on their current H-1B approval notice has passed until their H-1B extension has been approved.
USCIS has noted they will consider expedited processing requests on a case-by-case basis if the beneficiary/petitioner meets at least one of the notoriously difficult expedited processing criterion which include: severe financial loss to company or person, emergency situation, humanitarian reasons, nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the U.S., Department of Defense or national interest situation, USCIS error, or compelling interest of USCIS.