Seismic Business Immigration Policy Shift in the Works for 2018

New changes to H-1B Lottery; H-4 EADs on the chopping block; AC 21 H-1B extensions in trouble; and how to plan for it all
Changes to the H-1B Program and the H-1B Visa Lottery

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to revise the lottery process for the upcoming fiscal year. The announcement may come as early as next month. It proposes a pre-registration system for cap-subject H-1B visa applicants.… More

2017 Immigration Policy Roundup

This year saw significant changes to immigration policy in the United States. Here is a brief roundup of recent developments that companies should continue to monitor in 2018.

The Travel Ban
BACKGROUND

President Trump issued the third revision of his travel ban entitled “Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats” on September 24,… More

The Fate of the International Entrepreneur Rule Remains Uncertain, But There May Be Hope

The Obama-era International Entrepreneur Rule (“IE Rule”), which had been scheduled to go into effect on July 17, 2017, would allow qualifying foreign entrepreneurs to come to the US to establish, oversee, and grow their businesses. To be eligible, applicants would have to demonstrate:

  • At least a 10 percent ownership in the business and a central role in its operations; and
  • That the company has received a “significant investment” of $250,000 or more from qualified US investors or significant grants from government entities,…
  • More

Supreme Court Stays Injunction Blocking President Trump’s Third Travel Ban

President Trump issued the third revision of his travel ban entitled “Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats” on September 24, 2017. This proclamation suspends entry into the United States under most circumstances for nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Chad, and North Korea. It also suspends entry into the United States for certain officials of the Venezuelan government and their immediate family members.… More

Protect and Grow American Jobs Act: New H-1B Bill Targeted at Dependent Employers

On November 15, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee approved The Protect and Grow American Jobs Act (H.R. 170), which primarily affects “H-1B dependent” employers. The bill revises the definition of a dependent H-1B employer to include all employers which have a workforce that is more than 20% percent H-1B employees (an improvement over the current 15% test). However, if a company qualifies as an H-1B dependent employer,… More

State and Federal Government Move to Enforce Employer Health Care Assessments

On Tuesday, November 7, 2017, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development issued proposed regulations to implement the Employer Medical Assistance Contribution (EMAC) supplemental assessment that was signed into law by Governor Baker this summer. At nearly the same time, the Internal Revenue Service announced that it would begin enforcement of the employer mandate enacted as part of the federal Affordable Care Act. Employers and human resources managers should pay close attention to these developments.… More

All Signs Point to an Increase in Worksite Enforcement in 2018

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Thomas Homan recently announced that ICE would increase worksite audits by “four or five times” in the next year. This comes after a January Executive order and a more recent statement by ICE announcing plans to hire 10,000 new worksite enforcement officers. Worksite inspections involve auditing of the employer’s Form I-9 records and other related investigations. Acting Director Homan also indicated that worksite investigations will involve the arrest and removal of any employees who do not have valid work authorization.… More

What Employers Need to Know About Employment-Based Green Card Interviews

Based on President Trump’s Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” USCIS has implemented a new policy to interview all employment-based adjustment of status applicants where the application was filed after March 6, 2017. For applications filed prior to that date, USCIS appears to be randomly selecting some applications for an interview.

USCIS Service Centers will continue to adjudicate the underlying I-140 Petition.… More

USCIS Reverses Policy on Temporary Visa Extensions

On Monday, October 23, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reversed a long-standing policy regarding non-immigrant extension petitions. Historically, as memorialized in an April 23, 2004 USCIS policy guidance, USCIS officers adjudicating a non-immigrant H-1B, L-1, TN-1, or O-1 visa petitions were instructed to give deference to the findings of a previously approved petition, as long as the key elements underlying the petition were unchanged and there was no evidence of a material error or fraud related to the prior determination.… More

President Signs EO Loosening Health Care Regulations

On October 12, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) entitled “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States.” The much-anticipated EO directs the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services to work on drafting rules and guidance to loosen regulations on insurance and to change the way in which individuals and employers purchase insurance in order to achieve three primary objectives:

  • Expand access to “Association Health Plans” (“AHPs”)
  • Expand availability of short-term limited duration insurance (“STLDI”)
  • Expand availability and permitted use of Health Reimbursement Accounts (“HRAs”)

According to the EO,… More