DHS Extends TPS for Syria

DHS announced today that it is extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrian nationals who already hold TPS. TPS allows qualifying individuals to remain and work lawfully in the United States until conditions in their home countries improve.  The new extension allows qualifying individuals from Syria to reapply for TPS and work authorization that will be valid until March 31, 2018. The re-registration period begins today, and ends on September 30, 2016. Employment authorization documents held by qualifying individuals already set to expire on September 30, 2016, are automatically extended through March 31, 2017. Employers can rely on the DHS announcement for I-9 employment verification and reverification purposes. Syrian nationals and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Syria who do not yet have TPS may apply through January 30, 2017.

DHS Extends TPS for El Salvador

DHS announced today that it is extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvadoran nationals who already hold TPS. TPS allows qualifying individuals to remain and work lawfully in the United States until conditions in their home countries improve. The new extension allows qualifying individuals from El Salvador to reapply for TPS and work authorization that will be valid until March 9, 2018. The re-registration period began on July 8, 2016, and ends on September 6, 2016. Employment authorization documents held by qualifying individuals already set to expire on September 9, 2016, are automatically extended through March 9, 2017. Employers can rely on the DHS announcement for I-9 employment verification and reverification purposes.

Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B Cycle Officially Over

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced today that it has now completed returning all petitions that were not selected in the Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B lottery.  Employers who filed petitions should now have received either a Form I-797 receipt notice indicating the petition was assigned a receipt number, or the original rejected petition including filing fees.  USCIS will take inquiries if employers believe they filed during the required period – April 1 to April 7, 2016 – and have not received either the receipt notice or the rejected petition by July 22, 2016.

DHS Extends TPS for Honduras and Nicaragua

DHS announced today that it is extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Honduran and Nicaraguan nationals who already hold TPS. TPS allows qualifying individuals to remain and work lawfully in the United States until conditions in their home countries improve. The new extensions allow qualifying individuals from Honduras and Nicaragua to reapply for TPS and work authorization that will be valid until January 5, 2018. The re-registration period for begins on May 16, 2016, and ends on July 15, 2016. Employment authorization documents held by qualifying individuals already set to expire on July 5, 2016, are automatically extended through January 5, 2017. Employers can rely on the DHS announcement for I-9 employment verification and reverification purposes.

BALCA Says Employers Must Inquire Further Into Applicants Who Meet Overall Education and Experience Requirements

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (“BALCA”) determines employers’ appeals of prevailing wage determinations and labor certification (“PERM”) denials during sponsorship of foreign nationals for employment-based green cards.  In a recently decided case, BALCA upheld a PERM denial because the employer failed to interview a potentially qualified U.S. worker during the mandatory labor market test for the sponsored position.  BALCA said that employers have a duty to investigate further when the resume raises a “reasonable prospect” that a candidate is qualified; in other words, when a candidate meets overall education and experience requirements (Matter of CEO Ally, Inc., 5/12/16).  The decision serves as a warning to U.S. employers that they protect the substantial human and financial resources they have invested in green card sponsorship by ensuring that they thoroughly screen all US workers – beyond mere resume review, when warrantedin order to provide concrete detail to support rejection of any U.S. workers during a PERM labor market test.

USCIS Extends TPS Registration Period for Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone

The Department of Homeland Security designates a country for Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) when conditions – such as ongoing armed conflicts or environmental disasters – make it unsafe for those citizens who are in the United States to return home. Because of the Ebola outbreaks in western Africa, DHS designated Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone for TPS in November 2014.

Continue Reading

USCIS Approves First U Petitions Certified by National Labor Relations Board for Victims of Unfair Labor Practices

According to the January 2016 edition of “All Aboard,” the National Labor Relations Board’s in-house newsletter, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has recently granted U status for the first time to victims of unfair labor practices in cases in which the NLRB’s General Counsel served as law enforcement certifier.

Continue Reading

Looking Ahead: EB-5 Program Reform

The Immigrant Investor Program, more commonly referred to as the EB-5 program, gives foreign entrepreneurs the opportunity to permanently reside and work in the United States after investing capital into an American commercial enterprise creating a sufficient number of full-time jobs.

In recent years, the number of EB-5 visa applications filed has surged. A large number of these applications relied on the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, which is the part of the EB-5 program that provides for regional centers to facilitate larger capital raises. While legislators and stakeholders recognized that program reforms were needed, no consensus could be reached before the program was set to expire on September 30, 2015. Consequently, the U.S. Congress passed in December 2015 a short-term extension of the program to September 30, 2016. Looking ahead, the likely areas of reform may be gleaned from two of the proposed reform bills that were not passed, and from homeland security concerns. Developers, investors and other stakeholders should also be aware of stepped-up Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement activity.

Read the full client alert.

DHS Extends TPS for South Sudan

DHS announced that it is extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of South Sudan who already hold TPS. TPS allows qualifying individuals to remain and work lawfully in the United States until conditions in their home countries improve. The new extension allows qualifying individuals from South Sudan to reapply for TPS and work authorization that will be valid until November 2, 2017. The re-registration period is now open and ends on March 25, 2016. Employment authorization documents held by qualifying individuals already set to expire on May 2, 2016 (and endorsed “A-12” or “C-19” under “category”), are automatically extended for an additional six months, through November 2, 2016. Employers can rely on the DHS announcement or Federal Register Notice for I-9 employment verification and reverification purposes.

LexBlog