Hunton & Williams LLP’s immigration practice will introduce a new and improved immigration management system to its clients on January 16, 2018. For fifteen years, our group has used Immigration Tracker as a critical tool to manage our practice and serve our clients. The latest version of Tracker will offer a host of significant improvements that allows our practice group to work more efficiently through increased collaboration with clients and sponsored employees. Some of the key improvements are:

  • More powerful and easier to use management tools for Human Resources personnel to manage active sponsorships, including automatic delivery of custom reports, more detailed and transparent case status information, and viewing documents
  • Sponsored employees enjoy simplified yet more effective questionnaires that auto populate information previously provided, the ability to scan and upload documents directly from any mobile device, and more detailed case status information at their fingertips – including milestones completed for each process
  • Hunton team members will have more powerful tools available to prepare forms more quickly and accurately, manage active cases and expirations, and share critical information and documents with clients and sponsored employees
  • Improved security and accessibility through the latest in cloud-based database technology

Continue Reading Hunton & Williams LLP Introduces New and Improved Cloud-Based Immigration Management System for Clients

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 Extends TPS Registration Period for Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone

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

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 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.

After more than 15 years since the statutes were enacted, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will finally publish its proposed regulations implementing the American Competitiveness in the Twenty‑First Century Act of 2000, known as “AC21,” and the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998, known as “ACWIA.”

Continue Reading DHS to Publish Long-Awaited Regulations on AC21 and ACWIA

When President Obama signed the omnibus appropriations act on December 18, 2015, he not only funded the federal government through Fiscal Year 2016, but also enacted the ”Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act,” which was passed by the House in early December and incorporated into the appropriations bill.

Continue Reading Appropriations Act Makes Immediate Changes to Visa Waiver Program

Due to security concerns and international passport standards, as of January 1, 2016, US passport holders running out of blank pages in their passports will no longer be able to apply to the State Department to add blank pages.  Individuals will need to apply for new passports by mail.  In addition to the standard 28-page passport, the State Department now offers a 52-page passport.  Frequent international travelers may wish to opt for the 52-page passport to avoid any delays that may occur during the passport renewal process.

The State Department registration period for the Congressionally mandated 2017 Diversity Visa (DV) lottery is underway. The DV lottery allows nationals from certain countries to apply for immigrant visas (“green cards”) outside of the normal immigrant visa process. Individuals already being sponsored for immigrant visas by family members or employers may participate as well. Requirements include being a national of an eligible country (although an applicant may qualify based on his or her spouse’s nationality) and high school education or work experience. The online registration period begins Thursday, October 1, 2015, at noon EST, and ends on Tuesday, November 3, 2015, at noon EST. Complete eligibility requirements and filing instructions can be found here.