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1. DHS Considers 'Known Employer' Program To Aid Business Travel - DHS expects to launch a pilot by late 2015 to test the program.
2. HHS Updates Poverty Guidelines - Among other things, the poverty guidelines are used in determining minimum income requirements for Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, and Form I-912, Fee Waiver Request.
3. USCIS Issues Reminder for Requesting DACA - Those requesting either initial or renewal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) must submit an application for employment authorization and required fees.
4. ABIL Global: Mexico - The new "Temporary Migration Regularization Program" took effect January 13.
5. New Publications and Items of Interest - New Publications and Items of Interest
6. Member News - Member News
7. Government Agency Links - Government Agency Links
 

 
 
1. DHS Considers 'Known Employer' Program To Aid Business Travel
 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering a "Known Employer" pilot program to streamline adjudication of certain types of employment-based immigration benefit requests filed by eligible U.S. employers.

DHS expects to launch the pilot by late 2015 to test the program, which is designed to make adjudications more efficient and less costly, and reduce paperwork and delays for both the department and U.S. employers who seek to employ foreign workers.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will jointly implement the pilot program. A goal is to expedite or otherwise facilitate legitimate cross-border business travel along the northern border ports of entry. "Doing so is a binational commitment under the North American Free Trade Agreement as well as the U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border initiative," DHS explained.

In particular, the U.S. and Canadian governments intend to "explore the feasibility of incorporating a trusted employer concept in the processing of business travelers between Canada and the United States."

Additional information about the Known Employer program will be provided in the coming months.

BACKGROUND AND UPDATES

DHS seeks input on the Beyond the Border initiative, which can be emailed to beyondtheborder@hq.dhs.gov or mailed to Beyond the Border Coordinator, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Mailstop 0455, Washington, DC  20016.

 
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2. HHS Updates Poverty Guidelines
 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has updated the poverty guidelines effective January 22, 2015. Among other things, the poverty guidelines are used in determining minimum income requirements for Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, and Form I-912, Fee Waiver Request.

The latest guidelines were published in the FEDERAL REGISTER.

 
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3. USCIS Issues Reminder for Requesting DACA
 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued the following reminder on January 20, 2015:

If you request either initial or renewal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), you must submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and required fees. USCIS will reject your request if you fail to submit Form I-765, the required filing fee, Form I-765 Worksheet, and Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. For complete instructions on requesting DACA, go to the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) page.

For DACA renewals, USCIS strongly encourages you to submit your renewal request between 150 days and 120 days before the expiration date located on your current Form I-797 DACA approval notice and Employment Authorization Document. Filing during this window will minimize the possibility that your current period of DACA will expire before you receive a decision on your renewal request.

USCIS' current goal is to process DACA renewal requests within 120 days. However, you may submit an inquiry about the status of your renewal request after it has been pending more than 105 days. To submit an inquiry, please visit egov.uscis.gov/e-request or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 (TDD for the hearing impaired: 1-800-767-1833).

 
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4. ABIL Global: Mexico
 

The new "Temporary Migration Regularization Program" took effect January 13.

On January 12, 2015, the Mexican government published an announcement in the Federal Official Gazette about the "Temporary Migration Regularization Program," which became effective the day after and will expire on December 18, 2015.

The program incorporates requirements and procedures temporarily applicable to foreigners who entered Mexico legally before November 9, 2012, and who, as of January 13, 2015, have been living in Mexico under an irregular migration status.

The program establishes that if the migration authority resolves the migration filing as approved (taking into account that the interested individual filed a migration regularization application), the authority will grant temporary resident status for four years with the possibility of requesting a work permit with authorization to perform remunerated activities in Mexico.

This program is aligned with various strategies of the Mexican government that promote specific actions to guarantee protection of the human rights of immigrants under unfavorable conditions, such as irregular status, which often represents a risk to their security, access to health services, and development in society.

 
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5. New Publications and Items of Interest
 

Sen. Coburn report on DHS. Sen. Tom Coburn has released an oversight report, A Review of the Department of Homeland Security's Missions and Performance, which finds that the DHS is not successfully executing any of its main missions. For example, the report finds that DHS is not effectively administering or enforcing immigration laws, and 700 miles of the southern border remain unsecured.

SUMMARY AND FULL REPORT

New keyword search function on labor certification FAQs. The Department of Labor's Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) has updated the FAQ page of its official website with a new keyword search function, Search FAQs. Users may now search the FAQ page by using a single keyword or exact phrase to identify items in the FAQ database. A Tip Sheet has been developed to assist with use of the Search FAQs tool.

FAQs PAGE AND SEARCH FAQs TIP SHEET

GUIDE

The latest edition of the Global Business Immigration Practice Guide has been released by LexisNexis.  Dozens of members of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers co-authored and edited the guide, which is a one-stop resource for dealing with questions related to business immigration issues in immigration hotspots around the world.

 

The latest edition adds a chapter on Singapore.  Other chapters cover Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, the European Union, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Latchi Delchev, a global mobility and immigration specialist for Boeing, called the guide "first-rate" and said the key strong point of the book is its "outstanding usability."  She said she highly recommends the book and notes that it "is helpful even to seasoned professionals, as it provides a level of detail which is not easily gained from daily case management."

Mireya Serra-Janer, head of European immigration for a multinational IT company, says she particularly likes "the fact that the [guide] focuses not just on each country's immigration law itself but also addresses related matters such as tax and social security issues."  She noted that the India chapter "is particularly good.  The immigration regulations in India have always been hard to understand. Having a clear explanation of the rules there helps us sort out many mobility challenges."

Charles Gould, Director-General of the International Co-operative Alliance, said the guide is "an invaluable resource for both legal practitioners and business professionals.  The country-specific chapters are comprehensive and answer the vast majority of questions that arise in immigration practice.  Its clear and easy-to-follow structure and format make it the one volume to keep close at hand."

This comprehensive guide is designed to be used by:

  • Human resources professionals and in-house attorneys who need to instruct, understand, and liaise with immigration lawyers licensed in other countries;
  • Business immigration attorneys who regularly work with multinational corporations and their employees and HR professionals; and
  • Attorneys interested in expanding their practice to include global business immigration services.

This publication provides:

  • An overview of the immigration law requirements and procedures for over 20 countries;
  • Practical information and tips for obtaining visas, work permits, resident status, naturalization, and other nonimmigrant and immigrant pathways to conducting business, investing, and working in those countries;
  • A general overview of the appropriate options for a particular employee; and
  • Information on how an employee can obtain and maintain authorization to work in a target country.

Each chapter follows a similar format, making it easy to compare practices and procedures from country to country.  Useful links to additional resources and forms are included.  Collected in this Practice Guide, the expertise of ABIL's attorney members across the globe will serve as an ideal starting point in your research into global business immigration issues.

The list price is $299, but discounts are available.  Contact your Lexis/Nexis sales representative; call 1-800-833-9844 (United States), 1-518-487-3385 (international); fax 1-518-487-3584; or go to the Lexis/Nexis website.

ABIL on Twitter. The Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers is now available on Twitter: @ABILImmigration. RECENT ABIL MEMBER BLOG
 
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6. Member News
 

Laura Devine won the "Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year" award at Citywealth's Power Women Awards 2015, held on January 22 in London, England. The awards recognize individuals and companies who maximize the potential of women in wealth, champion female leadership, and celebrate diversity. Citywealth said that Ms. Devine "has shown outstanding enterprise in successfully founding, expanding and maintaining a thriving specialist law practice, based in London but global in reach. She has excelled in her chosen field of immigration law, especially for high net worth individuals.This has called not only for high professional ability but also for strong leadership qualities combined with initiative and stamina." MORE INFORMATION ON THE AWARDS

Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP, named one of the United States' top immigration law firms by U.S. News and World Report, has launched a compliance practice to complement its world-renowned EB-5 visa practice headed by firm chairman H. Ronald Klasko. Mr. Klasko was recently recognized again by EB-5 Investor Magazine as one of the top 25 attorneys in the United States for EB-5 matters.

Robert Loughran spoke on January 29, 2015, at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Chapter meeting in Lubbock, Texas, on the latest immigration developments affecting employers.

Cyrus Mehta has co-authored a new blog entry. "Squaring the Immigration Circle: New Hope for an Old System"

Stephen Yale-Loehr was quoted in the Epoch Times on January 21, 2015, in an article about the Republican Party's response to President Obama's State of the Union Address. Mr. Yale-Loehr noted that "[Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-Ala.) opposition to an immigration reform bill] shows the tension within the Republican Party. You've got some members who want to be accommodating on immigration because they want to attract the Latino vote for 2016, whereas others are firmly anti-immigrant and want to focus solely on strengthening our borders and deporting as many illegal immigrants as possible." He also said that "Sessions could make sure [an immigration reform bill] never gets to the floor. More likely he would amend it to make it what he thinks should be the final bill and see if that gets through the Senate." Mr. Yale-Loehr said that any immigration legislation in the next two years was likely to be in "bite-size packages" and not to resemble the comprehensive Senate bill from 2013.

Mr. Yale-Loehr and Mr. Klasko will speak at the EB-5 Innovation Summit on February 24, 2015, in New York City sponsored by NES Financial. FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO REGISTER.

 
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7. Government Agency Links
 

Follow these links to access current processing times of the USCIS Service Centers and the Department of Labor, or the Department of State's latest Visa Bulletin with the most recent cut-off dates for visa numbers:

USCIS Service Center processing times online

Department of Labor processing times and information on backlogs

Department of State Visa Bulletin

Visa application wait times for any post
 
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