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1. State Dept. Releases Instructions on Applying for DV-2016 Program - Entries for the DV-2016 DV program must be submitted electronically by noon EST (GMT-5), Monday, November 3, 2014.
2. USCIS Announces New Secure Blue Ink for Many Stamps - USCIS said employers should be aware of this recent change in secure ink color when examining acceptable documents presented by employees during the Form I-9 employment eligibility verification process.
3. USCIS Extends Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians - DED Liberia EADs that had an expiration date of September 30, 2014, are now valid through March 30, 2015.  This automatic extension of EADs follows President Obama's decision to extend DED through September 30, 2016, for qualified Liberians and those individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia.
4. CBP Designates POEs for First-Time Canadian TN, L Applicants Seeking U.S. Entry Under NAFTA - Such applicants may continue to go to any port of entry (POE) along the Canadian border for processing, but the agency is encouraging such applicants to go to one of the designated POEs "where you will receive optimized processing."
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. State Dept. Releases Instructions on Applying for DV-2016 Program
 

On September 24, 2014, the Department of State (DOS) released instructions on how to apply for the diversity visa (DV) 2016 program.  Entries for the DV-2016 DV program must be submitted electronically at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov by noon EST (GMT-5), Monday, November 3, 2014.

The agency warned: "Do not wait until the last week of the registration period to enter, as heavy demand may result in Web site delays.  No late entries or paper entries will be accepted."  DOS also noted that the law allows only one entry by or for each person during each registration period.  DOS said it "uses sophisticated technology to detect multiple entries.  Individuals with more than one entry will be disqualified."

For fiscal year 2016, 50,000 diversity visas will be available.  There is no cost to register for the DV Program.  There are no changes in eligibility this year.  For DV-2016, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because more than 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years:  Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.

The DOS notice states that based on the allocations of available visas in each region and country, individuals will be randomly selected by computer from among qualified entries.  All DV-2016 entrants will be required to go to Entrant Status Check using the unique confirmation number saved from their DV-2016 online entry registration to find out whether their entries have been selected in the DV program.  Entrant Status Check will be available at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov starting May 5, 2015, through at least June 30, 2016.

Those whose entries are selected will be directed to a confirmation page that will provide further instructions, including information on fees connected with immigration to the United States.  Entrant Status Check will be the only means by which selectees will be notified of their selection for DV-2016.  The Department of State will not mail out notification letters or notify selectees by email.  U.S. embassies and consulates will not provide a list of selectees.  DOS noted, "You are strongly encouraged to access Entrant Status Check yourself and not to rely on someone else to check and inform you."
To receive a DV to immigrate to the United States, those who are selected still must meet all eligibility requirements.  "These requirements may significantly increase the level of scrutiny required and time necessary for processing for natives of some countries listed in this notice including, but not limited to, countries identified as state sponsors of terrorism," the DOS notice states.

FEDERAL REGISTER NOTICE with full details

 
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2. USCIS Announces New Secure Blue Ink for Many Stamps
 

On July 1, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began using a new secure blue ink for many of its secure stamps.  The older secure red ink was retired and is no longer used by USCIS.  The following list of stamps are now being done with secure blue ink:

  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Parole Stamp
  • Temporary I-551 Alien Documentary Identification and Telecommunication (ADIT) Stamp
  • Refugee Stamp (Section 207) 
  • Asylum Stamp (Section 208)
  • Initial/Replacement Form I-94 Stamp

USCIS said employers should be aware of this recent change in secure ink color when examining acceptable documents presented by employees during the Form I-9 employment eligibility verification process.

Lists of acceptable documents appear on the last page of the I-9 form.  USCIS noted that employers cannot reject an unexpired acceptable document presented by a worker or specify which documents they will accept.  The agency reminded employers that they must accept the documents presented by a worker when completing the I-9 as long as those documents appear genuine on their face and relate to the person presenting them.

BULLETIN from U.S. Customs and Border Protection with examples of the new stamps

DETAILED USCIS GUIDANCE on how to examine documents for I-9 verification purposes

USCIS INFORMATION ON ACCEPTABLE DOCUMENTS

 
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3. USCIS Extends Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians
 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on September 26, 2014, that it will automatically extend employment authorization documents (EADs) for Liberian nationals covered under deferred enforced departure (DED).  DED Liberia EADs that had an expiration date of September 30, 2014, are now valid through March 30, 2015.  This automatic extension of EADs follows President Barack Obama's decision to extend DED through September 30, 2016, for qualified Liberians and those individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia.

The six-month automatic extension of existing EADs allows eligible Liberian nationals to continue working in the United States while they file their applications.  The extension also gives USCIS time to process and issue the new EADs.

Certain individuals are ineligible for DED, including:

  • Individuals who did not have temporary protected status (TPS) on September 30, 2007, and are therefore not covered under current DED;
  • certain criminals;
  • people subject to the mandatory bars to TPS; and
  • those whose removal is in the interest of the United States.

USCIS will publish a notice in the Federal Register with information regarding the extension of EADs for eligible Liberian nationals, and instructions on how they may obtain employment authorization for the remainder of the DED extension.

USCIS ANNOUNCEMENT

RELATED Q&A

For additional information, see the DED GRANTED COUNTRY—LIBERIA WEBPAGE on the USCIS webpage

 
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4. CBP Designates POEs for First-Time Canadian TN, L Applicants Seeking U.S. Entry Under NAFTA
 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is optimizing processing for first-time Canadian TN (Trade NAFTA) and L applicants seeking entry into the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  CBP has designated ports of entry (POEs) that will ensure a more efficient approach to processing the high volume of TN and L applicants.  CBP explained that such applicants may continue to go to any POE along the Canadian border for processing, but the agency is encouraging such applicants to go to one of the designated POEs "where you will receive optimized processing."

The designated POEs include locations in Canada, Vermont, New York, Michigan, Washington, and Montana. LIST OF DESIGNATED POEs

 
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5. New Publications and Items of Interest
 

The 2014 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 2014 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
 

Robert F. Loughran organized the ILW EB-5 Conference held in Chicago and moderated a number of panels regarding forming and operating an EB-5 regional center.  Focusing on the perspective of developers and business innovators, Mr. Loughran's presentation focused on learning from recent USCIS terminations of regional centers when developing the I-924 Application for Regional Center Designation as well as EB-5 filings generally.

Mr. Loughran's chapter on "Terminations of EB-5 Centers" was published in August 2014 in AILA's third edition of Immigration Options for Investors & Entrepreneurs.

Cyrus Mehta recently authored several new blog entries.  "Would the Religious Freedom Ground of Inadmissibility Still Apply to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi?" "Impact of EB-5 Retrogression On The Regional Center Loan Model"

Stephen Yale-Loehr was quoted in the Washington Post in an article about EB-5 immigrant investor visas.  Among other things, Mr. Yale-Loehr noted that the EB-5 investor program is "a four-way win.  It's a win for U.S. taxpayers because it brings in foreign money to help develop projects at no expense to the taxpayer.  It's a win for U.S. workers because it creates jobs.  It's a win for U.S. project developers because it allows them to get money for projects that [they] might not be able to get otherwise.  It's also a win for the foreign investors because they get a green card from their investment in United States."

Mr. Yale-Loehr was interviewed for a SinoVision TV segment on EB-5 immigrant investor green cards.  His quotes are at 2:30-3:30 and 11:20-13:00 minutes of the segment.

 
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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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