ABIL - Home 404.949.8150 ABIL Contact Us
Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers About Services Industries We Serve ABIL Lawyers Global Immigration News and Articles Resources
ABIL
 
   Back to Newsletters Download Newsletter   

 
1. Following Midterm Elections, Obama Plans Executive Orders on Immigration - President Obama reportedly plans to order several immigration-related changes by the end of this year.
2. U.S., China Extend Short-Term, Business Visa Validity in Reciprocal Arrangement - On November 12, 2014, the United States began issuing visas in accordance with a new reciprocal arrangement with China.
3. Justice Dept. Settles Discrimination Cases in California and Georgia - The U.S. Department of Justice recently settled several immigration-related discrimination claims in California and Georgia.
4. USCIS Begins Transferring Some Casework From Vermont to California - Affected casework so far includes Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence.
5. USCIS Launches myE-Verify for Employees - myE-Verify accounts and Self Lock will initially be accessible to individuals in Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. In future releases, USCIS will roll out myE-Verify across the country with additional features focused on employees and job seekers.
6. USCIS Naturalizes Service Members on Veterans Day - USCIS welcomed more than 3,000 new citizens at nearly 40 naturalization ceremonies taking place across the country from November 7 through 14, 2014. Since September 2002, USCIS has naturalized more than 102,000 service members.
7. New Publications and Items of Interest - New Publications and Items of Interest
8. Member News - Member News
9. Government Agency Links - Government Agency Links
 

 
 
1. Following Midterm Elections, Obama Plans Executive Orders on Immigration
 

According to reports, President Obama plans to order several immigration-related changes by the end of this year. The plans, not yet finalized, possibly include allowing certain parents of U.S. citizen or permanent resident children to stay in the United States. Other changes being considered include expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, instituting protections for unauthorized farmworkers who have been working in the United States for years, expanding opportunities for immigrants with technology skills, and clarifying guidance on the prioritization of criminals and others for removal.

Shortly after the midterm elections on November 4, 2014, in which it did not appear that immigration issues were deciding factors, President Obama said, "Before the end of the year, we're going to take whatever lawful actions that I can take that I believe will improve the functioning of our immigration system. What I’m not going to do is just wait." President Obama has said he would reverse those executive orders if Congress passes a comprehensive immigration legislation that he can sign. Republicans countered that they would fight whatever changes the President orders "tooth and nail," according to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). He said all options were on the table. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that any unilateral executive actions on immigration would be like "waving a red flag in front of a bull."

On the other side are immigration advocates who expect President Obama to keep earlier promises. Kevin Appleby, director of migration policy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said, "This is his last chance to make good on his promise to fix the system. If he delays again, the immigration activists would—just politically speaking—jump the White House fence."

 
Back to Top

 
2. U.S., China Extend Short-Term, Business Visa Validity in Reciprocal Arrangement
 

On November 12, 2014, the United States began issuing visas in accordance with a new reciprocal arrangement with China, the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs announced. Chinese applicants who qualify for a B nonimmigrant visa (NIV) may now be issued multiple-entry visas for up to 10 years for business and tourist travel. Qualified Chinese students and exchange visitors and their dependents who qualify for F, M, or J visas are now eligible for multiple-entry visas valid for up to five years or the length of their program. U.S. citizens eligible for Chinese short-term business and tourist visas should also receive multiple-entry visas valid for up to 10 years, while qualified U.S. students may receive student residence permits valid up to five years, depending on the length of their educational programs.

The Bureau noted that visa validity is not the same as the allowed duration of stay. A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port of entry where a Customs and Border Protection officer will grant admission to valid travelers. In doing so, the officer will inform the traveler of the permitted length of stay. The current change in visa validity does not change the permitted duration of stay for any visa class.

The Bureau said it expects that these changes in visa validity "will be very popular among Chinese travelers. The U.S. Mission in China is taking steps to handle a potential increase in visa workload and intends to keep visa processing times as short as they have been over the past several years."

There will be no change in visa application fees. The basic visa fee of $160 includes appointment scheduling and passport delivery services.

The United States and China continue to discuss visa validity for other classes of visas. All such decisions are made on a reciprocal basis. The Bureau noted that in FY 2014, business, tourist, student, and exchange visitor visas represented 97 percent of all nonimmigrant visa applications processed in China for Chinese citizens.

A related White House fact sheet notes that China is the fastest-growing outbound tourism market in the world. In 2013, 1.8 million Chinese travelers visited the United States, contributing $21.1 billion to the U.S. economy and supporting more than 109,000 American jobs. Chinese travelers consistently rank the United States as their most-desired travel destination, the fact sheet notes, yet less than 2 percent of total Chinese travelers come to the United States. Chinese travelers cite ease of visa policies as the second most important factor in deciding where to travel, behind only cost. "A competitive visa policy will help us meet projections that suggest as many as 7.3 million Chinese travelers will come to the United States by 2021, contributing nearly $85 billion a year to the economy and supporting up to 440,000 U.S. jobs," the fact sheet states.

The White House fact sheet also notes that 28 percent of all foreign students and exchange visitors in the United States originate from China. Chinese students in the United States spent $8 billion in 2013, an increase of nearly 24 percent over the previous year.

ANNOUNCEMENT

RELATED FAQ

WHITE HOUSE FACT SHEET 

REVISED RECIPROCITY SCHEDULE

 
Back to Top

 
3. Justice Dept. Settles Discrimination Cases in California and Georgia
 

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently settled several immigration-related discrimination claims in California and Georgia.

California case. DOJ reached an agreement with Serendipity Hearing Inc., doing business as Sonus Hearing Care (Sonus), a hearing services provider headquartered in the Los Angeles, California, metropolitan area. The agreement resolves a claim, filed with DOJ's Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), that the company engaged in discriminatory documentary practices during the employment eligibility verification process.

OSC's investigation found that Sonus required the complainant, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) it had hired, to produce a new employment eligibility document when her permanent resident card expired, even though the Form I-9 and E-Verify rules prohibit this practice because LPRs have permanent work authorization in the United States after their permanent resident cards expire. When the complainant failed to present her new permanent resident card, Sonus terminated her. OSC noted that the Immigration and Nationality Act's antidiscrimination provision prohibits employers from making additional and unauthorized documentary demands based on citizenship status or national origin when verifying or re-verifying an employee's employment eligibility.

Under the settlement agreement, Sonus will pay $16,727 in back pay to the complainant and $400 in civil penalties to the United States, undergo training on the INA's antidiscrimination provision, revise its employment eligibility re-verification policies, and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices.

Georgia case. DOJ reached an agreement with Constructor Services Inc. (CSI), a construction company headquartered in the Atlanta, Georgia, metropolitan area. The agreement resolves a claim that the company engaged in discriminatory documentary practices during the employment eligibility verification process.

DOJ's investigation found that CSI required non-U.S. citizens, but not similarly situated U.S. citizens, to produce specific documentary proof of their immigration status for the purpose of verifying their employment eligibility. "Employers must make sure that they are not erecting unlawful discriminatory barriers in their employment eligibility verification policies and practices," said Molly Moran, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

Under the settlement agreement, CSI will pay $18,000 in civil penalties to the United States, undergo training on the INA's antidiscrimination provision, revise its employment eligibility reverification policies, and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for 24 months.

CALIFORNIA CASE ANNOUNCEMENT

GEORGIA CASE ANNOUNCEMENT

 
Back to Top

 
4. USCIS Begins Transferring Some Casework From Vermont to California
 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently began transferring some casework from the Vermont Service Center to the California Service Center to balance workloads. Affected casework so far includes Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence, for certain marriage-related green card cases.

USCIS will send transfer notices to those affected. The original receipt number will not change and the transfer will not delay processing, USCIS said. The words “Case Type: CRI89 Approved Removal of Conditions” will be printed on the transfer notices. USCIS said that the notice may not contain the receipt number of the pending I-751. Those receiving any notice should respond to the service center that sent them the notice.

Those who do not receive a decision within the published processing time for the California Service Center may submit an inquiry using e-Request or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. For TDD (hearing-impaired) assistance, please call 1-800-767-1833.

ANNOUNCEMENT

PUBLISHED PROCESSING TIMES

 
Back to Top

 
5. USCIS Launches myE-Verify for Employees
 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez recently announced the launch of myE-Verify, a new website designed for employees. myE-Verify is a "one-stop shop" for employees to create and maintain secure personal accounts and access new features for identity protection, USCIS said.

myE-Verify includes Self Check and the Employee Rights Toolkit, among other things. Users will have their identities verified through Self Check when creating myE-Verify accounts. myE-Verify introduces the following new services:

  • myE-Verify accounts – Allows employees and job seekers to set up free and secure personal accounts to manage the use of their information in E-Verify and Self Check through the available myE-Verify features.
  • Self Lock – Allows individuals to lock their social security numbers to prevent unauthorized or fraudulent use within E-Verify. Self Lock is available only to myE-Verify account holders.
  • myResources – A section of the myE-Verify site that contains information in multi-media formats to educate employees about their rights as well as the responsibilities of employers in the employment eligibility verification process.

myE-Verify accounts and Self Lock will initially be accessible to individuals in Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. In future releases, USCIS will roll out myE-Verify across the country with additional features focused on employees and job seekers.

E-Verify is used by nearly 550,000 employers to verify the employment eligibility of persons they hire.

ANNOUNCEMENT

INFORMATION ON E-VERIFY

MYEVERIFY PAGE

 
Back to Top

 
6. USCIS Naturalizes Service Members on Veterans Day
 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) highlighted service members, military spouses, and veterans taking the Oath of Allegiance to become U.S. citizens at naturalization ceremonies in honor of Veterans Day. In all, USCIS welcomed more than 3,000 new citizens at nearly 40 naturalization ceremonies taking place across the country from November 7 through 14, 2014. Since September 2002, USCIS has naturalized more than 102,000 service members, including individuals serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea, Germany, Japan, and elsewhere.

Highlights included ceremonies at:

  • National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia
  • Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona
  • Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Everglades National Park in Homestead, Florida
  • Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada

In addition, five recruits became new citizens at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego through the Naturalization at Basic Training Initiative. Developed with the Department of Defense, this program allows enlisted service members to complete the naturalization process during basic training.

USCIS invited new citizens and their families and friends to share their experiences from the ceremonies through Twitter and other social media, using the hashtag #newUScitizen.

 
Back to Top

 
7. New Publications and Items of Interest
 

USCIS enhances Case Status tool. USCIS has enhanced its Case Status tool, which now includes case history, next steps, and clearer information. USCIS has also provided easy-to-navigate sections on USCIS news, outreach events, educational webinars, and other services. Earlier this year, USCIS also enhanced the Change of Address and e-Request tools. USCIS says the new look of the website and the updates to Case Status will give users a unified experience. Users can keep track of their cases, make appointments at local field offices, check filing fees, file certain forms electronically, see office case processing times, and verify employment eligibility, among other things. MORE INFORMATION ABOUT USCIS' ONLINE TOOLS

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

 

 
Back to Top

 
8. Member News
 

Charles Kuck has authored a new blog entry. "The GOP and Immigration Reform, and Obama and Executive Orders"

Robert Loughran spoke on October 29, 2014, on "Immigration Considerations in Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship" at the Global Residence and Citizenship Conference in Singapore.

Sharon Mehlman recently co-authored "Risky Business: Assumptions in the Hiring Process," which was published in Bender's California Labor and Employment Bulletin for November 2014.

Cyrus Mehta has co-authored a new blog entry. "The Fate of Executive Action on Immigration After the Midterm Elections"

Mr. Mehta was quoted in an article on Forbes.com, "Will President Obama Help Legal Immigrants Too?"

Bernard Wolfsdorf spoke at the Investment Immigration Summit in Hong Kong on November 11-12, 2014. The Investment Immigration Summit is one of the leading immigration conferences in Asia. Mr. Wolfsdorf spoke on the panel, "Quota Retrogression: Implications for Chinese HNWIs and the Future of the EB-5 Programme."

Stephen Yale-Loehr was quoted in Bloomberg BNA on immigration reform prospects after the midterm elections. In "Midterms' Impact on Immigration Unclear as Advocates Await Action by President," published on November 5, 2014, Mr. Yale-Loehr said "there's an opportunity" for Congress to pass an overhaul bill, but he noted that the chances of that happening "are less than 50 percent." He added that the next Congress will be "just as fractured as the previous Congress, and getting any legislation to pass will be difficult. If President Obama takes administrative action, that "could make it even harder to get comprehensive immigration reform through Congress."

Mr. Yale-Loehr was quoted in the Wall Street Journal in "U.S. Visa Program Attracts 11 Million Applicants: Lawmakers May Be Poised To End the Green-Card Lottery," published on November 6, 2014. "A lottery is not a way to run an immigration system. It doesn't strengthen family ties, promote our economic interests, or rescue refugees. Congress should abolish the program," he said.

Mr. Yale-Loehr was quoted in articles in Spanish published in November 2014 about the effects of the midterm elections in the United States, in El Nuevo Herald, El Imparcial, and La Prensa Grafica.

Mr. Yale-Loehr was quoted on President Obama's authority to act administratively on immigration. Mr. Yale-Loehr noted, "Legally, the president has wide authority to act administratively on immigration…Politically, however, the president has boxed himself into a corner…The only real solution is for Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform." The article is available in Spanish.

Mr. Yale-Loehr was quoted on Time.com regarding the potential political fallout of President Obama's expected upcoming announcement on executive actions to reform the U.S. immigration system. Mr. Yale-Loehr noted that "Republicans will argue that even the smallest executive immigration actions subvert Congress' power."

 
Back to Top

 
9. 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
 
Back to Top