With immigration reform continuing to remain at a standstill within Congress, it seems as if the U.S. government has kept a tight grip on the types of individuals approved for specific visa categories. However, there have been measureable successes in 2013 regarding nonimmigrant visas including the expansion of the definition of who can qualify for a P-1, Internationally Recognized Athlete visa. According to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), the P-1 visa standard for individuals is as follows:
A high school diploma is one of the most important documents to have in today's society. Almost every job will require an individual to have either a high school diploma or a GED and is essential for any college and/or university enrollment. Yet many students drop out each year due to personal responsibilities and/or lack of effort.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") is not slowing down regarding its worksite enforcement against illegal immigration. Through its use of I-9 audits, ICE aims to "catch" employers who do not properly verify their workforce on Form I-9 and/or knowingly hire unauthorized workers.
With the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) looming on the horizon (July 1, 2014) a significant rise in expatriations is occurring, whereby US citizens are renouncing their citizenship and giving up their US Passports.
Our law firm is proud to announce the opening of an office in West Texas (Seminole) to serve the growing needs of businesses and their families in the agricultural and oil and gas industries. Investment by non-U.S. citizen investors, new foreign workers, and family unity all require careful strategic planning and execution. We look forward to assisting worthy families and growing businesses with their immigration related challenges.
The declaration that the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") was unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court unequivocally affirmed that there is no legitimate reason for the federal government to discriminate against married couples because of their sexual orientation. This historic decision means that our immigration system must stop treating same sex married couples differently.
In the immigration context, data sharing is becoming more of a concern. If one government agency audits or investigates a particular area (e.g. ICE conducts an I-9 audit) and discovers what may be another type of violation, it sends the data to a second agency (e.g. OSC is sent I-9s to check out citizenship discrimination violations). Some government agencies have Memorandums of Understanding to facilitate such data transfers.
On April 30, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began automating Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, for travelers entering by air and sea ports. Upon arrival, each traveler's passport will be stamped with an admission stamp that shows the date of admission, class of admission, and admitted until date. In addition to the stamp, travelers will receive a flier telling them to go to CBP.gov/I94 to obtain their admission record information.
On Friday, April 5th, 2013, USCIS announced that it had received more than 85,000 H-1B petitions between April 1, 2013 and April 5, 2013 for FY2014. Each year, 65,000 visas are available for specialty occupation H-1B workers, and 20,000 visas are available for H-1B workers with U.S. Master's degrees or higher.
USCIS has released a new version of the Form I-9. Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment eligibility of individuals hired for employment in the United States. Employers should begin using the new version of the form immediately. USCIS has also released a revised Form I-9 Handbook to accompany the new version of the form.