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Meltzer Hellrung Proud to Help NuCurrent Challenge USCIS in Federal Court

Posted September 6, 2019Matthew MeltzerH-1B

 

We are proud to have filed a lawsuit challenging the USCIS's denial of an H-1B petition, on behalf of NuCurrent. Our lawsuit has been featured in Crain's Chicago Business Magazine. NuCurrent sponsored a hardware engineer for an H-1B visa in the fiscal year 2019 H-1B cap. That petition was denied by USCIS. The agency claimed the position does not qualify as a specialty occupation, i.e. one that requires a bachelor's degree in a specific field of study.

NuCurrent is challenging that denial in federal court, asking a federal judge to determine that the USCIS's decision was arbitrary and capricious, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. We believe the facts in this case demonstrate that the USCIS made a decision that is contrary to law. We hope that a federal judge will agree, or that USCIS will overturn its decision under pressure from the litigation.

We are excited to help our client pursue their rights to the fullest extent available. We are able and available to help all of our clients zealously pursue their options in any venue, including federal court.

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DHS Proposes to Collect Social Media Information from Immigrant Applicants and other Applicants seeking Immigration Benefits

Posted September 5, 2019Maria CabralesArticles

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that they plan to collect five years of social media history directly from applicants for certain immigration benefits according to the Federal Register notice published on September 4, 2019. If DHS does implement this proposal, it will add social media questions such as usernames for each platform, to a range of forms and systems. Please note that at this time, only usernames, and not passwords, are required. DHS plans to add social media questions to the following forms and systems:

  • Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
  • Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence
  • Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • Form I-131, Application for Travel Document
  • EVUS, Electronic System Update System, for Chinese nationals travelling to the US as tourists or business visitors
  • ESTA, Electronic Visa Update System and Form I-94W, nonimmigrant Visa Wavier Arrival/Departure Record for Visa Waiver Program travelers

DHS officials already use publicly available social media information to determine eligibility for certain immigration benefits, but it had not requested this information directly from applicants. It is possible that any social media profiles, details, and postings that appear inconsistent with the immigration benefit the applicant is applying for could result in delayed adjudication or denial of that benefit.

DHS will accept public feedback on this proposal until November 4, 2019. For additional information regarding this proposal and the recent requirement of social media disclosures to the Department of State,  please contact your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney.

 

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Proposed Registration Fee for H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions

Posted September 3, 2019Stephanie WedelH-1B

 

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) previously published the final rule that will have Petitioners seeking to file H-1B petitions in the cap lottery, electronically register during a designated registration period.  In conjunction with this final rule, DHS is now proposing a $10 fee, for each electronic registration submitted. Because USCIS must expend resources to implement and maintain the H-1B registration system, and because USCIS operations are funded by fees collected for adjudication and naturalization services, DHS is proposing a $10 fee for submitting H-1B registrations to recover those costs.

DHS previously suspended this registration for the FY2020 lottery to allow for user testing of the new system and ensure that the system and process work correctly.  DHS has not yet formally announced whether this registration system will be in place for the upcoming FY2021 lottery. 

Additional information on the proposed rule is available in the Federal Register. Public comments will be accepted from Sept. 4 (when the proposed rule publishes in the Federal Register) through Oct. 4. 

Meltzer Hellrung is closely monitoring developments to determine how to best prepare for the H-1B cap petitions in April 2020.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney.

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Annual Vacation for F-1 Students

Posted August 23, 2019Articles
 
Students on F-1 status are eligible for an annual vacation once they complete an academic year with a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school and were enrolled in a full course of study during all prior academic terms. F-1 students are also eligible for one annual vacation a year thereafter so long as they maintain their full course of study for another academic year. The annual vacation typically lasts as long as an academic term and is often taken during the summer. 
 
The annual vacation differs from from a school break in that school breaks occur when the school is briefly closed, such as for a holiday, winter break, or spring break. These short breaks do not count toward the annual vacation.
 
For more information about qualifying for an annual vacation or to obtain an international travel endorsement while on F-1 status, students should speak with their school's designated school official (DSO).

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USCIS to Reduce International Field Offices

Posted August 15, 2019Kyle RobyArticles

On August 9, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced plans to reduce the number of international field offices with the intent of allowing more effective allocation of USCIS resources, including backlog reduction efforts.

As part of this reduction, USCIS plans to close thirteen international field offices and three district offices between now and August 2020. The first planned closures are the field offices in Monterrey, Mexico and Seoul, South Korea at the end of September. 

USCIS plans to maintain operations at seven international field offices in Beijing and Guangzhou, China; Nairobi, Kenya; New Delhi, India; Guatemala City, Guatemala; Mexico City, Mexico, and San Salvador, El Salvador.

USCIS international field offices function separately from U.S. Embassies or Consulates. These international offices provide a variety of immigration services such as family-based green cards, international adoptions, inadmissibility waivers, and lost green cards. They also provide fraud detection and deterrence efforts, and act as an inter- and intra-government liaison.

Functions currently performed at international offices will be handled domestically or by USCIS domestic staff on temporary assignments abroad. The Department of State (DOS) will assume responsibility for certain in-person services that USCIS currently provides at international field offices. Clients receiving services at international offices should experience minimal issues or delays as these services are transitioned to USCIS domestically. For most business clients, these closures will not have any impact on how cases are processed.

Please contact your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney for any additional information.

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