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Archive by Year: 2019 - Page 5

H-4 EAD Rescission Unlikely to be Published before Spring 2020

Posted September 18, 2019Articles, Immigration Reform

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has submitted a letter to a federal appeals court indicating that a proposed regulation to rescind the H-4 Employment Authorization (EAD) program is unlikely to be published before Spring 2020 at the earliest, even noting that the target date is “aspirational.”

The H-4 EAD rule was initially introduced in 2015 under the Obama administration and allows eligible spouses of H-1B nonimmigrant visa holders, those with approved I-140 petitions, to apply for work authorization in the U.S. The current administration has repeatedly indicated its intention to rescind the rule but to date, the case has been on hold or delayed in court.

Once a proposal is published, the public would have an opportunity to provide feedback during a public comment period, which typically lasts between 30-60 days. After the public comment period, DHS would review the feedback and deliver a final regulation, which would need to undergo further Office of Management and Budget review before publication. If a rule was to be published, we expect litigation on this issue, which may further delay or halt the rescission of the H-4 EAD program.

At this time, eligible H-4 spouses can continue to apply for new or renewed work authorization under the current H-4 EAD rule as the USCIS continues to accept and adjudicate these filings. H-4 spouses seeking work authorization are encouraged to apply as soon as they are eligible. Current H-4 EAD holders can apply for a renewal up to six (6) months in advance of their current document expiration.

Please contact your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney for any questions on the proposed rescission rule or H-4 EAD eligibility.

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Meltzer Hellrung Proud to Help NuCurrent Challenge USCIS in Federal Court

Posted September 6, 2019Matthew Meltzer - Partner and Co-FounderH-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 Cabrales - Law ClerkArticles

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 Wedel - Sr. AssociateH-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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