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    Published on 05-08-2018 11:26 AM

    E-2 Investment Visa Changes – What Does It Mean?


    The U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) continues to update the Foreign Affairs Manual (“FAM”) in numerous areas, including recent changes in guidance regarding eligibility for E-2 treaty investor visas .

    Here are five changes to know:

    1. Fifty Percent Rule. Applicable regulations require an alien employee of an E-2 treaty investor may work for an employer that is “at least 50% owned by persons having the nationality of the treaty country who are maintaining ...

    Published on 05-07-2018 10:30 AM

    Asylum Officer Training Materials On “religious Persecution” Released By The Us-cis In Response To A Freedom Of Information Lawsuit


    US-CIS recently released asylum officer training materials and power points entitled

    “International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) and Religious Persecution.” 111 pages, dated January 28, 2015 are available on the “Asylum Officer Materials” page of the Louise Trauma Center: www.louisetrauma.weebly.com and as AILA Doc. No. 17121561.

    The materials were released in settlement of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Catholic Charities of Washington DC.

    Some excerpts: two cases are mentioned at page 4 of the materials as “Required Reading:” Matter of S-A-, 22 I&N Dec. 1328 (BIA 2000) (granting asylum to a daughter with liberal Muslim beliefs who was harmed by her father who had more orthodox beliefs); and Sirhan v. Holder, 658 F.3d 649 (7th Cir. 2011) (“Honor killings” in Jordan are done by families, because society as a whole brands women who flout its norms as outcasts. These are not mere “personal disputes.” Society demands a punishment, and “delegates” the duty to punish to the family).

    These two cases are mentioned again at pages 35 and 37.

    Paragraph 71 of the UNHCR Handbook “states ...

    Published on 05-07-2018 10:21 AM

    H1B Wage Level RFEs: How to Prove the Prevailing Wage


    Last year, we saw a spike in Level 1 Wages RFEs for H1B beneficiaries, particularly for computer programmers. However, wage level RFEs can happen at any wage level, and they do.

    H1B requirements state that the beneficiary must be paid the prevailing wages for the position in that industry, for companies of that size, in that geographical region. Last ...

    Published on 05-07-2018 10:15 AM

    Reinterpreting the 90 Day Misrepresentation Provision in the Foreign Affairs Manual


    As we previously blogged , the State Department abruptly amended the Foreign Affairs Manual in September 2017 to provide consular officers with broader grounds to find that foreign nationals misrepresented their intentions when they came to the United States on nonimmigrant visas. A finding of fraud or misrepresentation under INA § 212(a)(6)(C)(i) can result in a permanent ground of inadmissibility.

    To reiterate, the updated FAM provision at 9 FAM 302.9-4(B)(3)(g)(2) covers instances of conduct that may be inconsistent with representations that visa applicants made to consular officers when applying for nonimmigrant visas or to DHS officers at US ports of entry at the time of admission. The inconsistent conduct must have occurred within 90 days of entry, and the FAM instructs ...

    Published on 05-04-2018 10:03 AM

    Beware The Gap: USCIS’s Policy Changes Cause Headaches and Confusion for F-1 Change of Status Applicants


    There’s never any good news coming from USCIS these days. The agency’s treatment of applicants changing status to F-1 is another prime example of a confusing policy change that has no basis in law and regulation, and which severely hurts the U.S.’s ability to hold on to talented students. To fully grasp the ridiculousness of modern day USCIS, we should take a trip back through relevant policy interpretations dating back to legacy INS. We can start in April 2012 when the administration under President George W. Bush, frightened by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, published an interim rule in the Federal Register. You can see from the preamble to the interim rule exactly the kind of xenophobic policy the administration was trying to implement, which has only gotten worse today:

    The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 highlight the need of the Service to maintain greater control over the ability of an alien to change nonimmigrant status once the alien has been admitted to the United States. This interim rule will allow the Service to fully review any request from a B nonimmigrant to change nonimmigrant status to that of full-time student before allowing the alien to enroll in a Service-approved school. The ...

    Published on 05-03-2018 09:57 AM

    Guidance To The Perplexed After USCIS Sneaks In Ban On Third-Party Placement Of STEM OPT Workers


    Recently, without any prior notice, USCIS quietly updated its STEM OPT webpage to reflect a ban on the placement of STEM OPT workers at third-party client sites. As background, on March 11, 2016 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule amending regulations to expand Optional Practical Training (OPT) for students with U.S. degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM). This new rule took effect on May 10, 2016 and replaced the 17-month STEM OPT extension previously ...

    Published on 05-03-2018 09:44 AM

    Modernizing The H-4 Visa For Spouses Of Temporary Workers


    Published on 05-02-2018 03:48 PM

    From Student to Resident: The Scholar’s Path to a Green Card


    As you already know, the F-1 and J-1 visas are often the ideal options for anyone looking to study in the U.S. Also, to a lesser extent, the M-1 might be more viable in certain scenarios. In either case, there common misconception and a dearth of information on the exact process that is involved with making the transition from an F-1, J-1, or M-1 visa to a green card. This post aims to make the pathway as clear as possible without pulling any punches.

    Dual Intent

    The question of dual intent is the misconception that I mentioned earlier. Dual intent, being the attribute that allows holders of certain nonimmigrant visas to pursue lawful permanent resident status without jeopardizing the initial nonimmigrant status, is not granted to all visas. Attempting to apply for lawful permanent resident status while under a visa status that is not dual intent will most likely result in a denial and could be considered a violation of your status, which could have serious consequences such as status revocation or being barred from re-entry.

    Unfortunately, these student visas are not dual intent. ...

    Published on 05-02-2018 03:43 PM

    National-security Experts Outline The Strategic Case For Refugee Resettlement


    The Trump administration was scheduled to release a report on April 22nd from Attorney General Jeff Sessions that examined the U.S. refugee resettlement program’s impact on national security, public safety, and the general welfare, in accordance with a 2017 executive order from President Trump. They missed that deadline and the report is now expected later this month. Readers should exercise caution when reviewing the coming report, given the administration’s interest in distorting the truth about refugees. Last year, the administration suppressed a report when the findings didn’t match its desired outcome.

    Contrary to what is expected in Mr. Sessions’ report, refugee resettlement is not only an important humanitarian program, but one that promotes America’s strategic interests as well. Advancing the national interest and ensuring robust refugee protection are mutually reinforcing — not exclusive — goals. The U.S. refugee resettlement system helps the United States carry out foreign-policy objectives and serves the national interest, according to people who have held the highest-level intelligence and security positions within the government.

    The support of bipartisan national-security experts for refugee resettlement should give critics pause. Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff wrote in 2017 that “cutting refugee admittances would not only be a moral failure but also damage our national interest abroad.” Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis wrote in 2016, “It’s ironic, to say the least, that today some politicians are seeking to shut out refugees in the name of national security.”

    Officials and experts have explained that resettling refugees advances U.S. strategic ...

    Published on 05-02-2018 02:34 PM

    Multinational Manager Green Card "1-in-3" Rule Tightened


    Multinational managers seeking a green card under the EB-1C classification will fail if there is a gap in employment in excess of two years with the petitioning company after entering the U.S., according to a recent Policy Memo issued by USCIS dated March 19, 2018.

    What is the EB-1C immigrant visa status? It can be used by a multinational company seeking to bring a high-ranking executive or managerial employee to work permanently in the United States. The employee would normally be transferred from their position in a foreign affiliate to the U.S., although he or she could already been working for the U.S. company ...
    Published on 05-01-2018 01:55 PM

    Give Foreign Spouses Of Temporary Workers The Right To Work


    The Trump administration is expected to reverse a 2015 rule that gave employment authorization to some spouses of H-1B visa holders. Such a rollback would disrupt business, reduce productivity in the U.S. economy, and place new burdens on families, as I detail in a new Policy Brief released today. Moreover, undoing the rule will force thousands of women—who constitute the overwhelming majority of these spouses—out of the workplace during this era of female empowerment.

    In 2015, the Department ...

    Published on 05-01-2018 01:49 PM

    EB-5: The Best Option for Russian Nationals


    Relocating to the U.S. and becoming a lawful permanent resident and perhaps eventually a citizen can be a complicated and difficult process for the Russian individual or family. Many Russians hoping to immigrate to the U.S. are faced with lengthy delays and wait times only to discover their visa applications have been denied for seemingly minor mistakes.

    However, for Russian nationals whose primary motivation is immigrating ...

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