16 December 2016
Category News Room
16 December 2016,

Trump taps Gen. John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security

President-elect Donald Trump nominated retired General John Kelly for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.  This is a bit of an unknown because General Kelly has no experience with the immigration aspects of the department.  While we can expect that there will be changes for family-based immigration (specifically DACA), it is unclear what, if any, changes will happen on the business immigration side. We do anticipate more site visits and potential changes to the H-1B and L-1 programs. We will monitor this situation closely and provide updates, as needed.

New Rule to Implement Various Nonimmigrant Visa Grace Periods – Effective January 17th

USCIS has published a final rule that, among other things, will allow for more flexibility and smoother transitions between jobs for non-immigrant workers. More specifically, the rule will:

-Allow for individuals in E-1, E-2, E-3, L-1, or  TN status to enter the U.S. up to 10 days prior to the start date of their work-authorization;

-Provide a 10-day grace period after the expiration or withdrawal of an individual’s E-1, E-2, E-3, L-1, or  TN status, so as to allow these individuals to leave the U.S. or take other actions to extend, change, or otherwise maintain their lawful status;

-Establish a 60-day grace period for individuals in E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, O-1 or TN status to find employment in the same classification with a new employer after the expiration of their respective status or termination of their sponsored employment; and

-Automatically extend the validity of EADs for certain individuals who apply to renew it within a reasonable time if their renewal application has not yet been adjudicated when their current EAD expires.

The rule will also clarify and improve longstanding DHS policies and practices with respect to: H-1B portability; priority date retention; establishing H-1B cap-exemptions; licensure requirements, and protection for whistleblowers. For even greater detail on the changes contained in this regulation we have published a more in-depth commentary on our website.

US Senate Proposes the Bridge Act – A Bipartisan Effort to Protect DACA Recipients

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) have proposed legislation in the U.S. Senate that would grant those current DACA recipients in the U.S. temporary relief from President-Elect Donald Trump’s threatened rescinding of the DACA Executive Order. Specifically, the legislation called the “Bridge Act” would allow those already granted DACA to remain and work in the U.S. under a category called “Provisional Protected Presence” for a period of three years despite possible actions by the incoming Trump Administration to eliminate DACA. There is currently no identical bipartisan effort in the House of Representatives, but the story is still developing. More information and a petition to demonstrate your support for the Bridge Act may be found here.

Reminder: USCIS Filing Fee Increase Effective December 23, 2016

On December 23, 2016, the majority of USCIS’s filing fees will increase by a weighted average of 21%. USCIS states that this fee increase is necessary to maintain adequate service and offset costs, as USCIS provides several services without charge, such as asylum and refugee benefits. Below is a chart that includes the fee changes for the applications and petitions most relevant to our clients. The fee changes for other forms are available at www.uscis.gov.

Form New Fee Old Fee
I-129/I-129 CW $460 $325
I-130 $535 $420
I-131 $575 $360
I-140 $700 $580
I-485 $1140 $985
I-539 $370 $290
I-765 $410 $380
N-400 $640 $595

Modest movement forward for the January 2016 Visa Bulletin

The Department of State has released the January 2017 Visa Bulletin. For the Application Final Action Dates, we are continually seeing little movement across the board. For EB-2 and EB-3 China, EB-3 is now ahead of EB-2 by 11 months (September 8, 2013 versus October 15, 2012). EB-2 India moved forward by 2.5 months up to April 15, 2008, while EB-3 India did not see any movement from the previous month staying at March 15, 2005. Other EB-3 countries moved minimally, including EB-3 Philippines moving up by a month and a half to July 22, 2011. EB-1 remains current across all chargeability areas. USCIS is continuing to accept the Dates for Filing Visa Applications, but please note there is no change from last month. The Dates for Filing Visa Application chart still allows for March 1, 2013 and May 1, 2014 priority date filings for EB-2 and EB-3 China respectively. EB-2 India priority date holders with an April 22, 2009 or earlier date could file as could EB-3 priority date holders with a July 1, 2005. EB-3 Philippines remains unmoved at September 1, 2013.


Join us for our upcoming Webinars!

With significant activity expected in the New Year – with the new I-9 form, an incoming Administration, and the upcoming H-1B lottery – there is much to discuss and prepare for.  We have set aside the following dates to ensure our clients keep pace with changes that affect them – please note that the first two dates are intended for HR professionals, and the following two sessions are aimed at anyone interested in the topic.  Should you have a suggestion for a topic or wish a recording of a prior talk please contact us at info@brownimmigrationlaw.com.

David will speak on the new I-9 form that has recently been introduced and how to ensure continuing compliance with U.S. hiring requirements.
1/12/17 @ 2pm CST / 12pm PST / 3pm EST

After the completion of our successful seminar circuit through 3 states and 5 cities, our current speakers, David Brown of Brown Immigration Law PC LLO and Chris Musillo of Musillo Unkenholt LLC, have agreed to provide a web-based version of the presentation “Navigating the 10 Most Important Immigration Issues Facing HR Today”.
1/19/17 @ 1pm CST / 11am PST / 2pm EST

Please join Managing Partner David Brown for a discussion on the H-1B Cap filing season for 2017. As many of you know, the past 4 years of H-1B filings we have hit the Cap in the first five filing days of April. As a result, we’ve had a lottery situation every year, and it will be no different this year. David will give an overview of what to expect with H-1 filings, what legislation may impact this process, and how this process will unfold. He will also discuss what the firm is doing to ensure 100% approval outcomes for those cases accepted in the lottery.
2/2/17 @ 1pm CST / 11am PST / 2pm EST

David will first provide a brief update on any USCIS announcements related to the H-1B Cap Season. And as we finalize preparations for H-1B filing season it’s no fun to be thinking of alternate means of employing new or existing hires if they don’t receive an H-1B in the Cap lottery. However, it is important that we consider all angles because we know a significant number of applicants will not be chosen in the lottery. We also know that once this season’s H-1s are all snapped up, we’ll have a drought of H-1s again for another 18 months. Please join us for a discussion about alternate visa classifications and ways to manage recruiting when no H-1s are available. This still means you can recruit individuals who are already in the U.S. in H-1 status, but it also means you need to look closer to see if any of your candidates qualify for TN, L, O, E, F, J or dependent L, E, J, or H-4 spousal EADs. There are even more options depending on the type of candidate you have and David will also discuss the option of cap exempt organizations and how to claim such status if you are a private employer. At the end of this video chat you’ll have a better sense of the other status options to help with your recruiting and hiring of foreign talent in a world where the “what if” becomes reality.
3/2/17 @ 1pm CST / 11am PST / 2pm EST


** This newsletter/memo is provided for informational and discussion purposes only. It does not act as a substitute for direct legal contact on an individual basis **

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