Showing 10 posts in Immigration.

Employer Beware: The Time to Use the New Form I-9 Is Now

On January 22, 2017 employers became obligated to use a new Form I-9, dated November 14, 2016.  Prior versions of the I-9 form are no longer valid.  You can find the new Form I-9 hereMore ›

Assessing the Impact of President Obama's Immigration Actions on Employees and Employers

Last week, President Obama outlined his plans for Presidential action relating to U.S. immigration system reform. Setting aside the significant process and procedural controversies, following is a brief summary of some of the most important aspects proposed in this action which may affect your company and your employees. More ›

Strong Medicine: Clinic Owner Found Personally Liable for $1.1 Million in Back Wages after Failing to Pay H-1B Non-Immigrant Physicians’ Required Salary

Between 1998 and 2001, Dr. Mohan Kutty owned and operated a group of five rural medical clinics in rural Florida and Tennessee.  Kutty created a formal corporate structure for the clinics, but in practice treated the business as an extension of himself: he and his wife were the sole owners and corporate officers, he personally made all decisions regarding operations, and he maintained no corporate or financial reports. To staff his clinics, Kutty hired seventeen newly-graduated foreign medical students. The students were in the U.S. in J-1 student status; J-1 status allows foreign medical graduates to study medicine in the U.S. but generally requires them to return abroad for at least two years before seeking work in the U.S. An exception to the two-year foreign residency requirement exists, however, allowing foreign medical graduates who have a qualifying job offer for employment in a medically-underserved area to waive the requirement and immediately enter H-1B nonimmigrant status. Kutty’s clinics were in such underserved areas, and so he was able to obtain waiver of the graduates’ two-year J-1 foreign residency requirement and petition for their H-1B status. More ›

Outsourcing Firm Pays $34 Million Penalty to Settle U.S. Prosecutors’ Allegations of Visa Fraud

To B-1 or not to B-1? According to U.S. prosecutors, one company is learning the hard way that it made the wrong choice.

In a record-setting penalty, Indian outsourcing firm Infosys agreed yesterday to a $34 million settlement resulting from what federal prosecutors called “systemic visa fraud and abuse" intended "to deceive" U.S. authorities. By making it appear as if individuals were coming to the U.S. for business meetings when, in reality, they were coming to provide work for U.S. companies, Infosys could use simple B-1 "business visitor" visas for its workers rather than more expensive and time-consuming H-1B "temporary worker" visas. Although Infosys continues to deny any wrongdoing, employers should definitely view this as a symbolic victory for U.S. officials -- visa abuse is being taken seriously and the government wants you to know it. More ›

When Employer Errs, Foreign National may Challenge Denial of Immigrant Visa Petition

In a significant decision for workers currently in the U.S. in an employment-based non-immigrant  status (e.g., H-1B, L), the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held earlier this month that a foreign national may individually seek review of a denial of a green card petition filed on his behalf by his employer. The decision, Patel v. USCIS, No. 12-1962 (6th Cir. Oct. 11, 2013), suggests a new opportunity for employment-based immigrant visa applicants -- if an immigrant visa petition is denied, the alien may request review in federal court even if the employer (or, more likely, former employer) no longer wishes to pursue the visa. Perhaps more importantly, though, the case demonstrates the serious problems that can and often do result from an incorrectly filed immigrant petition. More ›

USCIS Reports that H-1B “Cap” for FY2014 has been Reached and Exceeded in just one Week

In a development sure to embolden proponents of comprehensive immigrant reform, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that the annual “cap” on H-1B petitions has been reached within just one week of opening the H-1B filing period. Under current U.S. law, USCIS makes 65,000 regular H-1B visas and 20,000 advanced degree H-1B visas available starting April 1st of each year. As a result, in an annual flurry of activity, employers submit their petitions for H-1B workers on or as soon after April 1st as possible. This year, USCIS reports that it had received 124,000 H-1B cap-subject petitions by April 8th. More ›

H-2B Program in Chaos: DOL’s Overreach Leads to halt on most Petitions

The H-2B visa program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign workers to the United States to perform temporary, unskilled, and non-agricultural work. Warm-weather employers across the country — including park districts, amusement parks, and landscaping companies —– rely upon the program to fill out their annual workforce. As of March 22, 2013, however, for reasons explained below, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has completely halted the processing of most new H-2B petitions. More ›

Customs & Border Patrol Announces New Paperless Form I-94, with Implications for Employers

On March 27, 2013, the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) issued a final interim rule describing its plans for introduction of a new, electronic Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record for use at sea and air ports of entry. The Form I-94 is completed by all individuals lawfully entering the United States, and can be used by such individuals as evidence of alien registration, immigration status, and/or employment authorization. The paperless Form I-94 will be phased in at air and sea ports of entry beginning on April 30, 2013; individuals entering by land will continue to utilize paper Forms I-94. More ›

USCIS Issues New Guidance on Work Authorization and I-9 Processing for Deferred Action Recipients

On June 15, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security announced the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program (DACA). The program permits individuals who came to the U.S. as youth and who meet certain requirements to remain in the U.S. and to work, despite their undocumented status. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has now begun issuing Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to participants in the DACA program. Therefore, on November 19, 2012, USCIS issued an important document providing guidance to employers on the treatment of such EADs and the processing of Forms I-9 in these cases. (EADs issued to DACA participants can be identified by the category shown on the card: "C-33".) The new USCIS document provides specific guidance regarding both new employees and existing employees, summarized below. More ›

DOJ Issues best Practice Advice for Employers Facing I-9 Audits

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practice recently released advice on best practices for employers to use in response to audits by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Office of the Special Counsel specifically advises that employers need to effectively communicate with employees and unions to assure that the audit process is transparent and not discriminatory. To do this, employers should develop a uniform plan for informing all employees that the employer is subject to an ICE audit. Employers should provide all workers with a reasonable amount of time to correct discrepancies in their records identified by ICE and treat all workers in the same manner during the audit. This means that all workers with like discrepancies who are asked to present additional documents are provided with the same time frames and the same choice of Form I-9 documents to present. More ›

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