CSG Immigration Insights Q2 | 2019

CSG’s Immigration Group is pleased to provide its inaugural issue of Immigration Insights – which provides the latest updates on changes in immigration law and policy, as well as recent attorney news and upcoming activities of interest.

News and Activities

CSG is pleased to announce that Clem G. Turner has been named to EB-5 Investors Magazine’s latest list of “Top 15 Corporate EB-5 Attorneys,” which recognizes the most influential corporate and securities law practitioners in the field of EB-5 finance. This is the fourth consecutive year Clem has been recognized by the publication.

Clem Turner will serve as a panelist during IIUSA’s 12th Annual EB-5 Advocacy Conference being held on May 5-7, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Clem will be featured on the “EB-5 Securities Laws and Enforcement: Analyzing the Trends” panel on May 6, 2019, at 4:00 pm. For more information or to register, please click here.

Samuel Newbold will host an Employer’s Breakfast Briefing in CSG’s West Orange, NJ office to discuss I-9 compliance. The seminar will provide an overview of new rules, do’s and don’ts and best practices. For more information or to register, please click here.

Immigration Law Update: What You Need to Know Now

H-1B FY2020 Update

The H-1B program allows for U.S. employers to sponsor nonimmigrant visas to temporarily employ foreign workers with at least a bachelor’s degree in a “Specialty Occupation”. The government sets an annual cap of 85,000 H-1B visas, which includes 20,000 for those with U.S. advanced degrees.

Employers once again applied within the first five business days of April for H-1B visas on behalf of their employees in “Specialty Occupation” positions. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) received 201,011 H-1B petitions during the filing window, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption, or “Master’s Cap”.

Despite increased scrutiny and approvability issues, USCIS received more H-1B petitions this year than the 190,098 received in the same filing period in 2018. With the national unemployment rate at approximately 3.8%, U.S. Employers need to outsource for highly skilled workers, especially in tech jobs.

USCIS are in the process of issuing receipt notices for H-1B petitions successful in this year’s lottery. We expect to continue to receive these for the next several weeks. Employers should put in place a strategy with their immigration counsel for alternative options for Employees in the event that their H-1B petition is not selected in the lottery. These may include F-1 Optional Practical Training, J-1, O-1, L-1, E-2 visas, as well as limited country-specific visas.

E-2 Treaty Investor Visas Extended to Israeli Nationals as of May 1, 2019

The U.S. Government recently announced that as of May 1, 2019, Israeli nationals will be eligible to apply for E-2 Treaty Investor Visas, both for Israeli nationals currently in the U.S. as a change of status, and at the U.S. Embassy in Israel.

There is no numerical limit on E-2 visas, and they will be available to Israeli Nationals employed by Israeli entities. Companies already operational in the U.S., as well as companies looking to expand operations to the U.S., will now be able to transfer executives, managers and individuals with essential skills to the U.S. for five-year increments.

Diversity Visa 2020

Applicants to the Diversity Visa Lottery 2020 will be able to check the status of their application from noon (EST) on May 7, 2019.

Presidential Memo on B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa Enforcement

President Trump on April 22, 2019, issued a Presidential Memorandum ordering immigration agencies to develop plans to reduce B-1 business visitor and B-2 tourist overstays, and Visa Waiver Program overstays, in the U.S.

Increased scrutiny by the U.S. Government on B-1/B-2 and ESTA visitors requires Companies to ensure vigilance and compliance in their workforce. Employers should communicate to their employers the importance of complying with the requirements of their visitor status throughout their time in the U.S. If an employee is required to spend increased time in the U.S., Companies may wish to explore other visa options and a long-term strategy for employees that frequently move between their country of origin and the U.S.

Corporate Immigration Policy

In the current climate of increased enforcement for status infractions, Employers should ensure that they have a thorough compliance plan in place, including I-9 compliance, Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and Department of Labor (“DOL”) compliance. Precise recordkeeping, especially in instances where employees are placed at third party worksites, will protect Employers from inadvertent violations and potentially fines and other liability.

Employers may also win the best talent in their industry by putting in place a generous immigration policy that includes clarity for Employees on the potential for applying for PERM Labor Certification leading to permanent residence status, payment for family members’ status, and other benefits. Having a clear policy for implementation of immigration benefits will also protect Employers against charges of inconsistent offering of benefits between Employees.