Appeals court keeps hold on Obama’s immigration orders

May 27, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

No quick resolution is in sight to the uncertainty surrounding President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. On May 26, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to lift a temporary hold on Obama’s actions, which were designed to ease deportation worries for millions of undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States for years.

“Employers will have to wait possibly months, or years, for the courts or Congress to resolve the status of undocumented immigrants who would have been eligible for work permits under President Obama’s executive action,” said Elaine C. Young, an attorney with the Kirton McConkie law firm in Salt Lake City and an editor of Utah Employment Law Letter.

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Spouses of certain H-1B visa workers now eligible for employment authorization

February 25, 2015 - by: Holly Jones 0 COMMENTS

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published final regulations that will extend employment authorization eligibility to spouses of certain nonimmigrant workers who are in the United States on H-1B visas.

The H-1B, or highly-skilled worker, visa is the most commonly discussed and highly sought employment-based nonimmigrant visa. The number of visas available each year is closely capped—20,000 for applicants holding master’s degrees and 65,000 for those holding bachelor’s degrees—so selection is often made using a random lottery. For the 2015 fiscal year, 172,500 applications for H-1B visas were submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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Judge’s action sparks more uncertainty on Obama’s immigration orders

February 17, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A temporary injunction against President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration is adding to the uncertainty surrounding immigration reform and its impact on employers. On Monday, a federal judge in Texas issued a temporary injunction blocking Obama’s orders issued last November that would have eased deportation concerns for millions of undocumented immigrants that have been in the country for years. The orders had not yet begun accepting applications.

The injunction, which the Obama administration plans to appeal, is a result of a lawsuit in which 26 states challenged Obama’s authority to take the actions. U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen ruled that allowing the immigration orders to be implemented before a full trial would cause irreparable harm to states needing to provide services to the undocumented immigrants eligible for the program’s protections.

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New California law on immigrant discrimination takes effect January 1

by Alka Ramchandani

A new California law taking effect January 1 clarifies a previous law prohibiting immigrant-related discrimination.

Last year, a law creating California Labor Code Section 1019 was enacted. That law makes it unlawful for an employer or any other person to engage in—or direct another person to engage in—any “unfair immigration-related practice” against a worker in retaliation for exercising a legal right.

Unfair immigration-related practices include requesting more or different documents than are required under law, threatening to file a false police report, using the federal E-Verify system to check the status of an employee in a time and manner not required by law, or threatening to contact immigration authorities.

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Employers await effects of Executive Order on immigration

November 21, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

While political wrangling over President Barack Obama’s newest Executive Order rages, employers need to understand the impact the immigration order will have on their workplaces.

Obama announced what he’s calling the Immigration Accountability Executive Actions in an address November 20. A fact sheet from the White House says the order will “crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes as they register to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.”

Obama’s plan includes three main elements: (1) increased border security, (2) an emphasis on deporting people deemed a threat to national security and public safety, such as suspected terrorists, violent criminals, gang members, and recent border crossers, and (3) an expansion of a program allowing undocumented immigrants to temporarily stay in the United States if they register, pass background checks, and pay taxes.

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Delay on immigration reform sparks questions, complaints

September 08, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

President Barack Obama’s announcement that he will delay taking executive action on immigration reform means employers won’t get quick answers on when or if changes to the country’s immigration system will come.

On June 30, Obama promised he would use his executive power to make changes since Congress wasn’t making progress on passing an immigration reform bill. Speaking in the Rose Garden, he said then, “I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.”

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Georgia employers face July 1 E-Verify mandate

by Geetha Adinata

Yet another domino has fallen in the changing landscape of Georgia immigration law. Beginning today, all Georgia employers with more than 10 employees (as of January 1, 2013) must use the federal E-Verify system to ensure employees are authorized to work in the United States. E-Verify checks employees’ work authorization through Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases.

An E-Verify requirement was included in Georgia’s 2011 Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act, also known as HB 87. But another bill, SB 160, was signed into law this spring by Governor Nathan Deal and expanded the 2011 law. So as of today, all private employers with more than 10 employees and any public contractor that wishes to bid on state contracts must use E-Verify.

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Senate immigration vote means employers need to stay tuned

June 28, 2013 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The Senate’s passage of an immigration reform bill gives employers much to think about, but it’s hardly the last word on the issue. The House has been considering immigration measures of its own and is expected to tackle reform in a completely different way after the July 4 holiday.

The Senate passed a comprehensive reform bill on June 27 that calls for significant changes on the employment front as well as increased border security and a 13-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. The Senate passed the measure, S. 744, by a vote of 68-32. Fourteen Republicans joined all 52 Democrats and two Independents in voting for the bill.

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H-1B visa cap met in first week

April 10, 2013 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it reached the statutory H-1B visa cap of 65,000 for fiscal year 2014 during the first week of the filing period. This is the first time since 2008 that the cap has been met during the first week.

The H-1B program allows U.S. businesses to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations requiring theoretical or technical expertise (e.g., scientists, engineers, and computer programmers).

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H-1B visa deadline looms

by Elaine Young

Employers wanting to hire foreign workers through the H-1B visa program need to be ready to file petitions with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on April 1. U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields. The first possible start date for most H-1B employees is the first day of the federal fiscal year, October 1. Therefore, petitions submitted on April 1, 2013, will apply to the 2014 federal fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2013.

Here’s an overview of what to consider before April 1 and some information about how the H-1B process may change in the future.

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