Supreme Court ruling allows ‘travel ban’ Executive Order to take limited effect

June 26, 2017 0 COMMENTS

On June 26, the last day of the current term, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to determine whether the “travel ban” Executive Order’s (EO) focus on primarily Muslim countries violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and whether the EO exceeds President Donald Trump’s authority granted by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The Court will hear the case in its next term, which begins in October. Because of two lower courts’ findings, the EO has been enjoined from taking effect since May.

Meanwhile, the Court also addressed and limited the existing injunctions on the EO. In particular, the EO’s provisions barring entry of people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen may take effect, but only for people “who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

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New rule extends employment term for international STEM students

May 09, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Elaine Young

The rules affecting how long international students in certain fields can work in the United States without changing their visa status will change on May 10.

Currently, when international students in F-1 visa status graduate with a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate from a U.S. school, they can work for one year, in a period called Optional Practical Training (OPT), in a job related to their major field of study. That training period is being extended for international students with science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) degrees from U.S. schools.

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Employers should continue using expired Form I-9 until new version is available

April 01, 2016 0 COMMENTS

The current revision of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-9 expired March 31. However, USCIS has instructed employers to continue using this version of the form until a new revision is approved.

Meanwhile, revisions to Form I-9 have been proposed, but the new form cannot be finalized and adopted until the public has had the opportunity to submit comments on the changes.

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Appeals court keeps hold on Obama’s immigration orders

May 27, 2015 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 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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New California law on immigrant discrimination takes effect January 1

December 11, 2014 4 COMMENTS

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 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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Georgia employers face July 1 E-Verify mandate

July 01, 2013 1 COMMENTS

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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H-1B visa cap met in first week

April 10, 2013 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

March 25, 2013 0 COMMENTS

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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