Fascinating Reading on Immigration

There are always numerous studies and articles that provide fascinating insights into immigration. However, one that may be particularly interesting to our audience was published just in June 2014 by The Partnership for a New American Economy. The Partnership states that it “brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic and Independent mayors and business leaders who support sensible immigration reforms that will help create jobs for Americans today.” Their study titled “Closing Economic Windows: How H-1B Visa Denials Cost US-Born Tech Workers Jobs and Wages During the Great Recession” makes several key findings, inter alia:
*The high number of H-1B visa applications that were eliminated in the 2007-2008 visa lotteries represented a major lost opportunity for US-born workers and the American economy overall;
*The US tech industry would have grown substantially faster in the years immediately after the recession if not for the large number of visas that didn’t make it through the 2007 and 2008 visa lotteries;
* U.S. Born workers without bachelor’s degrees were disproportionately hurt by the H-1B visa lotteries in 2007-2008;

In contradiction of oft-repeated anti-immigration rhetoric, the report goes on to state that “Contrary to what some believe, high-skilled immigrants don’t displace U.S.-born workers in computer fields. Instead, their presence spurs growth and creates more jobs -and higher wages -for native-born workers in the local tech industry.”

It’s a fascinating analysis that provides a lot of food for thought. You may want to consider on your summer reading list. Read it in full at:

Partnership for a New American Economy – H-1B Report

CBP Updates Website to Expand Admission Records Access

Good news in expanded records access from the CBP. At the end of April 2014, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website began providing historical admission records online. This allows access to view and print entry/exit data of foreign nationals going back five years.

This historical admission record is an expansion of the program in effect since April 2013 to allow foreign nationals to view and print their most recent I-94 admission record directly from the CBP website. This electronic access is in lieu of receiving a hard copy I-94 card at the airport/port of entry. The printing of such I-94 record is critical for all foreign national’s after each admission.

The expansion of this I-94 information on the CBP website can be an important tool for foreign nationals and their attorneys. For the first time, it allows us to view all admissions and proactively correct errors before benefit applications are filed with USCIS that may be potentially impacted by these errors. Further, for Lawful Permanent Residents that wish to apply for US citizenship through naturalization, this historical entry/exit data is required on the application.  However, it often proved difficult for applicants to recall, and thus this new information greatly facilitates the process.

Our office encourages our clients to view this information and ensure that the information CBP has in their file is accurate. If there are any inaccuracies, our office is happy to advise whether and how to correct the data with CBP.

Customs and Border Protection  – www.cbp.gov

 

Get I-94 Information

 

Ongoing Immigration News Important to Follow

SURGE IN UNACCOMPANIED MINOR CHILDREN AT THE SOUTHERN BORDER

While we don’t have space to do the story justice, as many of our readers know, in 2014 there has been a surge of unaccompanied minor children and families along the southern border in response to the regional humanitarian crisis in Central America. Our government is rapidly trying to get a handle on this situation and the question of whether to deter future dangerous migration by children versus family reunification or resettlement in the U.S. is still evolving. We urge you to follow this story and add your voice to a democratic debate on the topic.

EXECUTIVE ACTION BY PRESIDENT OBAMA TO “FIX” IMMIGRATION?

In remarks from the White House on June 30, 2014, President Obama discussed using his executive powers if congress continued to fail to act to bring immigration legislation to his desk.

Stay tuned to what we hope will be a lively political summer.

A Recap of Spring Immigration News – Employment

H-1B CAP REACHED IN FIRST WEEK

Once again this year, the supply of H-1B visa numbers was severely unable to meet demand. The US Immigration Service (“USCIS”) received a total of 172,500 petitions to fill the cap of 85,000 H-1B visa numbers. USCIS returned cases that were not selected in the quota by June. Processing on “selected” cases will continue, likely through September, for non-expedited (premium processed) cases.

If you or your employee were not selected in this year’s very limited quota, we would be happy to consult with you about whether there are other options. Our office particularly has done some challenging O-1 petitions with great success, and this category has no quota. Likewise, there are creative options if your company has offices overseas wherein the foreign national could be placed for a year, the employee has a spouse in valid US immigration status for which they could gain “derivative” status, or they are willing to consider going back to school.

POTENTIAL LEGISLATION WOULD GRANT WORK AUTHORIZATION FOR SOME H-1B SPOUSES

While it’s a change that would have limited applicability, the USCIS proposed rule of 5/12/2014 on employment authorization for the spouses of some H-1B workers is still very good news.

Spouses of H-1B visa holders in H-4 status have never before been granted the ability to work, unless or until a supplemental work permit was granted as part of the final green card application (“Adjustment of Status” or “I-485”). Because of long-standing visa backlogs (most notably affecting professional workers from India and China), this has meant that spouses in H-4 status, even themselves often degreed professionals, had to put their careers on hold for several years. The proposed rule would allow H-4 spouses to work at an earlier point in the process. The bad news is that it’s not “very” early in the process, and thus it applies to only a small group of H-4 spouses. Nonetheless, any expansion of work permission is welcome news to clients who have long been negatively impacted by this employment restriction.

Likewise greatly beneficial, for US companies this expansion of work permission to H-4 spouses would open up a sizeable pool of new employees. Many companies that were shut out of hiring due to the H-1B shortages in recent years may in fact find this pool of H-4’s to provide a welcome source of highly skilled employees.

A few general notes

A few general notes:

* Immigration processing of several types of applications has noticeably slowed in the past six months. In light of this, if you have an application pending with USCIS, keep in touch with immigration counsel to ensure that you understand the impact this could have for you and can plan accordingly.

* Summer is a busy travel season for foreign nationals in the US, as it is for everyone. Foreign nationals requiring a visa stamp in their passport in order to return to the US should be especially mindful of potential delays in obtaining visa appointments, and should plan well in advance of their departure.

* Importantly, US consulates in Canada, which normally entertain visa applications from nationals of all countries, have severely limited their visa appointments for non-Canadians this summer.

* There is unrest in many parts of the world at the moment and we strongly urge all of our clients to review any travel alerts or warnings issued by the US State Department prior to traveling.

* American Immigration Lawyers worldwide recently convened in late June in our beautiful city of Boston at our annual conference of AILA. It was a wonderful event full of topical and in depth analysis of US Immigration law. We were proud to have our city host and to have been able to join and learn from each other.

* We hope everyone had a joyous Fourth of July and was able to take time to celebrate the independence of our great nation with family and friends.

Have a wonderful summer.