Wednesday, September 20, 2017

MU’S MARIA SCHNEIDER AUTHORS ALABAMA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS NEWSLETTER ARTICLE

Maria Schneider, MU’s Senior Associate, recently authored an article for the Alabama Association of Realtors Newsletter

Schneider’s article focused on immigration updates under the Trump Administration pertinent to those buying and investing in real estate.   The article outlined recent legislative proposals and executive actions, and how these would affect real estate brokers, agents, buyers, and sellers.  Schneider closed the article by outlining visa options available for investors in the United States. 

The Alabama Association of Realtors is the largest statewide organization of real estate professionals in Alabama.  Members of the Association work as real estate professionals in the sale, lease, appraisal, and development of residential, rural, and resort properties throughout the state of Alabama.  The Association is the official voice and advocate of Alabama’s multi-faceted real estate industry and provides members continuing education, public policy advocacy, annual meetings and conferences, as well as several other services.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

USCIS RESUMES PPS FOR H-1B CAP PETITIONS

USCIS has resumed Premium Processing Service (PPS) for H-1B cap-subject petitions.  Presently, H-1B cap-subject petitions, H-1Bs for cap-exempt employers (e.g. research entities and universities), and H-1Bs for doctors are the only H-1B petitions that may use PPS.  H-1B transfers, amendments, and extensions currently are prohibited from PPS.

USCIS’ press release said that it “plans to resume premium processing for all other remaining H‑1B petitions (i.e. H-1B transfers, amendments, and extensions) not subject to the FY 2018 cap, as agency workloads permit.”  The press release did not commit to a time frame for the resumption of PPS for these types of H-1B petitions.  However, in a June 2017 AILA Q & A, USCIS HQ indicated that it “anticipates” resuming H-1B PPS processing on or before October 4.  This comment did not delineate between H-1B cap petitions and other types of H-1B petitions, such as transfers, amendments, and extensions. 

The USCIS may have decided to prioritize H-1B cap-subject petitions in order to allow some F-1/OPT students to continue to work without work authorization beyond October 1.  Certain F-1/OPT students’ will lose work authorizing on October 1 if their H-1B cap-subject petition is not approved before October 1.  Please check with your MU attorney or staff member if you have questions.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

OCTOBER 2017 VISA BULLETIN: ANALYSIS FOR 2017-2018

The Department of State has just issued the October 2017 Visa Bulletin.  This is the first Visa Bulletin of Fiscal Year 2018.  This blog post analyzes this month's Visa Bulletin.  The DOS has added some predication on future date movement.  We have encompassed those thoughts within our category comments.  

October 2017 Visa Bulletin

Applications with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency card).

EB 
Class 
All Other  
CHINA       
INDIA     
MEXICO   
PHIL'PNES    
EB-1
C
01JAN12
C
C
EB-2
C
22MAY13
15SEP08 
C
C
EB-3
01JAN14
15OCT06 

01DEC15       


MU Law Analysis

All Other:  The EB-2 has been current for many years.  The EB-3 progression has long been effectively current, and is expected to remain current for the foreseeable future.

China (mainland-born):   The China EB-3 has again progressed faster than Chinese EB-2.  The DOS expects that EB-3 will progress at about 4 months per Visa Bulletin, while EB-2 will only progress one month per Visa Bulletin.

India:  The India progressions are steady, albeit slow.  EB-2 should progress 
one month per Visa Bulletin.  EB-3's progression will be "limited," in the words of the DOS.  MU suspects that EB-3 may finally breakout once the EB-3 date moves past the Visa Gate date of August 2007.

Mexico: Mirrors All Other in all aspects.

Philippines:    The Philippine EB-3 number essentially cleaned out all of the 2010 through 2015 EB-3 visas in FY2017.  Unfortunately the progressions will be considerable slower in FY2018, probably progressing 1-2 months per Visa Bulletin.  The demand for Philippines EB-3 numbers increased dramatically in 2016-17.  This increased demand will be the cause for the slower progressions in the FY2018.

Monday, August 28, 2017

USCIS MIND-NUMBINGLY TO REQUIRE IN PERSON INTERVIEWS FOR I-485s

The USCIS on Friday announced that all employment-based Adjustment of Status applicants (Form I-485) will now be subject to an in-person interview before the USCIS approves the green card.  Politico first reported the story.

This is a colossal waste of everyone’s time and money.  It shows this Presidential administration’s complete disregard for government efficiency when they have the option to pander to their base.  The USCIS is using “extreme vetting” as the rationale for this new in-person interview requirement.  In reality of course, his administration is anti-immigrant and uses any excuse it can muster to inconvenience and harass contributing immigrants.

How stupid is this policy change?  Employment-based I-485 applicants will have already been in the United States for years before this useless interview.  For instance, most Indian-born nationals average 10-15 years of US status before they are eligible to receive the green card.  Any damage that they wished upon the US would surely have happened in the 10-15 years before that interview.  Terrorists, as a class, are not the type of people who work at a gainful job for years, diligently file countless immigration papers, and have no criminal record, all of which is required before any such interview would happen.

The USCIS knows this, which is why they long-ago waived the interview requirement for employment-based immigrants.  Back then, USCIS recognized that in a government of scarce resources, its scarce resources could much better be used to find real threats to US.  This policy change reveals just how tone deaf the President is as to who actually contributes to the richness of American life and who are the actual threats. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

VISA BULLETIN: ANALYSIS FOR 2017-18

The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin guru, Charlie Oppenheim, hosts monthly meetings with the American Immigration Lawyers Association.  Charlie Oppenheim is the Department of State’s Chief of the Control and Reporting Division. He is the officer who is responsible for producing the Visa Bulletin each month.

This month’s Check In With Charlie featured projections for EB-2 and EB-3, which are the most popular categories for readers of this Blog.  Here are some of this month’s highlights, along with our analysis:

EB-2 Worldwide.  The Worldwide EB-2 should return to current in October and remain there for the rest of this calendar year.

EB-2 India.  This category is expected to use the full allotment of visas in September, which may result in the category becoming temporarily unavailable.  Charlie hopes to advance the final action date to December 2008 in the 1Q 2018.  It may advance into 2009 at some point in late FY2018.

EB-2 and EB-3 China. In FY2018, EB-2 and EB-3 will return to the prior inverted condition where China EB-3 has a smaller retrogression than China EB-3.  History tells us that this leads to China EB-3 “downgrades”.

EB-3 Worldwide.  This category will remain current or close to current for the foreseeable future.

EB-3 India.  This category will advance about one retrogress month by one real calendar month in FY 2018. 

EB-3 Philippines.   It is not expected that FY2018 will be as positive as FY2017 was to this category.  Charlie speculates, and Musillo Unkenholt can confirm based on our internal metrics, that progressions will slow in FY2018.  We expect an average of about a 1.5-2-year retrogression in FY 2018.  

Thursday, August 17, 2017

MU’S MARIA SCHNEIDER TO SPEAK AT ALABAMA STATE BAR ASSOCIATION’S “LAWYER UNIVERSITY”

Senior Associate, Maria Schneider, will be speaking to attorneys in Birmingham on August 24, 2017 as a part of the Alabama State Bar Association’s Lawyer University.

Lawyer University is an initiative of the Alabama State Bar that monitors changing economic and technological trends affecting the state’s attorneys and helps the attorneys to obtain the practical skills needed to meet these challenges and trends.

Schneider will speak on the basics of business-based immigration and the shifting landscape under the Trump Administration.  Schneider will be joined by other lawyers, speaking on personal jurisdiction, cybersecurity, and electronic discovery.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

SEPTEMBER 2017 VISA BULLETIN: ANALYSIS

The Department of State has just issued the September 2017 Visa Bulletin.  This is the final Visa Bulletin of Fiscal Year 2017.  This blog post analyzes this month's Visa Bulletin.

NOTE: Please be sure to read our Post, "What does the August Visa Bulletin Mean?"

September 2017 Visa Bulletin

Applications with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency card).

EB 
Class 
All Other  
CHINA       
INDIA     
MEXICO   
PHIL'PNES    
EB-1
C
01JAN12
01JAN12 
C
C
EB-2
01JAN16
15MAY13
22AUG08 
01JAN16
01JAN16
EB-3
01JAN12
15OCT06 

01NOV15       


MU Law Analysis

All Other:  The EB-2 has been current for many years.  The slight retrogression is temporary and will revert back to Current in October 2017.  The EB-3 progression has long been effectively current, and is, in fact, current in this Bulletin.

China (mainland-born):   The DOS instituted a retrogression for China EB-1 with the June Visa Bulletin, which remains.  The continued high level of demand for EB-1 numbers for USCIS adjustment of status applicants has required the establishment of a date for June. It is expected that this EB-1 retrogression will last until October 2017. 

The China EB-2 date again moved up, by about one month. The DOS recently noted that there has been an extremely large increase in EB-3s during the past month. The China EB-3 date remains at January 2012, which is where it was in July.  It is now slower than China EB-2. 

India:  As with China, India EB-1 now is retrogressed.  It is expected that this EB-1 retrogression will last until October 2017. 


EB-2 India moved ahead by a month.  EB-3 India jumped into late 2006, which was a pleasant surprise.  The DOS is clearly trying to ensure that all visa numbers are used in FY2016. 

Mexico: Mirrors All Other in all aspects.

Philippines: EB-3 moved ahead to November 2015!  This is yet another incredible  progression.   The Philippine EB-3 number essentially cleaned out all of the 2010 through 2015 EB-3 visas in less than one year.  This is even more positive than we expected.  

Our internal metrics see the Philippine EB-3 number continuing to progress at a rapid clip for the rest of 2017.


The retrogression of the EB-2 (Phils) number is nothing to be concerned about.  It will return to Current in October 2017.  Note that all EB-2s retrogressed, which reflects heavier demand than usual in the entirety of the EB-2 category.  

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

CINCINNATI IMMIGRATION CONFERENCE

Musillo Unkenholt Immigration Law is hosting a live in-person conference for business professionals in the Greater Cincinnati area on the topics of H-1Bs and immigration under the Trump Administration.


This Cincinnati Immigration Seminar will feature these topics:
  • ·         Business Immigration visas: H-1B, L-1, TN, OPT, F-1
  • ·         Business Immigration Green Cards: PERM, I-140, I-485
  • ·         Entrepreneur and investor options: EB-5, E-1, E-2
  • ·         Immigration Compliance: I-9s, E-Verify, Public Access Files
  • ·         Impact of Pres. Trump’s policies on business immigration
  • ·         Legislative and Regulatory changes that may be on the horizon

The conversation will be led by MU's immigration lawyers who have a combined experience in immigration of over two decades.

The conference will begin at 8 AM and go to 10:30 AM. A courtesy continental breakfast will be provided at the beginning of the event.

Parking is available underneath the hotel in their parking garage, as well as on the streets surrounding the hotel.

Please do not hesitate to contact us via email with any more questions you may have regarding the presentation or our services.

Monday, July 31, 2017

WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE CONFIRMATION OF THE NEW USCIS DIRECTOR?

In April Pres. Trump nominated Lee Francis Cissna to be the Director of the USCIS. USCIS is a sub-agency of the Department of Homeland Security. USCIS is tasked with processing immigration applications and petitions. The Director normally reports directly to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Because it is such an important position, any nomination for USCIS Director requires confirmation by the Senate.

Three months have now passed since the Cissna nomination. Although the President has complained loudly about Senate Democrats holding up confirmations, that does not seem to be the case with Mr. Cissna's nomination. 

In mid-May, Pro Publica reported that Mr. Cissna had spent much of the last few years ghost-writing letters on behalf of Sen. Grassley (R-IA).  These letters were aimed at dismantling much of Pres. Obama’s immigration policies. 
On May 31, Mr. Cissna testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Three hundred immigration stakeholders have since pushed the administration to withdraw Mr. Cissna’s nomination.

Mr. Cissna’s confirmation hold-up does not entirely appear to be about the Cissna policies raised by Pro Publica. In fact, the confirmation hold-up was a leverage play by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). Senate custom allows a single Senator to delay a 
confirmation

Why did Sen. Tills delay Cissna's confirmation?  Sen. Tillis wanted an increase of H-2B visas, which are temporary visas used in seasonal occupations. North Carolina uses more H-2B visas than 47 other states, trailing only Texas and Colorado. In mid-July, the President caved into Sen. Tillis’ demands and released an additional 15,000 H-2B visas. Only then did Sen. Tillis agree to lift his hold on the confirmation.

Yet Mr. Cissna’s confirmation continues to sit. Right-wing media, who are fans of Mr. Cissna’s views, are ramping up the pressure on the GOP Senate to move forward.

Because the Cissna nomination is still stuck, questions remain: Is Mr. Cissna going to be confirmed before the August recess? Is his delay more about him or more about the Senate’s packed schedule? Will the forthcoming DHS Secretary withdraw Mr. Cissna and want to appoint his own candidate? We should know a lot between now and the recess.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

REGISTER FOR MU HEALTHCARE IMMIGRATION WEBINAR ON AUGUST 1

MU Law is pleased to announce a free healthcare immigration webinar on August 1, 2017 at 3PM ET for all clients and friend of the firm.  It is ideal for US employers, staffing companies, recruiters, and others interested in healthcare immigration.


 The Healthcare Immigration Seminar will feature these topics:
  • Green card Immigration for Nurses and Physical Therapists (Schedule A occupations)
  • Filing for Green card when you have an Unanticipated Worksite
  • Visa Screens and Healthcare Worker Certificates
  • FCCPT and the future of PT immigration
  • H-1B visas for PTs, OTs, Med Techs, and other allied healthcare workers
  • Managing Social Security Numbers and Licensure
  • H-1B cap-exempt entities
  • Immigration under the Trump administration
  • Legislative and Regulatory changes that may be on the horizon

Monday, July 24, 2017

PORTING AN I-485 TO A NEW EMPLOYER

Last year the USCIS issued new guidance regarding when a foreign national can port his/her I-485.  Under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21) a foreign national can change his/her employer or job during the green card process once the I-485 has been pending for 180 day or more.

When changing positions, the green card applicant and their new employer, must file a form I-485(j) with the USCIS confirming the new employer is taking over the green card case, agrees to pay the prevailing wage, and that the new position is the same or similar to the position described in the green card application.

The USCIS will consider the totality of the circumstances when determining if the green card job and the new job are the same or similar.  Specifically, 2016 memo describes how Immigration Officers can review the occupation codes assigned to both jobs by the Department of Labor when determining if the two jobs are the same or similar.

Evidence that the positions are the same or similar can include:
  • ·         The job duties of both positions;
  • ·         The skills, expertise, education, training, licenses or certifications specifically required to perform each job;
  • ·         The wages offered for each job; and
  • ·         Any other material and credible evidence relevant to the determination.

Green card applicants can also port their I-485s when, in their new position, they are primarily responsible for managing the same or similar function of their original job.  For example, if a PT is promoted to Senior PT and supervises other PTs and PTAs.  It is also acceptable for the applicant to manage workers in a different occupation if the change in position is a normal career progression.  For instance, if an OT is promoted to Rehab Manager, the OT may be supervising other OTs as well as OTAs, PTs, PTAs, SLPs, and others.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

VISA BULLETIN PROJECTIONS FOR THE REST OF 2017

The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin guru, Charlie Oppenheim, hosts monthly meetings with the American Immigration Lawyers Association.  Charlie Oppenheim is the Department of State’s Chief of the Control and Reporting Division. He is the officer who is responsible for producing the Visa Bulletin each month.

This month’s Check In With Charlie featured projections for EB2 and EB3, which are the most popular categories for readers of this Blog.  Here are some of this month’s highlights, along with our analysis:

EB-2 Worldwide.  Although there may be a retrogression in September, the Worldwide EB-2 should return to current in October and remain there for the rest of this calendar year.

EB-2 India.  This category is expected to use the full allotment of visas in September, which may result in the category becoming temporarily unavailable.  It should have a July 2008 date in October 2017.

EB-3 Worldwide.  This category will remain current or close to current for the foreseeable future.

EB-3 India.  This category will advance several months in September 2017.  However, because of expected demand in FY 2018 for EB-3 Worldwide, we will not see fast progress after October 2017.  India EB-3 benefited in FY 2017 because demand for Worldwide EB-3 was light, resulting in Worldwide EB-3 numbers spilling into India EB-3.

EB-3 Philippines.  In FY 2018, we will not see this category move nearly as fast as it did in FY 2017. We will have a better idea of where Phils EB-3 is headed with the publication of the October 2017 Visa Bulletin, which is the first of FY 2018.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

AUGUST 2017 VISA BULLETIN: ANALYSIS

The Department of State has just issued the August 2017 Visa Bulletin.  This is the eleventh Visa Bulletin of Fiscal Year 2017.  This blog post analyzes this month's Visa Bulletin.

NOTE: Please be sure to read our Post, "What does the August Visa Bulletin Mean?"

August 2017 Visa Bulletin

Applications with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency card).

EB 
Class 
All Other  
CHINA       
INDIA     
MEXICO   
PHIL'PNES    
EB-1
C
01JAN12
01JAN12 
C
C
EB-2
01APR15
22APR13
22JUL08 
01APR15
01APR15
EB-3
01JAN12
15JUL06 

01JUN15       


MU Law Analysis

All Other:  The EB-2 has been current for many years.  The slight retrogression is temporary and will revert back to Current in October 2017.  The EB-3 progression has long been effectively current, and is, in fact, current in August.

China (mainland-born):   The DOS instituted a retrogression for China EB-1 with the June Visa Bulletin, which remains.  The continued high level of demand for EB-1 numbers for USCIS adjustment of status applicants has required the establishment of a date for June. It is expected that this EB-1 retrogression will last until October 2017. 


The China EB-2 date again moved up, by one month.  The DOS notes that there has been an extremely large increase in EB-3s during the past month. The China EB-3 date remains at January 2012, which is where it was in July.  It is now slower than China EB-2. 

India:  As with China, India EB-1 now is retrogressed.  It is expected that this EB-1 retrogression will last until October 2017. 


EB-2 India held steady.  EB-3 India jumped into 2006, last month, which was a pleasant surprise.  It moved up again, this time into mid-2006.  The DOS is clearly trying to ensure that all visa numbers are used in FY2016. 

Mexico: Mirrors All Other in all aspects.

Philippines: EB-3 moved ahead one full year!  This is the second straight one year progression.   The Philippine EB-3 number essentially cleaned out all of the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and half of 2015 EB-3 visas in less than one year.  This is even more positive than we expected.  

Our internal metrics see the Philippine EB-3 number continuing to progress at a rapid clip for the rest of 2017.


The retrogression of the EB-2 (Phils) number is nothing to be concerned about.  It will return to Current in October 2017.  Note that all EB-2s retrogressed, which reflects heavier demand than usual in the entirety of the EB-2 category.  

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

MU LAW IS NOW ON LINKED IN


MU Law has a vibrant social media presence, which now includes Linked In.

If you are on Linked In, please take a moment a follow MU Law on Linked In.  We will be cross-posting articles and items of interest. 

We also have 1000+ followers on Facebook.  Are you one of our followers?  If not, please follow us there too!



Monday, June 26, 2017

POST H-1B CAP 2017 & TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WEBINAR


______________________________________________________________________________________________

Come join us as MU Law explores the latest legal topics on the H-1B Cap 2017 & the Trump Administration by hosting a free educational webinar

Who's Invited?
Clients & Friends

When?
June 29, 2017 @ 3PM / 12PM PT

Where? 
The Webinar will take place on Livestorm.co 

Please click the link below to register
Please register for the conference at Livestorm.co

You will be provided a link for the event once registered! 
______________________________________________________________________________________________

This year, the H-1B cap was reached in the first week with approximately 199,000 petition filings. Our webinar will feature in a range of topics including:

Alternatives for employees not chosen in this year’s CAP; Preparing your employee for the consulate interview; H-1B Dependency Rule & Issues with staffing companies; H1-B Amendments; Site Visits, and more.

The webinar will also have a special update on the new Trump Administration. MU Law’s Chris Musillo, who has recently traveled to Washington DC, will provide an update on what potential changes will be coming to employment-based immigration considering the new administration and recently issues memos.

The webinar will last for approximately 90 minutes, including a live Q&A session at the end.

We hope to see you there! 
______________________________________________________________________________________________

For more information on the agenda of the webinar, please see below. Thank you.

  1. H-1B Cap 
    • Alternatives for employees not chosen in this year's CAP
    • Preparing your employee for the consulate interview
    • On-boarding an employee
  2. H-1Bs in 2017
    • H-1B Dependency Rule (LCA & 50/50 rule) 
    • H-1B issues for Staffing Companies and Third-Party Placements
      • What is Third-Party Placement v. In-House work?
    • March 31, 2017 Computer Programmer Memo
      • Rescinds the December 22, 2000 Terry Way memo issues to the Nebraska Service Center 
      • Implications for future H-1B filings 
    • H-1B Amendments 
      • Short Term Placement Rule (30-day rule)
      • Amendment pending but employee is now moving to new work site. What is the Employer's strategy? 
      • Employee is still abroad but work site changes
      • Pending H-1B CAP case but the assignment no longer exists 
    • Site visits
      • How can the Employer prepare for a site visit? 
      • How can you prepare your employee for a site visit? 
  3. Immigration in the era of the Trump Administration
    • Traveling and Consular Process
    • Potential regulatory changes 
    • Potential legislative changes 
  4. Q&A