DHS Proposes Merit-Based Changes to H-1B Program
Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a new rule to change the way H-1B visa applications are registered and processed. Under Congressional mandate, the cap for H-1B visas is set at 65,000 each year, with an additional 20,000 petitions permitted for seekers with a U.S. master’s degree or higher.
Currently, applications are selected to reach the H-1B Master cap first, and later some petitioners are considered separately for the advanced degree exemption. The newly proposed rule aims to increase the number of highly-educated foreign workers, by reversing the processing order for H-1B petitions and allowing the draw for H-1B cap first and then the draw for H-1B Master cap.
To accomplish this, all companies employing H-1B visa workers will need to register electronically with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the 2020 fiscal year. Both USCIS and DHS claim that this will reduce their overall administrative burden and allow all petitions to be processed faster. The reversal in processing order could also bring up to 16% more H-1B beneficiaries with an advanced education into the workforce.
USCIS Further Defines L-1 Foreign Employment Requirements
With the release of a new policy memorandum, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services or USCIS has now clarified a key requirement for L-1 visa applications. An L-1 nonimmigrant visa allows businesses to bring foreign executives, managers, and specialized employees over to qualifying U.S. offices, once that employee has been working with them for at least one full year over a consecutive three-year period.
This is called the “one-year foreign employment requirement,” and in the past, it has often been difficult for L-1 seekers to interpret – and for USCIS to apply consistently across the board. As the new memorandum notes, however, any beneficiaries seeking L-1 status now have to be physically away from the United States for the entirety of that one year (although brief U.S. trips for business and/or pleasure may be excluded.) The memorandum also notes that L-1 seekers must have already met the one-year foreign employment requirement when they petition.
If you’re a foreign executive looking to transfer to the United States, or if you need assistance with transferring one of your executive employees here, our Chicago employment immigration attorney at Panteva Law Group, LLC can help you navigate the process.
Immigration Denials Increase by 37% Under Trump
Anyone who has applied for immigration status over the last few years can attest that the process can be confusing. Many immigrants are denied entry even if they meet the requirements. And as data released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) shows, this trend is more than just anecdotal evidence: It’s now backed by the numbers.
According to USCIS, denials of immigration-related benefits have jumped by 37% under Trump. This steep increase can be directly connected to the Trump administration’s stringent immigration policies, as the 37% increase is relative to President Trump’s election in 2016. USCIS has also dramatically increased the length of most immigration applications and forms, making the paperwork for applicants more difficult.
Whether you’re a skilled worker looking to apply for a nonimmigrant visa, or a devoted partner waiting to reunite with your beloved fiancée, our Chicago immigration attorney Iskra Panteva knows how stressful it can be to face a complex immigration matter on your own. By providing compassionate counsel and focused, aggressive advocacy for your case, Attorney Panteva and her team can help increase your chances of a successful petition.
Give us a call at (312) 471-0014 today to schedule a consultation!