• 08Mar
    USCIS Policy Updates Comments Off on USCIS Temporarily Suspends Premium Processing for All H-1B Petitions

    To the surprise (and chagrin) of many, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS” or the “Service”) recently announced that it will temporarily suspend premium (expedited) processing for all H-1B non-immigrant visa petitions for a period of six months, effective April 3, 2017.   The premium processing service allows a petitioning employer to receive an adjudication of an H-1B petition (either a request for additional evidence or an approval) within 15 calendar days of filing of the Form I-907 and payment of an additional filing fee to USCIS of $1,225.

    Since Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 2018) cap-subject H-1B petitions cannot be filed before Monday, April 3, 2017, the Service’s suspension of premium processing will apply to all cap-subject petitions filed for the FY 2018 H-1B cap — this includes cases filed under the standard H-1B cap and the advanced degree cap exemption, more commonly known as the U.S. Master’s Cap.

    In addition to cap-subject petitions, the suspension of the premium processing service will also apply to H-1B petitions that are exempt from the annual quota, such as extensions of stay, requests to amend existing H-1B status and requests for changes of employer.

    USCIS has cited the reason for the suspension as an opportunity for the Service to catch up on the backlog of pending H-1B petitions that are nearing 240 days past expiration of the current period of authorized stay at which point continued employment authorization can be impacted.

    How does this impact H-1B Foreign National Employees?

    The premium processing suspension will have a significant adverse effect on H-1B workers wishing to engage in international travel. Since a foreign national needs a valid visa to return to the U.S. from a trip abroad, and such visa may not be obtained without an H-1B approval notice, the foreign national, in many cases, will either have to delay trips abroad – or remain abroad if a trip is necessary – until the H-1B petition is approved and a visa application may be made at a U.S. Consulate. Under current “normal” processing of H-1B petitions, such approval may take up to 11 months!

    If you have any questions in connection with any of the foregoing, please contact our firm’s Immigration Law Group at (973) 602-3455.

  • 07Mar
    Global Immigration Comments Off on President Trump’s New Executive Order On Immigration

    On March 6, 2017, President Trump signed a new Executive Order (EO) — replacing the previous Executive Order of January 27, 2017 which had imposed a travel ban on seven (7) designated countries. The new EO imposes a 90-day suspension of entry to the United States of nationals of Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen who (i) are outside the United States on the effective date of the EO; (ii) did not have a valid visa as of 5:00 EST on January 27th, 2017; and (iii) do not currently have a valid visa on the effective date of the EO. Thus, any individual who had a valid visa on January 27, 2017 (prior to 5:00 PM) or holds a valid visa on the effective date of the EO (March 16, 2017) is not barred from seeking entry.

    The EO does not apply to (i) lawful permanent residents of the United States; (ii) foreign nationals admitted or paroled into the United States after the effective date of the EO; (iii) foreign nationals with a document that is valid on the effective date of the EO or any date thereafter which permits travel to the United States, such as an Advance Parole document; (iv) dual nationals when travelling on a passport issued by a non-designated country; (v) foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic, NATO, C-2 for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visas; or (vi) foreign nationals already granted asylum or refugee status in the United States before the effective date of the EO.

    In addition, the EO suspends refugee resettlement to the U.S. for 120 days and suspends the Visa Interview Waiver Program indefinitely.

    The Department of Homeland Security has posted a Q&A: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry To the United States with respect to the Executive Order.

    If you have any questions in connection with any of the foregoing, please contact our firm’s Immigration Law Group at (973) 602-3455.

  • 07Mar
    Firm News, Uncategorized Comments Off on Bridge the Divide between Global Business and Geographic Boundaries

    shrm-affiliate-logoCorporate immigration law will be the topic when the Gateway SHRM Chapter in Jersey City meets on the evening of March 22nd. Partners from Meyner and Landis LLP, Scott R. Malyk and Anthony F. Siliato, will present “Tips to Effectively Recruit, Retain and Terminate Foreign Workers”. This program will provide timely and practical information for human resource professionals. For location and additional details please click here.

  • 24Feb
    Uncategorized Comments Off on Tips to Effectively Recruit, Retain and Terminate Foreign Workers

    The February 2017 issue of New Jersey Lawyer magazine, published by the New Jersey State Bar Association, is focused exclusively on U.S. Immigration Law. Meyner and Landis LLP is pleased that its article on employment-business immigration law, entitled, “Tips to Effectively Recruit, Retain and Terminate Foreign Workers”, by partners Scott R. Malyk and Anthony F. Siliato, is included in that issue. The full text of the article is available here: Tips on Foreign Workers.

  • 07Feb
    Global Immigration Comments Off on Trump Executive Order Update

    On February 3, 2017, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington issued a temporary restraining order, prohibiting the federal government from enforcing President Trump’s January 27th Executive Order on a nationwide basis; specifically, the 90-day travel ban on “immigrants and nonimmigrants” from designated countries, the 120-day ban on the U.S. refugee program, and the indefinite suspension of Syrian refugee admissions. All U.S. land and air ports of entry are prohibited from enforcing these portions of the EO until further order from the court.

    DOS: DOS has confirmed that assuming there are no other issues in the case, provisionally revoked visas have been reversed and are once again valid for travel.

     CBP: All CBP Field Offices have been instructed to immediately resume inspection of travelers under standard policies and procedures. All airlines and terminal operators have been notified to permit boarding of all passengers without regard to nationality.

    Individuals who arrived last weekend and had their visas physically cancelled as a result of the EO will not need to reapply for a new visa and absent any other admissibility issues will receive an I-193 waiver (Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa) upon arrival to the U.S. For those traveling by air, airlines have been instructed to contact CBP to receive authorization to permit boarding.

    The Trump administration declared its intention to file an emergency stay of the order “at the earliest possible time.”

  • 31Jan
    H-1B Visa News, L-1 Visa News, L-1 Visas, O-1 Visas Comments Off on INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL ALERT: President Trump’s Executive Order On Immigration

    On late Friday afternoon, January 27th, President Trump issued a controversial Executive Order entitled, “Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” (hereinafter “the Order”). The Order calls for an immediate ban on entry for all foreign nationals from seven (7) countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The Order provides that the travel ban will remain in place for a period of 90 days, while reserving the right to extend such ban beyond 90 days. The Order, as written, applies to refugees, nonimmigrant visa holders (e.g.; H-1B, L-1A, L-1B, E-3, TN-1, TN-2, O-1), U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders) and dual nationals (excluding, however, those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas). The Order also serves to halt all visa issuance to citizens of the seven (7) enumerated countries as well.

    Interpretations and clarifications of the Executive Order are constantly evolving each day and hour as we receive news as to how the Order is being followed by the State Department and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) ports of entry.

    DHS Update Provides Some Clarification

    The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) posted an Update on January 29 stating that the ban will only apply if traveling with a passport from one of the 7 countries. As such, being a dual citizen of one of the banned countries alone will not subject the individual to an entry bar if such individual travels with a passport from a country other than one of the listed 7. The same Update advises that the ban does not apply to U.S. permanent residents – even if they were born in one of the 7 countries or may have a claim to citizenship in one of the 7 countries.

    What Does This Mean For The U.S. Employer?

    • Employers should immediately suspend all business-related international travel from/to the United States for any non-U.S. citizen employee who is only a citizen of one of the enumerated countries and not a U.S. permanent resident.
    • Employers should advise any non-U.S. citizen employee who is only a citizen of one of the enumerated countries and not a U.S. permanent resident to remain in the United States and to not engage in any personal international travel.
    • Given the uncertainty created by the Order, and (notwithstanding the recent DHS Update) the conflicting reports we are receiving from some CBP offices, we would strongly encourage employers to suspend all business-related international travel for any non-U.S. citizen employee who is a citizen of one of the enumerated countries — even if he/she has (a) passport from a non-banned country, together with a valid non-immigrant visa, advance parole travel document or re-entry permit or (b) a green card.
    • Along those same lines, if you employ individuals who are citizens of any of the seven (7) countries listed in the Order and who are already outside of the United States, such employees may encounter difficulty at some CBP ports of entry at the present time – even if they travel with (a) passport from a non-banned country, together with a valid non-immigrant visa, advance parole travel document or re-entry permit or (b) a green card.
    • For all other foreign national employees (i.e.; citizens of countries not covered in the Order), the conservative approach is to postpone all visa appointments at U.S. Consulates abroad for the time being unless absolutely necessary. Based on the suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Program included in the Order, we anticipate visa wait times to increase significantly at all U.S. Consulates abroad, but especially at the consular posts closest to the United States in Canada and elsewhere. If you feel a visa application is absolutely necessary, please be prepared for unexpected delays (i.e.; administrative processing delays) which may require your employees to remain outside of the United States for an extended period of time.
    • Please also advise all foreign national employees seeking to re-enter the United States from a trip abroad to carry all the necessary paperwork (i.e., copy of most recent approval notice, copy of most recent petition, employment verification letter and some recent paystubs). They should expect to experience delays and heightened scrutiny by CBP Officers during the inspection/admission process. If they have been charged with any criminal matters, including a DUI (either in the U.S. or abroad), they should carry original certified copies of the court disposition providing details on the charges, the resolution, and evidence that the matter was satisfactorily resolved.
    • If, upon attempting to enter the United States, an employee is detained by CBP and CBP refuses to admit the employee into the Unites States, the employee should be given the option to withdraw his/her application for admission or to consult with an immigration attorney.

    As one might expect, there exists much confusion among CBP Officers as to the enforcement of the Executive Order, specifically as to who should be kept out of the country. We will provide updates on the implementation and/or interpretations of the Executive Order as they arise, as well as anecdotal evidence as we become aware of the same through our national association AILA and our colleagues.

    If you have any questions in connection with any of the foregoing, please contact our firm’s Immigration Law Group at (973) 602-3440.

  • 14Dec
    Adjustment of Status, H-1B Visa News, I-485, L-1 Visas, USCIS Policy Updates Comments Off on USCIS Publishes Final Rule For Certain Employment-Based Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visa Programs

    The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) issued a new regulation on November 18, 2016, entitled “Retention of EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers” in an effort to clarify, modernize and improve several aspects of certain employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant visa programs. Such efforts, while not fully comprehensive, will provide clarification to practitioners (by codifying existing USCIS adjudicative practices) while providing some long-awaited relief to those high-skilled workers born in the heavily backlogged countries (India and China) who are, often times, forced to make employment decisions contrary to their best interests for professional growth and development (e.g.; accepting positions with other employers) in order to preserve their U.S. immigration status under the current rigid, inflexible system.  The new regulations are slated to go into effect on January 17, 2017.

    Here are some of the highlights of the new regulation:

    Clarify longstanding USCIS policies and practices implementing sections of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (“AC21”) and the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (“ACWIA”) related to certain foreign workers, which will, in turn, enhance USCIS’ consistency in adjudication:  Specifically, the ability of the beneficiary of a labor certification that was filed more than 365 days prior to the end of the sixth year under section 106(a) of AC21 to seek a one (1) year H-1B extension beyond the sixth year. The rule also confirms the ability of the beneficiary of an approved I-140 petition to seek a three (3) year extension beyond the sixth year if the priority date has not become current under 104(c) of AC21.

    Improve job portability for certain beneficiaries of approved Form I-140 petitions by maintaining an I-140 petition’s validity under certain circumstances despite an employer’s withdrawal of the approved I-140 petition or the termination of the employer’s business:  Specifically, I-140 petitions which have been approved for more than 180 days (prior to withdrawal) will be (i) valid for purposes of seeking 3 year H-1B extensions beyond the sixth-year limitation under 104(c) of AC21 and (ii) valid for green card portability (including retention and porting of the priority date) even in the event the sponsoring employer withdraws the approved I-140 or goes out of business.  However, revocation by USCIS for a finding of fraud, misrepresentation or material error will void the I-140 for portability.

    Allow certain high-skilled workers in the United States in valid E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1 or O-1 nonimmigrant status, including any applicable grace period, to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) for “compelling circumstances”: The new regulation creates a new category of EAD available to certain high skilled workers (i) who are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140 petition; (ii) who are unable to adjust status because an immigrant visa is available based on their priority date, and (iii) who are able to demonstrate that “compelling circumstances” exist that justify DHS issuing an employment authorization document in its discretion. Such employment authorization may only be renewed in limited circumstances and only in one year increments.

    Offer a Grace Period Post-Termination for those working pursuant to certain, qualifying nonimmigrant visa classifications (H-1B, H-1B1, E-1, E-2, E-3, L-1, O-1, TN-1):  The new regulation establishes a grace period of up to 60 days following termination of employment before the end of their authorized period of stay.  This will allow qualifying workers and their dependents time to (i) seek new employment (e.g.; seek an H-1B transfer); (ii) change status to another visa classification (e.g.; B-1 or B-2); or (iii) depart the United States if necessary.  This, of course, allows high-skilled nonimmigrant workers and their families the opportunity to more readily pursue new employment and an extension of their nonimmigrant status.

    H-1B licensing: The new regulation will provide flexibility in H-1B cases for professions requiring a license. For H-1B petitions where a license is a requirement to practice the profession, USCIS will look to see if a license application has been filed (and not necessarily obtained because a state or locality requires a social security number or the issuance of an EAD before accepting or approving such licensing requests). Also, the licensing requirement will be considered to be met for H-1B purposes if an unlicensed H-1B worker will be working in a state that allows individuals to work under the supervision of a licensed senior or supervisory personnel.

    Automatic extension of employment authorization for certain classes of pending EAD renewals:  The new regulation permits automatic and continued employment authorization (for up to 180 days) for certain classes of Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”) renewals when the renewal application is timely-filed and remains pending after the expiration of the current EAD. Importantly, this only applies to certain categories of EAD, e.g..; EADs for adjustment of status applicants, refugees and asylees while H-4, L-2 and similar EADs are not eligible.

    If you have any questions about the new regulation or its potential effect on you or any of your employees, please do not hesitate to contact us. Please follow us on Twitter @ML_Immigration to stay tuned for further developments.

  • 13Dec
    Firm News Comments Off on Siliato Recognized in “Best Lawyers” and “International Who’s Who”

    anthony-siliato-smWe are pleased to announce that Anthony F. Siliato was recognized in the 2017 Edition of U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers In America. He was also recognized by Who’s Who Legal: The International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers (2017).

    Meyner and Landis LLP received the highest ranking available (a Tier 1 ranking) in the 2017 Edition of U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms in New Jersey” for Immigration Law.

  • 07Nov
    H-1B Visa News, H-3 Visas, I-9 Compliance, L-1 Visa News, L-1 Visas, USCIS News Comments Off on Employer Alert: Plan To Increase Your Immigration Budgets For 2017 – USCIS Has, Once Again, Increased Filing Fees

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS” or the “Service”) recently announced a final rule that will (in some cases, dramatically) increase the filing fees required for most employment-based (and family-based) immigration applications and petitions filed with the Service. The new fees will become effective December 23, 2016.

    According to USCIS, this is the first fee increase in six (6) years, since November 2010, necessary to “recover the full cost of services provided by USCIS”, including costs associated with fraud detection and national security, customer service and case processing, and providing services without charge to refugee and asylum applicants and to other customers eligible for fee waivers or exemptions.

    The final rule contains a table summarizing current and new fees, summarized below. Under the new rule, any application or petition mailed, postmarked or otherwise filed on or after December 23, 2016 must include the new fees.

     

    Form Title Current Fee New Fee
    I-129/I-129CW Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker $325 $460
    I-131/I-131A Application for Travel Document $360 $575
    I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker $580 $700
    I-485

     

    *Includes the cost of Forms I-765 and I-131 filed concurrently, but does not include $85 biometrics fee

    Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status $985* $1,140*
    I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust status (certain applicants under the age of 14 years) $635 $750
    I-526 Immigrant Petition for Alien Entrepreneur $1,500 $3,675
    I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status $290 $370
    I-765 Application for Employment Authorization $380 $410
    I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card $365 $455
    I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) $340 $535
    I-130 Petition for Alien Relative $420 $535
    I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence $505 $595
    N-400 Application for Naturalization $595 $640

     

    If you have any questions about the filing fee increases, or about any other immigration matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.Of particular note to employers, the filing fee for Form I-129 (used in certain H, L, TN and E-3 classification requests) will increase from $325 to $460 (representing ~ 42% increase); the filing fee for Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) will increase from $580 to $700 (representing ~ 20% increase); and the filing fee for a travel document will increase from $360 to $575 (representing a ~60% increase!).  We can only hope that the increase in fees will result in a reduction in processing times for employment-based petitions (e.g.; a reduction in the current 12-13 month processing time of H-1B extensions!)

    Please follow us on Twitter @ML_Immigration to stay tuned for further developments.

  • 06Jun
    Firm News Comments Off on Malyk Named First Vice Chair of NJSBA Immigration Law Section

    Scott R. Malyk has been named First Vice Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Immigration Law Section. He is a Partner with Meyner and Landis LLP in Newark, NJ and is a member of the firm’s Immigration Law Group. He specializes in all aspects of corporate and business-related immigration law. Scott represents domestic and multinational corporations and their employees, providing guidance in connection with the hiring, transfer and retention of international personnel worldwide. This includes counseling business clients in areas of worksite compliance, including I-9 audits and investigations, H-1B public access file compliance and electronic verification (E-Verify) requirements.

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