• 07Feb
    H-1B Visa News Comments Off on HR / LEGAL ALERT: Plan NOW For New H-1B Petitions To Be Filed Under The H-1B Quota on April 2, 2018

    This is a reminder to our clients (and prospective clients) that your once-a-year opportunity to file petitions seeking new H-1B visa numbers under the annual H-1B quota is approaching rapidly.  Indeed, the H-1B quota (or H-1B cap) will open on Monday, April 2, 2018 and, by regulation, will remain open for 5 business days, until Friday, April 6, 2018.  As such, you have a short, 5-day window to seek  an H-1B classification for your foreign national employees who do not already possess an H-1B.

    As you may recall from the H-1B cap season from last year, H-1B cap-subject petitions faced a heightened level of scrutiny leading to a significant increase in the number of Requests for Further Evidence (RFE). Based on USCIS statistics, nearly 40% more RFEs were issued in 2017 than in all of 2016, and 65% more than in all of 2015.  The new administration’s “Buy American and Hire American” executive order is likely a factor in the increase in the number of RFEs issued.

    Given continued pent-up demand for the H-1B classification, we fully expect the H-1B cap to be reached in the first week of filings.  Once the H-1B cap has been reached, employers will be unable to file new cap-subject H-1B petitions for a full year, until Monday, April 1, 2019.  As such, we strongly encourage you to identify any employees who may require H-1B sponsorship and contact us as soon as possible to begin preparing your H-1B petitions for a timely April 2, 2018 filing.

    HUMAN RESOURCES ACTION NEEDED:  Assess Your Cap-Subject H-1B Needs:

    H-1B visas are available for specialty (professional) occupations requiring at least the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in a relevant discipline. For current or prospective employees, U.S.-based employers should take the time to consider who the Company may need to sponsor for an H-1B for Fiscal Year 2019.

    Here are some of the most common candidates for an H-1B under the annual cap:

    • F-1 visa holders (student interns / recent graduates) who are working for you pursuant to an Employment Authorization Document issued in connection with an approved period of post-grad Optional Practical Training (OPT);
    • F-1 visa holders (student interns) who are working for you while in school pursuant to  university-approved Curricular Practical Training (CPT);
    • J-1 visa holders (interns/trainees) whose training programs will expire and who will need a change their status from J-1 to H-1B in order to continue working for you;
    • TN employees (Canadian and/or Mexican NAFTA professionals) who may require an H-1B to be eligible to apply for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident – especially considering the Trump administration’s plan to renegotiate, and possibly rescind, NAFTA;
    • L-1B visa holders (intra-company transferees with specialized knowledge) approaching the end of their initial 3 years of L-1B eligibility who may need to switch to an H-1B as a necessary component to planning your long-term strategy of pursuing lawful permanent residence for that employee;
    • O-1 visa holders who are coming up for expiration within the next year as O-1s are renewable in only 1 year increments (as compared to a 3 year period for an approved H-1B); and
    • Potential candidates who are living and working abroad and have not been previously counted against the H-1B cap.

    PLEASE NOTE: the H-1B cap applies only to “new” H-1B petitions. As such, current H-1B employees seeking to file an extension of stay or existing H-1B workers for whom you may desire to file an H-1B transfer petition are not subject to the H-1B cap.

    The Importance of Early Preparation:

    This year, cap-subject H-1B petitions will be accepted by USCIS during the period of April 2-6 and a random lottery will be conducted to determine which petitions will be adjudicated.  Any petitions filed after the cap has been met will be returned and cannot be re-filed until the following year.

    To assure a timely filing, Labor Condition Applications (“LCAs”) should be submitted to Labor Department by the beginning of March, and petitions should be ready for filing before April 2, 2018.  With that said, gathering the necessary supporting documentation and preparing the H-1B visa filing materials can be time consuming (especially in this environment of increased scrutiny). Preparation includes assembling background and educational documents, drafting and signing letters and forms, and submitting an LCA with the Labor Department for certification. Early preparation is therefore essential.

    It is now more important than ever to hire experienced immigration attorneys who can properly guide you through the H-1B process.

    If you have any questions in connection with any of the foregoing, please contact Anthony F. Siliato and Scott R. Malyk of our firm’s Immigration Law Group.

  • 10Jan
    H-1B Visa News Comments Off on Trump Team Backs Off Proposal to Cull Foreign Tech Workforce

    January 9, 2018: In a news update on January 8, 2018, the McClatchy DC news service reported that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has stated that it not considering a regulatory change to the H-1B extension rules, as had previously been reported in a December 30, 2017 article by McClatchy DC. In particular, USCIS stated to McClatchy DC that the agency is not considering changing its interpretation of section 104(c) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21), which provides for H-1B extensions beyond the six-year limit for H-1B workers who have reached certain milestones in the green card process. USCIS went on to note that “such a change would not likely result in these H-1B holders having to leave the United States because employers could request extensions in one-year increments under section 106(a)-(b) of AC21 instead.” USCIS did, however, indicate that the agency is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to carry out the President’s Buy American, Hire American” executive order, including conducting a “thorough review” of employment-based visa programs.

    We will continue to closely monitor this issue as well as any other proposed policy and regulatory changes to the employment-based immigration system.

  • 19Dec
    Firm News Comments Off on Looking for a Top-Notch Attorney to Join our Corporate Immigration Team

    We have a sophisticated, established business immigration law practice seeking an Associate who possesses superb writing skills to support us in a variety of employment-based petitions and applications submitted to USCIS, CBP and DOL.  A keen attention to detail and a knack for concise, persuasive writing and meticulous editing are key requirements of the position. The successful candidate must also possess superior organizational and legal research skills and be capable of maintaining a firm grasp on a high volume of challenging work.  Must have common sense and be comfortable with interfacing with high-level, sophisticated corporate clients in order to engage with them to learn and understand what it is that they do to then distill the key information by drafting persuasive, yet fact-based petitions and applications seeking U.S. immigration benefits.

    This is an exceptional opportunity for a motivated, career-oriented associate who understands the appeal of working for a well-established, mid-sized law firm in Newark, NJ with attorneys who practice in a variety of areas in addition to business immigration law.

    Salary commensurate with experience.

    All responses are confidential.  Please email resume, transcript, a recent writing sample and salary requirements to Anthony Siliato at asiliato@meyner.com

  • 19Dec
    USCIS News Comments Off on USCIS to Begin Accepting Applications under the International Entrepreneur Rule

    USCIS LogoWASHINGTON—On December 14, 2017 the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it is taking steps to implement the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), in accordance with a recent court decision.

    Although the IER was published during the previous administration with an effective date of July 17, 2017, it did not take effect because the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule on July 11, 2017, delaying the IER’s effective date until March 14, 2018.  This delay rule was meant to give USCIS time to review the IER and, if necessary, to issue a rule proposing to remove the IER program regulations.

    However, a Dec. 1, 2017, ruling from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in National Venture Capital Association v. Duke vacated USCIS’ final rule to delay the effective date. The Dec. 1, 2017, court decision is a result of litigation filed in district court on Sept. 19, 2017, which challenged the delay rule. For further details visit the USCIS web site here.

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

  • 11Dec
    Department of State Comments Off on New Court Orders on Presidential Proclamation

    Department_of_State_official_seal_svgOn December 4, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the government’s motions for emergency stays of preliminary injunctions issued by U.S. District Courts in the Districts of Hawaii and Maryland.  The preliminary injunctions had prohibited the government from fully enforcing or implementing the entry restrictions of Presidential Proclamation 9645 (P.P.) titled “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or other Public-Safety Threats” to nationals of six countries:  Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia.  Per the Supreme Court’s orders, those restrictions will be implemented fully, in accordance with the Presidential Proclamation, around the world, beginning December 8 at open of business, local time.

    The District Court injunctions did not affect implementation of entry restrictions against nationals from North Korea and Venezuela.  Those individuals remain subject to the restrictions and limitations listed in the Presidential Proclamation, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. eastern time on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, with respect to nationals of those countries.

    For additional details and background visit the U. S. Department of State web site here.

    If you have any questions in connection with any of the foregoing, please contact Anthony F. Siliato and Scott R. Malyk of our firm’s Immigration Law Group.

  • 29Nov
    H-1B Visa News Comments Off on Heightened Scrutiny of the H-1B Visa Program under the Trump Administration

    Best Law FIrms - Immigration 2018Meyner and Landis LLP is pleased to announce that we have once again been ranked as a Tier 1 Immigration Law Firm both on a National level and in the New Jersey Region by U.S. News- Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms.

    We are honored by this recognition and continue to strive for excellence in immigration law, with an emphasis on corporate immigration.

    In our efforts to keep our clients abreast of the rapidly changing environment for employment- based immigration,  we want to share with you the seismic shift in immigration policy, as it applies to employment-based immigration petitions and applications, that is a direct result of the Trump Administration’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order.

    Such shift in policy is especially highlighted in the H-1B visa program where we are seeing an inordinate number of Requests for Additional Evidence (RFEs) – in which USCIS is questioning not only the “specialty occupation” nature of the position, but often the wage offered by the petitioning employer. Under a recent USCIS field directive, even renewals of formerly “straightforward” H-1B petitions USCIS are receiving RFEs since USCIS is no longer giving deference to previously approved petitions, even for the same position with the same employer.

    We are also seeing new roadblocks for L-1 intracompany transfers, especially for “functional” managers and specialized knowledge personnel – again as a direct result of the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order. We also anticipate an increase in L-1 site visits.

    Likewise, employers should anticipate an increase in unannounced H-1B site visits by DOL and USCIS, especially if the employer places H-1B workers off-site at client locations.  Such site visits will most likely involve questioning of the H-1B worker to confirm employment in the position offered and salary paid as set forth in the H-1B petition. These site visits are of great importance, especially with respect to those RFE responses aiming to convince the USCIS that certain positions are truly entry-level. It’s important for the foreign national and his/her manager to have a full understanding and are in agreement with the information contained in an RFE response.  It is also important to note that an attorney is permitted to participate through a telephone conference during a USCIS site visit.

    We are deeply concerned for our clients that these changes are only the beginning of what will become a new world in the USCIS’ adjudication of employment-based petitions and applications; and the government’s enhanced policing of employers to insure compliance with the DHS and DOL regulations.

    If you have any questions in connection with any of the foregoing, please contact Anthony F. Siliato and Scott R. Malyk of our firm’s Immigration Law Group.

  • 01Nov
    Firm News Comments Off on SAVE THE DATE: Advanced Corporate Immigration: Don’t Cross that Line! Ethics for Corporate Immigration Law Practitioners

    Scott Malyk 2 -Sm, CaptionJoin NJSBA Immigration Law Section Chair Scott Malyk and his distinguished panel of top corporate immigration law practitioners in the region at this important immigration law conference and update on Wednesday. November 15.

    In an increasingly interconnected world, access to the best and brightest talent is vital for employers to address the skills gap, and for the United States to compete globally.

    With the seemingly constant changes and shifts in regulations and their interpretation, immigration lawyers also encounter some of the most perplexing issues of professional responsibility in the process of advancing both nonimmigrant and immigrant petitions on behalf of individuals and their corporate employers.

    This program will discuss ethical considerations and limitations imposed by the rules of professional responsibility when handling complex immigration petitions, using hypotheticals pulled from actual scenarios to address trends and provide guidance.

    Scott’s panel will focus specifically on ethical considerations for employers and their counsel in the H-1B visa context.  In the wake of receiving numerous Labor Condition Application (LCA) Level 1 Wage RFEs in pending H-1B cap cases, Scott will focus the discussion on ethical considerations relating to the employer-based sworn attestations contained in the LCA, including whether counsel can advise an employer to “level up” in an effort to avoid similar RFEs in the future.

    Location
    Best Western Robert Treat Hotel
    50 Park Pl Newark, NJ 07102-4308

    Date
    Wednesday, November 15, 2017

    Time
    9:00 AM – 5:00 PM ET

    Additional information and registration

  • 24Oct
    USCIS News Comments Off on USCIS Updates Policy to Ensure Petitioners Meet Burden of Proof for Nonimmigrant Worker Extension

    WASHINGTON — Under updated policy guidance, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is instructing its officers to apply the same level of scrutiny to both initial petitions and extension requests for certain nonimmigrant visa categories. The guidance applies to nearly all nonimmigrant classifications filed using Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.

    “USCIS officers are at the front lines of the administration’s efforts to enhance the integrity of the immigration system,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “This updated guidance provides clear direction to help advance policies that protect the interests of U.S. workers.”

    As before, adjudicators must thoroughly review the petition and supporting evidence to determine eligibility for the benefit sought. The updated guidance instructs officers to apply the same level of scrutiny when reviewing nonimmigrant visa extension requests even where the petitioner, beneficiary and underlying facts are unchanged from a previously approved petition. While adjudicators may ultimately reach the same conclusion as in a prior decision, they are not compelled to do so as a default starting point as the burden of proof to establish eligibility for an immigration benefit always lies with the petitioner.

    The previous policy instructed officers to give deference to the findings of a previously approved petition, as long as the key elements were unchanged and there was no evidence of a material error or fraud related to the prior determination. The updated policy guidance rescinds the previous policy.

    Under the law, the burden of proof in establishing eligibility for the visa petition extension is on the petitioner, regardless of whether USCIS previously approved a petition. The adjudicator’s determination is based on the merits of each case, and officers may request additional evidence if the petitioner has not submitted sufficient evidence to establish eligibility.

    Interim and final policy memos are official USCIS policy documents and are effective the date the memos are issued.

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

  • 13Oct
    H-1B Visa News Comments Off on Client Alert: Important Information Related to H-1B and Diversity Visa Programs

    Premium Processing Now Available for All Petitioners Seeking H-1B Visas

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed premium processing on October 3, 2017 for all H-1B visa extension of stay petitions. Premium processing is now available for all types of H-1B petitions.

    H-1B visas provide skilled workers for a wide range of specialty occupations, including information technology, engineering, and mathematics. When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-calendar day processing time. If that time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application. Continue reading:

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

  • 10Oct
    Consular Processing Updates Comments Off on Government of Turkey Suspension of Visas to U.S. Citizens on October 8, 2017 – A Message to U.S. Citizens

    The government of Turkey announced the immediate suspension of visa services to U.S. citizens, effective October 8, 2017.  According to the government’s announcement, this includes the issuance of physical “sticker” visas at border posts, and the online Turkish electronic visa (e-visa).  U.S. citizens planning travel to Turkey, and who have questions regarding this regulation should contact the closest Embassy or Consulate of Turkey, or the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    The U.S. Embassy in Ankara, the Consulate General in Istanbul, the Consulate in Adana and the Consular Agency in Izmir remain open, and continue to provide services to U.S. citizens in Turkey.

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

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