Employers who employ international talent, including graduates of US university programs, have been preparing for the annual H-1B “cap subject” petition filing process since early this calendar year.  H-1B petitions for specialty occupation workers who are graduating from university programs, moving to the United States for the first time, or transitioning from a different visa category to the H-1B, are subject to an annual quota of 65,000, with an additional pool of 20,000 reserved for graduates of US advanced degree (master’s or higher) programs.

This year, USCIS launched an Electronic Registration Process for the first time, requiring employers to pre-register their H-1B candidates and pay a $10 per-candidate registration fee. The registration period opened on March 1, and will close at noon ET on March 20, 2020. By this point in the process, with only two working days before the close of the period, employers need to verify and check that their H-1B registrations all reflect the status of “submitted” in the government database.
Continue Reading As March 20 Fast Approaches, Where Do Your H-1B Cap Cases Stand?

A federal judge ruled that US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) improperly denied an H-1B petition by attempting to impose a subspecialty requirement that is not warranted by the governing statute, regulation, or legislative history. US Magistrate Judge L. Patrick Auld rejected USCIS’s assertion that the offered position in the case did not qualify as an H-1B “specialty occupation”  because it did not require a degree in a specific subspecialty and could be filled by workers with degrees in more than one discipline, such as different types of engineering degrees.
Continue Reading USCIS Dealt a Blow by Federal Judge Rejection of Its Narrow H-1B Degree Interpretation

At times it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we’ve done it.” – Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The dramatic June 2016 referendum in which 51.9% voted to leave initiated a long and arduous journey with multiple elections, extensions, and cliff-hangers. Tomorrow, on 31 January 2020 at 11 p.m. GMT, the Brexit “finish line” will be crossed, concluding the process that was triggered when, in March 2017, the UK government invoked Article 50 and initiated the withdrawal procedure. Britain’s Parliament has now ratified a Withdrawal Agreement  with the EU via the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020. The European Parliament, in turn, voted to approve the agreement yesterday. This means that all of the formal ratification procedures have now been completed.

But even with the divorce agreed, the UK and EU still face negotiation of the terms of their future relationship. A transition (implementation) phase will occur in the interim, lasting until 31 December 2020 (or longer, if the government exercises its one-time right in July 2020 to extend the transition for two years). Negotiations during the transition need to cover an enormous range of issues, including trade, customs, and regulatory alignment (or nonalignment). This includes a new legal framework for immigration control after January 2021, when the transition period is set to end.
Continue Reading Across the Brexit Finish Line – And Now What?

Three days before the UK was due to exit the bloc, ambassadors from the other 27 countries of the EU agreed to delay Brexit for up to three months.  The agreement by the EU, made in Brussels on October 28, 2019, allows the UK to leave earlier if it and the EU both ratify the withdrawal deal that Prime Minister Johnson negotiated with the EU earlier this month (the “Withdrawal Agreement”).  European Council President Donald Tusk announced the decision on Twitter, stating that “The EU 27 has agreed to accept the UK’s request for a #Brexit flextension until 31 January 2020.”  The decision requires formal written procedures from the UK and the EU27, which are expected to be completed imminently.

Continue Reading EU Grants the UK an Extension of Brexit Until January 31, 2020

On May 31, 2019, the US Department of State (“DOS” or “Department”) updated its visa application forms to require persons seeking US visas to disclose their social media identifiers.  The DOS defines “identifier” to include any name used on a social media platform like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.  The Department’s FAQs state that the information

Last Thursday, President Trump unveiled an immigration plan that prioritizes skilled workers entering the United States and introduces a new “Build America” visa based on a points-based system.  Law360 spoke to Mayer Brown’s Elizabeth Espin Stern and Paul Virtue about the potential impact of the plan, including whether raising the bar for what constitutes a skilled worker might reduce the overall number of skilled workers admitted into the United States. Read the article here.


Continue Reading Elizabeth Stern and Paul Virtue Offer Commentary on New Immigration Plan

President Trump unveiled his plan to “transform” the US immigration system, during a speech given at the White House on May 16, 2019. He emphasized two goals for his plan: “First, it stops illegal immigration and fully secures the border.  And, second, it establishes a new legal immigration system that protects American wages, promotes American

Effective May 1, 2019, the US Embassy in Tel Aviv will begin accepting E-2 visa applications filed by Israeli citizens.  This long-awaited announcement comes close to seven years after President Obama signed legislation in 2012 implementing a bilateral investment treaty with Israel on the condition that Israel provide reciprocal immigration status for American investors.  The