Companion pieces of legislation have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate that aim to alleviate some of the long delays for medical professionals seeking to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis.
Specifically, this legislation proposes to recapture 40,000 unused immigrant visas from past years and make them available for doctors and nurses. Fifteen thousand of these visas would be made available to doctors and 25,000 would be made available to nurses. These visas would be allocated based on priority date without regard to country of birth. Unlimited visas for spouses and children of these visa applicants would also be available.
The legislation also includes a directive to the Departments of Homeland Security and State to expedite these application processes as much as possible.
A final component of the proposed legislation would require employers seeking these visas for prospective medical professional employees to attest that U.S. workers have not and will not be displaced.
If passed, this legislation would help foreign national medical professionals come to and remain in the United States. The passage of this legislation is ongoing, so we will continue to monitor its status.
Please contact the Foster Garvey Labor, Employment & Immigration team if you have any questions regarding this and other visa applications.
We sincerely hope everyone is staying healthy. We understand that many organizations are adjusting their operations to respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak and for the protection of employees, including closing office facilities and directing employees to remotely work from home or another location. As a reminder, H-1B and E-3 authorization approved for foreign workers is specific to a number of issues including the employer, wage, work location and job duties.
In general, any location where an H-1B or E-3 employee is performing work should be covered by a U.S. Department of Labor certified Labor Condition Application (“LCA”), which includes posting and notice requirements. H-1B or E-3 employee whose home is within normal commuting distance of the normal place of employment should re-post the existing LCA (even though it does not specifically include their home address as a work location) for 10 consecutive business days to comply with notice and posting requirements, and the posting notices must be placed in the Public Access File when taken down.
Please contact the Foster Garvey Labor, Employment & Immigration team if you have any questions regarding this and other worksite-related obligations of an H-1B or E-3 employer.
On January 30, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule revising the random selection process (commonly referred to as the annual “H-1B Lottery”) by which the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selects new H-1B petitions for adjudication under the annual H-1B quota. The rule is effective April 1, 2019, with no major changes to employers for the upcoming FY20 H-1B filing season; however, the rule does impose a new electronic registration requirement starting next year (FY21).
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has started returning H-1B petitions to employers whose cases were not selected in the recent H-1B lottery selection process. The USCIS reported that a total of 195,000 H-1B petitions were received during this year’s qualifying filing period, which began on April 2, 2018 and ended on April 6, 2018. Employers whose H-1B petition was not selected for allocation under the 2019 Fiscal Year H-1B quota will receive their paperwork back from the agency, including the uncashed filing fee checks, by regular mail. The quota (or “cap”) applies to individuals who have never held H-1B status before or who previously worked only for an H-1B exempt employer.
With more than four (4) months left in the federal government's 2018 fiscal year, U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) this week reported it had already doubled the number of audits that it conducted during the entire 2017 fiscal year. ICE, an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for upholding the laws established by the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, which require employers to verify the identity and work eligibility of all individuals they hire.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) recently confirmed its plans to publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by June 2018 to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B nonimmigrant workers as a class of noncitizens eligible for employment authorization.
The plans regarding timing were gleaned from documents the government filed on February 28, 2018, in a case pending at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. That case, Save Jobs USA v. DHS, involves a challenge by a group of tech workers to the legality of the original H-4 EAD rule, which became effective on February 25, 2015.
U.S. employers who sponsor foreign workers for temporary H-1B work visas should start preparing now for the upcoming H-1B cap filing season commencing this year on Monday, April 2, 2018. Employers should start identifying those first-time H-1B workers for which petitions will be filed during the first five business days in April. International students holding F-1 visas are the most common beneficiaries for these "quota subject" H-1B petitions.
On October 2, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new version of Form I-765, the application used to apply for an employment authorization document (or “EAD” card). Based on a new information-sharing partnership between U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), foreign nationals in certain categories or classifications can now apply for work authorization and a social security number using a single form – the updated Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services indicated during a September 27, 2017, call with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) that it is on track to resume offering its Premium Processing service on or before October 3, 2017, to all H-1B petitions.
While no "official" announcement has been made by the agency, the recent statement during an AILA government liaison meeting is welcome news for employers who have experienced long wait times for adjudication of H-1B petitions filed on behalf of their employees.
On Monday, September 18, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would resume offering its 15-day Premium Processing service for any H-1B visa petition still pending that had been accepted under this Fiscal Year’s (FY) 2018 cap during the first five business days in April 2017. Premium Processing had been suspended for this and almost all other H-1B work visa categories since April 3, 2017.
Foster Garvey’s International practice group comprises a cross-disciplinary group of attorneys practicing in areas ranging from business transactions, immigration, maritime, government regulatory work, transportation and logistics and estate planning. The group members include bilingual and multicultural attorneys who are well-versed in handling these subject matters in a cross-border context. A number of attorneys have been actively practicing in the international arena since the early 1970s.