Chad Graham Speaks to ProPublica About H1B Premium Processing

Chad Graham was recently asked by ProPublica to comment on the breakdown in premium processing to expedite H-1B visas. According to Chad, the suspension of premium processing could prevent foreign workers renewing H-1Bs from traveling internationally while their applications are pending, even if their occupations require it.

To read the full article, click here.

Sam Adair Speaks to Silicon Beat about H-1Bs

Sam Adair was recently quoted in Ethan Baron’s Silicon Beat article “H-1B visa holders can now use S.F. startup’s AI-powered bot to switch jobs, escape ‘indentured servitude.’” In the article, Sam comments on the H-1B transfer capabilities of Visabot, a San Francisco startup’s visa processing bot. 

Click here to read the full article.

SXSW Forced To Clarify Its Immigration Stance – Forbes

Sam Adair’s article “SXSW Forced To Clarify Its Immigration Stance” was published in Forbes on March 9, 2017. In the article, Sam discusses how the recent nationwide focus on immigration issues brought attention to a controversial clause in South By Southwest’s (SXSW) performance contract. According to Sam, while the tone of the clause may appear threatening, it could actually help international artists who may be unfamiliar with U.S. immigration policies.

To read the full article, click here.

Trump Signs New Executive Order on Travel

On Monday, March 6, 2017, the President signed a new Executive Order on immigration. This new Executive Order repeals the previous Executive Order of January 27, 2017 and replaces it with the following key provisions that will potentially impact our clients.

Travel
Today’s Executive Order will prohibit admission to the United States for a period of 90 days beginning March 16, 2017, citizens of the following six countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Iraq, which was previously designated, has been removed from this list. This travel ban applies to individuals who are:

  • Outside of the U.S. on the effective date of the order (March 16, 2017),
  • Did not have a valid visa at 5:00 p.m. eastern standard time on January 27, 2017, and
  • Do not have a valid visa on the effective date of this order.

The order specifically exempts the following categories of people:

  • Lawful permanent residents of the United States;
  • Any foreign national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the effective date of this order;
  • Any foreign national holding a document other than a visa that is valid on the effective date of this order or issued at any time thereafter that permits travel to the U.S. (such as an advance parole document);
  • Any dual national of a country designated (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) who travels to the U.S. on their passport from a non-designated country;
  • Any foreign national who has been granted asylum, any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States, or anyone granted coverage under the Convention Against Torture; or
  • Anyone traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa.

Waivers
This Executive Order provides for waivers to be decided by U.S. consular officers during the visa application process at U.S. consular posts abroad. It provides the same discretion to Customs and Border Protection officers interviewing applicants at a port of entry. The waivers will be decided on a case-by-case basis upon successful demonstration that denying entry would cause undue hardship, and that entry would not pose a threat to national security and would be in the national interest.

The categories under which one may apply for waiver are as follows:

  1. The applicant has previously been admitted to the United States for work, study, or other long-term activity, is outside the United States on the effective date of this order, seeks to re-enter the United States to resume that activity, and the denial of re-entry during the suspension period would impair that activity;
  2. The applicant has previously established significant contacts through entry to the United States but is outside the country on the effective date of this order for work, study, or other lawful activity;
  3. The applicant seeks to enter the United States for business or professional obligations and the denial of entry during the suspension period would impair those obligations;
  4. The applicant seeks to enter the United States to visit or reside with a spouse, child, or parent who is a United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, or alien lawfully admitted on a valid nonimmigrant visa, and the denial of entry during the suspension period would cause undue hardship;
  5. The applicant is an infant, a young child or adoptee, an individual needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by the special circumstances of the case;
  6. The applicant has held employment with the United States Government (or is an eligible dependent of such an employee);
  7. The applicant is a landed Canadian immigrant who applies for a visa at a location within Canada;
  8. The applicant is traveling as a United States Government-sponsored exchange visitor; or
  9. The applicant is traveling for purposes related to an international organization designated under the International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA), 22 U.S.C. 288 et seq., traveling for purposes of conducting meetings or business with the United States Government, or traveling to conduct business on behalf of an international organization not designated under the IOIA.

What this means for our clients: If you are currently traveling on a passport from one of the designated countries and are outside of the U.S., and if you have a valid visa that was issued prior to January 27, 2017, you should be able to continue your travel. If your visa was issued after January 27, 2017 and is currently valid, you should return to the U.S. as soon as possible and before March 16, 2017.

If you have questions about whether you are covered under this travel ban, please reach out to the attorney overseeing your case or Sam Adair (sadair@grahamadair.com) for advice on next steps.

Graham Adair is closely monitoring any new developments and we will release information as it becomes available. Please check back to our website for further updates and follow us on twitter @grahamadairlaw for real-time updates as they become available.

 

 

Graham Adair
March 2017

Sam Adair Speaks to Several Publications on H-1B Visa Reform

Sam Adair was recently quoted in Marco della Cava, Elizabeth Weise and Jon Swartz’s USA Today article “Trump targets tech’s H-1B visa hiring tool,” Matt Drange’s Forbes article “Why Silicon Valley Is So Nervous About H-1B Reform,” and Caroline O’Donovan’s BuzzFeed News article “Top US Tech Companies Already Pay Some Immigrants Over $100,000.” In each piece, Sam discusses what Donald Trump’s proposed executive order for the H-1B visa could mean for Silicon Valley and other leaders in tech that often rely on the program to hire skilled workers.

Click here to read the USA Today article

Click here to read the Forbes article

Click here to read the BuzzFeed News article

Trump Immigration Order Significantly Impacts Travel and Visas

On Friday January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order on immigration that will significantly impact some of our current and past clients. This executive order, “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals,” put a 120 day ban on refugee admissions from all countries. More significantly for our clients, this order also suspends the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the U.S. of nationals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen for 90 days. Furthermore, the order calls for implementing uniform screening procedures, such as in-person interviews, for all visa applicants.

For the time being, this means that any person who is a citizen of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen should refrain from traveling outside of the U.S. There is an extreme likelihood that if you are from one of these countries, and even if you have a green card, valid visa, or advanced parole document, that you will be barred from re-entering the U.S. for 90 days.

This is an extremely disappointing move by the new administration given the many significant and positive contributions that so many of our clients, who will be impacted by this executive order, make to this country and our economy.

This is an extreme measure and the advice against traveling cannot be overstated. If you are currently outside of the U.S. you should contact the attorney overseeing your case or Sam Adair for advice on next steps. Graham Adair is closely monitoring any new developments and will release information as it becomes available. Please check back here for further updates and follow us on twitter @grahamadairlaw for real-time updates as they become available.

DHS Final Rule on Changes to Employment-Based Immigration

The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security has released a final rule amending its regulations related to certain employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs.  The final rule is effective January 17, 2017.  The final rule clarifies and improves many policies and practices.  It seeks to provide greater flexibility for high-skilled workers who are beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions (i.e. EB-1, EB-2, EB-3) to seek promotions, accept lateral positions, or change employers.  It also increases certainty for U.S. employers seeking to sponsor and retain immigrant and nonimmigrant workers.

Some important policy clarifications and improvements include:

  • H-1B extensions of stay under AC21. A qualifying labor certification or Form I-140 petition is not required to be filed 365 days before the 6-year limitation is reached in order for the individual to be eligible for an exemption under section 106(a) of AC-21; instead, the labor certification or Form I-140 would need to be filed at least 365 days before the day the exemption would take effect.
  • Per country and worldwide limits. If the Visa Bulletin that was in effect on the date the H-1B  petition is filed shows that the individual was subject to a per country or worldwide visa limitation, DHS may grant 3-year extension (beyond the 6-year limitation), even if the immigrant visa is available when the petition is adjudicated.  In contrast, current regulations only allow an H-1B nonimmigrant to extend status in 3-year increments (beyond the 6-year limitation) if the immigrant visa unavailability exists at the time the petition is adjudicated under section 104(c) of AC21.
  • I140 Revocation. An approved I-140 petition will remain valid if a request to withdraw is received or the petitioner terminates its business 180 days or more after either the date of the petition’s approval or the date of filing of an Adjustment of Status (I-485) application.
  • Automatic EAD Extensions. If the renewal is timely filed, EADs will be automatically extended. Currently, only F-1 students applying for an EAD renewal based on STEM extension benefit from automatic EAD gap-fill work authorization for timely filed extensions.  However, this gap-fill provision will now be extended to other classes of EAD benefits.
  • 10-day nonimmigrant grace period. Nonimmigrants have 10 days at the end of an authorized validity period, to depart the U.S. or take other actions to extend, change, or otherwise maintain lawful status.
  • 60-day nonimmigrant grace period. High-skilled workers in the E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, O-1, or TN classifications, have a 60-day grace period (including those whose employment ceases prior to the end of the petition validity period) to more readily pursue new employment should they be eligible for other employer-sponsored nonimmigrant classifications or employment in the same classification with a new employer.
  • Employment Authorization for Spouses and Children of I-140 Principals. Where a person’s priority date under EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 is not current due to per country immigrant visa limits, spouses and qualifying children may apply for work authorization, so long as they can provide “compelling circumstances.”

As mentioned, these changes are not yet in effect.  We will provide additional guidance as more information on the implementation become available.

Graham Adair 20th Fastest Growing Private Company in Silicon Valley in 2016

Every year, the Silicon Valley Business Journal compiles a list of the 50 fastest growing private companies in Silicon Valley.  For 2016, Graham Adair placed 20th overall: http://bizj.us/1oti8m.

 

We would like to thank our wonderful clients whose successful companies have kept us busy this year.  We would also like to thank our amazing employees who always go the extra mile.  We look forward to a great 2017.

USCIS Fee Increase Chart

During a stakeholder meeting, USCIS clarified that it conducts a fee review every two years to make sure that the fee structure captures the costs of services.  This 21% weighted average fee increase is the first in 6 years.

Applications using old fees that are postmarked before December 23 but received after this date will be accepted.  However, applications postmarked on or after December 23 must include the new fees or they will be rejected.

These are the filing fee increases for the most common employment-based petitions:

 

Form Old ($) New ($)
I-129 (H-1B, L-1, O-1, etc.) 325 460
I-539 (H-4, L-2, O-3, etc.) 290 370
I-140 (immigrant petition) 580 700
I-485 Adjustment of Status 985 + 85 (bio fee) 1140 + 85 (bio fee)
I-485 (child) 635 750
I-131 (adv parole, reentry prmt) 360 575
I-765 (EAD work authorization) 380 410
N-400 (citizenship) 595 + 85 (bio fee) 640 + 85 (bio fee)
Premium Processing Fee 1225 1225

 

Premium processing for I-485 (Adjustment of Status) applications will still not be available after the fee increase. For questions, please feel free to contact your Graham Adair attorney.

 

 

Canada Electronic Travel Authorization to be Strictly Enforced by September 29, 2016

In March 2016, the Government of Canada introduced an ETA requirement for U.S. green card holders, as well as nationalities that were formerly visa exempt. U.S. citizens still do not require an ETA to enter Canada.

The Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) Canada has stated that the “leniency period” in which travelers can board their flight without an ETA will end on November 9. However, various reliable sources confirm that the ETA requirement will be strictly enforced by September 29. Hence, we highly recommend that all travelers to Canada check whether they require an ETA or a visa before traveling.

To find whether or not you require an ETA, please go to: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas-all.asp.

Please contact your Graham Adair representative if you have any questions.

1 2 3 4 5 11