Latest News & Updates

UNITED STATES – Immigration Reform on Congressional Agenda

April 28, 2010
News & Updates
Now that healthcare reform has been passed, Congress has turned its attention to immigration reform. However, some in Washington, D.C. have indicated that the issue might have a very difficult time finding enough votes to pass. The immigration reform push has been strong with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who faces a challenging re-election contest in Nevada. Although a bill has not yet been formally proposed, it would likely contain provisions similar to those included in the 2007 comprehensive immigration reform effort. In the 2007 proposals, there was a strong emphasis on enforcement, as well as additional immigration benefits for the employment-based process.
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CANADA – Special Visa Program for Mexican Business Visitors Created

Canada imposed visa restrictions on those travelling from Mexico to Canada last year. This policy angered Mexican authorities and damaged the relationship between the governments of the two U.S. neighbors. The visa restrictions were imposed to reduce the number of refugees from Mexico applying for valid status in Canada. A special visa program for business visitors from Mexico has been implemented. The new Business Express Program was created to enable qualified businesses and their employees to benefit from more efficient visa processing. Specifically, they will be encumbered less paperwork, will benefit from priority processing of visa applications, and will have a dedicated service team to respond to specific issues. This new program will also allow Mexican business visitors to have their visa applications processed within twenty-four hours.
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UNITED STATES – Automatic Cap-Gap Solution for F-1 Students

April 26, 2010
News & Updates, USCIS
Last year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) introduced an interim rule that generates an automatic extension of status for certain F-1 students with approved H-1B petitions filed under the FY2010 H-1B cap. This interim rule remains in force for the FY2011 H-1B cap this year. A gap in status can occur between the time an employer files a petition for an F-1 student to change to H-1B status and the time the H-1B status becomes active on October 1st. Specifically, in years where all H-1B numbers are exhausted, employers may not file an H-1B petition earlier than April 1st for the following fiscal year, which starts October 1st. So, for example, if an F-1 student has approved optional practical training (OPT) work authorization that expires on July 1st, and her H-1B status cannot begin until October 1st, there would be a 3-month gap during which she could not work. (And, incidentally, in this example she would be required to return to her home country until her H-1B status became active, at which time she would need to apply for an H-1B visa stamp at a U.S. consular post before she could re-enter the United States in H-1B status.)
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