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Total Articles: 10

USCIS Developments on the Discretion Afforded Adjudicators, and H-1B Premium Processing

In recent weeks, several notable policy changes have taken place concerning the adjudication of immigration petitions by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

USCIS Explains New Policy on Discretionary Application Denials

Beginning September 11, 2018, USCIS immigration officers will have more discretion to issue petition and application denials without first issuing Requests for Evidence (RFEs) or Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs).

Business Immigration Zone (BIZ): The Harvest Season Places Focus on the H-2A Program

Fall harvest is here and now is the time to consider filing for H-2A temporary agricultural workers. The H-2A program allows U.S. farmers and agricultural businesses to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs. A U.S. employer, an agent as described in the regulations, or an association of U.S. agricultural producers named as a joint employer may apply for H-2A workers to assist with planting and harvesting operations.

Employers Prepare for Higher Costs as USCIS Increases Premium Processing Fees

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the fees charged by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for premium processing of certain visa petitions will increase from the current rate of $1,225 to $1,410, beginning October 1, 2018. This jump in price, which represents almost a 15 percent increase over the current rate, is in step with the impact of inflation since DHS last adjusted premium processing rates in 2010. The new rule was published in the Federal Register on August 31, 2018.

Feds Extend Suspension Of Premium Processing For H1Bs

Federal immigration authorities just announced that they will continue the ongoing suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H1B petitions, contravening earlier assertions that premium processing would be available starting mid-September. In the August 29 announcement made by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency also announced that it will expand the suspension to include additional H1B petitions, continuing through an estimated date of February 19, 2019.

USCIS Raises Premium Processing Fee: Effective October 1, 2018

On October 1, 2018 the premium processing fee for all Forms I-129 (Non-Immigrant Worker) and Forms I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) will be raised from $1,225 to $1,410. USCIS announced this almost 15% increase on August 31, 2018.

Preparing for ICE Enforcement Actions at “Sensitive Locations”

ICE and CPB consider hospitals and other healthcare facilities to be sensitive locations where enforcement actions should be avoided without prior approval or unless there are exigent circumstances. Despite that policy, undocumented aliens continue to be arrested at medical facilities where they are receiving treatment or where they have accompanied ailing family members.

CEOs Say Recent Policy Shifts by USCIS Undermine Economic Growth and Disrupt Business Operations

Chief executive officers (CEOs) from more than 50 companies signed a letter sent to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen expressing their concern about the current course of immigration policy in the United States. Using words like “unfair,” “arbitrary,” and “inconsistent,” the CEOs alleged that the immigration system is not only disruptive to business operations but also “undermines economic growth and American competitiveness.”

USCIS Expands Premium Processing Suspension for H-1B Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the extension of its suspension of premium processing for all H-1B cases subject to the annual quota (also known as “cap cases”) for fiscal year 2019. The suspension was initially slated to end on September 10, 2018, but the end date has been pushed back until February 19, 2019, to help USCIS reduce the current H-1B backlog. USCIS also announced that, as of September 11, 2018, it will be expanding the suspension to include types H-1B petition types that were not covered by the original suspension.

New USCIS Deportation Policy Has Far-Reaching Implications for Employers

xecutive Summary: In a significant policy shift, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently published a new agency policy that substantially expands the authority of USCIS to put otherwise legal immigrants into deportation (also known as “removal”) proceedings. The policy vastly increases the categories of individuals to whom USCIS will issue a Notice to Appear (NTA) and significantly alters Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy as to when USCIS, as opposed to the Immigration Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), will issue an NTA. The new policy epitomizes a dramatic shift away from the traditional role of USCIS as an immigration benefit processing agency with a service-oriented mission to one centered on immigration enforcement.

Jackson Lewis P.C. | Maryland | Maryland Employers, Are You Ready? New Sexual Harassment Law Takes Effect October 1 (September 12, 2018)

Ogletree Deakins | Michigan | Paid Leave: Coming to a Michigan Workplace Near You (September 09, 2018)

Littler Mendelson, P.C. | Michigan | From Ballots to Bills: Michigan Adopts Paid Sick and Safe Time Law and Raises the Minimum Wage (September 11, 2018)

Littler Mendelson, P.C. | California | California Countdown 2018: Which Labor and Employment Bills Will the Governor Sign? (September 05, 2018)

Littler Mendelson, P.C. | New York | Significant Compliance Challenges in New York State's Proposed Anti-Sex Harassment Rules: What Can Employers Do Now? (September 07, 2018)

Fisher Phillips | New York | State Appeals Court Expands Scope Of NYC’s Marital Status Discrimination Law (September 12, 2018)

Jackson Lewis P.C. | New York | Reminder: New York City Employers Must Distribute Fact Sheet, Post Notice on Sexual Harassment Law by Sept. 6 (September 06, 2018)

Littler Mendelson, P.C. | Connecticut | Connecticut Continues to Extend Protections to Employees under State Medical Marijuana Law, Rejects Federal Preemption Defense (September 11, 2018)

Goldberg Segalla LLP | New York | New Legislation on Sexual Harassment Will Signifigcantly Affect the Handling of These Cases for Municipalities (September 06, 2018)

Jackson Lewis P.C. | Connecticut | Connecticut Court Holds That Refusing To Hire Medical Marijuana User Constitutes Employment Discrimination (September 06, 2018)