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DHS Enhances Opportunities for H-1B1, E-3, CW-1 Nonimmigrants and Certain EB-1 Immigrants

On January 15, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted a final rule in the Federal Register which revises its regulations affecting highly skilled workers in the nonimmigrant classifications for specialty occupations from Chile/Singapore (H-1B1), Australia (E-3), nonimmigrant workers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)-Only Transitional Worker (CW-1) classification, and the immigrant classification for employment-based first preference (EB-1) outstanding professors and researchers;

Immigration Alert for Employers: Time to File H-1B Visa Petitions

On April 1, 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") will begin accepting new H-1B visa petitions for employment that will begin on October 1, 2016. The H 1B visa is a popular choice for companies that plan to hire a foreign national to fill a "professional" or "specialty occupation" position requiring a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a specific field. Candidates for H-1B status include current employees in student status (F-1 or J-1), potential new hires, or employees in a different immigration status (for example, E, L or TN status).

60 Day Comment Period on Proposed Changes to Form I-9 Ended on January 25, 2016

On November 24, 2015, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a 60 day notice of proposed changes to the Form I-9 in the Federal Register. The 60 day public comment period ended on January 25, 2016.

To Audit, or Not to Audit: That is the I-9 Question

For some time, employers have been confused about how to handle situations relating to potential undocumented workers in their workforces. On December 14, 2015, to address some of this confusion, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) jointly prepared a guidance memorandum clarifying how to handle internal I-9 audits.

FY17 H-1B Cap Filings Begin April 1, 2016

U.S. employers who sponsor foreign workers for temporary H-1B work visas should be aware that April 1, 2016, is the earliest date that new H-1B petitions may be filed to count against the upcoming FY17 quota (or “cap”). Employers should be identifying those first-time H-1B workers for which petitions will be filed this April. International students holding F-1 visas are the most common beneficiaries of first-time H-1B petitions. Demand for H-1Bs is expected to be higher than last year.

BIZ: To Be or Not to H-2B: The Pros and Cons of the Temporary Guestworker Program

Employers use the H-2B program to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs. To qualify to hire temporary foreign labor, employers must meet specific regulatory requirements.

H-1B Visa Petition Filing Is April 1: Swift Employer Action Needed Now

On April 1, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B visa petitions for the 2017 fiscal year. Employers with employees who need H-1B status to continue working in the US, or that wish to hire new employees who need that status, should prepare now to file a petition, the first step being to identify employees and prospective new hires who will need H-1B petitions.

DHS's Deadline to Promulgate Final STEM OPT Regulations Extended to May 10, 2016

On January 23, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) request to extend the deadline to finalize the new set of Optional Practical Training (OPT) regulations for international students with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Prior to this ruling, the current STEM OPT regulations were set to expire on February 12, 2016. The court’s order extends the STEM OPT program in its current form through the new May 10, 2016 deadline, when DHS must promulgate the final STEM OPT rule.

DHS is granted an extension of existing STEM OPT rule through May 12, 2016

To the relief of thousands of foreign nationals and many U.S. businesses and higher education institutions, on January 23, 2016, the federal district court in Washington D.C. presiding over Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (CV. No. 14-1529) extended the validity of the existing Optional Practical Training (“OPT”) regulation for F-1 students in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (“STEM”) fields until May 10, 2016. The court granted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s Motion to Stay the existing vacatur of the 17-month STEM OPT extension after DHS sought more time to respond to over 50,000 comments submitted in response to its proposed enactment of a new STEM OPT regulation that would extend this work authorization period to 24 months.

Court Allows DHS Until May 10, 2016, to Issue New STEM OPT Rule

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia gave the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until May 10, 2016, to correct the procedural defects to its STEM OPT rule. The prior deadline had been February 12, 2016, to get a new rule in place.

Jackson Lewis P.C. | Massachusetts | Massachusetts Law To Prohibit Inquiries Regarding Prior Salary at Interview (February 01, 2016)

Jackson Lewis P.C. | California | California Court of Appeal Holds Employee’s Agreement to Reimburse Training Costs in Event of Resignation Does Not Offend Public Policy (February 02, 2016)

Littler Mendelson, P.C. | New York | Don't Get Lost in the Weeds: Medical Marijuana is Now Legal in New York (February 01, 2016)

Ogletree Deakins | Massachusetts | Can a Massachusetts Religious School Refuse to Employ a Worker in a Same Sex Marriage (February 01, 2016)

Franczek Radelet P.C | Illinois | Definition of “Deliberate and Willful” Misconduct Under the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act Revised and Expanded (February 04, 2016)

Littler Mendelson, P.C. | New York | New York City Expands Human Rights Law to Prohibit Employment Discrimination Against Caregivers (February 01, 2016)

FordHarrison LLP | New York | HOME CARE PROFESSIONALS SERIES Part 1 – NYS Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights (February 02, 2016)

Franczek Radelet P.C | Illinois | Illinois Supreme Court Rules Educational Employers Are Not Required to Arbitrate “Do Not Hire” Designation (February 01, 2016)

Jackson Lewis P.C. | California | What California Retail Employers Need to Know About Accommodating Pregnancy (January 29, 2016)

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP | New York | New York City Commission on Human Rights Issues Enforcement Guidance on Fair Chance Act and Clarifies Credit Check Law Exemption (February 04, 2016)