U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on Monday, April 7, 2014 that it received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year 2015 during the first week of the filing period, which ran from April 1, 2014 to April 7, 2014. USCIS also confirmed that it received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions under the advanced degree exemption. As the H-1B cap is now officially oversubscribed, USCIS will no longer accept H-1B cap petitions for fiscal year 2015.
Articles Discussing Employing Immigrants.
In a recent report entitled “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Worksite Enforcement Administrative Inspection Process,” Acting Assistant Inspector General for Audits Mark Bell discussed the results of an audit of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) worksite enforcement processes. The purpose for the audit was to determine whether ICE was meeting directives set out in the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. The report concluded that ICE has been inconsistent in its enforcement policies and made recommendations to improve ICE’s implementation of its worksite strategy and uniformly strengthen its fine and audit procedures.
United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) has launched a new customer service enhancement to E-Verify, the Internet-based employment eligibility verification program that compares information on an employee’s Form I-9 with data in Social Security Administration (SSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) records. With this enhancement, the E-Verify system will continue to issue a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) if there is a record mismatch that needs to be resolved before the employee can be confirmed as work authorized, but will now also notify the employee electronically.
Employers who wish to sponsor H-1B workers for Fiscal Year 2015 can begin filing petitions on April 1, 2014 for a start date of October 1, 2014. The H-1B visa is used by businesses to employ foreign nationals to work in a specialty occupation requiring theoretical or technical expertise. For FY 2015, cases will be considered accepted on the date that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) takes possession of the petition, not on the date it was postmarked. We therefore encourage all employers to mail H-1B petitions on Monday, March 31, 2014.
A Massachusetts staffing agency has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), resolving allegations that it violated federal law by discriminating against work-authorized non-citizens during the E-Verify process.
On January 30, 2014, House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) announced at a GOP retreat in Maryland the House Republicans’ six standards for immigration reform. The message in the preamble made clear that House Republicans would not support comprehensive immigration reform but favored a step-by-step approach which would begin with increased border security. Although the standards do not lay out exact steps to achieve the reform, they address the following areas.
A federal grand jury recently returned a 23-count indictment charging the owners and managers of an Ohio restaurant chain with conspiracy to harbor undocumented workers, aiding and abetting the harboring of undocumented workers, and harboring undocumented workers, among other charges. In addition to prison sentences, the indictment seeks $16.47 million in gross proceeds that the defendants allegedly earned as a result of the claimed offenses. The indictment is the result of a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced yesterday that in FY2013, the agency conducted a total of 368,644 removals. Of these removals, 235,093 occurred during or shortly after individuals were attempting to enter the U.S. The remaining 133,551 removals were individuals who were apprehended in the interior of the United States. The leading countries of origin for those removed were Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, which accounted for about 94.4% of the total removals.
After the federal government’s partial shutdown on October 1, 2013, employers were unable to access their E-Verify accounts. Now that funding has been restored and E-Verify services are back online, the Department of Homeland Security has issued guidance and instructions to employers.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on October 17, 2013 that E-Verify is once again available for use by employers following the end of the government shutdown. During the government shutdown, E-Verify users were unable to access their accounts, verify the employment authorization of new hires, or reconcile any pending tentative non-confirmations in E-Verify. Now that E-Verify is again available, DHS has released guidance and instructions to employers who were impacted by E-Verify’s temporary unavailability.
On October 2, 2013, Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) introduced the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (H.R. 15), a comprehensive immigration reform bill modeled on Senate bill 744, which the Senate approved on June 27, 2013. As of October 6, the bill had 161 co-sponsors.
The U.S. Department of Labor announced on October 1, 2013 that the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) will neither accept nor process any applications or related materials (such as audit responses) it receives, including Labor Condition Applications, Applications for Prevailing Wage Determination, Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, or Applications for Permanent Employment Certification, during the suspension of federal government services. In addition, the OFLC’s web sites, including the iCERT Visa Portal System, is not processing any requests or allowing authorized users to access their online accounts. The DOL has explained that these websites will be available again when the federal government resumes operations.
Executive Summary: On October 1, 2013, the U.S. Federal Government implemented a shutdown after Congress failed to reach an agreement on appropriations. As a result, several federal agencies involved in processing immigration benefits have been impacted for the unforeseen future.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on October 1, 2013 that E-Verify will be unavailable during the federal government shutdown. Employers will be unable to access their E-Verify accounts, and E-Verify customer support and related services will be closed. This means that employers will be unable to run new hires or take any other action in E-Verify so long as the government shutdown continues.
Executive Summary: The Customs & Border Protection (CBP) agency has begun gradually eliminating the paper I-94 Admission/Departure Record (known as the “I-94”) at all air and sea ports of entry. Note: travelers will still receive a paper form I-94 at land border ports of entry. The I-94, in combination with a passport, is commonly used as a List A document for I-9 employment eligibility verification. Therefore, after the change is fully implemented, employers can expect foreign workers to present electronic Form I-94s printed from the CBP’s website as evidence of their work eligibility.