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Recent Blog Posts

  • Lessons from the IER settlement with Facebook By Rob Cohen   On Oct. 19, 2021, the Department of Justice, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER)  announced a settlement agreement with Facebook to resolve issues regarding Facebook’s practices to recruit for PERM applications. The settlement agreement requires Facebook to pay a significant fine, provide a fund for the settlement of individual claims and modify recruiting practices for PERM cases. Understanding PERM The PERM process is the first step employers must complete to permit a foreign national employee to apply for permanent... More
  • USCIS seeks public input on remote preparation of I-9 forms By Rob Cohen   At the outset of the COVID pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) responded quickly to employer concerns about how to comply with the requirement to personally review supporting documentation for Form I-9. Because this form must be completed within three days of the first day of employment, compliance was not possible when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended social distancing and work from home protocols were established. This flexibility has been extended several times,... More
  • New H-1B petitions for FY2022 again follow online registration and selection process, wage-based selection delayed By Rob Cohen   U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) changed the H-1B lottery last year with the introduction of a requirement that employers first register their interest to file petitions for the fiscal year beginning October 1 in an online system. The lottery was conducted from the registrations instead of the full petitions, as had been done in previous years. Only those employers whose registrations were selected were able to file H-1B petitions with USCIS. This registration system will remain in... More
  • Immigration settlement allows thousands of foreign workers to get back to work By Rob Cohen and Caroline Gentry   On Aug. 21, 2020, Chief Judge Algenon Marbley of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ordered the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to permit thousands of foreign nationals to work in the U.S. before they receive printed Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). These workers had already been approved to work by USCIS, but they had not received the EADs they must provide to their employers. Although these cards are usually... More
  • Presidential Proclamation limits nonimmigrant employment visas By Rob Cohen   The President issued the “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak” on June 22, 2020, limiting the admission of certain foreign nationals to the United States. This Proclamation includes an introduction describing the high unemployment rate resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic dislocation as justification for this ban on the admission of certain temporary visas. The President also extended the 60 day limitation of immigrant... More
  • Parsing President Trump’s latest tweet and proclamation on immigration By Rob Cohen and Laura Jurcevich   President Donald Trump released a “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following COVID-19 Outbreak” on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. This proclamation provides the legal context and direction to implement a Monday night tweet asserting his intention to “suspend immigration.” While we analyze the legal implications of this proclamation below, it is also important to understand the context. As a practical matter, the limitation on... More
  • Myths, rumors and clarification on the status of the H-4 EAD By Rob Cohen   In February of this year, USCIS announced that the proposed rule to eliminate the ability of foreign nationals in H-4 status to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) was sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final approval. Five months later, OMB has still not released the proposed rule for publication. The delay likely reflects substantive issues and is more than mere bureaucratic delay. In the meantime, the H-4 EAD is alive and well.... More
  • Court ruling puts administration’s immigration policy on hold By Rob Cohen   On Friday, May 3, a Federal District Judge in North Carolina enjoined the Trump Administration’s effort to change the immigration policy on “unlawful presence” as it is applied to foreign students, in Guilford College et al. v. McAleenan, et. a.l. The concept of unlawful presence was first introduced into the immigration laws in 1996 to impose a penalty on those who remain in the U.S. after their authorized period of stay expires. This penalty, a bar, known as... More
  • USCIS Administrative Appeals Office issues important non-precedent decisions on wage level determinations for H-1B petitions By Rob Cohen   Beginning in the summer of 2017, employers began to see an increase in Requests for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS on H-1B petitions alleging that the occupation was not a specialty occupation because the employer assigned a level 1 wage. Two recent decisions from the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) indicate that this may no longer be an concern. Some background to this issue is helpful. The H-1B visa is available for foreign nationals who will be performing services in a... More
  • Administration disavows proposal to limit all H-1Bs to six years By Rob Cohen   On Dec. 30, 2017 McClatchy News reported that USCIS was considering an interpretation of a provision in the American Competitiveness in the Twenty First Century Act that would restrict H-1B visas from extensions beyond six years. This story provoked a fire storm of panic among Indian H-1B visa holders who have been waiting for an available immigrant visa while caught in backlogs often in excess of 10 years and longer. While many lawyers cautioned that the statute could... More