United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced earlier this week that it received 199,000 H-1B petitions for the FY 2018 H-1B cap. As usual, this far exceeds the total allocation of 65,000 general-category H-1B visas and the 20,000 advanced degree exemption H-1B visas for the FY2018 cap. However, this number represents a 15.7 percent decrease from the 236,000 petitions that USCIS received during last year’s filing period. It also represents the first time the number didn’t rise since 2013, demonstrating that employers are beginning to re-think their use of foreign skilled labor, most likely because of the administration’s pointed comments about immigration matters.
It has been fewer than 100 days since Donald J. Trump became the 45th President of the United States of America. In this short time, there has been a flurry of immigration-related activity, which has caused the national conversation on immigration to reach a fever pitch. While discussions about “sanctuary cities” or the “travel ban” are certainly worth having, only one of the topics de jour has the potential to have an immediate impact on your workforce: ICE raids. Advanced preparation and proper response are key to ensuring that your business does not become part of the conversation.
Subsequent to President Trump’s March 6, 2017 Executive Order Suspending travel to the US of certain nationals and Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to implement “immediate heightened screening and vetting of applications for visas and other immigration benefits,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has issued cables (CABLE 23338, CABLE 24324, CABLE 24800, CABLE 25814) to his consular chiefs regarding the implementation of “extreme vetting” procedures.
On March 17, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published the first installment of the Trump Administration’s FY 2018 Budget plan: “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” The Budget provides details on discretionary funding proposals, with the complete Budget request being released later this year to include specific mandatory and tax proposals. The government’s 2018 fiscal year commences on October 1, 2017.
On March 6, 2017, President Donald Trump signed a new “Travel Ban” Executive Order with an effective date of March 16, 2017. The order revoked a previous executive order signed on January 27, 2017, which was blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The new order suspends entry for nationals of six countries under a "temporary pause." The order exempts permanent residents and valid visa holders as of certain dates and times, and provides for case-by-case discretionary waivers. The order also suspends refugee travel to the United States for 120 days for those not previously admitted, subject to waivers in certain circumstances.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that starting on April 3, 2017 (and to continue for up to six months), it is suspending Premium Processing for all H-1B visa petitions, including petitions for change of status to H-1B or extensions. USCIS stated that the purpose of the suspension is to address overall backlogs in H-1B processing times and prioritize pending H-1B extension cases that have been pending for close to 240 days.
This summer I wrote about the dangers of English-only policies in this age of multiculturalism (for more, click here). These policies tend to emerge more frequently in the healthcare workplace, the reason being – the provision of quality care is the utmost goal and sometimes that requires everyone to speak the same language. But, what happens when it is the patient who is culturally diverse from the workforce? What must healthcare providers do in response? The Department of Health and Human Services has the answer: covered entities must provide language services to people whose primary language is not English in a more robust way than ever before.
On December 10th, France’s National Assembly published a new law on transparency and anti-corruption. As a result France is expected to begin instituting newer and stronger protections for whistleblowers under the updated regime. This is expected to unify the country’s disparate whistleblower protection rules and procedures.
On November 18, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) issued its long-awaited rule seeking to improve certain aspects of the employment-based immigration system. The new rule, which becomes effective on January 17, 2017, clarifies several agency policies and procedures that affect U.S. employers who sponsor high-skilled nonimmigrant workers. The rule is intended to increase consistency among agency adjudicators and provide greater stability and job flexibility for certain foreign workers.
With Thanksgiving and the holidays right around the corner, Fisher Phillips would like to remind our clients to be extra careful when driving home after a night out. In addition to the criminal and financial ramifications of drunk driving, there are other consequences for foreign nationals on nonimmigrant visas who are arrested or convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). Since the implementation of a new policy in November of 2015, consular officers have been required to prudentially revoke nonimmigrant visas upon notification of a DUI arrest or conviction, even if that individual is in the United States.