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Posts by Heather Frayre

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Showing 8 posts by Heather Frayre.

Administration Targets H-1B Program for Review in Sync with Start of H-1B Lottery Season for FY2018

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued announcements on April 3 aimed at combating fraud and abuse in the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program, signaling a move to redirect enforcement priorities under the H-1B program. The announcements come, not seemingly coincidental with the first day that USCIS started accepting H-1B petitions for the upcoming fiscal year, for which 85,000 coveted slots are available. Last year, USCIS received 236,000 petitions for these slots. Read More ›

U.S. Visa Screening Set to Tighten for Certain Applicants

Over the course of the past month, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has issued several cables directing consular posts abroad to implement additional security screening for certain visa applicants. Initial directives were modified after a U.S. District Court in Hawaii suspended implementation of certain sections of President Trump’s revised executive order regarding travel (EO) on May 15, 2017, which included those sections of the EO halting visa issuance for individuals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen as well as the suspension of travel for refugees to the U.S. for 120 days. While the new directives do not suspend visa issuance for any individuals from any particular country, they put into place heightened scrutiny for certain “populations” deemed to “warrant increased scrutiny,” which certainly include nationals of the six countries listed in the EO (plus Iraq). Secretary Tillerson also stated that these directives are preliminary, which suggests that the new protocols are merely a first step in what the President has termed, “extreme vetting.” Read More ›

Update: Ninth Circuit Unanimously Upholds Temporary Restraining Order on Executive Order

On February 9, a panel of three judges from the Ninth Circuit unanimously upheld the district court decision issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) on President Trump’s controversial Executive Order (EO) which imposes temporary restrictions on entry to the United States (U.S.) for refugees as well as individuals from seven countries. (For background on the President’s Executive Order, please refer to previous blog posts here, here, and here.) For now, the President’s Executive Order will remain blocked. Read More ›

President Trump Immigration (National Security) Executive Order Action

Before taking office, President Trump promised that immigration would be one of the new Administration’s first priorities within its first 100 days. President Trump is poised to sign an Executive Order (EO) on January 26 intended to enhance national security, which will have a significant impact on current immigration processes. Read More ›

USCIS to Release New Form I-9 by November 22, 2016

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will release a new, revised Form I-9 by November 22, 2016. The current version of Form I-9 is dated March 8, 2013, and may be used through January 21, 2017. As of January 22, 2017, employers must use the new version of the form, and all previous versions of Form I-9 will be invalid. Read More ›

USCIS To Raise Filing Fees as of December 23

On October 24, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a final rule, effective December 23, which will increase filing fees for most immigration petitions and applications. Applications or petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016, must apply the new fees or be rejected.    Read More ›

Matter of K-S-Y- and What It Means for the Athlete-Turned-Coach Pursuing Lawful Permanent Resident Status Under the Extraordinary Ability Category

In immigration law, there is a special category through which certain individuals who possess “extraordinary ability” may pursue permanent residency in the United States. Over the years, many highly accomplished foreign athletes seeking to continue their careers as coaches in the United States have been denied extraordinary ability classification because of the seeming reluctance of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to recognize achievements as an athlete as part of the extraordinary ability analysis for a coach. In a recent, albeit non-precedent decision, Matter of K-S-Y, USCIS appears to be more receptive to considering athletic achievements as part of the eligibility calculus for a coach and provides more definitive guidance as to how athletic achievements ought to be weighed.  Read More ›

STEM OPT Rules Offer Fall-Back Option for Many Students With Designated STEM Degrees

As thousands of disappointed petitioners and their prospective employees received the news that their H-1B cap subject petitions were not selected in the lottery, there is a glimmer of hope for some unlucky students with degrees in eligible science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. As of May 10, 2016, the new STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) rule is in effect, which allows F-1 students with degrees in approved STEM fields to extend their OPT employment authorization document (EAD) for an additional 24 months (instead of the previous 17-month extension) beyond the one-year OPT period. For those students who currently hold a 17-month STEM OPT EAD, requesting an additional seven months may be possible, but the August 8 deadline for submitting extension applications is quickly approaching. Read More ›