Immigration Insider: February 2012
- USCIS Considers Allowing Provisional Waivers for Immediate Relatives – USCIS is considering regulatory changes that will allow certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to request provisional waivers before departing the United States for consular processing of their immigrant visa applications.
- DOJ’s Office of Special Counsel Lists Employer Best Practices During Worksite Enforcement Audits – The Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices released do’s and don’ts for employers facing ICE audits.
- USCIS Announces Several Thousand EB-5 Green Cards Issued So Far in First Quarter of FY 2012, Releases Latest Stats – Between October and mid-January, 2,364 EB-5 green cards were issued. At that rate, over 9,000 EB-5 visas might be issued this fiscal year, which is very close to the statutory cap of 10,000.
- New York City’s Newest Full-Service Immigration Office Opens in Queens – The new office, located at 27-35 Jackson Avenue, includes an Application Support Center, a naturalization ceremony room, and interview and file rooms. The hours are 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- USCIS Announces 58 Countries Whose Nationals Are Eligible for H-2A and H-2B Participation – In addition to the 53 countries currently on the list, Haiti, Iceland, Montenegro, Spain, and Switzerland were designated for the first time this year.
- DHS Extends TPS Designation for El Salvador – The 18-month extension will remain in effect through September 9, 2013. The 60-day re-registration period began January 9, 2012, and will remain in effect until March 9, 2012.
- DOS Launches 90-Day Pilot Program Allowing Online Passport Card Applications – The U.S. passport card costs $30 for current passport book holders, and is valid for land and sea travel to and from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. It is not valid for international air travel.
- China, India Visa Number Priority Cut-Off Dates Move Forward – The China and India cut-off dates continue to move forward, in some cases at a rapid rate.
- U.S. Consulate in Chennai Stops Processing Immigrant Visa Petitions – The U.S. embassy in New Delhi and U.S. consulate in Mumbai are now the only acceptance centers in India for immigrant visa applications.
- Justice Dept. Settles with University of California San Diego Medical Center – The Department had alleged that the medical center subjected newly hired non-U.S. citizens to excessive demands for documents to verify their employment eligibility.
- USCIS Seeks Comments on Draft L-1 Templates – In addition to comments on the individual draft templates, USCIS also seeks stakeholder input on broader issues.
USCIS announced on January 9, 2012, that it intends to change its current process for filing and adjudicating certain applications for waivers of inadmissibility filed in connection with an immediate relative immigrant visa application.
Specifically, USCIS is considering regulatory changes that will allow certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to request provisional waivers before departing the United States for consular processing of their immigrant visa applications. A person would be able to obtain such a waiver only if a Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130, is filed by a U.S. citizen on his or her behalf and that petition has been approved, thereby classifying the person as an “immediate relative” for purposes of the immigration laws, and he or she demonstrates that the denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen spouse or parent “qualifying relative.” The qualifying relative for purposes of the waiver is not necessarily the immediate relative who filed the immigrant visa petition on the relative’s behalf.
USCIS’s notice of intent, published in 77 Fed. Reg. 1040 (Jan. 9, 2012), is available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-01-09/pdf/2012-140.pdf.
The Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices has released the following do’s and don’ts for employers facing audits by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE):
- Develop a transparent process for interacting with employees during the audit, including communicating with employees that the employer is subject to an ICE audit.
- Provide all workers with a reasonable amount of time to correct discrepancies in their records identified by ICE. Treat all workers in the same manner during the audit, without regard to national origin or citizenship status. This means that all workers with like discrepancies who are asked to present additional documents are provided with the same timeframes and the same choice of Form I‐9 documents to present.
- If your workers are represented by a union, inform the union of the ICE audit and determine whether a collective bargaining agreement triggers any obligations.
- Inform employees from whom you seek specific information that you are seeking this information in response to an ICE audit.
- Communicate in writing with employees from whom you seek information, and describe the specific basis for the discrepancy and/or what information you need from them. Follow the instructions on the ICE notice and the instructions for the Form I‐9 when seeking to correct Form I‐9 defects, including the Lists of Acceptable Documents and the anti‐discrimination notice.
- Selectively verify the employment eligibility of certain employees based on their national origin or citizenship status based on the receipt of an ICE Notice of Inspection.
- Terminate or suspend employees without providing them with notice and a reasonable opportunity to present valid Form I‐9 documents.
- Require employees to provide additional evidence of employment eligibility or more documents than ICE is requiring you to obtain.
- Limit the range of documents that employees are allowed to present for purposes of the Form I‐9.
- Treat employees differently at any point during the audit because they look or sound foreign, or based on assumptions about whether they are authorized to work in the U.S.
3. USCIS Announces Several Thousand EB-5 Green Cards Issued So Far in First Quarter of FY 2012, Releases Latest Stats
The Department of State issued 2,364 EB-5 green cards between October 1, 2011, and mid-January 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced at its quarterly EB-5 stakeholders meeting on January 23, 2012. At that rate, over 9,000 EB-5 visas might be issued this federal fiscal year, which is very close to the statutory cap of 10,000.
USCIS refused to discuss what it would do about pending EB-5 petitions if Congress fails to renew the regional center pilot program by September 30, 2012. Approximately 92 percent of I-526 petitions (Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur) filed each year are filed by investors in regional centers. Historically, about 80 to 85 percent of I-526 and I-829 EB-5 petitions are approved each year. The California Service Center (CSC) now has four teams of EB-5 adjudicators, an increase from one team a year ago. Despite the increased staffing, case adjudication times have not improved because of the increase in case filings.
USCIS also announced that it would defer to state determinations on what constitutes a targeted employment area (TEA) for EB-5 purposes. The agency will check the data behind states’ methodology, however. USCIS did not say whether a single census tract may qualify as a geographic area. USCIS said that would be covered in written materials not yet available publicly, and referred stakeholders to its December 2009 memorandum for further details (available here).
USCIS acknowledged that many regional center applications are being held up at headquarters pending resolution of economic methodology issues. The USCIS hopes to resolve those issues soon. USCIS is analyzing all the I-924A forms submitted by regional centers and will draft a report that includes regional center-specific information sometime this year. The USCIS acknowledged growing pains in determining what constitutes a “shovel-ready” project for EB-5 purposes. It hopes to address this issue later this year when it revises the I-924 form to provide greater consistency.
USCIS also released its latest data on EB-5 filings and regional centers (RCs):
- RC approvals continue to increase. As of January 28, 2012, there are 217 approved RCs operating in 40 states, including the District of Columbia and Guam.
- The agency reported 41 initial RC proposal filings in the first quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2012, compared to 192 initial filings in all of FY 2011 and 110 initial filings in all of FY 2010. The number of amended RC proposal filings was 17 by the end of the first quarter; there were 86 filings received for all of FY 2011 and 42 filings received for all of FY 2010.
- In the first quarter of FY 2012, the agency approved 14 of the 41 initial RC proposals and denied 22, an approval rate of 39 percent. In FY 2011, when USCIS approved 80 and denied 51, an approval rate of 61 percent. The approval rate of amended RC proposals in the first quarter of FY 2012 was 57 percent, with 4 approvals and 3 denials. By comparison, in FY 2011 USCIS approved 43 amended RC proposals and denied 7, an approval rate of 86 percent.
- USCIS also reported significant increases in individual I-526s and I-829s (Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions). In the first quarter of FY 2012, USCIS received 1,293 I-526 petitions, compared to 3,805 for all of FY 2011. USCIS received 250 I-829 petitions in the first quarter of 2012. By comparison, USCIS received 2,345 I-829 petitions in all of FY 2011.
- In the first quarter of FY 2012, the agency approved 1,076 I-526 petitions and denied 222, an approval rate of 83 percent, while in all of FY 2011 USCIS approved 1,563 and denied 11, an approval rate of 93 percent. USCIS approved 1,067 I-829 petitions and denied 46 in all of FY 2011, an approval rate of 96 percent.
The full list of RCs by state is available at http://www.uscis.gov/eb-5centers/.
The next USCIS stakeholder engagement meetings are scheduled for May 1, 2012 (general EB-5 discussion); July 26, 2012 (regional center discussion); and October 18, 2012 (general EB-5 discussion). Click here for additional details on the engagement meetings.
On January 20, 2012, USCIS opened its newest immigration field office in Queens, New York.
The new office, located at 27-35 Jackson Avenue, includes an Application Support Center (which offers fingerprinting and photographic services as part of the application process), a naturalization ceremony room, and interview and file rooms. The hours are 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Queens office is expected to serve about 500 people each business day.
Approximately 100 employees were transferred to the Queens office from the now-closed Garden City, Long Island, office. USCIS recently opened an additional office in Holtsville, Long Island.
The announcement is available here.
USCIS announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State, has identified 58 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A (temporary agricultural) and H-2B (temporary nonagricultural) programs for the coming year. Each country’s designation is valid for one year from the date of publication.
USCIS generally may only approve H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate in the programs. USCIS may approve H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries not on the list if it is determined to be in the interest of the United States.
In addition to the 53 countries currently on the list, Haiti, Iceland, Montenegro, Spain, and Switzerland were designated for the first time this year.
Effective January 18, 2012, nationals of the following 58 countries are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Nauru, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Samoa, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Vanuatu.
This new list does not immediately affect the status of beneficiaries who are currently in the United States in H-2A or H-2B status, unless they apply to change or extend their status.
The notice is available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-01-18/pdf/2012-870.pdf.
DHS has extended the designation of El Salvador for temporary protected status (TPS) for 18 months from its current expiration date of March 9, 2012. The 18-month extension of the TPS designation of El Salvador is effective March 10, 2012, and will remain in effect through September 9, 2013. The 60-day re-registration period began January 9, 2012, and will remain in effect until March 9, 2012.
DHS determined that an extension is warranted because the conditions in El Salvador that prompted the TPS designation continue to be met. There continues to be a “substantial, but temporary,” disruption of living conditions in El Salvador resulting from a series of earthquakes in 2001, and El Salvador “remains unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return of its nationals.”
The notice sets forth procedures necessary for nationals of El Salvador (or those having no nationality who last habitually resided in El Salvador) with TPS to re-register and to apply for an extension of their employment authorization documents (EADs) (Forms I-766) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Re-registration is limited to persons who previously registered for TPS under the designation of El Salvador and whose applications have been granted or remain pending. Certain nationals of El Salvador (or those having no nationality who last habitually resided in El Salvador) who have not previously applied for TPS may be eligible to apply under the late initial registration provisions.
USCIS said it will issue new EADs with a September 9, 2013, expiration date to eligible Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs under this extension. DHS recognizes that all re-registrants may not receive new EADs until after their current EADs expire on March 9, 2012. Accordingly, the notice automatically extends the validity of EADs issued under the TPS designation of El Salvador for six months, through September 9, 2012, and explains how TPS beneficiaries and their employers may determine which EADs are automatically extended and their impact on the I-9 and E-Verify process.
The notice is available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-01-11/pdf/2012-143.pdf.
On January 24, 2012, the Department of State’s Office of Passport Services launched a 90-day pilot program allowing adult U.S. citizens living in the U.S. and Canada to apply for a passport card online. Those applying online are not required to mail in their current passport book. The wallet-sized U.S. passport card costs $30 for current passport book holders, and is valid for land and sea travel to and from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. It is not valid for international air travel.
To participate in the program, applicants must currently possess a valid 10-year U.S. passport book with at least 12 months of validity remaining, upload an acceptable digital photograph, and make an online payment in U.S. dollars via Pay.gov. Applications accepted through the program will be subject to the same adjudication standards as in-person or mail-in applications.
The Department of State began producing the passport card in 2008 in response to travel document requirements imposed by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Since then, more than 4.5 million cards have been issued.
The notice is available at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/01/182345.htm. To apply for the passport card using the online application, go to http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppt_card/ppt_card_5648.html.
The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for February 2012 shows that the China and India cut-off dates continue to move forward, in some cases at a rapid rate.
For February, the China employment-based second preference cut-off date has advanced a year to January 1, 2010. Also for February, the China employment-based third preference cut-off date is December 1, 2004, advancing a month and a half from January’s cut-off date, when it was October 15, 2004. The third preference “Other Workers” category remains unchanged at April 22, 2003.
For February, the India employment-based second preference cut-off date is January 1, 2010, also advancing a year. Also for February, the India employment-based third preference cut-off date is August 15, 2002, advancing a week from January’s cut-off date. The third preference “Other Workers” category for India in February is August 15, 2002, a two-week advance from January. The Visa Office explained in the February bulletin:
China and India: Reports from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) indicate that the rate of new filings for adjustment of status in recent months has been extremely low. This fact has required the continued rapid forward movement of the cut-off date, in an attempt to generate demand and maximize number use under the annual limit. Once the level of new filings or USCIS processing increases significantly, it will be necessary to slow or stop the movement of the cut-off. Readers are once again advised that an eventual need to retrogress the cut-off date is also a distinct possibility.
Also, in the January bulletin, the Visa Office noted:
The China and India Employment Second preference cut-off date has been advanced at a rapid rate in recent months. As previously noted, this action was intended to generate significant levels of new filings for adjustment of status at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices. USCIS has reported that the rate of new filings is currently far below that which they had anticipated, prompting an even more aggressive movement of the cut-off date for January and possibly beyond. While this action greatly increases the potential for an eventual retrogression of the cut-off at some point during the year, it also provides the best opportunity to utilize all numbers available under the annual limit.
The February 2012 bulletin notes that those categories with a “Current” projection will remain so for the foreseeable future. The Visa Office estimates that other employment-based categories not discussed above could also advance by up to one month per month in the near future, including the Worldwide, Mexico, and Philippines categories, depending on demand. The Visa Bulletin for February 2012 is available at http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5640.html.
As of January 1, 2012, the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai, India, is no longer processing immigrant visa petitions. The U.S. embassy in New Delhi and U.S. consulate in Mumbai are now the only acceptance centers in India for immigrant visa applications. Applicants currently in the process of petitioning for an immigrant visa may e-mail ChennaiIVU@state.gov for clarification of their status.
10. Justice Dept. Settles Document Discrimination Complaint Against University of California San Diego Medical Center
The Department of Justice reached an agreement on January 4, 2012, with the University of California San Diego Medical Center, resolving a complaint filed on December 6, 2011, alleging that the medical center failed to comply with proper employment eligibility verification processes for non-citizens authorized to work in the United States.
Specifically, the Department’s complaint alleged that the medical center subjected newly hired non-U.S. citizens to excessive demands for documents to verify their employment eligibility but did not require the same of U.S. citizens.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the medical center agreed to implement new employment eligibility verification policies and procedures that treat all employees equally regardless of citizenship status. In addition, the medical center agreed to pay a civil penalty of $115,000, conduct supplemental training of its human resources personnel on their responsibilities to avoid discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process, and work with the Department to ensure compliance with proper employment eligibility verification processes across all University of California campuses, medical centers, and facilities.
The Department’s announcement is available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/January/12-crt-006.html.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) seeks comments on draft request for evidence (RFE) templates for Forms I-129: L-1 intra company transferee (blanket petition, L-1A manager or executive, L-1A new office (first year), and qualifying relationship/ownership and control/doing business.
In addition to comments on the individual draft templates, USCIS also seeks stakeholder input on broader issues:
- What are the top five issues you have with RFEs in the classifications that are currently under review?
- What improvements can be made to the current RFE process in these classifications?
- What types of evidence are frequently unavailable for these classifications when requested, and why? What evidence could be submitted as an alternative?
USCIS said it is also reviewing RFE templates for these categories:
- E-12 Outstanding Professor and Researcher immigrants
- E-13 Multinational Executive and Manager immigrants
- F Student nonimmigrants
- M Vocational Student nonimmigrants
- J Exchange Visitor nonimmigrants
- L Intracompany Transferee nonimmigrants
- O Extraordinary Ability or Achievement nonimmigrants
Information and instructions are available here.
Items of Interest
Items of Interest
USCIS Ombudsman teleconference on L-1B “specialized knowledge” worker petitions. This teleconference on February 7, 2012, from 2 to 3 p.m. EST, presents an opportunity to learn about the experiences of employers filing L-1B nonimmigrant petitions with USCIS. The L-1B classification allows an employer to petition for an employee who has “specialized knowledge” of the employer’s products, services, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or expertise in the employer’s processes and procedures, from a qualified affiliated entity outside the United States. The Ombudsman’s Office says it would like to hear about employers’ experiences with USCIS adjudications of “specialized knowledge” filings. Participants are encouraged to join this discussion by anonymously sharing their experiences during the teleconference. To register, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org and reference “L-1B Telecon” in the subject line of your e-mail. Participation in these teleconferences is anonymous. Comments, questions, materials, or suggestions regarding this topic should be directed via email to the Ombudsman’s Office at email@example.com. The notice, along with links to “recaps” from recent teleconferences, is available at http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/gc_1171038701035.shtm.
CRS reports: numerical limits on employment-based immigration, temporary protected status, free trade agreements, globalization and worker insecurity, Visa Waiver Program. The Congressional Research Service has released several new reports:
“Numerical Limits on Employment-Based Immigration: Analysis of the Per-Country Ceilings” notes that the overwhelming number of approved employment-based legal permanent resident (LPR) visas pending at the National Visa Center at the close of FY 2010 were those of professional and skilled workers—102,395. There were also 16,788 approved visas pending for unskilled workers. Another 6,738 visas were pending for those with advanced degrees. There were also 2,961 approved visas pending in the “extraordinary” category. Most of the approved I-485 petitions pending are for professional, skilled, and unskilled workers (114,442). There were 7,545 approved I-485 petitions pending in the “extraordinary” category and 45,573 approved I-485 petitions pending in the “advanced degree” category. The extent that these two sets of data overlap—and thus may be counting the same petitions twice—is not known, but substantial duplication is presumed to exist.
The report lists the top four countries in both the National Visa Center and USCIS data sets (in rank order): India, the Philippines, the Peoples’ Republic of China, and Mexico. The data analyses suggest that the vast number of Indians may be waiting to adjust status in the United States, while the vast number of Filipinos may be waiting to immigrate from abroad. Those with approved pending cases from China seem to be more evenly split among new arrivals and those seeking to adjust status.
Some argue that the per-country ceilings are arbitrary, the report notes, and that employability has nothing to do with country of birth. Others maintain that the statutory per-country ceilings restrain the dominance of high-demand countries and preserve the diversity of the immigrant flows.
Legislation (H.R. 3012) to revise the per-country ceilings on LPRs passed the House on November 29, 2011.
The report is available at http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/R42048.pdf.
“Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues” provides an overview of TPS and other forms of blanket relief. The report notes that the United States currently provides TPS or deferred enforced departure (DED) to over 300,000 foreign nationals from seven countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua, Somalia, and Sudan. Liberians have had relief from removal for the longest period, first receiving TPS in March 1991 following the outbreak of civil war. The report is available at http://fpc.state.gov/c41253.htm.
“Free Trade Agreements: Impact on U.S. Trade and Implications for U.S. Trade Policy” says that free trade agreements (FTAs) raise important policy issues: Do FTAs serve or impede U.S. long-term national interests and trade policy objectives? Which type of an FTA arrangement meets U.S. national interests? What should U.S. criteria be in choosing FTA partners? Are FTAs a substitute for or a complement to U.S. commitments and interests in promoting a multilateral trading system via the World Trade Organization (WTO)? What effect will the expiration of the Trade Promotion Authority have on the future of FTAs as a trade policy strategy? The report discusses pending and possible proposals for U.S. FTAs, relevant legislation, and other congressional interest in U.S. FTAs. The report is available at http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/179550.pdf.
“Globalization, Worker Insecurity, and Policy Approaches” notes that globalization facilitated by the information technology revolution expands international trade in a wider range of services, but also subjects an increasing number of U.S. “white-collar” jobs to outsourcing and international competition. The current wave of globalization is supported by three broad trends, the report states: (1) technology, which has sharply reduced the cost of communication and transportation that previously divided markets; (2) a dramatic increase in the world supply of labor engaged in international trade; and (3) government policies that have reduced barriers to trade and investment. Recent research examines whether these trends are creating new vulnerabilities for workers. Because the relationship between globalization and worker insecurity is complicated and uncertain, a number of different approaches may be considered if the goal is to bolster public support for U.S. trade policies, globalization, and an open world economy, the report notes. Policies involving adjustment assistance, education, tax, and trade are most commonly proposed. The report points out the view of many economists that policies that inhibit the dynamism of labor and capital markets or erect barriers to international trade and investment would not be helpful because technology and trade are critical sources of overall economic growth and increases in the U.S. living standard. The report is available at http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/180691.pdf.
“Visa Waiver Program” provides an overview of the requirements for eligibility and the history and current state of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The report also explains why several countries have been removed from the list of VWP countries, including Argentina and Uruguay, or placed on provisional (probationary) status, such as Belgium (which was placed on provisional status in 2003 but restored in 2005). The report is available at http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RL32221.pdf.
DOJ webinars on employment verification. The Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices has announced upcoming monthly webinars on employment verification issues. Workers and worker advocates may join the monthly worker/advocate track webinar, and employers/HR professionals may join the monthly employer track webinar. The employer/HR webinars are scheduled for February 22, March 21, and April 30, 2012. The worker/advocate webinars are scheduled for February 9, March 13, and April 17, 2012. For more information or to register, see http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc/webinars.php.
Stakeholder teleconference on consular notification of immigrant/nonimmigrant approvals. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Operations Directorate invites interested stakeholders to participate in a teleconference, “Consular Notification Process on Immigrant and Non-immigrant Approvals as Related to Visa Issuance,” on Wednesday, February 1, 2012, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. eastern time. The notice is available at http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/USDHSCIS-2467d3. For more information or to register by January 23, e-mail Donna Kane, USCIS Vermont Service Center Community Engagement Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, with your full name and the organization you represent.
Effects of USCIS adjudication procedures on fraud detection. The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released “The Effects of USCIS Adjudication Procedures and Policies on Fraud Detection by Immigration Services Officers.” The OIG interviewed 147 managers and staff, and received 256 responses to an online survey. The OIG identified a range of possible improvements to practices in areas such as performance measurement, training, and collaboration between adjudications and fraud detection staff. The report notes that USCIS has taken important steps to improve security and fraud detection, and makes 11 recommendations for improvement.
Foreign students’ contribution to U.S. economy. Foreign students and their families spent more than $20 billion in the United States during the 2010-2011 academic year, according to a new NAFSA: Association of International Educators report. California, New York, and Texas welcomed the largest numbers of foreign students, and those states and others across the country benefited from spending by these students and their families on living expenses, tuition, and fees. For more information, see http://www.nafsa.org/PressRoom/PressRelease.aspx?id=29459.
Webinar - Global Comparative Investment & Immigration Options. The Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL) presented a webinar, “ABIL Global Comparative Investment & Immigration Options,” on January 12, 2012, for investors and entrepreneurs looking for options in various countries. ABIL speakers covered the immigration options through investment in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The cost is $50 to receive the recorded version of the webinar. For more information, contact Lauren Anderson at email@example.com.
Laura Danielson has started a new weekly blog about immigration law and stories from a practical, human perspective. See: http://lampbesidethegoldendoor.blogspot.com/ and sign up if you want to be on the weekly feed.
Green Card Stories was officially launched on January 30, 2012 in New York City, with a number of different events (radio interviews, symposia, and book store readings and signings. Please visit the Green Card Stories website to learn more at http://www.greencardstories.com/.
Laura Danielson presented on EB-5 investor immigration on February 2, 2012, at an event sponsored by the American-Israeli Chamber of Commerce.
Laura Danielson presented on EB-5 and other Immigration Solutions at a panel of business leaders in Mason City, Iowa on Tuesday, February 7, 2012.
Loan Huynh will be presenting on a panel on February 10, 2012 with the ILW for the second-part series, Perm for Experts: Recruitment Issues. This is a three session audio seminar series. To register, please visit www.ilw.com/seminars/201101.shtm.
To access current processing times of the USCIS Service Centers and the Department of Labor, or the Department of State's latest Visa Bulletin with the most recent cut-off dates for visa numbers, visit http://www.fredlaw.com/areas/immigration.
* Fredrikson & Byron's Immigration Department offers complete services in all areas of immigration law, with special emphasis on business, family, and arts-related immigration. The lawyers in the Immigration Group are experienced practitioners who speak frequently at national and international conferences in their areas of expertise as well as volunteer their time for various immigrant organizations. All of the individuals working in the Immigration Department share a common philosophy of wanting to provide the best, most personal representation available. Members of the Immigration and International Groups are fluent in written and spoken English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and Vietnamese. To contact attorneys Laura Danielson, Loan Huynh, Debra Schneider, or June Cheng, please call 612-492-7648.
This newsletter was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (www.abil.com), of which Laura Danielson is an active member.
This does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.