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C.T.LEE & Associates Blog

Corey Lee Law - NYC Immigration Attorney > C.T.LEE & Associates Blog (Page 2)

ISRAELI NATIONS ELIGIBLE FOR SPECIAL VISAS

April 22, 2019The USCIS recently announced that Israeli nationals will now be eligible for the coveted E-2 visa. The E-2 visas allow nationals from certain treaty countries to be eligible to remain in the United States if they are investing significant capital into US businesses. The visa can also potentially apply to certain employees of such investors, as well as extend to the spouses and children of E-2 visa holders. Israeli nationals already legally in the United States can petition to change to an E-2 visa starting on May 1st.These changes will hopefully lead to increased economic cooperation between the...

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H-1B VISAS CONTINUE BEING DENIED AT RECORD RATES

April 19, 2019The first quarter of 2019 has continued an alarming trend: H-1B visa being denied at a record rate. Compared to a denial rate of 6% in 2015, the first quarter of 2019 currently has an incredible 32% of petitions being denied. This has been paired with an increase in denials for continuing employment petitions, which has risen to 18%.Many outsiders are particularly worried because the denials do not appear to be tied to any formal policy changes or legal changes. These denials are further evidence of an administration that is averse to allowing foreign workers into the United...

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H-1B DEMANDS STILL HIGH DESPITE DENIALS

April 15, 2019The demand for H-1B visas is still high despite an alarming number of denials last cycle. The number of requested visas rose from 190k to 201k, an increase of roughly 6 percent. Many of the nation’s largest technology companies, such as Amazon and Google continue to rely heavily on skilled foreign workers to fill their ranks in the US.The number of highly educated visa holders also continues to rise, with holders of advanced degrees making up a larger percentage of H-1B visas than in previous years. Some of that might be because advanced degree holders are eligible for...

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ATTENTION: H-1B SPOUSAL RULES CHANGING

April 8, 2019The USCIS announced new regulations on Friday regarding the review process for spouses of H-1B holders. In particular, the new regulations are focused on spouses who are legal minors. The administration said the new regulations are meant to ensure that the visa process is protecting vulnerable populations and not being abused as a human trafficking tactic.The changes mainly add new review procedures to the spouse of an H-1B holder attempting to immigrate to the US with them using an I-130 petition. It only applies when the spouse is under 16 years of age, OR if they are 16...

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H-1B CAP REACHED FOR 2020

April 5, 2019The USCIS has announced that the mandated regular cap on H-1B applications for 2020 has been reached. The H-1B visa is only approved for 65,000 people for the fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 given for an “advanced degree” exemption.The USCIS will continue to process petitions if they are exempt from the regular cap, as well as those petitions that apply to visa holders asking for extensions, changing their H-1B terms, changing employers, or attempting to gain a second H-1B position in addition to the one they hold already.For those wondering about their H-1B status or qualifications, it...

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WOMAN SENTENCED IN MARRIAGE/VISA-FRAUD SCAM

April 1, 2019The US Attorney’s office has announced that a woman has been sentenced in a case involving marriage and visa fraud. Marena Mushero, of Maine, allegedly offered to marry a foreign national in need of a visa in exchange for money.Prosecutors claimed that Mushero accepted cash and wire transfers from a foreign resident living and working in the US prior to their wedding, so that the foreign national could obtain a “green card”. This attempt to circumvent the US’s immigration policies was eventually discovered, and Mushero has been convicted and sentenced to 5 years of probation as a result.Schemes...

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VISA FRAUD LEADER GETS A YEAR IN JAIL

March 25, 2019The head of an illegal visa scheme has finally been sentenced. Anjaneyulu Katam, who was accused by the US Department of Justice of manipulating the H-1B visa program to help Indian nationals illegally enter the US, was sentenced to a year in jail and ordered to forfeit $1.1 million in assets.The government alleged that Katam ran a “IT Staffing Company” that had filed falsified visa applications in exchanged for payment and forced applicants to pay their own visa fees. The H-1B visa, which is intended to fill shortages of skilled laborers, has been under criticism for the ability...

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NEW RULES MAY BAR EMPLOYERS FROM USING FOREIGN WORKERS

March 22, 2019Last month, the Department of Labor released a memo outlining new interpretations to regulations around hiring foreign workers, such as those workers on the H-1B visa. In short, the memo states that those companies that do not comply fully with requests for evidence may be barred from using any foreign workers at all.Much of the substance of the memo deals specifically with compliance to new electronic document requests. Namely, that much of the visa process is now online. For some companies or workers, using an electronic only process will be very difficult to navigate. For others, it might...

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H-1B IN CHAOS? GOVERNMENT RULE CHANGES FRUSTRATE APPLICANTS

March 18, 2019As a result of many visa processing changes announced by the USCIS earlier this week, many applicants and employers are left scrambling to ensure that everything is revised in time for the April 1st start date. Notably, changes made to the processing of premium applications have caused a large amount of chaos for many who are filing applications, as the changes have disrupted timelines, application information, and even billing and fee cycles. Premium processing of applications, which is notably more expensive, traditionally guarantees a response within 15 days. However, the USCIS announced that they would not even begin...

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2020 H-1B SEASON ANNOUNCED

March 15, 2019The USCIS has announced the starting dates for H-1B applications for fiscal year 2020. Applications will be accepted starting on April 1, 2019 and will be subject to any 2020 caps on the total number of visas approved. The USCIS also announced a number of changes, including changes to the visa selection process, changes to the processing of premium visa requests, and even a new H-1B employer data hub for the 2020 visa season.Immigration services in the US are still actively trying to adapt to changes mandated by the Trump Administration, which is pushing for companies to hire...

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