Immigration and Firm News

The Trump Administration has been very, very busy addressing business immigration in the last year. Three overriding themes are: 1) a slowdown in processing times in most categories and 2) increased Requests for Evidence (RFEs) in just about every immigration category and 3) a tightening of definitions by adjudication or policy memo.  Receiving an RFE doesn't necessarily mean a case will be denied, but there are more denials out there. Despite all the talk about needing "merit based" … [Read more...]

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level. NAFTA includes a very narrow and specific list of occupations that qualify for TN professionals, one of which is economist.  Under a new policy issued by USCIS on November 20, 2017, USCIS will look specifically at the job duties to be performed, not the job … [Read more...]

Travel abroad during the holiday season has more risks this year because of extreme vetting, stricter scrutiny, travel warnings, policy changes, and unsettled case law dealing with the various Presidential Proclamation travel bans. If you need to apply for a US visa while abroad: The Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) has been updated in several key sections. Consulates rely upon the FAM for guidance and procedures.  Key updates this year include requiring more evidence of ties abroad and intent … [Read more...]

In light of the terrible devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and elsewhere, USCIS has posted a list of options available to preserve immigration status. These include: Using the "extraordinary circumstances beyond your control" regulation for delayed filings of change of status or extensions of nonimmigrant stay for an individual currently in the United States; Seeking re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS; Requesting expedited processing of advance … [Read more...]

USCIS has announced it will now require interviews of applicants for permanent residence (I-485 applicants)  in the employment based categories. Until now, most of these cases have been decided by mail. Some people are interviewed when there are issues in a case, where there is a recent spouse tagging along as a dependent applicant, or for quality control. Now, it looks like everyone will be interviewed, grinding the process to a very slow trickle unless USCIS also staffs up for these … [Read more...]

On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued another Executive Orders on immigration. This one, though, entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” basically bans from entry people "from" seven countries, suspends refugee admissions temporarily, and reduces overall refugee admissions for FY2017.  The Executive Order (EO) also imposes ideological vetting, and provides some exceptions only for non-Muslim refugees.  More Executive Orders are expected to be … [Read more...]

I am pleased to report that I was quoted in Bloomberg Law, Daily Labor Report in an article about the new USCIS final rule on Entrepreneur Parole that was issued on January 17, 2017.  The rule goes into effect July 17, 2017 assuming the new Administration decides to keep the regulation.  The article in full is here. … [Read more...]

At the Seattle, Washington Law Office of Bonnie Stern Wasser, we enjoy working on National Interest Waiver (NIW) EB-2 permanent resident cases. NIW means the government will waive the usual requirement that there be a US employer and job offer, and a labor market test for willing, qualified and able US workers through the labor certification or “PERM” process. Although a US employer and job offer is not required in a NIW EB-2 case, the applicant must show he/she has offers of work in the US in … [Read more...]

I am pleased to announce my participation in the newly released virtual round table,  Immigration Law - the Americas 2016 produced by Corporate Live Wire.  (The previous link may require a login that is free.) This is the second time I have participated in these round tables.  The round table involves a number of immigration lawyers from different jurisdictions discussing Q&As about immigration trends in the US and the Americas such as: Impact of globalization on immigration … [Read more...]

On August 31, USCIS will announce a forthcoming proposed regulation at 8 CFR 212.19 creating a new benefit called “International Entrepreneur” or “significant public benefit parole for entrepreneurs.” I am really excited about this proposal in part because in my many years of immigration practice, this is the first new major business immigration benefit in ages, maybe decades. There are a lot of immigrant entrepreneurs who fall between the cracks of our existing business immigration categories … [Read more...]