Immigration and Firm News

On August 6, 2014, the American Immigration Lawyers Association sent a letter to President Obama recommending administrative fixes or executive action to tweak the business immigration system in light of Congressional failure to pass an immigration reform bill. The list of recommended actions are within the realm of administrative law and existing statutes. Only Congress can change or amend statutes, including underlying visa categories, requirements and numbers. However, within the confines … [Read more...]

USCIS has issued proposed rules to enhance the usability of some work visas to make some of the procedures less disruptive for employers and employees and to attract and retain international experts.  The Obama Administration is trying to improve some of the visa issues that make it difficult for employers to keep or attract highly skilled foreign workers. Comments by the public are due on or before July 11, 2014.  Comments can be emailed to Include DHS Docket No. … [Read more...]

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is soliciting public feedback about the EB-5 immigrant investor program until May 8, 2014. USCIS established an "Idea Community" several months ago to broaden its outreach to stakeholders on a variety of topics. In a recent EB-5 stakeholder's meeting held April 23, 2014, USCIS said it would solicit more input about the program overall as it contemplates forthcoming regulatory changes designed to address these issues: a) combating fraud, b) … [Read more...]

Here at the Seattle immigration Law Office of Bonnie Stern Wasser, we enjoy working with entrepreneurs. Whether owned by Americans who seek to hire global foreign talent, or foreign nationals seeking to open or expand a business in the U.S., it is important for entrepreneurs to understand the range of business immigration options and startup visas for employees, executives and investor entrepreneurs as well as the impact they have on the local and national economy. The Kauffman Foundation just … [Read more...]

I am pleased to announce that my newly revised article, “Investing for Fun and Profits in the Arts, Entertainment and Sports Industries” was just published in the second edition of Immigration Options for Artists and Entertainers published by the American Immigration Lawyers Association. The first edition of this popular book was published back in 2007. Although we typically think of O, P and Q visas for artists, entertainers and athletes who are tops in their fields, or “culturally unique,” … [Read more...]

I had the pleasure and honor to speak on a panel about EB-1 and EB-2 permanent residence categories at the annual Northwest American Immigration Lawyers Association Conference held in Portland on February 20-21, 2014. My co-panelist, Matthew McClellan from Oregon, covered the three main subcategories in the employment based First Preference (EB-1): "extraordinary ability" foreign nationals, outstanding researchers and professors, and multinational managers and executives. I covered EB-2 … [Read more...]

USCIS recently issued a new final regulation that goes into effect on February 1, 2013 specifying that Immigrant Visa recipients must pay a new and additional "Immigrant Fee" of $165.00. Applicants who receive Immigrant Visas at US consulates and embassies abroad will be required to pay the new fee online before they travel to the US. See The $165.00 fee covers the cost of green card production and other visa related services by USCIS associated with State Department visa … [Read more...]

Today, USCIS held an engagement session about developments in its Entrepreneurs in Residence initiative (EIR). Director Alejandro Mayorkas, his senior counsel and others on his staff attended. The EIR initiative is an attempt by USCIS to have adjudicators better understand the entrepreneurial space. Key developments thus far include the following: 1. The EIR Tactical Team has trained small groups at the various USCIS adjudications service centers. 2. Specialized teams are assigned to … [Read more...]

The US Department of Labor (DOL) recently released its FY2012 year to date statistics covering October 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 concerning the use of H-1B visas and PERM, the labor certification program for permanent residence. Here are a few key stats from the report: H-1B Use The H-1B report shows that 278,737 applications were received YTD. 287,165 were processed. Of those, 243,098 were certified, and 16,346 were denied. The balance were withdrawn. These covered 577,298 positions. (A … [Read more...]

In a rare case of bipartisan action, Congress passed legislation to add E-2 visas to the list of Treaty Investor countries. Historically, Israelis have only been able to use the E-1 Treaty Trader visa, but not the E-2 Treaty Investor visa. E-1 visas require a primarily Israeli owned US company engaged in substantial trade in goods or services between the US and Israel. Otherwise, Israelis have had to use the EB-5 permanent residence investor program, L or H visas depending upon the scenario. … [Read more...]