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Allen and Hodgman

   

Trump weighs ending “7th Year” extensions

Bombshell news rocked the H-1B community in the waning hours of 2017, as rumors swirled that the Trump administration is looking for ways to end “7th year extensions” for H-1B visa holders. Under the law, H-1B status is limited to six years in the U.S. After that, the person must leave the U.S. for at least one year, and is then subject to the H-1B cap once again. However, if you have an approved I-140 immigrant worker petition – or you have a labor certification or standalone I-140 that has been pending for at least one year – you are…

Express Entry closes out year at 446, as processing times achieve warp speed

The last Express Entry draw for 2017, held on December 20, 2017, utilized a cutoff of CRS 446. This is still well within the grasp of persons with strong scores for education, language skills and work experience, especially younger persons close to or under thirty years of age. In a recent tweak of the system, a “tie-breaker” has been introduced for persons with the lowest score in the draw  (in this case, 446 exactly), based on the exact date and time their profile was submitted. The purpose of the tie breaker is to allow the government to issue an exact…

Ninth Circuit affirms order blocking travel ban 3.0, but Supreme Court allows ban to take effect pending appeals

On December 4, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of the injunctions issued by the Maryland and Hawaii District Courts against the latest Trump travel ban. The effect of this stay is that the travel ban announced by presidential “proclamation” on September 24, 2017 has been allowed to take effect. The Hawaii order is on appeal to the Ninth Circuit, and the Maryland order is on appeal to the Fourth Circuit. The stay means that the orders blocking the travel ban will be suspended during the course of the appeals. On Friday, December 22, 2017, the Ninth Circuit…

Trump administration proposes to repeal H-4 EAD regulation

On December 20, 2017 the Trump administration released its regulatory agenda for the coming year. Included in the agenda is a new regulation to repeal the H-4 EAD. The H-4 EAD allows the spouses of certain H-1B workers to obtain open work permits. In most cases this is limited to H-1B employees with approved I-140s. According to the regulatory agenda, a proposed rule will be announced in February 2018. A proposed rule does not take affect immediately. There must first be a period of notice and comment. It is possible the proposed rule will not be introduced at all, or…

Update on third Trump travel ban

As of October 24, 2017, all provisions of the second Trump travel ban (Travel Ban 2.0) have expired. Due to the federal court injunctions issued by federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland, many of these provisions were never enforced, at least against persons with significant ties to persons or organizations in the United States. Also on October 24, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States dismissed all appeals of the federal court orders on the grounds the cases no longer presented a live case or controversy. On September 24, 2017 President Trump issued a “proclamation” instituting a third travel…

Canada will raise age of dependent children to “under 22” beginning October 24, 2017

As of October 24, 2017, Canada’s definition of a “dependent child” will be changed from “under 19” to “under 22” for all of Canada’s immigration programs. This means that applicants for permanent residence under Express Entry as well as Family Class applicants can include their children who are under 22 as of the date of the application. For the last three years the age of dependency had been reduced to under 19.

Canada reduces residency time for citizenship

Beginning October 11, 2017, becoming a Canadian citizen got a lot easier. For applications filed on or after that date, the residency requirement has been reduced from four years out of the last six, to three years (1095 days) out of the last five.  In addition, the requirement to be present for 183 days in each year has been removed, as long as the total days are met. Also, applicants can now count one half the days spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident, up to a total of 365 days.  As a result, a person who has been…

Express Entry cutoff holding steady in 430’s

After the lowest ever Express Entry draw was held on May 31, 2017, with a cutoff of 413, recent draws have risen somewhat to the 430s, including a draw of 436 on October 18, 2017. These levels are still readily attainable by persons with strong language test results, a bachelor’s degree or better, and several years of work experience. The cutoff marks from recent draws appear to be designed to attain Canada’s immigration goals for the current year. Applications continue to be processed very rapidly. Immigration to Canada in as little as six months remains a realistic goal for many,…

USCIS resumes premium processing of all H-1B petition categories

On October 3, 2017, USCIS announced it would resume premium processing of all categories of H-1B petitions. Premium processing has been suspended for most categories of H-1B petitions since April 2017. For an additional filing fee of $1,225, USCIS will either approve, deny, or issue an RFE on H-1B petitions within 15 calendar days of filing. This is good news for “cap gap” beneficiaries and other persons in need of rapid processing of their H-1B petitions. Any pending H-1B petition can be upgraded to premium processing by filing the I-907 form and paying the premium processing fee.

Trump cancels DACA program to outrage of millions

On September 5, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would be cancelled. Sessions’s announcement was a hate-filled blistering attack on Dreamers, referring to them as criminals, and accusing them of stealing the jobs of hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens. Opposition to the announcement was immediate and continues to grow across the country. We call on all decent minded Americans to contact your U.S. Representative and Senators to demand the passage of new legislation to restore the DACA program including a path to permanent status for DACA recipients. In a…