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Allen and Hodgman

   

USCIS extends suspension of premium processing for most H-1B petitions

On August 28, 2018, USCIS announced that it was expanding and extending the suspension of premium processing for many categories of H-1B petitions. The suspension is predicted to last through February 19, 2019. Only the following categories of H-1B petitions will still be eligible for premium processing: (1) extensions of stay without change with the same employer filed at the Nebraska Service Center; and (2) Cap-exempt petitions filed at the California Service Center where the employer is a cap-exempt employer, or the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution (such as a university). Premium processing will NOT be…

Parent born in Canada? You’re Canadian!

Was your mother or father born or naturalized in Canada? Under recent amendments to Canada’s Citizenship Act, nearly all persons whose parent was born or naturalized in Canada are now Canadian citizens. This is true even if your parent left Canada as a child; married an American citizen (or other non-Canadian); or became a U.S. citizen (or citizen of another country). These new laws apply to the first generation born abroad. So if your mother or father was born in Canada you are likely a citizen. However, with some important exceptions, your own children are generally not Canadian citizens if…

Questions about how Canada’s new marijuana law impacts your right to visit the US? We have answers!

Beginning October 17, 2018, marijuana will be legal in Canada. Canadians will be allowed to possess up top 30 grams of legally produced marijuana, and allowed to grow up to 4 cannabis plants per household. This new law will create many complicated immigration questions, particularly issues arising under U.S. law. US immigration issues include the following: Will persons who admit to the legal use of marijuana in Canada be prevented from entering the U.S.? There is a good chance the answer is yes, due to the prohibition of persons who are “drug addicts or abusers.” However, use of marijuana in…

Express Entry cutoff holding steady in 440’s

After the lowest ever Express Entry draw was held on May 31, 2017, with a cutoff of 413, recent draws have risen to the 440s, including a draw of 440 on September 5, 2018. 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. Most applications continue to be processed very rapidly in well under six months. With the innovation of the “tie-breaker rule,” draws are now announced for a specific number of persons, usually 3,000 to 3,900. We consider it likely that the cutoffs may…

Update on third Trump travel ban

***UPDATE*** On June 26, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld the third Trump travel ban (as described below) in its entirety. The Supreme Court decision, including the inspiring and furious dissent by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, may be found by clicking here. 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…

Move to Canada after Trump election? It may be easier than you think!

We receive many inquiries from U.S. citizens, H-1B visa holders, DACA recipients, and other persons living in the U.S. who want to move to Canada in response to the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. The election was closely followed by the Muslim Travel Ban, DACA cancellation, and separating families at the southern border. Many are shocked by the dangerous actions of the Trump administration, including Trump’s support for white supremacists, banning transgendered persons from the military, and withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. By contrast, Canada is a welcoming, progressive and pluralistic society with no…

Canada to relax medical admissibility rules

On April 16, 2018, Canada Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced a major change to the rules that govern admissibility of immigrants to Canada who may have medical conditions that may cause an “excess demand” on Canada’s health system. Under current law, persons who would cost the government more than the average amount for health services are inadmissible, unless they are the spouses or children of Canadians. Under the new rules, expected to go into effect June 1, 2018, the amount will be increased to three times the average amount. This would increase the possible expense to about $20,000 CAD per…

USCIS continues to process DACA renewals

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services continues to process renewals for current and previous DACA recipients. Despite the cancellation of DACA by President Donald Trump in September 2017, federal district courts in both the Second Circuit and Ninth Circuit have issued orders keeping DACA in place. Appeals are pending in both courts. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to expedite the appeals of these cases. All eligible persons with current or previous DACA classification should file for renewals now while the court orders remain in effect. It is not necessary to wait until six months before your DACA expires. If you have…

H-1B Cap Reached for FY 2019

USCIS announced on April 6, 2018 that the H-1B cap has been reached for both the 65,000 “bachelor’s cap” visas as well as the additional 20,000 visas for persons holding U.S. master’s degrees. As a result, USCIS held a lottery to determine which petitions will be accepted, and which will be returned to the petitioners. A total of 190,098 petitions were received. This is down from 199,000 the previous year. USCIS selects about 100,000 petitions in all to account for denials and withdrawals. Therefore, the chance of success for any given applicant is around 50% to 60%. Master degree applicants…

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…