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Allen and Hodgman

   

Express Entry cutoff hits 415 – get in now before it’s too late!

The Express Entry draw held April 19, 2017 again hit a new low as the number of ITAs issued continued to soar. Canada has now issued more ITAs in 2017 than in all of 2016. As we predicted, dropping the points for arranged employment from 600 to 50 has dramatically lowered the cutoff point, as has clearing out the backlogs from earlier years. It is now possible for anyone in their mid thirties or younger with good language test results, a college degree, and several years of work experience to immigrate to Canada in a matter of a few months….

“Hire American” – What does it mean for H-1Bs?

On April 18, 2017 President Trump signed a new executive order described as “Buy American and Hire American.” News accounts and presidential speeches suggested the new Executive Order would severely restrict the availability of H-1B visas. This order came out just a few days after completion of the H-1B filing season and the H-1B lottery, when H-1Bs were already in the news. During the campaign, Trump had threatened to abolish the H-1B program entirely. In reality, the new Order does not change the existing H-1B program in any way. The only specific reference to H-1Bs stated: “In order to promote…

H-1B Cap Reached for FY 2018 – First receipts received

USCIS announced on April 7, 2017 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 holds a lottery to determine which petitions will be accepted, and which will be returned to the petitioners. USCIS has not yet announced how many petitions were received, or when the lottery was held. However, lawyers, including our office, are reporting that receipts have started arriving. As of April 17, 2017, all of the reported receipts so far have been for “Masters Cap”…

Hallelujah! Express Entry cutoff drops to 423!

The Express Entry draw on April 13, 2017 further confirmed the recent trend towards lower cutoff scores. The main reason for the lower cutoff is the reduction of points for arranged employment which went into effect November 19, 2016. This reduction makes it easier for persons without job offers to qualify if they have high language test scores, along with strong educational credentials and work experience. The lower cutoff means that applicants from the United States, including H-1B visa workers and U.S. citizens, have a great opportunity to immigrate to Canada in as little as six months. In addition, the…

Second Trump travel ban blocked by U.S. Federal Court

On March 15, 2017, U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson of the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii issued a nationwide restraining order blocking implementation of the second Trump travel ban. The travel ban would have gone into effect on March 16, 2017. As a result, the second travel ban is not in effect. The second travel ban blocks entry to the United States for citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran, Syria, Lybia, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. It also blocks all entry by refugees. Unlike the first travel ban, the new travel ban does not…

Appeals Court upholds order blocking Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban

On Thursday February 9, 2017 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an historic decision upholding the lower court’s order blocking Donald Trump’s travel ban. On January 27, 2017, Trump issued an Executive Order prohibiting entry to the United States by any non-citizen from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The order also blocked entry to the United States by all refugees regardless of their country of origin. Finally, the order stated that when processing of refugees resumed, preference would be given to “religious minorities.” In practice this meant Christian minorities in Muslim countries. The State of Washington filed suit in U.S….

Seattle Federal Judge blocks Trump order nationwide – Travel resumes as of February 4

Late Friday afternoon on February 3, 2017, Judge James Robart of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington issue a sweeping Temporary Restraining Order blocking the Trump travel ban nationwide. Shortly after the order was issued, both Customs and Border Protection and the State Department lifted restrictions on travelers from the seven banned countries (Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan and Lybia). Airlines appeared to be boarding passengers with valid visas. Click here for a copy of the Order. Early Saturday morning, Donald Trump abusively referred to Judge Robart as a “so-called judge” but had not otherwise…

Victory! Federal judge blocks Trump immigration order.

Late in the evening on Saturday January 28, 2017, Federal District Judge Ann Donnelly issued a nation-wide temporary injunction prohibiting the removal of persons from the United States based on Donald Trump’s Executive Order issued just 24 hours earlier. This case was brought in the name of Hameed Darweesh. Mr. Darweesh is an Iraqi translator who assisted the U.S. military in Iraq for ten years. He was issued a Special Immigrant Visa to the United States, and was in transit when the Executive Order was issued. He was arrested and detailed upon his arrival in the United States based on…

Trump issues shocking Executive Order barring entry by Nationals of seven Muslim countries and all Refugees

Late in the afternoon of Friday January 27, 2016, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order that does the following: The order bars entry into the United States by all nonimmigrants and immigrants “from” seven Muslaim-majority countries. These countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yeman. The ban includes holders on nonimmigrant visas such as visitor visas, student visas, and H-1B visas. The ban also includes persons with both immigrant visas and existing green card holders, even those who have been living legally in the United States for many years. Finally, the ban includes dual citizens such as…

Canadian government changes spousal visa procedures

On December 7, 2016 the Canadian government announced several changes to the procedures for processing sponsorship applications for persons who are married to Canadian citizens or permanent residents. These changes also apply to persons who are sponsored as common law partners. These changes are intended to make the process faster and to simplify the process. The changes include the following: There will now be a single application kit. Previously, there was one application for the “Spouse in Canada” category, and a different application kit for “Family Class” applications. Family class applications are used to sponsor persons who are not currently…