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Allen and Hodgman

   

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…

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…

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…

Canada launches new “Global Skills Strategy”

On June 12, 2017, Canada announced a new “global skills strategy” that will make it easier and faster to get work permits for certain foreign workers. The strategy has four components (referred to as “pillars” in the government announcements). They are as follows: Workers coming to Canada for brief periods will be authorized to work without an LMIA or work permit. This provision applies to management and skilled employees classified as NOC 0 or NOC A. The employment will be permitted for one 30 day period every 12 months, or one 15 day period every six months. Certain university researchers…

Canada passes new citizenship law

On June 19, 2017, Canada’s new citizenship law receive Royal Assent, the final step in the legislative process. This is an amendment to existing Canadian citizenship law. The law, known as C-6, will make it easier for many people to attain Canadian citizenship. The law goes into effect in stages. As of June 19, persons applying for citizenship are no longer required to have the intent to live in Canada, making it easier for new Canadian citizens to live or work outside of Canada. Also, the age restrictions for applying for Canadian citizenship have been removed, so that minors can…

“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 2017 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…