In the News at ABIL

Posted on: July 19th, 2019
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Siskind Susser is excited to announce that Lynn Susser was recently elected to ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers. ABIL is comprised of over 20 lawyers from top tier immigration practices with years of expertise and a comprehensive understanding of immigration law. For more information on ABIL, including a map of ABIL attorneys worldwide, visit their website.
The following articles are excerpts from ABIL’s monthly Immigration Insider, available here on their website.

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House Passes Bill to Eliminate Per-Country Cap on Employment-Based Immigrants

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019” (H.R. 1044) on July 10, 2019. The bill, introduced by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Ken Buck (R-CO), would eliminate the per-country cap (numerical limitation) on employment-based immigrants and raise family-based per-country caps from 7 to 15 percent. The per-country cap provision would be implemented over a three-year phase-in period: during year one, no more than 85 percent of employment-based visas could be allocated to India or China; in years two and three, no more than 90 percent of employment-based visas could be allocated to those countries. An additional provision protects people who have immigrant visa petitions approved before September 30, 2019. The legislation is expected to benefit primarily Indian and Chinese workers, who constitute the largest proportion of H-1B skilled workers waiting for years in the U.S. green card backlog.

The bill will be considered by the Senate next. The Senate version, S. 386, was recently blocked by Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who said he wants to amend the bill with an accommodation for EB-3 nurses. Other recent developments on the Senate side included the addition of provisions strengthening H-1B specialty occupation enforcement requested by Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). Although the bill has bipartisan support, it is unclear whether it has a chance of passage.

Details: Text and history of the House version, https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr1044; Rep. Lofgren’s statement, https://lofgren.house.gov/media/press-releases/house-passes-reps-lofgren-s-and-buck-sbipartisan-bill-strengthen-american; Senate version of the bill, http://src.bna.com/JDP; news reports, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/green-card-cap-legislation-remainsblocked-despite-h-1b-deal, https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900077471/mike-lee-kamalaharris-rand-paul-immigration-reform-bill-blocked.html, https://www.businesstoday.in/current/economy-politics/us-congress-to-vote-on-bill-to-liftcountry-cap-on-green-card/story/362812.html.

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ABIL Global: Australia

Australia has implemented the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) and employer nomination sponsored visas. While certain transitional arrangements remain, the old Subclass 457 Visa has been replaced by the TSS Visa (Subclass 482).

As with the previous 457 process, the TSS Visa consists of three separate applications: (1) the application by the employer to be approved as a sponsor; (2) the nomination; and (3) the visa application. To sponsor an employee, the employer must be approved as a Standard Business Sponsor. Sponsorship approvals may be valid for five years. In certain circumstances, a sponsor may seek accreditation, which may enable future nominations and visas for that accredited sponsor to be expedited.

Central to the nomination application is the establishment of two separate lists of approved occupations: the Short-Term Skills Occupation List (STSOL) and the Medium and Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). Visas granted relating to nominations of occupations on the STSOL are granted for a two-year period. After that period, a further and final period of two years may be sought. Where international trade obligations apply, a four-year visa may be granted. Visa applications granted relating to nominations for occupations on the MLTSSL may be approved for a four-year period.

Only the holders of TSS visas relating to MLTSSL occupations are entitled to be nominated for an Employer Nomination Subclass 186 Permanent Visa. As one would expect, this provision has caused substantial angst. Certain revisions of the lists have already taken place and occupations previously on the STSOL have been removed and inserted into the MLTSSL following criticism.

Details: Australian Department of Home Affairs, Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (under development): https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/temporary-skillshortage-482

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Executives of Staffing Companies Charged With H-1B Visa Fraud

Four executives of two information technology staffing companies have been arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit visa fraud, for fraudulently using the H-1B visa program to gain an unfair advantage over competitors. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The defendants allegedly used staffing companies to recruit foreign nationals and sponsor them for H-1B visas. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), to expedite their visa applications, they filed H-1B applications falsely asserting that the foreign workers/beneficiaries had already secured positions at another company when in reality no such positions existed. Instead, the defendants used the fraudulent applications to build a “bench” of job candidates already admitted to the United States who could then be hired out immediately to client companies without the need to wait for visa application processing, giving the defendants an advantage over their competitors in the staffing industry, USCIS said.

Details: USCIS release, https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/executives-staffingcompanies-charged-visa-fraud.

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Don’t Accept Restricted Social Security Cards for I-9 Verification, E-Verify Warns

E-Verify recently reminded employers not to accept restricted Social Security cards as List C documents on the I-9 work authorization verification form. Form I-9 List C documents verify an employee’s authorization to work.

Employers should not accept a restricted Social Security card that is stamped with one of the following:

  • Valid for work only with DHS authorization
  • Valid for work only with INS authorization
  • Not valid for employment Details: E-Verify announcement,

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDHSCISEVERIFY/bulletins/24dfc6b; List C documents that establish employment authorization, https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/133-list-cdocuments-establish-employment-authorization; Form I-9 acceptable documents, https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/acceptable-documents/list-documents/form-i-9-acceptabledocuments?topic_id=1&t=c

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This newsletter was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (www.abil.com), of which Lynn Susser is an active member.

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Disclaimer: This newsletter is provided as a public service and not intended to establish an attorney client relationship. Any reliance on information contained herein is taken at your own risk.