Archive for March, 2011

Advance in EB-2 India Category Expected on May 2011 Visa Bulletin

March 29, 2011

According to the U.S. Department of State (DOS), since October 2010 there has been a substantial decrease in the number of EB-1 filings.  Therefore, DOS has indicated that those otherwise unused EB-1 numbers will drop down to the EB-2 category, which will allow them to advance the EB-2 India category on the May 2011 Visa Bulletin.  Currently, the Department of State is expecting that at least 12,000 additional numbers will be available in the EB-2 category. The May Visa Bulletin will be issued in mid-April, and we will post more information at that time.

 

 

Advertisements

Advance in EB-2 India Category Expected on May 2011 Visa Bulletin

March 29, 2011

According to the U.S. Department of State (DOS), since October 2010 there has been a substantial decrease in the number of EB-1 filings. Therefore, DOS has indicated that those otherwise unused EB-1 numbers will drop down to the EB-2 category, which will allow them to advance the EB-2 India category on the May 2011 Visa Bulletin. Currently, the Department of State is expecting that at least 12,000 additional numbers will be available in the EB-2 category. The May Visa Bulletin will be issued in mid-April, and we will post more information at that time.

Japan earthquake ramifications

March 11, 2011

The Immigration Service has quickly responded to the earthquake disaster in Japan. Please see the information below released today:

“This advisory is for Japanese and other foreign nationals from the Pacific stranded in the United States due to the earthquakes and tsunami devastation in the Pacific. If you have exceeded or are about to exceed your authorized stay in the U.S. you may be permitted up to an additional 30 days to depart.

“Visitors traveling under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):

“ Visitors traveling under a nonimmigrant visa:

“For additional immigration relief options, please visit the Special Situation page.”

Japan earthquake ramifications

March 11, 2011

The Immigration Service has quickly responded to the earthquake disaster in Japan.  Please see the information below released today:

“This advisory is for Japanese and other foreign nationals from the Pacific stranded in the United States due to the earthquakes and tsunami devastation in the Pacific.  If you have exceeded or are about to exceed your authorized stay in the U.S. you may be permitted up to an additional 30 days to depart.

“Visitors traveling under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):

“ Visitors traveling under a nonimmigrant visa:

“For additional immigration relief options, please visit the Special Situation page.”

E-Verify Self-Check

March 10, 2011

E-Verify, the national database that can be used by employers to check work authorization, will soon be available for individuals to verify their own information in advance of applying for a job.

The new service, called “Self-Check” will roll out March 21, 2011, but only in five States (not including Iowa). New States will be added as the system is perfected.

Self-Check will be available only for individuals to check their own employment eligibility, and cannot be mandated by an employer or other organization as a term of employment. Security features are in place to prevent fraudulent use of the system.

The system could be useful to make sure that Social Security and Immigration records are up to date in advance of applying for employment. An employer is not allowed to use a Self-Check confirmation to complete an I-9 or as a substitute for E-Verify. But a prior successful Self-Check could help applicants know that they are authorized to work and to sort out verification problems.

The system is not perfect, similar to E-Verify itself. For instance, recently-admitted refugees and people with work visas will have trouble with the Self-Check just as they are currently experiencing trouble with E-Verify. According to USCIS, the agency that operates E-Verify, these problems are caused by delay in database updates among different agencies involved in the admissions process.

Watch for updates regarding employment verification developments as this is a focus area for the Department of Homeland Security.

Expect I-9 Audits to Increase

March 10, 2011

Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) is continuing its efforts to enforce employer compliance by launching a new series of company audits nationally. While Iowa is not a focus state, ICE has dedicated I-9 auditor in its Des Moines office and has doubled the number of agents in this office in the last 18 months. The Des Moines office covers the middle third (North to South) of the State.

Typically, an audit will start with a three-day notice delivered to the employer’s place of business. At the end of the three-day period, the employer will be required to produce all I-9s for the last three years (both for current and terminated employees), payroll records, quarterly tax statements, and copies of any Social Security “no match” letters received.

Files will be audited for both paperwork violations and possible unauthorized employees.

Employers receiving audit notices are well-advised to contact their immigration attorney. Many steps can be taken to potentially reduce fines and penalties and to prepare for potential enforcement activity.

All employers should take this opportunity to conduct internal audits of I-9 compliance to be prepared for a government audit. Your immigration attorney can assist with this audit by reviewing all or a portion of existing I-9s and copies of any documents retained, advise you regarding legal methods to correct paperwork errors, and help you determine if additional verification of your workforce is required. I-9 training is also very helpful to avoid problems in the future, both in completing the form correctly and in recognizing fraudulent documents. Let us know if we can help.

Expect I-9 Audits to Increase

March 10, 2011

Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) is continuing its efforts to enforce employer compliance by launching a new series of company audits nationally.  While Iowa is not a focus state, ICE has  dedicated I-9 auditor in its Des Moines office and has doubled the number of agents in this office in the last 18 months.  The Des Moines office covers the middle third (North to South) of the State.

Typically, an audit will start with a three-day notice delivered to the employer’s place of business.  At the end of the three-day period, the employer will be required to produce all I-9s for the last three years (both for current and terminated employees), payroll records, quarterly tax statements, and copies of any Social Security “no match” letters received.

Files will be audited for both paperwork violations and possible unauthorized employees.

Employers receiving audit notices are well-advised to contact their immigration attorney.  Many steps can be taken to potentially reduce fines and penalties and to prepare for potential enforcement activity.

All employers should take this opportunity to conduct internal audits of I-9 compliance to be prepared for a government audit.  Your immigration attorney can assist with this audit by reviewing all or a portion of existing I-9s and copies of any documents retained, advise you regarding legal methods to correct paperwork errors, and help you determine if additional verification of your workforce is required.  I-9 training is also very helpful to avoid problems in the future, both in completing the form correctly and in recognizing fraudulent documents.  Let us know if we can help.

 

 

E-Verify Self-Check

March 10, 2011

E-Verify, the national database that can be used by employers to check work authorization, will soon be available for individuals to verify their own information in advance of applying for a job.

The new service, called “Self-Check” will roll out March 21, 2011, but only in five States (not including Iowa).  New States will be added as the system is perfected.

Self-Check will be available only for individuals to check their own employment eligibility, and cannot be mandated by an employer or other organization as a term of employment.  Security features are in place to prevent fraudulent use of the system.

The system could be useful to make sure that Social Security and Immigration records are up to date in advance of applying for employment.  An employer is not allowed to use a Self-Check confirmation to complete an I-9 or as a substitute for E-Verify. But a prior successful Self-Check could help applicants know that they are authorized to work and to sort out verification problems.

The system is not perfect, similar to E-Verify itself.  For instance, recently-admitted refugees and people with work visas will have trouble with the Self-Check just as they are currently experiencing trouble with E-Verify. According to USCIS, the agency that operates E-Verify, these problems are caused by delay in database updates among different agencies involved in the admissions process.

Watch for updates regarding employment verification developments as this is a focus area for the Department of Homeland Security.

 

 

 

Aggrieved Travelers Have Redress Mechanism for Certain Problems When Seeking Entry to the United States

March 3, 2011

The Department of Homeland Security’s Travel Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) is available to individuals who experience delays during their travel screening at U.S. airports, train stations, and other ports of entry. DHS TRIP is aimed to assist travelers who have been repeatedly identified as requiring additional screening due to erroneous information in their DHS security background. For more information, see www.tsa.gov/travelers/customer/redress/index.shtm.

Aggrieved Travelers Have Redress Mechanism for Certain Problems When Seeking Entry to the United States

March 3, 2011

The Department of Homeland Security’s Travel Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) is available to individuals who experience delays during their travel screening at U.S. airports, train stations, and other ports of entry. DHS TRIP is aimed to assist travelers who have been repeatedly identified as requiring additional screening due to erroneous information in their DHS security background. For more information, see www.tsa.gov/travelers/customer/redress/index.shtm.


%d bloggers like this: