Attorneys at David Hirson & Partners, LLP Recognized by Super Lawyers in 2020

David Hirson & Partners, LLP is proud and honored to have 3 of its partners recognized by Super Lawyers in 2020. Super Lawyers recognition is earned based upon peer recognition and professional achievement.

David Hirson is recognized for his 14th year as a Super Lawyer.

Evelyn Hahn and Eric Dominguez are both recognized again as Super Lawyers Rising Stars for multiple years in a row.

BREAKING IMMIGRATION NEWS: President Trump Issues New “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak”

DHP Immigration News Alert

On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued a new presidential proclamation (“PP 6/22/2020”) that extends Presidential Proclamation 10014 (“PP10014”) from April 22, 2020. This new proclamation stops foreign nationals from entering the U.S. on certain employment-based nonimmigrant visas and extends the ban already in place from “PP10014.” President Trump explained in the new proclamation that the entry of these nonimmigrant workers “presents a significant threat to employment opportunities for Americans affected by the extraordinary economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.”

When Does the Order Take Effect?

The new proclamation takes effect on June 24, 2020 at 12:01 AM ET. It will remain in effect until December 31, 2020 and may be extended as necessary. Within 30 days of the effective date of this proclamation and every 60 days thereafter while this proclamation is in effect, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretaries of State and Labor, will reevaluate and recommend any necessary modifications.

Extension of Presidential Proclamation 10014 from April 22, 2020

Presidential Proclamation 10014 of April 22, 2020, suspended the entry of certain immigrants into the U.S., subject to certain exceptions, until June 21, 2020. The new proclamation of June 22, 2020 extends the restrictions of “PP10014” until at least December 31, 2020.

Expanded Restrictions

According to PP 6/22/2020, aliens are suspended from entering the U.S. starting on June 24, 2020 if both of the following conditions apply:

  1. First, aliens who are seeking to enter the U.S. on one of the following visas:
    • H-1B or H-2B visa, and any alien accompanying H-1B or H-2B visa holder in H-4 visa;
    • J visa, to the extent the alien is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any alien accompanying a J visa holder; and
    • L visa, and any alien accompanying an L visa holder in L-2 visa.
  2. Aliens who meet Criteria #1 above and who are:
    • Physically outside of the U.S. on the effective date of this proclamation (June 24, 2020);
    • Do not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation; and
    • Do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits them to travel to the U.S. and seek entry or admission.

Exemptions

The proclamation does NOT apply to the following foreign nationals:

  • Any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
  • Any alien who is the spouse or child of a United States citizen;
  • Any alien seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain; and
  • Any alien whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.

Standards for Exemption Under “U.S. National Interest”

The new proclamation clarifies and defines the national interest exemption to cover aliens who:

  • Are critical to the defense, law enforcement, diplomacy, or national security of the U.S.;
  • Are involved with the provision of medical care to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized;
  • Are involved with the provision of medical research at U.S. facilities to help the U.S. combat COVID-19;
  • Are necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the U.S.; or
  • Are children who would, as a result of this proclamation or “PP10014,” age out of eligibility for a visa.

How Will This Proclamation Be Enforced?

U.S. Consulates around the world have discretion to determine whether an individual has established his/her eligibility for an exception under this proclamation.

What if I am already in the U.S. with an H, L, or J visa?

Individuals who are already in the U.S. with an H, L, or J visa and need to change or extend their status are not included in the ban and are still able to file their petition with USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service).

What if I was recently issued an H, L, or J visa through consular processing?

Individuals who have already obtained a nonimmigrant visa, including an H, L, or J visa, through consular processing that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation, are not subject to this ban and may travel with a visa.

What if I recently received an H or L visa petition approval from USCIS and was in the process of obtaining a visa through consular processing?

Individuals whose initial H or L visa petition have recently been approved by USCIS, and were waiting for the U.S. Consulates to resume visa services, are not able to enter the U.S. now due to this new proclamation (unless they are covered by one of the exemptions mentioned above). This individuals must wait until at least December 31, 2020 before they can apply for their visas.

In case the validity of the I-797 approval notice expires in the meantime, a new petition will have to be filed with USCIS before the individual is able to apply for a new H or L visa through consular processing after this proclamation expires on December 31, 2020.

What if my new H-1B petition was recently approved with the effective start date of employment on October 1, 2020, and I am currently outside the U.S. without a valid H-1B visa or alternative travel document?

Unfortunately, individuals who are currently outside of the U.S. without a valid H-1B visa or other alternative travel document (i.e. F-1/OPT that is still valid), are not able to enter the U.S. now due to “PP 6/22/2020,” unless they are covered under the exemptions (such as food supply chain, national interest workers, Corona virus-related healthcare workers, etc.) These individuals must now wait until at least December 31, 2020 before they can apply for their H-1B visas through consular processing.

Can other nonimmigrant and/or immigrant visa categories be potentially impacted by this proclamation?

The new proclamation directs the Secretary of Labor, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, to consider new regulations or other appropriate actions to ensure that the foreign nationals who have been admitted or are seeking admission, on an EB-2 or EB-3 immigrant visa or H-1B nonimmigrant visa, do not place U.S. workers at a disadvantage in the U.S. work force. Although it is unclear as to what additional measures or restrictions may be implemented, there might be some additional actions taken by the government agencies to ensure that EB-2, EB-3 and H-1B workers do not limit working opportunities for other U.S. workers.

Other non-immigrant visa categories, such as E-1, E-2, E-3, F-1 (OPT/STEM OPT), O-1, R-1, TN and other employment-based and family-based immigrant visa categories are not impacted by these proclamations and can travel with their valid visas, subject to normal travel restrictions from COVID-19.

Ideas to Consider from David Hirson & Partners, LLP

  • In light of this proclamation, all visa holders, including H, L and J visas holders, should avoid leaving the U.S. for the time being, even with their valid visas, and consider extending or changing status in the U.S. if necessary.
  • If you must travel outside of the U.S., it is imperative that you consult with your immigration attorney and ensure that your visa is still valid before leaving the U.S.
  • Employers should be aware that these presidential proclamations only impact individuals who do not yet hold nonimmigrant visas or other alternative travel documents. In case an employee is directly impacted by these proclamations and is not able to enter the U.S. to work for the U.S. company as initially planned, the company with different overseas offices may consider hiring the foreign employee in a foreign country, until the foreign employee is able to obtain his/her visa.
  • L-1A executives/managers, who are directly impacted by this proclamation, should prepare an effective action plan to remotely manage and oversee U.S. business operations until the proclamation ends.
  • Individuals, who are not impacted by this ban, should remember that they may encounter more difficult questions from U.S. consular officers and should be prepared to explain and prove that they are not affected by this proclamation. Aliens should always consult with a competent immigration attorney before making any travel plans, regardless of whether they are directly impacted by the proclamation or not.
  • In case you think you are qualified for one or more of the exemptions described in the proclamation and want to consult with a professional immigration attorney, please contact David Hirson & Partners, LLP to further discuss your case.

USCIS RESUMES PREMIUM PROCESSING FOR CERTAIN PETITIONS ON JUNE 1, 2020

USCIS has announced that beginning on June 1st, 2020 through June 22nd, 2020, USCIS will resume premium processing for eligible cases in 4 phases as described below. Note that any previously filed pending cases can also request premium processing after June 8, 2020. 

More information can be found at: https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-resumes-premium-processing-certain-petitions

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USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Certain Petitions  

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that it will resume premium processing for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, in phases over the next month. 

Effective June 1, 2020, USCIS will accept Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for all eligible Form I-140 petitions.

Effective June 8, USCIS will accept premium processing requests for: 

  • H-1B petitions filed before June 8 that are pending adjudication and are cap-exempt (for example, petitions filed by petitioners that are cap-exempt and petitions filed for beneficiaries previously counted toward the numerical allocations). 
  • All other Form I-129 petitions (non H-1B petitions) for nonimmigrant classifications eligible for premium processing filed before June 8 that are pending adjudication.

Effective June 15, USCIS plans on resuming premium processing for: 

  • H-1B petitions requesting premium processing by filing an I-907 concurrently with their I-129 (or request for a petition filed on or after June 8) and are exempt from the cap because: 
  • The employer is cap-exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution, entity or organization (such as an institution of higher education, a nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization); or 
  • The beneficiary is cap-exempt based on a Conrad/IGA waiver under INA section 214(l).

Effective June 22, USCIS plans on resuming premium processing for all other Form I-129 petitions, including: 

  • All H-1B cap-subject petitions (including those for fiscal year 2021), including change of status from F-1 nonimmigrant status, for both premium processing upgrades and concurrently filed I-907s. 
  • All other Form I-129 petitions for nonimmigrant classifications eligible for premium processing and requesting premium processing by filing an I-907 concurrently with their I-129.

All dates are subject to change as USCIS continues to take on more premium processing requests and USCIS will announce any changes to these dates accordingly.

On March 20, USCIS announced the temporary suspension of premium processing for all Form I-129 and I-140 petitions due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). USCIS continues to process any petition with a previously accepted Form I-907, in accordance with the premium processing service criteria. Petitioners who had already filed Form I-129 or Form I-140 using the premium processing service before the March 20 suspension, but received no action and a refund, may refile their Form I-907 consistent with the timeline above, barring any changes USCIS may announce in the future.

Entrepreneur Visa Guide: Comparing the Top Startup Visas

The United States offers a few visa options for entrepreneurs who either want to start a business in the United States or who want to invest in U.S. workers. Each visa has its requirements, benefits, and drawbacks. 

Our guide will discuss the different types of startup visas for business owners and go over the eligibility requirements. We will compare the best visas for immigrant entrepreneurs, including;

  1. EB-Visas
  2. H-1B Visa
  3. E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
  4. L-1 Visa
  5. O-Visas

Immigrants Play a Central Role in the US Economy

According to one study, for every 100,000 immigrants, 520 became entrepreneurs in a given month. In 2016, for example, immigrants made up nearly 30% of all new entrepreneurs.  

Immigrants are not only overrepresented in the labor force relative to their share of the population, but they also start businesses in the US at a higher rate than people born in the United States. 

Immigrant entrepreneurs also create job opportunities for other people. 

As of January 1, 2015, immigrants founded nearly 51% of US startups worth $1 billion or more. Each of those startups employed an average of 760 people. 

The immigration attorneys at David Hirson & Partners, LLP (DHP) can help foreign entrepreneurs and their business/corporate sponsors with planning, preparing, and filing the complete immigration package with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). 

What Startup Visas Are Available in the USA?

Generally, there are two types of visas available for immigrants who want to start businesses in the United States. 

One path leads to permanent residency (“green card”), while the other is considered a “non-immigrant” visa (visitor, study, or work permit).

Permanent Resident Visas vs. Non-Immigrant Visas

A permanent resident visa or “immigrant visa” is intended to allow the individual to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely. 

A non-immigrant visa does not grant the option to become a permanent resident in the U.S. The individual must qualify under one of the green card categories and file a separate application. Non-immigrant visas are utilized most often for individuals who are in the U.S. for temporary reasons, such as:

  • Tourism
  • Business
  • Temporary work
  • Studying
  • Medical treatment

Although they are not permanent, non-immigrant visas can still enable an immigrant to live and work in the U.S. for several years.

Our team at DHP can help you decide which type of visa makes sense for your immigration goals.

The Best Startup Visas for Entrepreneurs

Generally, these visas are what we would recommend for individuals or company owners seeking to start a business in the U.S.

Comparing EB-Visas

EB-1 Visas: Employment-Based Immigration, First Preference

The EB visa is for individuals who want to work permanently in the US. EB visas are available to certain individuals based on their job skills. 

Only roughly 140,000 immigrant visas are available in this category every year. 

EB visas have five “levels,” each with a different order of preference. EB-1 visas are given first preference. 

EB-1 applies specifically to individuals with:

  • Extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through national or international acclaim – No offer of employment required.
  • Outstanding professors and researchers – Must be pursuing tenure or tenure track at a university or other institute of higher education.
  • Multinational manager or executive (This is the immigrant version of the L-1 Intracompany Transfer visa.)

Each type of EB-1 visa qualification has its unique requirements as well. 

EB-2 Visas: Employment-Based Immigration, Second Preference

Second-preference immigrants will receive higher priority compared to other employment-based applicants, except EB-1 applicants. Having higher priority means that you are more likely to get into the roughly 140,000 spots available for EB visas. 

EB-2 visas specifically apply to those who meet at least one of the following qualifications. 

  • The job involved must require an advanced degree or equivalent in education and experience.
  • You have exceptional ability in sciences, arts, or business.
  • You are requesting that the labor certification (“PERM”), that would otherwise be required, to be waived because it would be in the best interest of the United States to permit you to live and work in the country.

Other qualifications include things like showing you have at least ten years of full-time experience in your occupation and that you are licensed to practice in your chosen profession. Your unique circumstances will dictate what type of evidence you need to provide for an EB-2 visa application.

Family of EB-2 visa holders can also be admitted to the US under an E-21 or E-22 visa. For this visa, “family” includes your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21. 

EB-5 Visas: Employment-Based Immigration, Fifth Preference

The other EB visas operate very similarly to the first two, with each preference having fewer qualifications and requirements. The last EB visa is EB-5. It is more focused on people who want to invest in the United States rather than simply gain employment. 

In general, it permits an investor, their spouse, and unmarried children under the age of 21 to get an EB-5 visa if certain conditions are met, including:

  • Meeting a minimum investment amount that varies based on where the business will operate.
  • Creating or preserving at least ten full-time jobs for qualifying workers.

Recent EB-5 Changes

The EB-5 program changed as a result of the U.S. government’s regulatory changes to the program that went into effect as of November 21, 2019. Specifically, the minimum investment amount was increased to $1.8 million (and $900,000 for investments located in targeted employment areas) and changing how targeted employment areas are defined.

DHP is highly experienced in preparing and successfully filing EB-visas. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

H-1B Visas: Specialty Occupations

An H-1B non-immigrant visa may be available to those who perform services in a “specialty occupation.” They may also work with the Department of Defense cooperative research and development, or they could be a fashion model who has distinguished merit or ability. 

The “specialty occupation” qualification is the most common reason that this particular visa is used, but it is not a common visa. The H-1B visa is highly selective.

“Specialty occupation” is not defined in terms of a particular industry. Instead, it is based on whether the worker has a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and whether that particular job would require this precise expertise. 

The employer files this visa application on behalf of the individual, but it must go through a specific job offering process for US workers before getting the required Labor Condition Application (“LCA”). 

Additionally, the employer must offer the worker the job ahead of time to qualify for the visa. Learn more about the highly-specific requirements of an H-1B visa, or contact our business immigration attorneys for help.

E-2 Visa: Treaty Investors

A treaty investor is a foreign national of a country with which the United States holds a treaty of commerce and navigation. This individual must have also invested a minimum amount of money in a business venture in the US.

Certain employees of this particular company may also qualify for an E-2 visa. The USCIS maintains a running list of countries that have this type of treaty with the United States. 

Although EB visas are similar, the key differences between an EB-5 visa and an E-2 visa include:

  • The E-2 visa requires a lower minimum investment, no fixed minimum number of employees, has country-specific requirements, and requires a reasonable return on investment within a reasonable time to qualify for the visa. 
  • On the other hand, an EB-5 visa has no country-specific restrictions and its rules apply to applicants from all countries. 

As an E-2 treaty investor, holding the nationality of a treaty country, you must own at least 50% of the enterprise or possession of operational control by managing or meeting specific employment qualifications. The investment may not be “marginal” and must be “substantial” as defined in the Foreign Affairs Manual (“FAM”) and U.S. statute and regulations. Learn more about our E-2 visa services.

L-1 Visa: Intracompany Transferees

L-1 visas come in two varieties: L-1A and L-1B. 

L-1A is specifically for executives and managers, while L-1B is for those who possess specialized knowledge but do not necessarily serve in a management role. 

This visa allows a US employer to transfer a worker who meets specific qualifications from a company outside of the US to a related business at a location in the United States. 

It also allows companies to send an executive from another country to the U.S., to establish or manage a branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of the foreign company.

The O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

The O-series visas are for those who have extraordinary abilities, usually signified by “national or international acclaim.” 

The individual must also prove they are living in the US on a temporary basis to work in their area of extraordinary ability. 

The O-series visas only apply to the following categories of work: 

  • Education
  • Sciences
  • Business
  • Athletics
  • Arts
  • Motion picture or television industry

More About O-Visas

O-2 visas are available to those who will accompany someone who qualifies for an O-1 visa. This person must be an “integral part” or “essential” to the O-1 visa holder’s work. 

O-3 visas are available to spouses and children of those who have O-1 visas. The EB-1 green card category has similar requirements but a higher standard.

Choosing the Best Startup Visa Option 

Every company has different needs, and your visa needs tied to a corporate sponsor will depend on many factors. Perhaps the most important consideration is what you and the company want to accomplish. Are you or your company more interested in bringing workers to the U.S. from another country? Are you looking to make a substantial investment in the United States? Do you want to expand your existing company to the U.S.?

Ready for the Next Steps?

The immigration attorneys at David Hirson and Partners, LLP can help you review all of your options as an entrepreneur or business owner, looking for startup and existing business visa pathways to the United States. Contact us today to get started.

USCIS Operations and the Corona Virus (COVID-19) – As of the Evening of March 17, 2020

USCIS provides official updates regarding operations and COVID-19 here: https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-response-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

  • As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has suspended routine in-person services until at least April 1 to help slow the spread of COVID-19. USCIS staff will continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public. However, USCIS will provide emergency services for limited situations. To schedule an emergency appointment contact the USCIS Contact Center.
  • USCIS domestic field offices will send notices with instructions to applicants and petitioners with scheduled interview appointments or naturalization ceremonies impacted by this closure. They will automatically be rescheduled once normal operations resume. Individuals who had InfoPass appointments with a Field Office must reschedule through the USCIS Contact Center.
  • Please check the USCIS Field Offices page to see if your field office has reopened before reaching out to the USCIS Contact Center.

USCIS Service Centers are still operating and will be reviewing and processing petitions. If this changes, USCIS will announce and make accommodations for all applicants to meet the necessary requirements.

David Hirson & Partners, LLP is monitoring all of our clients’ and partners’ immigration needs. We are available via email (info @ hirson.com) and telephone (+1-949-383-5358) to answer your questions.

DHP Client Alert – Public Charge Rule in Effect Starting Monday

To our valued clients and partners:

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released the visa bulletin for March 2020. This bulletin has Table B showing that those individuals with filing/priority dates BEFORE December 15, 2015, and have been inside of the U.S. since December 30, 2019, are now allowed to prepare and submit the required documents to the National Visa Center.

David Hirson & Partners, LLP (DHP) knows that our valued clients and their family members are excited for this next step in the immigration process. DHP is ready to help our clients and partners to prepare for this important immigration step. It is important to understand that the U.S. government has instituted new rules this month which greatly affect the entire process of coming to the U.S. Now, all foreign nationals will have to show that s/he will not be considered a “public charge.”

DHP has prepared an initial questionnaire to determine whether or not you may be considered a public charge by the U.S. government. After receiving your completed questionnaire (no later than March 10, 2020) DHP’s attorneys and staff will work closely with you to prepare the necessary documentation to submit to the government.

Please note the following important deadlines that must be met so we can help prepare a strong filing for you and your family:

  • You must be physically in the U.S. since before December 30, 2019.
  • You must notify DHP in writing that you would like for us to proceed with filing under Table B AND submit a completed initial public charge questionnaire by March 10, 2020.
  • DHP will notify individuals who may be considered a public charge by March 16, 2020.
  • DHP requires all final documents by March 23, 2020 in order to file under Table B by March 30, 2020.

Our experienced team is prepared to help you navigate the new immigration rules.

Learn more about the public charge rule, below.

Major updates in immigration this January 2020

U.S. Immigration News – Week Ending January 31, 2020

This week has seen many changes made to U.S. immigration rules and processes. David Hirson & Partners, LLP (DHP) is committed to keeping all of our clients and partners informed of important U.S. immigration issues. If you have any questions about these changes, the expert attorneys and staff at DHP are ready to help you and your family with all of your corporate and family immigration plans.

Prohibition on “Birth Tourism”

On January 24, 2020 the U.S. Department of State issued a final rule (effective immediately) that now explicitly excludes travel to the U.S. under a B visa for the purpose of “birth tourism.” “Birth tourism” is the act of coming into the country in order to give birth to a child. Giving birth to a child in the U.S. allows the child to become a U.S. citizen through birth. When being interviewed for a B visa to come into the U.S., it is now up to any pregnant applicant to prove that she is not intending to come to the U.S. to give birth.

The B-1/B-2 visa is a widely used visa that allows people to temporarily enter the U.S. for business, pleasure, or both. People will still be able to come into the U.S. on a B visa for medical purposes, but the applicant will have to prove that a medical practitioner or facility in the U.S. has agreed to provide treatment and that the applicant has the means to pay for all treatment, living, and incidental costs associated with coming into the U.S. for a legitimate medical reason.

It is still unclear what will happen to those individuals who already have a B visa in their passports but still need to apply for admission into the U.S.

USCIS Adjusts Process for Managing EB-5 Visa Petition Inventory

On January 29, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will no longer process Form I-526 petitions on a first-in, first-out basis. USCIS will now process Form I-526 petitions based upon visa availability, depending on the applicant’s country of birth and whether or not that country has (or will soon have) visas available. The reason for this change is an effort to make USCIS more efficient and allow USCIS operations to be more consistent. This change now makes Form I-526 processing consistent with that of Form I-130 processing. USCIS will implement this change in process on March 31, 2020.

Implementation of the Public Charge Inadmissibility Rule

This is an update to the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule that was stopped from being implemented in October 2019. On January 30, 2020, USCIS announced that it will now implement the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule beginning on February 24, 2020. (There is an exception for the State of Illinois.) New guidance, instructions, and forms required under the final rule are scheduled to be released the first week of February 2020. When this final rule starts being enforced in February 2020, it will not be retroactively applied to applicants who applied after the original implementation date in 2019. USCIS will only consider receipt of public benefits from February 24, 2020 forward. Applications submitted with a postmark date of February 23, 2020 or before will be adjudicated based upon the current standards. All applications with a postmark date of February 24, 2020 or later will be adjudicated based upon the final rule.

USCIS Updates Process for Accepting Form I-130 Petitions for Relatives Abroad

On January 31, 2020, USCIS announced that beginning February 1, 2020, Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, will only be processed within the U.S. by USCIS or internationally by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) for certain circumstances. Only eligible active-duty U.S. service members assigned overseas and certain non-military petitioners who meet specific criteria for consular processing will be allowed to file Form I-130 with the DOS overseas. DOS will process Form I-130 overseas only if the petition: a) involves instances of prolonged or severe civil strife or natural disaster or b) for U.S. service members assigned to military bases abroad.

New Travel/Visa Restrictions for Six Countries

On January 31, 2020, President Trump signed a proclamation that places new visa restrictions on 6 countries for not meeting the U.S. standards for identity management, information sharing, national, security, and public safety assessment criteria related to foreigners entering the U.S. This proclamation is based upon the standards and policies set forth in Executive Order 13780 in 2017 that is meant to establish stronger security standards for allowing people into the U.S.

The 6 countries facing new visa restrictions starting on February 21, 2020 are:

  • Burma (Myanmar)
  • Eritrea
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Nigeria
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania

It is important to note that President Trump did not impose a blanket ban on these 6 countries, but a tailored ban:

  • Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, and Nigeria: suspension of entry for immigrants, except Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the U.S. Government.
  • Sudan and Tanzania: suspension of entry for Diversity Immigrants.

The U.S. government is hopeful that these 6 countries will work to improve their security and information sharing standards such that they will no longer face visa restrictions. As part of Executive Order 13780, every 180 days, the U.S. government systematically reviews all countries to see how they meet the established criteria.

This new proclamation applies to intending immigrants from these 6 nations who have not yet received an immigrant visa. Those immigrants who already received a valid U.S. visa will still be able to enter the U.S. while legal permanent residents may continue to reside in the U.S. Everyone must continue to meet all terms and conditions of their U.S. visa.

Travel Ban on Foreign Nationals and Quarantine for U.S. Citizens Who Have Been in China

On January 31, 2020, the U.S. government announced a travel ban on foreign nationals who have been in China within their last 14 days from coming into the U.S. (This travel ban does not apply to immediate family members of U.S. citizens.) Additionally, any U.S. citizen who has been in China’s Hubei Province within their last 14 days will be placed in mandatory quarantine for up to 14 days after entering the U.S. Any U.S. citizen who has been anywhere else in China within their last 14 days will be screened at U.S. ports of entry and have up to 14 days of self-monitoring.

These temporary measures will go into effect starting Sunday, February 2, 2020 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of State advises that no one travel to China at this time.

If you or any of your family and friends are affected by any of these new U.S. immigration and travel rules, we urge you to work with a licensed immigration attorney to plan how and when to best come to the U.S. Contact our team of attorneys today for advice.

Telephone: +1-949-383-5358       Email: info@hirson.com       Website: www.hirson.com

Record high H-1B denials could cause hole in workplace

Over 20% of H-1B Visas Denied in 2019

In the fiscal year (FY) 2019, 116,031 new or initial H-1B petitions were submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Of those petitions, 27,707 were denied – meaning just under one-quarter of all H-1B applications were denied in 2019. 

When compared to levels in 2015, the rates of denials have risen exponentially.

Comparing 2019 H-1B Denial Rates to 2015

Fiscal year 2015 is often used for comparison because it is one of the lowest denial rates in the past five years, and marks the last year before President Trump was sworn into office.

In FY 2015, the denial rate was only 6% in the first quarter. By comparison, the denial rate in the first quarter of FY 2019 was 32%. According to some experts, these numbers make it “clear to attorneys [that] USCIS has acted without proper legal authority in restricting H-1B visas.”

Part of the change is attributed to President Trump’s 2017 executive order, which has been dubbed the “Buy American and Hire American” order. The executive order encouraged and required agencies to look for ways to create higher wages, employment rates, and economic growth within the United States, without looking to other countries to employ workers or create products. In FY 2017, the denial rates rose from 10% to 13%, and in FY 2018, they increased again to 24%.

For example, U.S. immigration practitioners have seen H-1B petitions that would have normally been approved in past years are now denied under USCIS’ current practice of using narrower interpretations of what constitutes a “specialty occupation.”

The Impact of High Denial Rates

With denial rates at record high levels, various industries, including technology sectors, have felt a serious impact on their employment and operations. In India, for example, the four largest software service exporters have seen roughly half of all of their work visas denied in the past year. These companies, including Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, HCL Technologies, and Wipro will have to look elsewhere for avenues to secure visas for their workers.

Traditionally, Indian nationals made up for roughly 70 percent of all H-1B visas issued. Additionally, Indian nationals also account for almost 93 percent of all Employment Authorization Documents issued to H-4 visas, as spouses of H-1B beneficiaries. It is unclear whether those numbers have changed since their last reported date in 2017, but they could very well be significantly altered in the near future.

The National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) noted: “If the goal of the Trump administration is to make it much more difficult for well-educated foreign nationals to work in America in technical fields, then USCIS is accomplishing that goal.” 

However, the impact of this new policy could create serious holes in the American workforce. NFAP stated: “Whether the actions of USCIS are serving the best interests of the United States is a question that will remain open for debate.”

Get Help From an H-1B Visa Lawyer

Because of increased scrutiny, it is even more important that employers follow the application process very closely. David Hirson & Partners, LLP, can help with that process, increasing your company’s chance of getting an H-1B petition approved. 

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an appointment to discuss your options. 

Tel: +1-949-383-5358                Web: www.Hirson.com               Email: info@hirson.com

This blog post is general information and is not legal advice.

David Hirson & Partners, LLP – Providing U.S. Immigration Education Around the World

Istanbul, Turkey & Tel Aviv, Israel

David Hirson & Partners, LLP (DHP) and Visa Franchise co-hosted two immigration seminars in Istanbul, Turkey and Tel Aviv, Israel this month. Attendees were able to learn and ask questions about U.S. immigration options including, E-2 visa, EB-1C visa, and L-1 visa options. Attorney David Hirson, Managing Partner at DHP, provided key insights into how individuals and families from Israel and Turkey could successfully immigrate to the U.S.

Attorney David Hirson addressing an audience in Istanbul, Turkey (January 2020)

Of particular interest to attendees at both events was information on combining U.S. immigration plans with business opportunities, specifically franchise business opportunities in the U.S.

Attorney David Hirson presenting in Tel Aviv, Israel on converting an L-1A visa to an EB-1C visa (January 2020)

Audience in Tel Aviv, Israel learning about combining U.S. franchise business opportunities to U.S. immigration plans (January 2020)

For more information about how you and your family can combine your U.S. immigration dreams with owning and operating a franchise business of your choice, contact the experienced immigration attorneys at David Hirson & Partners, LLP today.

Tel: +1-949-383-5358                            Web: www.Hirson.com                                          Email: info@hirson.com

February 2020 Visa Bulletin Released

The U.S. Department of State has just released the February 2020 visa bulletin, and there have been a few updates to note since last month’s bulletin:

Family-Based Table A: Final Action Dates for Family-Sponsored Cases

Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-mainland 
born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
F1 22AUG13 22AUG13 22AUG13 22AUG97 01APR09
F2A C C C C C
F2B 22AUG14 22AUG14 22AUG14 15SEP98 01MAY09
F3 22NOV07 22NOV07 22NOV07 22MAR96 01MAY99
F4 01JUL06 01JUL06 22NOV04 15JAN98 01JUL99

Most of the categories moved forward a few weeks to a month, with a noticeable expectation of F4 which retrogressed about a half-year for China and all other categories. F2A remains current.

Family-Based Table B: Priority Dates for Family-Sponsored Cases

Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland 
born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
F1 22MAR14 22MAR14 22MAR14 15NOV99 01OCT09
F2A 01DEC19 01DEC19 01DEC19 01DEC19 01DEC19
F2B 22APR15 22APR15 22APR15 15MAY99 01NOV09
F3 22JUL08 22JUL08 22JUL08 15JUL00 01NOV99
F4 22JUL07 22JUL07 22JUL05 01JAN99 01JAN00

We see only modest gains of about a week for Table B filings.

Employment-Based Table A: Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Cases

Employment-
based
All Chargeability 
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES VIETNAM
1st 01DEC18 22MAY17 01DEC18 01JAN 15 01DEC 18 01DEC18 01DEC 18
2nd C 15JUL15 C 19MAY09 C C C
3rd C 01JAN16 C 08JAN 09 C 01JUN18 C
Other Workers C 01MAY08 C 08JAN 09 C 01JUN18 C
4th C C 01JUL16 C 01SEP17 C C
Certain Religious Workers C C 01JUL16 C 01SEP17 C C
5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)
C 01DEC14 C 01SEP 18 C C 15DEC 16
5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)
C 01DEC14 C 01SEP 18 C C 15DEC 16

China and India did not move for EB-1, but most other countries moved about 2 months. EB-3 for China moved 1 month and EB-5 for China moved about a week. India jumped from May 2018 to September 2018. Visas are also unlocked for EB-5 for RC visas.

Employment-Based Table B: Priority Dates for Employment-Based Visas

Employment-
based
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland 
born
EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIA MEXICO  PHILIPPINES 
1st C 01OCT17 C 15MAR17 C C
2nd C 01AUG16 C 01JUL09  C C
3rd 01JAN19 01MAR17 01JAN19 01FEB10 01JAN19 01JAN19
Other Workers 01JAN19 01AUG08 01JAN19 01FEB10 01JAN19 01JAN19
4th C C 15AUG16 C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C 15AUG16 C C C
5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)
C 15MAY15 C C C C
5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)
C 15MAY15 C C C C

There has been no change for this month’s Employment-Based Table B. We still do not know whether or not this Table B can continue to be used for Employment-Based visa applications yet.