Author: hfrayre

Preparing for the H-1B Lottery – What to Expect for FY2019

April 2, 2018 marks the first day of a five-day window to file cap-subject H-1Bs with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for the upcoming fiscal year (FY 2019), which begins on October 1, 2018.  With only a couple of weeks remaining before April 2, we are now fully immersed in the “March Madness” of cap season. As our favorite teams are fine-tuning the skills and teamwork they have developed over the season, watching tapes, and preparing physically and mentally for tip off on the basketball court this week, companies and immigration practitioners, too, are preparing for the H-1B challenge ahead. With the battle wounds and bruises from last year, we have some idea of what obstacles we will face on the road ahead.  Background With the changing of the guard in Washington, D.C. last year, no one was quite sure what to expect from the FY 2018 cap season. The new administration’s focus at the time seemed to be on fighting its travel ban in the courts, increasing immigration enforcement efforts, and tightening up border security. It did appear that one constant in the immigration area was change. Then, on March 31, 2017, which is the day that employers were packing their cap-subject H-1B petitions into FedEx boxes to be shipped to USCIS for delivery on April 1, the first indication that the FY2018 cap season would be...

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Holiday Travel Advisory – Beware Changing Interpretation of “Economist” for Foreign Nationals Holding TN Status

In addition to the long lines, weather delays, expensive travel tickets, and the list of other travel headaches during the holiday season, certain foreign nationals holding Trade NAFTA (TN) status may also have to deal with increased scrutiny as to whether they remain eligible for the visa classification previously granted to them due to new TN policy guidance.  Specifically, when returning to the United States after temporary foreign travel, Canadian and Mexican nationals who have previously been granted TN admission as economists may be required to demonstrate that their job duties in the United States (U.S.) continue to fall within the purview of what an economist would normally do. Background NAFTA permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to come to the U.S. temporarily in order to work in certain professional occupations. These eligible occupations include, among others, engineers, nurses, lawyers, accountants, and economists.  On November 20, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a memorandum on the specific work activities officers should consider when determining whether an individual qualifies for TN nonimmigrant status as an economist.  On December 18, 2017 (conveniently before the rush of the Christmas holiday), USCIS announced the release of the “clarifying guidance” to the public. The memo states that in order to qualify for TN status as an economist, professionals must engage in duties that are primarily associated with the occupation, as defined by...

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