WOMAN SENTENCE IN MARRIAGE/VISA-FRAUD SCAM

April 29, 2019
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The US Attorney’s office has announced that a woman has been sentenced in a case involving marriage and visa fraud. Marena Mushero, of Maine, allegedly offered to marry a foreign national in need of a visa in exchange for money.
Prosecutors claimed that Mushero accepted cash and wire transfers from a foreign resident living and working in the US prior to their wedding, so that the foreign national could obtain a “green card”. This attempt to circumvent the US’s immigration policies was eventually discovered, and Mushero has been convicted and sentenced to 5 years of probation as a result.
Schemes around visa fraud in the US can be unfortunately common, with many visa-for-profit rings being busted regularly by federal investigators. It is important for potential immigrants to follow US laws and policies, or face fines, imprisonment, and deportation. If you are considering living and working in the US, it is important to obtain qualified legal counsel to ensure that you are legally protected throughout the immigration process.
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婚姻签证诈骗要坐牢了!?
美国检察官办公室宣布,一名女子因涉嫌婚姻和签证欺诈而被判刑。据称,缅因州的Marena Mushero与需要签证的外籍人士结婚以获取金钱利益。
检察官声称,Mushero在婚礼前接受了在美国生活和工作的外籍人士的现金与电汇,以帮助该人获得绿卡。执法部门最终发现了这种利用移民政策的企图,因此Mushero被判处了五年缓刑。
美国的签证欺诈现象非常常见,联邦调查人员常常会对以通过非法手段帮助外籍人士办理签证从而获取利润进行打击,对于想要移民的人来说,遵守美国的法律法规。如果您正在考虑在美国生活和工作,请务必向有经验的律师寻求帮助,以确保您的权益在整个移民过程中受到保护。

H-1B visa: OPT work permit delays, foreign students reportedly losing internship opportunities

June 21, 2019
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The USCIS stated that the surge in demand has caused a large backlog of OPT applications, the processing time may take up to 5 months.
Since students can only apply for OPT 90 days before their employment, the processing delay is causing a big problem. The New York Times reported that many students had sent letters to their schools, expressing their concern that they still haven’t received the approval of OPT while their internship had already started.
The principals of Princeton University and other institutions have already sent letters to the Congress, saying that the government’s delay in OPT and other visas, such as H-1B, will damage the economic development of the United States.
As the Trump administration vowed to crack down on H-1B visa abuse, the OPT visa was also criticized. Representative Paul Gosar from Arizona, has filed a motion, aiming to cancel OPT program. The Immigration Research Center, which supports immigration restrictions, stating that OPT can actually encourage companies to hire foreign workers, employers can save 8% on taxes, and do not have to pay social security taxes and medical insurance fees.
H-1B 签证:OPT申请延迟问题严重,留学生实习成问题
大批留学生由于实习签证(OPT)审批延误,等候时间由以往大约90天延长至多达5个月,导致不少年轻人暑假实习的愿望落空。
“圣荷西信使报”报道,OPT签证容许外国学生和最近3年在美毕业的学生留在境内,普遍被外界视为H-1B签证的跳板。公民及移民服务局(USCIS)表示,OPT签证需求「激增」,引起大量申请个案积压,等候时间由4星期至5个月不等。
由于学生只能在预定开始实习前90天申请OPT签证,延误为民间带来问题。“纽约时报”报道,多名学生曾去信著名学府的高层提交请愿书,强调自己开始实习的日子已到,但联邦政府迟迟没有音讯。
报道以哥伦比亚大学新闻学院为例,毕业生被迫将实习日期押后,并需依赖父母支援应付生活。
其他常春藤院校中,普林斯顿大学已有学生丧失工作机会,被迫在暑假回家;达特茅斯学院有学生报称,自己原拟在其他州份工作,但由于未获签证,住房押金和机票钱都已经泡汤;在耶鲁大学,学生有关OPT签证审批拖延的请愿信,导致大学宣布在秋季开设新课程,令大学可以通过学习实践训练计划(CPT)在美工作。
CPT计划批准通过雇主及学校之间的协议让学生工作。报道指出,一些学生其实早在2,3月便提交申请,但在个案积压下,当事人的暑假实习前景依然渺茫。
普林斯顿大学等多家院校的校长已经去信国会议员,认为政府延误OPT等签证,以及要求H-1B申请人提交更多证明文件,都会损害全美的经济发展。信中明言,随着外国学生,学者难以留美读书和工作,很多申请人都会转向其他地方求学或求职,「不仅损害个别院校,而且损害全美的高等教育,甚至国家的全球竞争力」。
信件同时引用研究表明,联邦政府的签证处理时间在过去两个财年延长了46%,外国学生修读在美研究生课程的新生入学率连续第二年下降,国际学生入读本科的人数,自2015-16学年以来也下降了9%。
随着特朗普政府矢言打击H-1B签证滥用问题,OPT签证也受到非议。代表亚利桑那州的联邦众议员戈萨(Paul Gosar)已计划提交议案取消这种签证。支持限制移民的移民研究中心(移民研究中心)批评,这类签证实际上鼓励公司雇用外国工人,雇主可以省税8%,而且毋须支付社安税和医疗保险费用。
来源:星岛日报

New Zealand Nationals Eligible for E-1 and E-2 Nonimmigrant Classifications

May 30, 2019
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Certain New Zealand nationals can now request a change of status to the E-1 nonimmigrant trader classification and the E-2 nonimmigrant investor classification under Public Law 115-226.
Beginning June 10, eligible New Zealand nationals already in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, to request a change of status to E-1 or E-2 classification, or a qualifying employer can file Form I-129 on their behalf. Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age of E-1 and E-2 nonimmigrants, and employees who are already in the United States, may also seek to change status to E-1 or E-2 classification as dependents by filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
Beginning June 10, eligible New Zealand nationals already in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status can file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, to request a change of status to E-1 or E-2 classification, or a qualifying employer can file Form I-129 on their behalf. Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age of E-1 and E-2 nonimmigrants, and employees who are already in the United States, may also seek to change status to E-1 or E-2 classification as dependents by filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
Any Form I-129 and Form I-539 for a New Zealand national requesting a change of status to E-1 or E-2 classification filed prior to June 10, 2019, will be rejected, but may be refiled, together with the required fee, on or after June 10.
The E-1 and E-2 nonimmigrant classifications are open to citizens of countries with which the United States has a treaty of commerce and navigation or similar agreement, and in certain other cases, such as here, where Congress has enacted legislation. E-1 status allows citizens of certain countries to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade on their own behalf. E-1 status is also available to certain employees of such traders or qualifying organizations. E-2 status allows citizens of certain countries to be admitted to the United States when they are investing substantial capital in a U.S. business.
E-2 status is also available to certain employees of such investors or qualifying organizations.
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新西兰公民将可以申请E-1和E-2签证了!
从6月10日起,符合条件的新西兰公民将可以申请E-1和E-2非移民投资者签证。未满21岁的E-1和E-2配偶和未婚子女以及已经在美国的雇员也可以通过提交I-539表格获得身份。
任何在2019年6月10日之前提交的E-1或E-2的申请表格将被拒绝,需要在 6月10日或之后的重新提交。
条约商人E-1及条约投资人E-2签证,是发给与美国维持通商及通航条约国家的公民。
要符合条约商人E-1及条约投资人E-2签证,申请人必须是到美国从事符合规定的实质贸易活动,包括服务或技术的贸易,而该贸易主要是往来于美国及该条约国之间;或者申请人必须是到美国发展或指导他已经投入实质资金的企业营运。E签证持有人必须打算在E身分终止时离开美国,但是E签证可以每两年续签一次,无限期续签。

Trump administration announced Spring 2019 Agenda

June 6, 2019
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Trump administration announced Spring 2019 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.
On the list of this proposed agenda, several items may have a huge impact on the H-1B/H-4 visa holders and international students, including:
  • Revise the definition of specialty occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B program, and revise the definition of employment and employer-employee relationship to better protect U.S. workers and wages.
  • DHS will propose additional requirements designed to ensure employers pay appropriate wages to H-1B visa holders.
  • Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorization.
  • Remove current regulation that USCIS must decide to grant or deny an asylum applicant’s application for employment authorization within 30 days.
  • Raise fees for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program.
川普政府宣布2019年春季监管议程,H-4配偶将取消工作资格
在国土安全部的名单上有提案(尚未最终确定),其中包括:
  • 修改“专业职业”的定义,变成“通过H-1B计划雇用最好的外国人”,修改“就业”和“雇佣关系”的定义,以更好地保护美国工人和工资,并增加要求”确保雇主向H-1B签证持有人支付适当的工资“。
  • 取消H-1B配偶,即H-4签证持有人的就业资格
  • 撤销监管规定,规定移民局必须在30天内批准或拒绝庇护申请人的就业授权申请
  • 提高学生和交流访问者计划的费用

Things you should be aware if you are H-1B employee in IT consulting company

May 30, 2019
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IT consulting companies are often the “targets” when it comes to immmigration fraud situations, and it is demonstrated by the data itself. H-1B petitions filed by IT consulting companies are being examined way heavier and longer than the others, with the denial rate less than 10% in 2015, and has risen up to 40% roughly.
USCIS has a Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) branch, and one of its missions is to verify the information from the H-1B petitions. And it often will be in the form of request for evidence (RFE) or site visits. When it comes to site visits, immigration officers usually will show up unannounced and they will request to speak with H-1B employees, their manager or even HR. It is not an easy situation to deal with because not everyone in the company is able to provide the absolute accurate information about a specific employee, especially for those large size companies.
From analyzing the H-1B data this year. Two out of the top five H-1B employers this year are IT consulting companies, and as always, the head IT companies are from California.
申请咨询公司职位,你应该注意些什么?
IT咨询公司往往是移民局受关注对象。数据显示,咨询公司提交的H-1B申请普遍都受到更严格的审查,拒绝率甚至高达40%;而这一数据在2015年还不到10%。
服务局内部设有反欺诈检测和国家安全(FDNS)分支机构,负责核实H-1B和L-1申请中提交的信息,常常会派人进行“突击检查”来验证公司和员工的真实性。现场检查人员往往会与外籍员工本人或公司内部人员进行对话检查。而对于外籍员工而言,这可能是一个非常棘手的情况。公司里并不是所有的人都对外籍员工的情况有了解。哪怕是项目经理,甚至都可能不清楚自己所监管的外籍员工的背景资料。
而通过分析今年的H-1B资料数据来看,IT的咨询公司占据了H-1B申请人数的很大一部分,排名前五的雇主里有两家就属于consulting公司,主要还集中在加州地区。
为了缓解任何潜在的问题,尤其是对于大型IT咨询公司,一定要事先对外籍员工的情况了解清楚,好以应对突如其来的突击访问。如果你正好在咨询公司工作,对自己身份问题存在担忧,欢迎联系我们,我们将为你详细解惑。

USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2020 H-1B Cap Subject Petitions

May 23, 2019
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USCIS has completed data entry for all fiscal year 2020 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected in the computer-generated random selection process, including those selected under the U.S. advanced degree exemption.
As in previous years, USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that are not selected and will issue an announcement once USCIS are done notifying petitioners. Due to the volume of filings, a definite time frame for returning unselected petitions cannot be provided. Petitioners should wait to inquire about the status of their cap-subject petitions until they receive a receipt notice or an unselected petition that USCIS have returned.
Additionally, USCIS may transfer some Form I-129 H-1B cap-subject petitions between the Vermont Service Center and the California Service Center to balance the workload and enhance efficiencies. If your case is transferred, you will receive notification in the mail. After receiving the notification, please send all future correspondence to the center processing your petition.
移民局完成了2020财政年H-1B抽签,未抽中的包裹将退回处理。
美国移民局于5月17日完成了2020财年H-1B的抽签。与往年一样,对于未抽中签的包裹,移民局将会进行退回处理。同时由于数量巨大,具体什么时候收到退回的包裹暂时未有明确时间。对于今年没抽中的同学,要赶紧着手准备接下来的计划了。
还有意继续留美的同学可以选择延长OPT,申请学校等等,艺术类的申请者则可以考虑O-1签证。有人欢喜有人愁,希望大家都获得了自己想要的结果!

USCIS: Marijuana-Related Activities May Affect Your Naturalization Application Result

May 16, 2019
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USCIS recently released a policy guidance to explain that certain marijuana-related activities will have a negative impact on the result of naturalization applications, regardless of the fact that they are legal under applicable state laws. If the applicants violate the federal laws, they will be deemed to lack good moral character.
Under federal law, marijuana is classified as a “Schedule I” controlled substance, its manufacture (including planting, cultivating, harvesting, etc), distribution, dispensation and possession may eventually lead to denial in naturalization application. Immigration lawyers suggest that if you are interested in applying for citizenship now or in the future, you need to avoid participating in any kind of marijuana-related activities, and even to avoid working or investing on any marijuana-related companies. According to the report, ICE may also check the applicant’s social media accounts.
美国移民局的新政策:染指大麻可能会影响入籍
移民局(USCIS)最近发布了政策说明,以解释特定与大麻有关的活动可能会影响入籍,哪怕该州的法律已合法化大麻。如果一旦被发现违反了联邦法律,这样申请人可能被认为缺乏良好的道德品质。
联邦法律将大麻分类为“附表I”受控物质,其制造(包括种植,培养,繁殖或收获等行为),分配,派发或收藏都可能会对移民申请产生影响。一些从业者建议客户不要为大麻相关公司工作或投资。据报道,美国海关和边境保护局也有可能检查社交媒体账户。

Princeton President Eisgruber, leaders of New Jersey universities express concern to Congress about

May 9, 2019
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Princeton President Eisgruber, along with other leaders of New Jersey universities, sent a letter to the state’s Congressional delegation, showing their concern that the universities are facing an obstacle in attracting and retaining foreign students and faculties.
Eisgruber initiated this action. And in recent years, he has been trying to convey an idea that international students and faculties are crucial to the development of college campus. Eisgruber also doubted the current immigration policies, and advocated for the DACA program.
For the past few years, New Jersey universities found that the difficulty for international students and faculties to get student/work visa has been rapidly increasing. Other colleges across the country also shared the same idea.
In the letter, it is said that “Our schools vary in mission, size and the makeup of our student bodies, but we all depend on our ability to attract motivated students and scholars from throughout society and around the world. We believe our success in these endeavors plays an important role in building the state’s innovation economy.”
According to a recent research from AILA, compared to the previous two fiscal years, the total time consumed in processing immigration cases has increased 46%, and the number of international students has dropped two years in a row.
普林斯顿校长给写信国会,对目前移民情况表示担忧
普林斯顿校长Eisgruber连同新泽西州各高校校长向新泽西州国会代表团致信,信中表示大学高校在吸引和留住外籍教师,学生和员工方面所面临的障碍日益增加。
Eisgruber率先带头此次行动,近几年来,他一直努力向政府传达国际学生和教师对大学校园的重要性。 Eisgruber对目前的移民政策存疑,并称其”有害”,同时重申“梦想生”计划的重要性。
在过去的几年里,新泽西州的大学发现,外籍学生或员工在获得学生或工作签证上难度大大增加,数量也明显下降。全国各地的高等教育机构都表达了类似的现象。
信中表达:“每个学校的使命,规模和学生团体的构成各不相同,但我们都依赖于来自世界各地的学生和教职工的能力。我们相信,他们对于建设国家创新经济起着重要作用。“
根据美国移民律师协会最近的一项研究,联邦政府处理外国签证所需的总时间在过去两个财政年度增加了46%。在一份单独的报告中,研究生院理事会发现,美国国际研究生的入学人数连续两年下降。
资源:
https://www.princeton.edu/news/2019/05/02/eisgruber-leaders-new-jersey-universities-express-concern-congress-about?fbclid=IwAR16gzODkL_uA6mba1YWPACkQUIxGk5oTI59XIHxpEM0FByD7RLQhlz71mA

USCIS acknowledges that its own policies cause case processing delays

May 1, 2019
Last month, USCIS responded to a letter sent by 86 Members of the House of Representatives on February 2019, who demanded explanations for its unreasonable delays in case processing. The response showed some evidence that USCIS’s own misguided policies are the reasons of causing the delays, which is harming millions of individuals, families, and U.S. businesses throughout the country.
In fiscal year 2018, USCIS’s backlog has caused processing delays of over 5 million cases. It marks a 29 percent increase since fiscal year 2016 and a 69 percent increase since fiscal year 2014. Yet, this USCIS response failed to achieve the full transparency into the details behind this crisis.
However, the concept of “USCIS completions per hour” was contained in the letter. The agency has noted that these completion rates measure the “average hours per adjudication of an immigration benefit request.” and also the administration has conceded that “declining completions per hour limit our ability to reduce the current overall backlog.”
Besides, delays result from the issuance of Request for Evidence (RFE) are not accounted for in this measure. So if you are applying any immigration visa, it is important to obtain qualified legal counsel to guide them through the whole process.
Source:
终于认了!移民局处理案件时间延误的原因竟是…
上个月,移民局回应了众议院86位议员于2019年2月发出的一封信,该要求移民局解释其在案件处理方面的不合理延误。然而移民局的回复表明了造成延误的原因竟然是内部的政策原因,而案件延误令全国范围内造成数百万个人,家庭和美国企业受到伤害。
在2018财政年度,由于USCIS的案件积压,导致超过500万份申请的处理造成延误。这一数据比2016财年增长了29%,比2014财年增长了69%。然而,USCIS的回应未能完全透露这场政策原因背后的细节。
但是,信中载有“移民局每小时完工时间”的概念,用于衡量“每份移民福利申请的平均审理时间。”并且他们已经承认“每小时审理次数的下降限制了减少当前案件积压的处理能力”。
此外,在此措施中未考虑发出证据请求(RFE)导致的延迟。因此,如果您申请任何移民签证,获得合格的法律顾问以指导他们完成整个过程非常重要。
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ISRAELI NATIONS ELIGIBLE FOR SPECIAL VISAS

April 22, 2019
The USCIS recently announced that Israeli nationals will now be eligible for the coveted E-2 visa. The E-2 visas allow nationals from certain treaty countries to be eligible to remain in the United States if they are investing significant capital into US businesses. The visa can also potentially apply to certain employees of such investors, as well as extend to the spouses and children of E-2 visa holders. Israeli nationals already legally in the United States can petition to change to an E-2 visa starting on May 1st.
These changes will hopefully lead to increased economic cooperation between the United States and Israel, as well as an increase in capital to US businesses. It also opens a new avenue for more consistent immigration to the United States from Israel in comparison to other visa options, such as the H-1B visa, which is subject to a lottery system and has been recently criticized for its historic rate of denials.
For Israeli nationals who are interested in applying for an E-2 visa, the best course of action would be to work with qualified legal counsel specializing in immigration law. The US immigration process is complicated, and minor administrative mistakes can lead to denials. It is best to protect yourself with trusted immigration attorneys.
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以色列公民将有资格获得E-2签证

移民局最近宣布,以色列国民从5月1日起将有资格获得E-2签证!E-2签证允许来自特定条约国家的公民如果向美国企业投入资金,换取留美机会。同时适用于E-2签证持有人的配偶和子女。已经合法留美的以色列公民可以在5月1日起递交E-2签证申请。
这些变化有望促进美国和以色列之间经济合作的增加,以及增加美国企业的资本。与其他签证相比,它还为以色列公民开辟了一条通往移民美国的新途径,例如H-1B签证,该签证受制于抽签系统,而且最近屡屡受到批评。
对于有兴趣申请E-2签证的以色列公民,最好的策略是与专门从事移民法的合格法律顾问合作。美国移民程序很复杂,轻微的错误可能导致申请被拒绝,要走好准备无误的每一步才是关键。
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