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.
Source:
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