EIG Dispatch | February 27, 2018

US Headlines: USCIS Finalizes Guidance on Signature Requirements / Supreme Court Turns Down Trump’s Appeal for Dreamers

Global Headlines: Australia Delays Visa Reforms Through March 2018 / UK Tier 2 Visa Cap Reached for Third Consecutive Month

Feature Story: Basics of the EB-1 Green Card

US Headlines

USCIS Finalizes Guidance on Signature Requirements. On February 16, 2018, USCIS announced that power of attorney signatures will no longer be accepted for filing purposes. Beginning March 18, all forms must contain a valid, authentic signature from the respective signatory. The policy change is an effort to reduce inconsistencies between USCIS offices and further prevent immigration fraud. The policy does not prohibit parents or legal guardians from signing on behalf of a person who is younger than 14 years old or unable to sign on his/her behalf. The policy states that USCIS “will not accept signatures created by a typewriter, word processor, stamp, auto-pen, or similar device.”

Supreme Court Turns Down Trump’s Appeal in Dreamer’s Case.  On Monday, February 26, 2018, the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s request to appeal an order made in January by a California district court judge about the continuation of the DACA program. The January order partially reinstated the DACA program, which the Trump administration began winding down in September 2017. The Supreme Court decision does not impact the DACA program, rather it requires the administration to proceed with the case through the lower courts. 

Laila Abbas, Paralegal

Global Headlines

Australia Delays Visa Reforms Through March 2018. Australian lawmakers delayed ongoing plans to reform their temporary and permanent work visa programs. Modifications for each visa type are now expected to be released in March 2018, following nearly a year of incremental changes to the country’s immigration laws and policies.

The Australian Parliament first revealed plans to reform its visa program in 2017, sparking controversy over its anticipated repeal of the subclass 457 visa and implementation of a new Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482 or “TSS”) visa. Parliament is expected to implement new requirements to tighten regulations regarding employer-sponsored permanent residence applications, which may involve new qualifying factors such as occupation, experience, and age to assess candidates’ eligibility.

UK Tier 2 Visa Cap Reached for Third Consecutive Month. The UK has met its monthly quota for Tier 2 skilled non-EU workers for the third month in a row. The UK’s annual limit allows a total of 20,700 new visas to be issued incrementally each month. This trend is expected to continue as there are significantly more open positions for foreign skilled-workers than the current system allows. Additionally, with Brexit on the horizon, more European workers are returning home, leaving gaps in the job market that cannot be satisfied by the UK’s current quota system. 

Xavier Francis, Attorney

Feature Story: Basics of the EB-1 Green Card

The EB-1 category is the first preference category for employment-sponsored green cards. There are 3 sub-categories of EB-1 filings: (1) Extraordinary Ability (EB-1 A), (2) Outstanding Researcher (EB-1 B), and (3) Multinational Manager (EB-1 C). Most foreign workers prefer applying under the EB-1 category because it means obtaining a green card faster and bypassing the labor certification process. However, filing under the EB-1 category is not for everyone.

EB-1A Extraordinary Ability
The EB-1 Extraordinary Ability category is reserved “for the small percentage of individuals who have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor.” This requires extensive supporting evidence to document your work and achievements, such as:

  • evidence of media coverage of your work,
  • receipt of national/international awards,
  • authorship of scholarly articles,
  • founding of a successful company,
  • patents,
  • presentations at conferences
  • industry events

The EB-1 extraordinary ability category is a very difficult threshold to meet, and most employees will not qualify.

As an applicant, you have the burden of proof to show:

  1.  Extraordinary ability in the arts/sciences/business which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and achievements that have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation; and
  2. That you will continue to work in the field of your extraordinary ability in the US; and
  3. That your work will substantially benefit prospectively the US; and
  4. Evidence of a one-time achievement of a major internationally recognized award (e.g. Nobel Prize)

Or at least 3 of the following:

  1.  Receipt of lesser nationally/internationally recognized prizes or awards (not including academic awards or nominations);
  2.  Membership in an association in the field which requires outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts;
  3. Published material about the person in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
  4. Participation as a judge of the work of others;
  5. Evidence of original scientific contributions of major significance;
  6. Authorship of scholarly articles;
  7. Artistic exhibitions or showcases;
  8. Performance in a leading or cultural role for organization or establishment that has a distinguished reputation;
  9. High salary or remuneration in relation to others in the field; or
  10. Commercial success in the performing arts.

EB-1B Outstanding Researcher
The EB-1 Outstanding Researcher criteria require that you currently perform outstanding research in your field of expertise and that your research has made significant contributions to the advancement of the field (not only towards the company’s business). The government has placed increasingly heightened scrutiny on this category. In addition, the EB-1 Outstanding Researcher category requires that you are employed in a research-based role and that you have an advanced degree in your field (typically a Ph.D.).

As an applicant, you have the burden of proof to show:

    1. International recognition as outstanding in a specific academic area; and
    2. 3 years of experience in teaching or research in the academic area; and
    3. That you will conduct research with an employer that employs at least 3 full-time persons in research activities and has achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field (excluding engineering or product design); and
    4.  Evidence of at least 2 of the following:

a. Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement;
b. Membership in an association which requires outstanding achievement;

c. Published material in professional publications written by others about your work;
d. Evidence of your participation as a judge of the work of others;
e. Evidence of original scientific research; or
f. Authorship of scholarly books or articles in the field.

EB-1C Multinational Manager or Executive
The EB-1 Multinational Manager category is for senior managers and executives who are transferred from outside the US to an affiliated company in the US. It is critical that the majority of job duties relate to strategic or policy management. In order to qualify as a manager, you must have been employed by the company abroad for at least one year in a managerial capacity in the 3 years prior to entry as a non-immigrant. First-line supervisors are not considered to be acting in a managerial capacity merely because they have supervisory duties.

If you are a functional manager, you must be able to demonstrate that your roles in the U.S. and abroad meet the following:

  1. managed a corporation, department, or essential subdivision or function;
  2. functioned at a senior level; and
  3. exercised discretion over the day to day operations of the activity or function.

The majority of the job duties must relate to operational or policy management and the applicant cannot be an individual contributor. In addition, significant documentation must be submitted to establish all the requirements are met.

Please reach out to your EIG attorney if you have any questions about the categories or your qualifications.

Christina Haines, Attorney

Stephanie Cohen, Jeff DeCruz, Aisha Farooq, and Theresa Meehan