EIG Dispatch | January 16, 2018

US Headlines: USCIS Resumes Accepting DACA Applications / Acting Head of EOIR Given Permanent Position

Global Headlines: Clarification Provided for Brazil’s New Immigration Law / UAE Requires Police Clearance for Residence Visa Processing / EU Tightens Borders by Adopting Entry & Exit System / China Simplifies Requirements for R Visa for High Skilled Talent

Feature Story: ICE Announces New Workplace Enforcement Efforts Following Nationwide Raids


US Headlines

USCIS Resumes Accepting DACA Applications. Reversing its prior policy, USCIS is again accepting DACA renewal applications after a California judge issued an order reinstating the program. Multiple DACA recipients sued the Department of Justice after President Trump announced the end of the program. Applicants were given an original deadline of October 5, 2017 to apply for renewal. With the court’s ruling, that deadline is no longer in place and those who have previously held DACA are now eligible to apply for renewal.

Acting Head of EOIR Given Permanent Position. James McHenry has been named the Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which processes immigration cases and appeals. The agency has experienced a large backlog in recent years. In Fiscal year 2016, for example, the agency received over 328,000 cases but only completed a little over 273,000. The Trump administration is hoping to decrease this by appointing 60 new judges.


Global Headlines

Clarification Provided for Brazil’s New Immigration Law. On November 21, 2017, Brazil introduced a new immigration law containing several regulations which have been published in stages. The Brazil government is still in the process of publishing additional resolutions, while changes to requirements based on published resolutions are in the process of being solidified as policy and implemented across government offices. Visa categorization has been reduced in an effort to streamline and simplify application processes, but requirements for various visa types have been stiffened.

Visitor Visas will now be used for tourism, business, transit, and artists/sports/journalism activity. Temporary work visas will be available for qualifying workers with both a formal job offer or those with a high-level degree wishing to seek a job in Brazil. However, work visa types will require additional proof of qualifications and experience. Those performing short-term technical work during travel to Brazil will now require approval from the Ministry of Labor, and those engaging in technology transfer or professional internal training will require a training plan and approval from the Ministry of Labor. The new law also mandates faster processing times for Residence visa processing and allows a pathway for those on Visitor Visas to Residence. Also included are increased windows for registration after arrival and increased monetary penalties for non-compliance.

As Brazil continues to publish resolutions, implement policy, and train government authorities, delays, and inconsistencies are expected. EIG is closely monitoring this situation and will update as additional clarification is provided.

UAE Requires Police Clearance for Residence Visa Processing. Starting February 4, 2018, UAE will require police clearance certificates (PCC) for all incoming immigrant workers applying for Residence Visas. PCCs must be legalized, attested, and translated. Primary applicants for Residence Visas will require a PCC for any country in which they have resided for more than 5 years. Processing times for obtaining, attesting, and translating PCCs will vary based on country of issuance. This requirement will not apply to dependent family members.

EU Tightens Borders by Adopting Entry/Exit System. The EU Council adopted an Entry/Exit System regulation amending the Schengen border code published on December 9, 2017. The recent changes are made in an effort for the System to more closely track the length of stay for foreign nationals systematically, detect overstays, reduce delays of manual border checks, and strengthen border security. While the System is not expected to be implemented until 2020, its adoption is a reminder of increasing EU border controls and border authorities’ vigilance for overstayers.

China Simplifies Requirements for R Visa for High Skilled Talent. As of January 1, 2018, China’s R Visa will be issued to qualified applicants, granting multiple-entries for a period of up to 180 days. The R Visa will be valid in increments of 5 or 10 years and includes the right for dependent spouses and children to join. The R Visa is intended for highly skilled professionals in science, technology, or high-level positions whose skills can be shown as unique or “urgently required” in China. Once implemented, applications will now be filed online, and processing times will be reduced to five working days.


Feature Story: ICE Announces New Workplace Enforcement Efforts Following Nationwide Raids

On January 10, 2018, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials conducted raids of about 100 7-Eleven convenience stores across the country, arresting 21 people involved in employing undocumented workers. This was the largest raid on a business suspected of employing undocumented immigrants conducted during the Trump administration. ICE officials indicated that the raids should serve as a warning to businesses who hire undocumented employees. Acting Director, Thomas D. Homan, confirmed that “ICE will continue its efforts to protect jobs for American workers by eliminating unfair competitive advantages for companies that exploit illegal immigration.”

The same day, ICE announced a 3-point approach to ensure companies are not employing unauthorized workers:

  1.      I-9 Compliance Inspections, fines, debarment referral, if necessary;
  2.      Arresting employees who are working without authorization, including employer personnel responsible for hiring; and
  3.      Community education addressing compliance and accountability.

Employers are required to confirm and verify employment authorization and the identity of each of their employees, and to complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9) for each employee. ICE investigations often stem from examining other criminal violations such as money laundering, fraud, alien smuggling/harboring, etc. As ICE is increasing its efforts to enforce workplace regulations, employers should take special care to ensure their I-9 procedures are up-to-date and accurate.

Companies seeking assistance with compliance issues can obtain certification from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the IMAGE program. To complete certification, companies complete an assessment questionnaire, enroll in the DHS E-verify program, develop a written employment eligibility policy, and submit to an I-9 audit.


Contributors

Theresa Meehan, Attorney

Marisa Santana, Attorney

Cheryl Gardner, Attorney

Editors: Jeff DeCruz, Aisha Farooq, Christina Holtz, and Theresa Meehan