EIG Dispatch | January 9, 2018

US Headlines: Justices Speed Up President Trump’s Immigration Appeal / CBP Establishes New Rules for Searching Electronic Devices / Trump Administration Announces Termination of Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans / Democrats and Republicans Inching Towards Deal to Protect Dreamers but Remain Divided over Funding the Wall

Global Headlines: Higher Salary Thresholds and Updated Visa Application Fees Announced for Israel / Singapore Announces Higher Salary Thresholds for Dependent Privileges / Upcoming ACR I-Card Holder Changes Announced for the Philippines 

Feature Story: USCIS Quells Rumors about H-1B Extension Limits


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US Headlines

Justices Speed Up President Trump’s Immigration Appeal. On Monday, January 8, the Supreme Court said it will look at the Trump administration’s new appeal that seeks to defend the President’s third immigration order in a private conference on January 19, 2018. On January 5, 2018, the Government in Hawaii v. Trump (9th Cir.) filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking the Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s December 22 ruling on the President’s September Proclamation which superseded the President’s previous immigration orders and barred entry from North Korea, Venezuela, and Chad in addition to entry from the five listed countries.

CBP Establishes New Rules for Searching Electronic Devices. On January 4, 2018, U.S. CBP announced an updated policy for searching electronic devices at U.S. borders to enhance transparency, accountability, and oversight. The goal of the policy is to “protect the rights of individuals against unreasonable search and seizure and ensure privacy protections while accomplishing its enforcement mission.” The Directive imposes tightening restrictions on CBP agents’ ability to search electronic devices for travelers entering or exiting the United States. The Directive requires CBP agents to have “reasonable suspicion” of unlawful activity or demonstrate any “national security concern” in order to exercise advanced searches on electronic devices which include computers, removable media, disks, drives, tablets, mobile phones, cameras, and any other communication, electronics, or digital devices that belong to individuals entering or exiting the United States. The Directive only authorizes the agents to inspect data stored on an electronic device, not in the cloud

Trump Administration Announced Monday it is Ending Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans. The Trump administration has announced that it will terminate the provisional residence permits of approximately 200,000 Salvadorans who have lived in the United States since February 2001. TPS was approved for El Salvador in 2001 after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake destabilized the country. Past administrations have extended TPS due to the determination that conditions in the country had not improved.The Trump administration has decided to end TPS for Salvadorans effective September 9, 2019.

Democrats and Republicans are Inching Toward a Deal to Protect Dreamers but Remain Divided over Funding the Wall. Republicans and Democrats met today in the White House to reach a deal on the January spending bill. The White House and Senate negotiators seem to be close to reaching a deal that would protect the DACA program, but they are still divided over the funding and construction of a border wall. 


Global Headlines

Higher Salary Thresholds and Updated Visa Application Fees Announced for Israel. Starting January 1, 2018, companies planning on sending employees to Israel with a Short Term Employment (SEA) or Short Term Expedited Process (STEP) visa must comply with the recent changes to the minimum budget salary, increasing the gross monthly wage to 5300 NIS. Additionally, the Ministry of the Interior has increased application fees to NIS 9675 for B-1 work visas which are valid for at least six months.

Singapore Announces Higher Salary Thresholds for Dependent Privileges. Effective January 1, 2018, the Ministry of Manpower has increased the minimum monthly salary requirement by 20% for foreign nationals to sponsor their family members. The latest updates to the Employment Pass and S Pass minimum thresholds to sponsor dependents for Dependent Passes (DPs) and Long Term Visa Passes (LTVPs) are as follows:

  • SGD 6,000 for spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old;
  • SGD 6,000 for common-law spouses, unmarried children 21+ years old within certain guidelines, and unmarried stepchildren 21 years old and under; and
  • SGD 12,000 for parents.

Upcoming ACR I-Card Holder Changes Announced for the Philippines. The Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration now requires holders of the Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Cards (ACR I-Cards) to file Annual Reports (ARs) by March 3, 2018. This requirement affects all registered aliens who have stayed more than 59 days in the Philippines unless the alien is a dual citizen of the Philippines and another foreign country. The requirements to timely file the AR include signing up through the immigration online system and physically reporting to the main Bureau of Immigration office, or its participating satellite office, with the applicant’s valid ACR I-card, PHP 310 AR fee, confirmation number of the 2018 filing, and a written attestation undertaking any outstanding Bureau of Immigration obligations. 


Feature Story: USCIS Quells Rumors about H-1B Extension Limits

USCIS has confirmed that it is no longer considering eliminating the ability of H-1B holders to extend beyond the six-year limit. “The agency is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to carry out the President’s Buy American, Hire American Executive Order, including a thorough review of employment-based visa programs,” said the Chief of Media Relations, Jonathan Withington yesterday. “What we can say, however, is that USCIS is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing our interpretation of Section 104(c) of AC-21, which provides for H-1B extensions beyond the 6-year limit.”

Therefore, USCIS has confirmed that it is no longer considering eliminating H-1B extensions beyond the six-year limit. Rumors of a purported end to this practice recently circulated in the wake of a report from McClatchy DC Bureau on December 30, 2017. Initial reports of such changes prompted a harsh reaction from both business leaders and members of the Congressional Caucus regarding India and Indian-Americans. Sources indicate that the Administration received considerable backlash from the technology and business communities. The change in the Administration’s change in stance is described as a “major accomplishment for everyone who came together to express their outrage about a cruel and vindictive policy.”

EIG will continue to monitor this situation and bring you updates as they become available.


Contributors

Yama Keshawerz, Attorney

Miatrai Brown, Attorney

John Sherry, Attorney

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