EIG Dispatch | November 21, 2017

US Headlines: Applicants Nominee for DHS Secretary Headed to Senate for Confirmation Vote / House Judiciary Committee Approves Bill Limiting Hiring Process for H-1B Dependent Employers / USCIS Will Consider Delayed DACA Requests

Global Headlines: Australia’s 457 Transition / Upcoming Deadline for Conversion of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) to Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) / Japan Relaxes Visa Requirements for Indian Nationals

Feature Story: The Devil is in the Details: Drafting the Best EVL for Your Green Card Process


Upcoming Events

November 23 & 24 – Thanksgiving, EIG will be closed.

November 28- An Uncertain Future: Dreamers, Tech, and a Changing Immigration Landscape

Next Tuesday, join EIG Attorney Alejandra Zapatero and industry leaders at Microsoft’s San Francisco office for a night of cocktails and conversation on the current status of immigration reform in DC and how these changes are affecting the tech industry and Bay Area immigrants. Register here.  

 


EIG in the News

California Immigration Law Creates New Challenges for Employers,” by Laura D. Francis of Bloomberg BNA regarding California AB 450 features great insight by EIG Attorney Hiba Anver. A must read if you are a California Employer. 


US Headlines

Nominee for DHS Secretary Headed to Senate for Confirmation Vote. On October 12, 2017, President Trump nominated White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Kirstjen Nielsen, to be the new Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. After a delay due to concerns by committee members, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee backed President Trump’s nomination last week, referring Nielsen’s nomination to the Senate for a confirmation vote. During her confirmation hearing, Nielsen emphasized border security through technological innovations and enhanced cybersecurity, rather than “a wall from sea to shining sea”—noting that DACA recipients and other foreigners seeking refuge in America merit more long-term solutions.

House Judiciary Committee Approves Bill Limiting Hiring Process for H-1B Dependent Employers. The “Protect and Grow American Jobs Act,” passed the House Judiciary Committee last week, a preliminary step in a series of votes required before a bill becomes law. The bill aims to create additional deterrents for H-1B dependent employers replacing American workers with foreign employees at a substantially lesser cost (non H-1B dependent employers would not be affected). If passed, H-1B dependent employers would be subject to stricter criteria for H-1B petitions, including an increase in minimum salary requirements.

USCIS Will Consider DACA Requests Recieved Late Due to Postal Service Delays. The Department of Homeland Security rescinded its decision to reject DACA renewal applications which missed the deadline due to postal delays. The department’s acting director, Elaine C. Duke, issued a statement authorizing applicants who had submitted their applications in a timely manner, prior to the October 5 deadline, to re-submit their paperwork with proof of Postal Service delays.


Global Headlines

New Detailed Recruitment Questions Added to Singapore’s Employment Pass

Australia’s 457 Transition: Updates on Grandfathering Provisions and Health Insurance Requirements. 

Australia recently clarified two elements of its ongoing 457 reforms.

  • A grandfathering provision will allow those who held or had applied for a Subclass 457 visa on April 18, 2017, to retain access to the current process and requirements for the Temporary Residence Transition stream for permanent residency, and will not be subject to all of the stricter requirements being implemented in March 2018. This grandfathering provision, which was expected, has now been confirmed.
  • Effective November 18, 2017, subclass 457 visa applicants will no longer be required to provide evidence of health insurance coverage as part of the visa application process.This applies to all applications that are currently pending, as well as those filed in coming months. Applicants will simply be required to indicate, as part of their online application form, that they have made adequate arrangements for health insurance for their intended period of stay in Australia.

Upcoming Deadline for Conversion of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) to Overseas Citizens of India. Individuals who possess Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cards should convert them to Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards before December 31, 2017. OCI applications may be submitted to the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in India, through CKGS in the US, or through Indian Consulates and visa processing centers abroad. Once approved the OCI will be valid for the holder’s lifetime and serves as a lifelong multiple-entry visa to India regardless of the length of stay.   


 Japan Relaxes Visa Requirements for Indian Nationals. 
Japan’s Ministry of Foreign affairs recently announced simplified visa processes for Indian citizens. Starting January 1, 2018, nationals of India will be able to apply for a visitor visa with their passport, visa application form, and documents to prove either their financial means (for tourism) or their affiliation to certain enterprises (for business). An employment certificate and explanation letter stating the reason for applying for a multiple-entry visa will no longer be required. Additionally, any applicant who visited Japan two or more times in the last year will be issued a multiple-entry visa valid for 5 years, with a maximum stay of 90 days per visit. 


Feature Story: The Devil is in the Details: Drafting the Best EVL for Your Green Card Process

Employment Verification Letters or “EVLs” are an essential part of every PERM-based I-140 application. When filing the I-140, our IV attorneys use EVLs from the foreign worker’s prior employers to prove the foreign worker possesses the “special skills” required for the position (as outlined in the previously certified or approved PERM).

In general, an EVL should

  • be printed on the previous company’s letterhead and
  • signed by the worker’s previous manager.

The body of the letter must include:

  1. A Detailed explanation of the worker’s experience. It is important to be as detailed as possible when drafting your EVL. A general statement such as “This worker performed software engineering duties” is not recommended. Instead, provide a thorough explanation of your previous position such as: “This worker coded programs in C, C++, and Java. This worker also designed and developed database design using MySQL. The worker performed maintenance and troubleshooting of systems.”
  2. Specific dates of employment and manager’s name. If at all possible, it is best to put the exact dates of employment in your EVL such as “This worker was employed from April 1, 2012 to June 24, 2015.” Also, the manager who is attesting to the worker’s experience should include the manager’s name and dates of supervision such as “This worker was employed from April 1, 2012 to June 24, 2015. I supervised this worker from April 1, 2012 to May 5, 2013.”
  3. Make sure the EVL accounts for all of the special skills. If the PERM application lists C, Java, and Python as the required special skills, all of these must be accounted for in the EVL – there is no “two should be good enough” when it comes to immigration!

What if I cannot obtain an EVL from my manager because he/she no longer works for the company?

This is a relatively common occurrence. Reach out to your manager at their new job and ask if they will provide the EVL on plain paper and have it notarized. Make sure to also gather additional evidence of your previous employment such as paystubs, employment contracts, etc.

What if I cannot obtain an EVL from my manager because he/she refuses to help me?

Ask one of your former colleagues to provide a statement detailing your previous experience. In this scenario, you should also make sure to gather the aforementioned additional evidence of your previous employment.

What if I gained my special skills through my coursework and not through previous employment?

That is fine! Your professor can provide the EVL and attest to the special skills gained through your coursework.

**Important: Your EIG attorney is here to help you! Your attorney is happy to review your drafts of your EVLs and provide any tips, recommendations, and pointers before you send them to the managers or professors for signature.


Contributors

Ashley Tobon, Paralegal

Kane Vongsavanh, Attorney

Emily Callan, Attorney

Editors: Lieselot Whitbeck, Christina Holtz, and Jeff DeCruz