US Headlines: Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against California / USCIS Opens TPS Re-Registration Period for Syrians
Global Headlines: New Visa Considerations for Travel to India / Brazil’s E-visa Available for Certain Nationals
Feature Story: The Importance of Site Visits
Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against California. On March 6, 2018, the Justice Department led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, filed a lawsuit against the state of California over its recent passage of laws intended to further protect undocumented immigrants from detainment and deportation by federal authorities without sufficient cause. As the country’s leading “sanctuary” state, California’s latest enactments strictly limit the federal government’s authority to regulate and enforce immigration laws within state lines. For example, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act prevents federal officials from obtaining employee records from local businesses without a court order. Additionally, the California Values Act limits the state’s compliance with federal officials in criminal investigations for non-convicted individuals. Together, these laws run parallel to the state’s new budget bill, which includes a provision prohibiting new contracts for the construction of immigration detention centers.
The lawsuit accuses California of unconstitutionally violating the federal government’s plenary authority over US immigration matters. The final outcome may result in a significant power shift between the authority of state and federal officials to enforce immigration laws.
USCIS Opens TPS Re-Registration Period for Syrians. Last week, USCIS announced that the re-registration period for Syrians who currently hold Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is open from March 5 to May 4, 2018. Syrian TPS holders must renew their status during this period and maintain all eligibility requirements, including continuous residence since August 1, 2016. Individuals with work permits expiring after March 31 will be given an automatic extension of work authorization until September 27, 2018, while their EAD renewal applications are pending.
Cathryn Paul, Paralegal
New Visa Considerations for Travel to India. In January 2017, India implemented changes to the e-Visa scheme, creating separate categories for business, tourism, and medical travel. The e-Visa is available to nationals of certain countries and can be issued up to two times per year, allowing two entries within a 60 day period. It is expected that long-term, consular issued visas, such as the Business Visa, will no longer be canceled when the holder applies for a short-term visa, including the e-Visa. This change will enable long-term visa holders, normally restricted to a singular purpose based on their particular classification, to travel for other reasons.
Brazil’s E-visa Now Available for Certain Nationals. As an update to our previous article regarding changes to Brazil immigration laws and visa categories, the long-anticipated Electronic Visa (E-visa) was implemented on January 25, 2018. The E-visa is available to nationals of the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan who are traveling for tourism and limited business activity. The E-visa, valid for up to two years and multiple entries, provides applicants with a more streamlined, application process. If you are unsure whether your business travel purpose qualifies for a Brazil E-visa, please reach out to EIG at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marisa Santana, Attorney
Feature Story: The Importance of Site Visits
While the EIG team races towards the pending H-1B Cap deadline, I was fortunate to spend some time sprinting around the San Francisco Bay Area over the past few weeks. While Google Hangouts, Skype, Slack and old-fashioned phone calls enable instant communication worldwide, in the current climate, face-to-face meetings are a priority for us here at EIG. Onsite meetings provide an opportunity for us to demonstrate our commitment and care by personally answering questions and allaying concerns for employees and their families. During this time I met with foreign nationals working in the United States, students with their fingers crossed for the upcoming H-1B lottery, and HR/Mobility professionals facing a myriad of hiring issues.
While visiting foreign students, several questions arose concerning the nature of the H-1B Cap process. Navigating the requirements and processes left many employees with unanswered questions regarding their specific case and the selection process used by USCIS. In addition to clarifying how the process works, our team reassured employees that the H-1B selection process is, in fact, a lottery.
We found that many foreign nationals expressed tremendous anxiety as the many changes being announced and considered by the Trump administration raised more questions than answers. The importance of this conversation did not end when we boarded our flight back to Washington DC. The personal connections established during our trip not only put a face with the name on the other end of an email; they served as a reminder of the importance of the work our team does on a daily basis.
While the main purpose of an on-site visit is to connect personally with the employees we represent, our attorneys also use this time to speak with human resources and mobility professionals. Recruiters and other internal stakeholders rely on us as a resource to have a clear sense of visa requirements, policies, and a fine-tuned understanding of immigration processes in the race for talent.
Our mission at EIG is to uncomplicate the oftentimes daunting immigration process. Returning to the office, I was quickly reminded of how persistently our team works to prepare strong and quality filings. Whether it is on the phone or in person, know that we are here to help, we value each and every individual we have the opportunity to serve and will continue serving our clients to the best of our ability.
…Now back to reviewing H-1B Cap petitions.
Jeff Quilhot, Attorney
Jeff DeCruz, Aisha Farooq, and Theresa Meehan