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EIG Dispatch – January 16, 2015

January 16, 2015

Highlights

  • Israel and France Increase Prevailing Wages for Certain Foreign Employees
  • MyE-Verify Accounts Expand to 16 More States
  • DHS Considering “Known Employer” Pilot Program
  • U.S. Senators Introduce Immigration Innovation Act of 2015

Israel and France Increase Prevailing Wages for Certain Foreign Employees

Israel’s government has increased the prevailing wage employers are required to pay foreign workers from NIS 18,000 to NIS 18,246 per month.  This prevailing wage increase is applicable to B-1 work visas for Foreign Experts.

France has also raised the monthly salary requirements for all employees, both foreign nationals and French nationals.  The salary requirement for intercompany transfers has risen to €2186 per month and the salary requirements for all other employees has risen to €1458 per month.

Companies employing foreign nationals in Israel and France should factor these new salary requirements into their budgets to ensure compliance.

MyE-Verify Accounts Expand to 16 More States

On January 13, 2015, USCIS announced that it expanded access to “myE-Verify” accounts in more states.  myE‐Verify is a USCIS website that gives U.S. workers and job‐seekers resources and tools to learn about and participate in the E‐Verify process.  When the myE-Verify website debuted in October 2014, USCIS introduced secure myE‐verify accounts with the “Self Lock” feature in five states and the District of Columbia. This feature allows an individual to lock their social security number to prevent unauthorized or fraudulent use within the E‐Verify system.  The expanded myE-Verify accounts are now accessible to residents in sixteen more states including California, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

DHS Considering “Known Employer” Pilot Program

The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) is considering implementing a “Known Employer” pilot program to streamline adjudication of certain types of employment-based immigration benefit requests.  The pilot program is expected to launch by late 2015, and it will be designed to make adjudications more efficient by reducing cost, paperwork, and delays for both the DHS and U.S. employers.

The goal of the program would be to expedite or otherwise facilitate legitimate cross-border business travel along the northern border ports of entry between the U.S. and Canada.  In particular, the U.S. and Canadian governments have pledged to “explore the feasibility of incorporating a trusted employer concept in the processing of business travelers between Canada and the U.S.”  The “Known Employer” program would be a part of the “Beyond the Border” initiative between the U.S. and Canada.

Additional information about the “Known Employer” program will be provided in the coming months.

U.S. Senators Introduce Immigration Innovation Act of 2015

A bipartisan group of senators introduced a new immigration bill earlier this week that could provide major reforms for high-skilled workers in the United States.  If passed, bill S.153, titled “I-Squared Act”, would provide the following:

  • Increase the H-1B cap from 65,000 to 115,000 and allow an increased number of visas based upon market demand (up to 195,000);
  • Remove the existing 20,000 cap on the U.S. advanced degree exemption for H-1Bs;
  • Authorize employment for spouses of H-1B visa holders;
  • Recognize that foreign students studying in the U.S. have “dual intent” and therefore will not be penalized for wanting to stay in the U.S. post-graduation;
  • Recapture green card numbers that were approved by Congress in previous years but were left unused;
  • Exempt dependents of employment-based immigrant visas from the employment-based green card cap in the following categories: the U.S. STEM advanced degree holders, persons with extraordinary ability, and outstanding professors and researchers; and
  • Eliminate annual per-country limits for employment-based visa petitioners and adjust per-country caps for family-based immigrant visas.