Business Immigration Monthly - January 2016

Date: 1/13/2016
 01- Business_Immigration_Monthly_January_2016.pdf

 

H-1B QUOTA OPENS ON APRIL 1 – ARE YOUR COMPANY'S     H-1B QUOTA PETITIONS READY TO BE FILED?

The H-1B quota for fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017) will open on April 1, 2016. Similar to the last few H-1B quota seasons, our firm is anticipating that the H-1B quota for fiscal year 2017 will be met during the initial filing period of April 1, 2016 through April 7, 2016. When the H-1B quota is met, employers will not be able to file additional H-1B quota subject petitions until the next H-1B quota becomes available on April 1, 2017 (for H-1B employment beginning on or after October 1, 2017).

The number of H-1B quota visas remains the same as in previous years, 65,000 for the regular H-1B quota with an extra 20,000 numbers available for individuals who have earned U.S. Master's or higher degrees. During the last H-1B quota period for fiscal year 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received more than 233,000 petitions. This was an increase of more than 60,000 petitions received (or an approximately 25% increase) in the fiscal year 2016 H-1B quota in comparison to the fiscal year 2015 H-1B quota. It is assumed that the number of petitions received by the USCIS in this upcoming fiscal year 2017 H-1B quota will be significantly higher with some estimating that more than 300,000 H-1B quota subject petitions may be received by the USCIS.

If the USCIS receives more petitions than H-1B quota numbers available, the USCIS will conduct a random selection process of the petitions received. The first random selection process will be conducted for the petitions received claiming the exemption under the U.S. Master's or higher degree. The petitions not selected in this random selection process will then be added to the regular H-1B quota petitions and the USCIS will then conduct another random selection process. If the petition is selected in either of the random selection processes, the USCIS will then adjudicate those petitions. If the petition is not selected in either of the random selection processes, the petition will be returned to the employer (or its representative) without adjudication. No special preferences are given in the random selection process for types of positions, countries of birth, educational background, etc. If a petition is received after the H-1B quota is met, the petition will also be returned to the employer without being adjudicated.


Therefore, employers should currently be preparing their H-1B quota petitions so that they can be filed during the upcoming H-1B quota initial filing period. Please note that as part of the H-1B process, the employer (or its representative) must first obtain a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL may take 7+ plus days to adjudicate the LCA, assuming that the DOL's iCERT system continues to function properly.

Additional information about the fiscal year 2017 H-1B quota will be contained in our firm's future Immigration Updates when it becomes available.

USCIS ISSUES NOTICE REGARDING INCREASED H-1B AND L-1 ENHANCED FRAUD FEES

The USCIS recently released a notice to the public about how it will be implementing the new enhanced fraud fees in the H-1B and L-1 programs. The Omnibus Appropriations Act, which was recently signed into law on December 18, 2015, reinstates the enhanced H-1B and L-1 fraud fees. These reinstated and enhanced fraud fees were discussed in our firm's previous Immigration Update dated December 18, 2015. The USCIS confirmed that H-1B and L-1 petitioners who are subject to the reinstated and enhanced fraud fees must submit the additional fee of $4,000 for certain H-1B petitions and $4,500 for certain L-1 petitions postmarked on or after December 18, 2015. Although the Act states that the enhanced fraud fees apply to both initial petitions and extension petitions, the USCIS notice indicates that employers will only be required to submit the enhanced H-1B or L-1 fraud fee to obtain the initial grant of H-1B or L status or to obtain change of status to H-1B or L status. These additional enhanced fraud fees only apply to petitioners who employ 50 or more employees in the United States with more than 50% of these employees in H-1B or L-1a or L-1b nonimmigrant status. The enhanced H-1B or L-1 fraud fee is in addition to the other mandatory filing fees. The USCIS notes that the enhanced fraud fee will remain in effect through September 30, 2025. The USCIS has indicated that it will begin rejecting H-1B or L petitions received on or after February 16, 2016 that do not complete the required information on the H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement or the L Classification Supplement. The USCIS has also indicated that during the 30 day period immediately following its notice on January 12, 2016, the USCIS may issue a request for evidence (RFE) to determine whether the additional enhanced fraud fee applies to a petition and, if so, that the petitioner should submit the additional fee when required. Finally, the USCIS states in the notice that petitioners should not proactively submit the enhanced fraud fee for petitions that have already been filed since December 18, 2015. Instead, petitioners should wait for an RFE to be issued for the enhanced fraud fee.

STEM OPT UPDATE

As previously discussed in our firm's Immigration Update dated October 23, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a proposed rule expanding STEM OPT while adding additional restrictions to the program. The proposed rule also reaffirms the current H-1B Cap Gap relief. DHS in part introduced this proposed regulation in order to respond to a court decision that vacated the original STEM OPT and Cap Gap relief regulation. The court stayed the decision to vacate the previous regulation until February 12, 2016 in order to allow DHS time to issue a new regulation which complies with the terms of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). DHS allowed comments on the new proposed regulation through November 18, 2015.

In response to the new proposed regulation, DHS received approximately 50,500 comments. Because DHS determined that it could not complete its review of these comments and issue the final regulation prior to the court's deadline, DHS requested a 90 day extension through May 10, 2016 on the court's order. DHS indicated that this 90 day extension would allow DHS approximately 30 more days to complete its rulemaking and 60 more days for a delayed effective-date during which DHS would train agency personnel and coordinate with the regulated community. If the judge in the case refuses to grant the extension, the government may file another motion asking for a stay of the ruling through the Appellate Court. The plaintiffs in the suit filed a motion opposing the extension on January 11, 2016. As of January 13, 2016, the government's initial motion requesting the extension of the court order for 90 days is still pending with the court.

Additional information about the future of the STEM OPT Program will be contained in our firm's future Immigration Updates when it becomes available.

DOL RELEASES FISCAL YEAR 2014 FOREIGN LABOR CERTIFICATION STATISTICS

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently released its statistics in the foreign labor certification programs for Fiscal Year 2014 (October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014). In Fiscal Year 2014, the DOL's Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) processed 605,368 employer applications for temporary and permanent labor certifications. OFLC adjudicated 70,998 permanent labor certification applications in Fiscal Year 2014 which represented nearly a 6% increase from Fiscal Year 2013. In Fiscal Year 2014, OFLC processed an average of 1,365 permanent labor certification applications per week. OFLC had 54,523 permanent labor certification applications pending at the end of Fiscal Year 2014 which represents a 9% increase in pending case loads over Fiscal Year 2013. The top six states for positions certified in the permanent program are California, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Washington and Illinois. The top occupations with more than 1,000 approved labor certifications were all in the Information Technology field. The top three countries of origin for beneficiaries of the approved labor certifications are India, China and Canada.

In H-1B program, the DOL certified more than 462,000 labor condition applications. The total number of positions requested in Fiscal Year 2014 was more than 933,000 which represented approximately a 1% decrease in the number of positions certified compared to Fiscal Year 2013. The top three occupations for positions certified were computer-related occupations with Computer Systems Analysts representing almost 27% of the positions certified. The top five states with LCAs certified were California, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Illinois.

In Fiscal Year 2014, the DOL's National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) issused approximately 123,000 prevailing wage determinations and more than 2,000 redeterminations which represented a 7% increase over Fiscal Year 2013. More than 87% of the prevailing wage determinations issued were requested for applications in the permanent labor certification program. California, Texas and New York were the three states with the most prevailing wage determinations issued. The top five occupations with prevailing wage determinations were computer-related occupations with the highest average hourly wage being for a Computer and Information Systems Manager at $70.01 per hour.

FEBRUARY 2015 VISA BULLETIN UPDATE

The Department of State (DOS) released its February 2015 Visa Bulletin which shows the availability of employment-based immigrant visa categories for the month of February. Below is a summary of the bulletin highlights:

·         The EB-2 India category has advanced from February 15, 2005 to September 1, 2005.

·         The EB-2 China category has advanced one month from  February 1, 2010 to March 15, 2010.

·         The EB-3 India category advances two weeks from December 15, 2003 to December 22, 2003.

·         The EB-3 World, Mexico and Philippines categories continue to exhibit strong advancement from June 1, 2013 to January 1, 2014.

·         The EB-3 China category also continues to show significant advancement from March 1, 2011 to September 1, 2011.

Please note that month-to-month availability of immigrant visas varies and depends on many factors. These forecasts do not guarantee future availability.

Forecast for Future Months

The following is a summary of the DOS' forecast for availability of immigrant visas:

1.     EB-1 will remain current.

2.     EB-2 China will advance three to six weeks.

3.     EB-2 India will advance four to six months

4.     EB-2 World will remain current.

5.     EB-3 World will advance another month or two.

6.     EB-3 China will see rapid advancement which may require a cutoff in future months.

7.     EB-3 India will advance two weeks.

8.     EB-3 Mexico will remain consistent at the EB-3 World date.

9.     EB-3 Philippines will remain consistent with the EB-3 World date, but may require a cutoff in future months.

10.  EB-5 China may be cutoff as early as the summer months. All other countries will remain current.

Comparison to Prior Months

The following is a comparison of priority date movement since the inception of the current retrogression in 2007:

Dec 2007

Jun 2008

Aug 2009

Sept 2012

May 2013

Jan 2015

Feb 2016

EB-3 World

09/01/02

03/01/06

U

10/01/06

12/01/07

06/01/13

10/01/15

EB-2 China

01/01/03

04/01/04

10/01/03

U

05/15/08

02/01/10

03/01/12

EB-3 China

10/15/01

03/22/03

U

12/15/05

12/01/07

03/01/11

10/01/12

EB-2 India

01/01/02

04/01/04

10/01/03

U

09/01/04

02/15/05

08/01/08

EB-3 India

05/01/01

11/01/01

U

10/08/02

12/22/02

12/15/03

06/15/04

EB-3 Other Workers

10/01/01

01/01/03

U

10/01/06

12/01/07

06/01/13

10/01/15

 

Additional information about the movement of the employment-based immigrant visa priority dates will be contained in our firm's future Immigration Updates when it becomes available.

DOS ISSUES CABLE ON H-1B CHANGE OF WORKSITE PROVISIONS

The Department of State (DOS) has issued a cable on the precedential decision, Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC. The cable reiterates the USCIS memorandum issued on July 21, 2015, available here: http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Laws/Memoranda/2015/2015-0721_Simeio_Solutions_Transition_Guidance_Memo_Format_7_21_15.pdf. Specifically, the cable advises consular officers that an H-1B employer must file an amended petition for an employee that is changing work locations to a new geographical area. The cable clarifies that "geographical area" means a normal commuting distance from the worksite or within the same Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Also, the cable indicates that the H-1B employee can begin working at the new worksite upon the employer's filing of the amended or new H-1B petition and does not have to wait for an approval of the petition. The cable also indicates the scenarios when an amended/new H-1B petition is not needed, for example, worksite changes within the same geographical area, short-term placements, and non-worksite locations. The cable outlines what a consular officer should and shouldn't do when adjudicating H-1B visas. This includes not verifying the Labor Condition Application or worksite location of every single visa application, but only when inconsistent information is presented at the time of application. Lastly, the cable outlines an H-1B employer's obligations after the Simeio ruling which were stipulated in the USCIS memorandum and which are summarized in our Firm's Immigration Update dated July 31, 2015.

USCIS ISSUES DRAFT OF "SAME OR SIMILAR" MEMORANDUM

The USCIS has issued the draft of a policy memorandum clarifying when a position is in a "Same or Similar" occupation for purposes of green card portability. Green card portability was an important provision of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21) enacted in October 2000. However, the law left many unanswered questions as to when a new position would qualify for green card portability. This new draft memorandum was one of the many Executive Action initiatives discussed by President Obama in November of 2014. Below is a summary of the draft memorandum:

1)     The memorandum will supersede all previous memoranda issued by the USCIS that discusses when two jobs qualify as same or similar.

2)     Reiterates that the legal standard that the green card applicant must meet is "preponderance of the evidence" meaning "more likely than not."

3)     Stipulates that USCIS officers should look at all available evidence, such as the position's duties, skills, experience, education, training, licenses, wages, and anything else submitted by the applicant in determining eligibility for green card portability.

4)     Applicants that establish that the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code of the former position and the new position are exactly the same should be eligible.

5)     Applicants that establish that the former position and the new position are not in the same SOC code, but are in the same broad occupational code (fourth and fifth digits of the six digit SOC code) should be eligible, except in cases where the two positions do not share the same duties, experience or education.

6)     Clarifies that career progression is permitted, but is to reviewed under the totality of the circumstances. Managerial or supervisory roles that are primarily responsible for supervising individuals in same or similar jobs as the former position should qualify.

7)     Applicants may establish that two positions that "share essential qualifies or have a marked resemblance or likeness" will qualify even if they are not within the same major SOC code.

8)     Wages can be used to determine eligibility, but are not by themselves, sufficient proof to establish eligibility.

VARIOUS IMMIGRATION PROVISIONS INCLUDED IN FY2016 OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL

Congress recently passed the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for FY2016 which included several important immigration provisions. First, employers with more than 50 employees, of whom more than 50% are L or H1B nonimmigrants, will have to pay an additional fee of $4,500 for the L-1 program and $4,000 for the H-1B program. These fees were increased from the prior fees enacted in 10/1/2014, which were $2,250 and $2,000 for the L-1 and H-1B programs, respectively. Second, the new legislation makes several important changes to the H-2B, Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers program, including making returning workers exempt from the 66,000 annual cap, permitting the use of private wage surveys (prohibited under the final H-2B wage rule), provides a definition for "seasonal" as exactly ten months, among several other provisions. Third, the new legislation will prohibit nationals from using the Visa Waiver Program if they have travelled to Syria, Iraq or "any other country or area of concern" after March 1, 2011. Lastly, the bill extends several programs through September 30, 2016, including E-Verify, the EB-5 Regional Center Program, Conrad 30 J-1 waiver program and the special immigration visa for religious workers.

DHS ISSUES IMPORTANT PROPOSED REGULATION

The DHS and the USCIS have issued a proposed regulation covering a variety of important programs, including employer sponsored green cards, work visas and employment authorization documents (EAD). Below is a summary of the proposed regulations provisions:

I-140 Immigrant Petition

1)     No automatic revocation of I-140 immigrant petitions approved for 180 days or more when the employer withdraws the petition or goes out of business. Exceptions: fraud, material misrepresentation, USCIS error or revocation/invalidation of labor certification. The beneficiary could use the I-140 petition for green card portability and H-1B extensions beyond six years. However, the beneficiary will have to find a new employer to file a new I-140 or, in cases of green card portability, a new offer of employment.

2)     Preservation of Priority Dates as long as the I-140 immigrant petition was approved. Exceptions: fraud, material misrepresentation, USCIS error or revocation/invalidation of labor certification.

Work Visas

1)     Establishment of a one-time 60 day grace period for E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1 and TN  nonimmigrants at the end of their employment during which the nonimmigrant would not be eligible to work. The DHS retains the discretion to cancel or shorten the grace period. This period would allow workers to find new employment, settle their affairs, leave the country, change to a different status, etc. This period would also cover their dependents.

2)     Employment authorization for E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1 and O-1 nonimmigrants for a one-year period granted on a discretionary basis if they can demonstrate compelling circumstances. This would include medical emergencies, employer retaliation, substantial harm, disruption to the employer, etc. In addition to showing compelling circumstances, to qualify, an applicant would have to demonstrate that they are the beneficiary of an approved I-140 in EB-1, EB-2 or EB-3 employment based preference category and that their priority date is not current.

3)     Extension of 10-day grace period currently enjoyed by H-1B workers to the following other nonimmigrants: E-1, E-2, E-3, L-1 and TN. This grace period allows an H-1B worker to enter the United States 10 days before the initial start date on the approved petition. Additionally, a 10-day grace period can be added by US Customs and Border Protection to the end of the petition validity. During these grace periods, the nonimmigrant cannot work in the United States.

Employment Authorization Documents (EADs)

1)     Extension of employment authorization for 180 days for certain categories so long as 1) the I-765 application is requesting the same employment authorization category, 2) the application is filed before expiration of the EAD or is still pending, 3) the applicant remains eligible for employment authorization after the expiration of the current EAD, and 4) the employment authorization is not dependent on any other approval/process. This extension will only be available to 15 categories of employment authorization, including adjustment of status applicants. Most importantly, this extension will not be available to the employment authorized dependent spouse categories, such as H-4, L-2 and E-2/-1.

2)     Elimination of 90-Day Processing Period for EADs and regulation allowing for issuance of interim EADs.

AC21 Provisions

1)     Incorporation of various provisions from the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21) enacted in October 2000 regarding three-year H-1B extensions beyond six years for extensions under 104(c), including clarifying: 1) three year-extensions are available until the priority date becomes current; 2) eligibility even though the H-1B nonimmigrant is not physically present in the United States at the time of the petition filing; 3) eligibility in cases where a different employer files the H-1B petition than the employer that filed the I-140 petition. Lastly, the regulations clarifies that this provision does not apply to dependent spouses and children in H-1B status.

2)     Incorporation of various provisions from AC21 regarding one-year H-1B extensions beyond six years for extensions under 106(a) and (b), including clarifying: 1) eligibility even though the H-1B nonimmigrant is not physically present in the United States at the time of the petition filing; and 2)  eligibility in cases where a different employer files the H-1B petition from the employer that filed the I-140 petition. Additionally, the new regulation will incorporate current policy that the H-1B petition must demonstrate that the individual previously held H-1B status, that the labor certification or immigrant petition was filed over 365 days before the six-year maximum period of stay, as well as when the labor certification or immigrant petition cannot be used. Importantly, the new regulation stipulates that each new one-year extension beyond the six years will "re-set" the six years. Any subsequent one-year extensions must demonstrate that a valid labor certification or immigrant petition was filed 365 before that new six year period. The regulation clarifies that the benefit does not apply to dependent spouses and children and that the H-1B nonimmigrant must file the green card applications within one year of their priority date becoming current. The clock is reset during times of priority date retrogression.

3)     Incorporates current policies regarding green card portability for EB-1 (except extraordinary ability), EB-2 and EB-3 petitions, including in cases of self-employment.  The regulations will also provide definitions for "same or similar." Additionally, individuals with I-485 applications have been pending for at least 180 days and whose employers go out of business will continue to be eligible for green card portability. Furthermore, the regulations calls for the creation of a supplement to the Form I-485 which will request information the second job offer. The supplement will have to be accompanied by a statement outlining the new position and requirements signed by the applicant and the new employer, description of how the positions are same or similar and a copy of the I-485 receipt to demonstrate that it has been pending for at least 180 days.

H-1B Specific Provisions

1)     Creates an exception for H-1B petitions for occupations that require a license. These petitions are eligible for approval in situations where the license cannot be issued without issuance of a social security number or employment authorization. Additionally, confirms eligibility for H-1B status of unlicensed individuals working in occupations generally requiring a license in states that allow employment in that occupation under the supervision of a licensed individual.

2)     Harmonizes the regulations with current policies regarding H-1B portability, specifically, that portability is only available to nonimmigrants lawfully admitted, that have not worked without authorization after admission, and are currently in valid status. Furthermore, employment authorization for H-1B workers will continue until the petition is adjudicated. Additionally, the regulation clarifies that portability is only available to those physically present in the United States in H-1B status. Lastly, for "bridge petitions," approval of the last petition will depend on approval of all interim petitions (unless the H-1B worker's H-1B status has not expired).

3)     Formalizes an H-1B worker's ability to "recapture" time spent outside of the United States.

4)     Clarifies several provisions regarding H-1B cap-exempt workers.

a.     "Employed at" includes situations where the "majority of" the H-1B worker's duties are performed for the qualifying employer and these duties "directly and predominantly" promote the goals of the qualifying employer.

b.    Adoption of the definition of "institution of higher education" from the Higher Education Act for cap-exemption, thereby excluding for-profit entities.

c.     Adoption of definitions for "nonprofit research organization" and "governmental research organization" as well as "nonprofit entity".

d.    Broadening of the definition of "affiliated or related nonprofit entities" to include "nonprofit entities that have entered into formal written affiliation agreements with institutions of higher education" and can meet one of two requirements. First, there has to be a working relationship between the educational institution with the purpose of engaging in research or education. Second, a primary purpose must be to "directly contribute to the research or education mission" of the educational organization.

e.     H-1B workers that stop working for their cap-exempt employer, that have not previously been counted toward the cap, will be subject to the statutory cap.

5)     Incorporates whistleblower protections for H-1B workers, including the discretionary grant of an employment authorization extension to allow the worker to obtain other employment when credible documentary evidence of the retaliation is presented.

TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS EXTENDED AND REDESIGNATED FOR SYRIA

The DHS announced this week that it has extended the designation of Syria and that it is redesignating Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months from April 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016. The extension will enable individuals who are already covered by TPS to retain this protection and the redesignation will permit eligible Syrian nationals who have been continuously living in the in the United States since January 5, 2015 to apply for TPS. Furthermore, individuals who are covered by TPS will be able to apply for a new employment authorization document. Eligible individuals will have to re-register for TPS from January 5, 2015 through March 6, 2015 and will be issued employment authorization documents with an expiration of September 30, 2016. First-time applicants applying for TPS must submit an application during the registration period covering January 5, 2015 through 180 days after publication. Individuals can find more information, including the applications for TPS at: http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status-deferred-enforced-departure/tps-designated-country-syria/temporary-protected-status-designated-country-syria

DHS is automatically extending the employment authorization for eligible individuals for six months (through September 30, 2015) in order to allow them to apply and receive their new employment authorization documents. A copy of the Federal Register Notice granting this automatic extension of employment authorization is sufficient documentation for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, purposes. Employers should re-verify the employment authorization of these individuals prior to September 30, 2015. At that point, the individuals must provide a valid employment authorization document in order to continue to demonstrate their ability to continue working in the United States. The DHS designates a country for TPS when conditions in the country are dangerous. This may be due to armed conflict, environmental disasters or other temporary events. TPS provides certain protections to nationals of the designated country such as protection from removal from the United States, eligibility for an employment authorization document and travel authorization. TPS is not a path to US lawful permanent residence. The following countries are currently designated by the DHS for TPS: El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria.

DHS EXTENDS EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION FOR SYRIAN STUDENTS

DHS extends the employment authorization of Syrian students in F-1 status that are experiencing severe economic hardship as a result of the continued unrest in Syria. DHS initially provided employment authorization for these students from April 3, 2012 to October 3, 2013 and then from October 3, 2013 to March 31, 2015. This extension of employment authorization will cover from March 31, 2015 to September 30, 2016. These students will continue to be considered to be in a "full course of study" for the term of the employment authorization as long as they continue to comply with the minimum course load requirement. The additional requirements are that the F-1 students have been lawfully present on April 3, 2012, be enrolled in an academic institution that is certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program for enrolling F-1 students, be maintaining F-1 status and have severe economic hardship because of the civil unrest in Syria.

PANAMA TO JOIN GLOBAL ENTRY

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that as of January 12, 2015, Panama will join the select countries that are eligible to participate in the Global Entry Program. Global Entry facilitates entry into the United States after international travel for certain pre-screened travelers at automated kiosks at certain airports. Instead of being inspected by a CBP admissions officer at the port of entry, a Global Entry traveler proceeds to an automated kiosk where they scan their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card data, provide their fingerprint and can make their customs declaration. Currently, German and Mexican citizens are eligible for Global Entry. Additionally, citizens of the Netherlands are eligible for Global Entry if they are enrolled in Privium. Korean citizens are eligible if they are Smart Entry Service Members. Canadian citizens are not eligible for Global Entry, but they can enroll in a different trusted traveler program, NEXUS, which issues a card to approved travelers which can be used as an alternative to their U.S. or Canadian passport.

Global Entry requires completion of an on-line application, payment of a $100 fee, interview and background check. To review Global Entry eligibility and application procedures, please go to: http://www.cbp.gov/global-entry/how-to-apply

GLOBAL ENTRY EXPANDS TO CHICAGO'S MIDWAY AIRPORT

This week, CBP has expanded the Global Entry Program to seven additional airports one of which is Chicago's Midway International Airport (MDW). Currently, approximately 45 international airports have Global Entry capability and this includes Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD). Global Entry facilitates entry into the United States after international travel for certain pre-screened travelers at automated kiosks at certain airports. Instead of being inspected by a CBP admissions officer at the port of entry, a Global Entry traveler proceeds to an automated kiosk where they scan their machine-readable passport or U.S. permanent resident card data, provide their fingerprint and can make their customs declaration. The additional six airports to receive the Global Entry automated kiosks include: Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Anchorage, Alaska (ANC); Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Hebron, Kentucky (CVG); Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Cleveland, Ohio (CLE); Pittsburgh International Airport, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (PIT); Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Austin, Texas (AUS) and General Mitchell International Airport, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (MKE).

MFEM NEWS

REGISTER TODAY: MFEM'S ANNUAL COMPLIMENTARY IMMIGRATION SEMINAR TO BE HELD ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2016

Masuda Funai will hold its next annual Complimentary Immigration Seminar on Thursday, February 25, 2016 from 8:15 to 11:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel Arlington Heights in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Some of the topics that will be covered during this Immigration Seminar will include:

·         Hot Topics – What Is On The Immigration Horizon That Will Affect Your Business

·         Managing the Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B Quota which opens on April 1, 2016

·         Green Card Update – Avoiding the Pitfalls in the PERM Process and the I-140 Process

·         Treaty Options – TN, E-1, E-2 and E-3

·         I-9 and E-Verify – Changes in the form and process

·         Intracompany Tranferees – L-1A, L-B and EB-1

Registration for the Complimentary Immigration Seminar is currently open in the News and Events section of the Masuda Funai website at www.masudafunai.com.