The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (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 initiatives proposed by President Obama in November of 2014 to clarify the law. The draft memorandum is open for public comment until January 4, 2016. Instructions for commenting are available at: http://www.uscis.gov/outreach/feedback-opportunities/draft-memoranda-comment/draft-memorandum-comment. Below is a summary of the draft memorandum:
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 here: http://www.masudafunai.com/showarticle.aspx?Show=8516.
The Department of Homeland Security (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:
A law enacted a decade ago is about to make a lot of people very unhappy. At some point in 2016, driver's licenses and identifications issued by the State of Illinois will no longer be valid for federal identification purposes. This includes the identifications accepted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) needed to pass through airport security as well as enter federal buildings. The only other forms of identification that would be accepted are a US passport, US military identification, permanent residence card or a trusted traveler card such as Global Entry or NEXUS. Unfortunately, only four in ten Americans have a valid US passport.
In 2005, Congress enacted the REAL ID Act which required states to increase security on issuance of driver's licenses and identification cards. All states were required to comply by May 11, 2008. At that point, Illinois indicated that it would comply with REAL ID. However, it, along with several other states, obtained several extensions of the implementation of the law. These extensions were granted as long as they promised to comply with REAL ID and they met certain benchmarks. The initial extensions were granted to nine states: Alaska, California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina and Washington, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands, and are due to expire on January 10, 2016. As of January 6th, the DHS has issued extensions to Alaska, California, New Jersey and South Carolina until October 10, 2016.
Due to the Paris and San Bernardino terrorist attacks, the federal government is making implementation of REAL ID a priority. Illinois' last extension expired in October 2015 and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has indicated that it will not grant a further extension of REAL ID to the State. DHS has indicated that it will give Illinois a 120-day notice before enforcement of REAL ID begins.
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