Aug 26, 2020
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that the agency will remain open through the end of the 2020 fiscal year. The word at the end of July was that the agency would essentially shut down at the end of August due to unprecedented deficits. The agency delayed the furlough plan and kept its employees working, in hopes that either Congress would bail the agency out or revenues would increase enough as the pandemic economic restrictions eased. That gamble appears to have paid off and the agency has sufficient resources to self-fund through this fiscal year.
Aug 19, 2020
Foreign national employees of U.S. companies struggle to return to their employment because of Trump Administration travel restrictions.
There are exemptions written into those restrictions but they have been difficult to access with closed consulates and embassies and a lack of guidance.
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has begun issuing visas and consular services are becoming more available.
August 12, 2020 guidance lays out approaches to getting exemptions to travel restrictions through U.S. consulates and embassies and may help people apply for exemptions through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Carefully framed requests for these exemptions is a remedy for some foreign workers seeking to work for U.S. employers.
Aug 06, 2020
The U.S. government and state agencies which regulate recruitment, hiring, and employment are integrating. They are sharing more information and increasingly possess tools for analysis, investigation, and reporting which rival those of the private sector. This makes the practical costs of mistakes, negligence, and fraud more significant and suggests that businesses look carefully policies and procedures to mitigate risk.
Jul 29, 2020
On July 27, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement with ASTA CRS Inc. of Virginia (“ASTA”) which resolves complaints that ASTA discriminated against U.S. workers in hiring. Of issue was ASTA’s job announcements and procedures which sought exclusively foreign workers and made clear the company’s preference for hiring non-U.S. persons. These were violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and the settlement saddles ASTA with policy changes, training, and DOJ oversight.
Jul 24, 2020
Patrick Leahy (U.S. Senator, VT) announced today that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is postponing a proposed furlough of employees through at least August 31, 2020 to provide Congress and the White House an opportunity to address its projected $571 million deficit. Learn more in this blog.
Jul 24, 2020
Delays in processing documents has created a crisis for some Lawful Permanent Residents since the ability to work is tied to demonstrating work authorization and identity. For Permanent Residents, this usually means presenting a Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (“Green Card”) or a temporary stamp in their passport which shows that they are waiting for a Green Card to be delivered that they are approved to receive. For those who can’t get the stamp and haven’t received the card, they may not be able to work. Fortunately, there are some mechanisms in place to spur the agency which oversees this process to deliver the necessary documentation.
May 12, 2020
Last week (May 5, 2020) we wrote that executing a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) required a valid, current identity document. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has modified the policy to permit employers to accept validly issued but expired List B identity documents during the pandemic as long as they record a valid replacement document after the pandemic. Learn more in this blog.
May 12, 2020
The quarantine is creating havoc in the restaurant industry. Many places temporarily closed, others went to curbside pickup or delivery, and some have thrown in the towel. Those which switched to takeout during the quarantine may be off more than fifty percent, while some businesses accustomed to delivery already have seen an uptick in business. However, this chaos presents an opportunity to get restaurant management in better order. Learn more in this blog.
May 08, 2020
Agencies feel starved for resources in even the best of times. There is always more work to do than the resources allow for. However, when budgets get tight, agencies turn their attention to eking more value out of core income producing operations. Given how tight budgets will be for all levels of government, we are expecting to see heavier fines and penalties. Learn more in this blog.
May 05, 2020
The question presented: “How can we complete a Form I-9 on someone without identification during the pandemic.” I found no specific document on this point. The short answer is that we can’t. Learn more in this blog.
Apr 29, 2020
Come May 1, 2020, employers are required to use the newest edition of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has now updated the Form M-274, Handbook for Employers. Among the updates are List B and List C document clarifications, additional information about “authorized representatives” in Section 2, and document expiration dates and extensions. Learn more in this blog.
Apr 08, 2020
USCIS has created a document called “Questions and Answers Related to Temporary Policies for Form I-9 and E-Verify” with policy responses to the coronavirus pandemic. To assist employers during the pandemic, we have restated the most common occurrences here.
Apr 06, 2020
Lehigh County, PA commissioners have introduced a regulation change which, if enacted, would limit which construction companies can bid for government contracts. Learn more in this blog.
Mar 20, 2020
U.S. employers are required to examine documents in fulfilling their responsibilities to only employ authorized workers. This is in connection with the Form I-9, employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). This has presented a problem for many employers who cannot meet with their employees due to the risks of, or illegality of, face-to-face contact during the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is permitting a waiver of the physical inspection requirement as of today. Learn more in this blog.
Mar 13, 2020
ICE is aiming at 15,000 Audits this year. For audited companies, the 30 days that the Audit notice gives them to present perfect Form I-9s is daunting. It represents at least three significant threats: 1) fines and penalties, 2) management and administrative disruption, and 3) business disruption if any of the employees are found to be “unauthorized workers.” Learn more in this blog.
Mar 10, 2020
Every person we employ in the U.S. has to complete a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification form (“Form I-9”). The burden is on the employer to make reasonably sure that we both employ authorized workers and document their work authorization correctly. Many people, in and out of government, share the view that foreign nationals working without authorization should share some of the penalty with companies unintentionally employing people who don’t have authorization. Learn more in this blog.
Mar 04, 2020
I-9 Audits are a real threat to operations. Do we take worksite enforcement on our own terms or let the government dictate it to us? We don’t have to be reactive, we can own the process. The best way to approach worksite enforcement is to address the issues at a time and in a way of our choosing. Learn more in this blog.
Mar 03, 2020
A week since the implementation of the Public Charge Grounds (Final Rule), we offer a summary and assessment of its impact. Gain a general understanding of the Public Charge Final Rule and an analysis useful to determining whether someone is likely to be excluded or removed as a public charge in this blog.
Feb 18, 2020
Due to shortages in the labor market, employers for highly skilled positions have lowered minimum qualifications. Less skilled laborers are able to move more easily between manufacturing and construction jobs. New immigration policies may force some construction companies out.
Feb 03, 2020
Employers must execute a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) on all employees. The current version is required and a new version was released on Friday, Jan 31, 2020. Learn about new changes to the form in this blog.
Jan 28, 2020
Thirteen states and the District of Columbia issue some form of driving permission to foreign nationals who don’t have permission to work in the US. Providing documents to those who aren’t lawfully present creates a two-tier identity document system. Learn more in this blog.
Dec 27, 2019
On December 13, 2019, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published new Good Moral Character (GMC) guidelines for its Immigration Services Officers (ISO). Among other adjudications, ISOs make decisions on the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization (Naturalization Application), by which foreign nationals seek citizenship in the United States. Learn more in this blog.
Dec 26, 2019
Green and Spiegel works directly with clients to assess policies and procedures, explore alternative business arrangements, and implement tailored systems that minimize the costs associated with potential and realized government activities. Learn more in this blog.
Nov 26, 2019
The CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY EMPLOYEE VERIFICATION ACT (“the Act”) became Pennsylvania law on October 7, 2019 and takes effect on October 6, 2020. The Act requires that all Pennsylvania-based construction companies utilize the E-Verify system for Forms I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification). Learn more in this blog.
Oct 25, 2019
There are significant immigration bills before the United States Senate for the first time since 2013. Senator Lee’s bill is the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 (“S-236”) and Senator Durbin’s bill is the Resolving Extended Limbo for Immigrant Employees and Families (RELIEF) Act (“S-2603”). Learn more in this blog.
Oct 18, 2019
On August 26, 2012, Ramiro Garcia, an undocumented immigrant working under an assumed Social Security Number, was stopped for speeding. Garcia knew he faced immigration consequences, but he likely didn’t expect to be prosecuted for identity theft. The question before the Supreme Court of the United States is whether states can use information reported on the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (“Form I-9”) to prosecute identity theft cases. Learn more in this blog.
Oct 15, 2019
Unfortunately, better data collection and analysis also means that unintentional errors are noticed more readily and the immigration filings with USCIS are more often shifted out of the normal stream of adjudications. Now that the government has improved operations, errors have far greater impact on filers. Innocent errors can lead to significant disruptions and costly remedies. Intentional acts can lead to denials, loss of access to resources, administrative penalties, and even prosecutions. Learn more in this blog.
Oct 04, 2019
New York City has some of the most robust employee legal protections in the United States. The September 24, 2019 New York Commission on Human Rights Legal Enforcement Guidance on Discrimination on the Basis of Immigration Status and National Origin (“NYC Guidance”) fits comfortably within this broader evolution of New York human rights protections. This new guidance provides detailed pointers on which actions are likely to invite discrimination claims and it is wise to review company policies with competent counsel if doing work in New York City. Learn more.
Sep 23, 2019
Assembly Bill No. 5, Worker Status: Employees and Independent Contractors (“AB-5”) became California law on September 18, 2019. What does this means for the “gig economy”, or those in a wide range of employment which is temporary and contractual? Find out in this blog.
Sep 17, 2019
When we talk about immigration enforcement, we are usually talking about the three “sister” agencies: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We may not easily see the role that agencies like the Social Security Administration (SSA) play in immigration enforcement; yet, the Trump Administration is enforcing a wide field of laws in ways that will likely impact potentially undocumented immigrants and, by extension, their employers. Learn more.
Sep 16, 2019
The Trump Administration is strictly enforcing a number of immigration laws and regulations and in ways not seen in many years. Conducting site visits at OPT training sites fits within the broader thrust of Administration enforcement actions. By carefully following school’s guidelines and making good use of the Designated School Officials overseeing the OPT, both student and employer can avoid complications rising from these site visits.
Sep 05, 2019
As we previously discussed, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed substantial changes to the EB-5 regulations on July 24, 2019. The “EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization Rule” is scheduled for implementation on November 21, 2019. It appears that the Administration will apply the rule, as written, unless Congress acts to stop it. Learn more.
Sep 04, 2019
Jonathan A. Grode, Esq. is presenting “Immigration Enforcement and Its Impacts on the Keystone State in 2019” during the Pennsylvania Office of General Counsel’s September 5, 2019 “OGC University 2019.” During this plenary session presentation, he and Deputy General Counsel Gregory G. Schwab, Esq. will explore the impact of federal administration changes to immigration policy and how those changes impact Pennsylvania and the United States as a whole. Learn more.
Aug 30, 2019
The current version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (“Form I-9”) is dated July 17, 2017. Employers using the form will note that it expires on August 31, 2019. Learn more in this blog.
Aug 23, 2019
On Wednesday, August 7, 2019, U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) conducted one of its largest immigration raids, arresting 680 foreign nationals who appeared to the government to be workers without authorization. By the end of the week, ICE agents had arrested more than 850 people in Mississippi alone. Learn more in this blog.
Jul 24, 2019
The Office of Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) has been around for fifteen years but the first time most companies and attorneys hear of it is when officers show up to conduct an inspection on non-immigrant worker visas. Their site visits are unannounced and often send companies scrambling. Learn more in this blog.
Jul 09, 2019
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), within the Department of Homeland Security, audits and investigates immigration violations of work rules. The document at the center of those inquiries is the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). Form I-9 may not be the easiest form to complete though. Learn more in this blog.
Jun 17, 2019
Green and Spiegel welcomes Former USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate Supervisor David Spaulding to its Philadelphia office, strengthening its Compliance and Regulatory Practice amidst a climate of heightened enforcement. Learn more in this press release.