U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently updated its Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9, also called M-274.  These changes are meant to clarify and add detail to existing Form I-9 rules, but do not alter the Form I-9 rules themselves or the version of the Form I-9 that employers should currently be using.  As of April 30, all employers must use Form I-9 dated 10/21/2019.  However, a few of these clarifications to the new edition of USCIS’ Handbook are of note.

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immigrationEffective October 1, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will require all applicants who are eligible for a green card based on sponsorship by their employer to appear for an in-person interview at a local USCIS field office. Previously, employer-sponsored applicants for green cards were exempt from the in-person interview requirement after USCIS determined decades ago that in-person interviews were usually unnecessary for this category of applicants. Adjudicating officers were still permitted to conduct in-person interviews for applicants when necessary. All applicants were and will continue to be subject to fingerprinting and background checks.

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It’s time to begin preparing H-1B petitions for an early April filing and October 1, 2016 effective date.

What is H-1B Classification?
International flagsThe H-1B classification provides work authorization to foreign nationals seeking long-term, but temporary, positions in “specialty occupations” with U.S. employers. A specialty occupation is one which requires theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields including, but not limited to, architecture, engineering, business, mathematics, science, arts, law and medicine, and which require a bachelor’s degree or higher.


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immigrationAs part of the proposed warming of relations with Cuba, USCIS has announced changes to Cuban family-based immigration policy.  U.S.  immigration policy toward Cuba differs from policy applicable to other countries.  Under the Cuban Adjustment Act, Cubans who enter the United States have a special track to permanent residency.  Further, under the Cuban Family Reunification

flagsU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced today that it will be extending U.S. employment authorization to certain H-4 spouses of foreign nationals in H-1B status.  Family members of H-1B workers are permitted to enter the United States in H-4 status as dependents of the H-1B worker, but they are not authorized to work.  This change permits spouses in H-4 status to apply for an unrestricted work card provided that the principal H-1B employee:

  1.  Is the beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  2. Has been granted H-1B status under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21), which permits H-1B employees seeking permanent residency to extend their H-1B status beyond the usual six-years.


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