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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on July 20, 2021, a new policy guidance that eliminates the need for individuals who have applied for a change of status (COS) to F-1 student to apply to change or extend their nonimmigrant status while their initial F-1 COS application is pending.


Under the previous policy, applicants needed to maintain status up to 30 days before the program start date listed on their Form I-20, Certificate for Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, which required them to file extensions, or an initial COS and subsequent extensions ensuring that they would not have a “gap” in status.


To prevent a “gap” in status, USCIS will gra...

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Last week, the California Supreme Court ruled in Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC that California employers must pay meal period and rest break premiums at the same “regular rate” that applies to the payment of overtime.


Under California law, when a non-exempt employee is not provided with a fully compliant 30-minute meal period or 10-minute rest break (i.e. it is missed, interrupted, late, or shortened), the employer must pay a one-hour premium for each non-compliant meal period or rest break. Since the California Court of Appeal and federal district courts have held that the meal period and rest break premiums should be calculated at the employee’s base hourly ra...

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HOUSTON -- A federal judge in Texas on Friday ordered an end to an Obama-era program that prevented the deportations of some immigrants brought into the United States as children, putting new pressure for action on President Joe Biden and Democrats who now control Congress.


U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ruled in favor of Texas and eight other conservative states that had sued to halt the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides limited protections to about 650,000 people. People who are already enrolled won't lose protections, but Hanen is barring the processing of new applications.


Hanen's decision limits the immediate ability of Biden, who pledged during his campai...

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Employees who are victims of wage theft are unpaid for their work, damages, and penalties. Those employees can bring a claim to the court or the Labor Commissioner to receive the wages they are owed. Successful claims can lead to a judgment being filed against the employer. Previously, there were all too many times where an employer would go “out of business” to avoid paying anything. Instead of paying for the wages the employees are owed, the employer would reform under a successor company of a new name, making it extremely difficult for employees to receive their rightful wages.


However, there is good news! California has now issued a law that can help employees hold successo...

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Foreign nationals who are skilled or educated—and who have job offers—have the possibility of immigrating to the United States. The process involves three steps:


(1) PERM: the employer must first obtain a “labor certification” from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This process is done online through the internet. Employers must sign-up for a PERM account on the DOL website and then assign an account for our office to authorize us to submit a PERM application online on the employer's behalf.


A) Attestations: The employer must certify to the conditions of employment on the Application for Permanent Employment Certification under penalty of perjury


B) Notice of PERM Fil...

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Effective July 1, 2021, minimum wage has increased for many local cities.


In addition to the above, the following minimum wage increases for hotel workers are of note:


- Los Angeles and Santa Monica: Effective July 1, 2021, the minimum wage for hotel workers is increasing from $17.13 to $17.64 in both cities. (Note that the Los Angeles ordinance only applies to hotels with 150 or more rooms. Santa Monica's ordinance applies to all hotels, regardless of size.


- Long Beach: Effective July 1, 2021, the minimum wage for hotel workers is increasing from $15.47 to $15.69. (Note that the Long Beach ordinance only applies to hotels with 100 or more rooms.)


It is important for affected businesses to und...

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Severance agreements are designed to protect an employer from future lawsuits filed by former employees or other terminated workers. In California, employment law lawsuits have been skyrocketing in recent years and even more so during the pandemic.


The typical employment lawsuits or administrative complaint include claims for:


- Unpaid overtime and minimum wages


- Unpaid split shift premium pay


- Misclassification as an independent contractor / overtime exempt employee


- Labor Code violations


- Meal and rest break violations


- Unfair termination


- Unlawful discrimination – pregnancy discrimination, age discrimination, race discrimination, gender discrimination, transgender discrimination, med...

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On June 29, 2021, Cal/OSHA published a revised COVID-19 Model Prevention Program that reflect the changes made to the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) on June 17, 2021.


Most employers in California are required to establish and implement an effective written COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) pursuant to the Emergency Temporary Standards in place for COVID-19 (California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 8, section 3205(c)). Cal/OSHA publishes this model program to assist employers with creating their own unique CPP tailored to their workplace. While using the model CPP does not ensure the employer is meeting all requirements of the ETS, it is a useful starting document for employers.


The ...

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This article is written to provide tips and tricks for your USCIS adjustment of status interview.


Please remember that the interview is an official government proceeding. You must show your respect for the process and to the adjudicating officer. Respect is shown by your: (1) appearance; (2) organization of documents; and (3) attitude.


APPEARANCE:
First impressions are everything, and you only get one chance to make one. Dress respectfully in business casual attire. Avoid wearing flip flops, and do not over dress. Note that you will be entering a federal building / office and required to go through metal detectors. Please remember to avoid bringing prohibited items, such as weapons, marijuana,...

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On March 9, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois vacated the USCIS Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule, 84 Fed. Reg. 41,292 (Aug. 14, 2019), as amended by Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds; Correction, 84 Fed. Reg. 52,357 (Oct. 2, 2019) (“Public Charge Final Rule”) nationwide. That decision was stayed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

The USCIS has immediately stopped applying the Public Charge Final Rule to all pending applications and petitions that would have been subject to the rule. USCIS continues to apply the public charge inadmissibility statute, including consideration of the statutory minimum f...

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