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The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced the start of the fiscal year (FY) 2020 H-1B cap season, start dates for premium processing of cap-subject H-1B petitions, and the launch of its new H-1B data hub, while reminding petitioners of its new H-1B cap selection process. These new efforts underscore the agency’s commitment to supporting President Trump’s Buy American and Hire American executive order designed to protect U.S. workers.

“USCIS continually strives to improve the administration of the H-1B program and make it work better for employers, our agency, and U.S. workers,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “We are also committed to fulfilling the president’s Buy Ame...

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The USCIS will resume premium processing on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, for all H-1B petitions. If you received a request for evidence (RFE) for a pending petition, you should include the RFE response with the premium processing request.

When an H-1B petitioner properly requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If the USCIS does not take certain adjudicative action within the 15‑calendar day processing time, USCIS refunds the petitioner’s premium processing service fee of $1,410.00 and continues with expedited processing of the petition.

If you received a transfer notice for a pending H-1B petition, and you are requesting premium processing service, you must submit the premium pro...

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The new calendar year brings in new employment laws that both employees and employers should consider. Notably, the changes are geared towards providing more protections for employees in the workplace and some are in response to recent high profile sexual harassment incidents in the entertainment industry. Please note that the information provided here is for general information purposes only and is not to be construed nor relied upon as legal advice.

1) Expanded Sexual Harassment Training Requirements: Government Code section 12950.1 has been revised to require that employers with five or more employees to provide anti-harassment training to all employees, not just supervisory employees. All applicable supervisory employee...

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The USCIS will resume premium processing on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, for all fiscal year (FY) 2019 H-1B cap petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption (the “master’s cap”). Petitioners who have received requests for evidence (RFEs) for pending FY 2019 cap petitions should include their RFE response with any request for premium processing they may submit.

H-1B visas provide employers with skilled workers for a wide range of specialty occupations. When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. If the USCIS does not take certain adjudicative action within the 15‑calendar day processing time, it refunds the petitioner’s premi...

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions to first electronically register with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during a designated registration period. Under the proposed rule, USCIS would also reverse the order by which USCIS selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption, likely increasing the number of beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education to be selected for an H-1B cap number, and introducing a more meritorious selection of beneficiaries.

The H-1B program allows companies in the United States to temporarily em...

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The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday upheld a preliminary injunction keeping in place the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program pending judgment in a challenge to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s decision to cancel it.

Judge Kim M. Wardlaw wrote the 90-page majority opinion, joined in by Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen. Judge John B. Owens wrote an opinion in which he concurred in the result.

Since its inception in 2012 by then-President Barack H. Obama, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) has allowed certain illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children to apply for permission to remain in the country and legally work for a two-year, renewable period. The program does ...

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The California Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in the matter of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles earlier this year establishing a new and employee-friendly test in determining whether an employee has been misclassified as an independent contractor.

In particular, the Court embraced a standard presuming that all workers are employees instead of contractors, and placed the burden on any entity (business, corporation, or person, etc.) classifying an individual as an independent contractor of establishing that such classification is proper under a newly adopted “ABC test.”

Under the ABC test, a worker will be deemed to be an employee and not an independent contractor unless the entity proves:


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Gone are the days when a foreign student in F-1 status who fails to maintain their status, such as by failing to attend school or working without authorization, could nevertheless enjoy "duration of status" for several years or more and not accrue unlawful presence in the U.S. until either an immigration judge or the USCIS declares the student to be out of status. "Duration of status" means that a foreigner present who is present in the U.S. under either a student visa or work training visa, enjoys lawful status and does not accrue unlawful presence even if they stop attending school or otherwise violate their status until such time that the USCIS or an immigration judge declares a violation of their status. It is only then when unlawful...

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Off-clock time which employees are expected to put in regularly, for such purposes as locking up, cannot be disregarded under California wage-and-hour laws, which do not incorporate the de minimis doctrine found in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the Supreme Court said yesterday in response to a question certified by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The unanimous opinion, by Justice Goodwin Liu, adds: “We further conclude that although California has a de minimis rule that is a background principle of state law, the rule is not applicable here. The relevant statutes and wage order do not allow employers to require employees to routinely work for minutes off-the-clock without compensation. We leave open...

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The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently updated its guidance, taking a much stricter approach to approving applications that are largely filed by those seeking work in the tech industry.

Under the new policy, which goes into effect Sept. 11, 2018, agents will be able to deny applications deemed incomplete or containing errors, without first asking applicants to address the flaw or warning them of an intent to refuse their submission. Recently the agency also widened the range of cases for which it could begin the process of removing foreign nationals to include those whose immigration benefits, such as work status, have been denied.

The measures are likely to disproportionately affect those whose applications require...

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