STEM employees are no longer to work at third Party Sites

In April 2018, USCIS updated the page on its website for Optional Practice Training for STEM students which seems to indicate its view that F-1 students in the STEM OPT program are not permitted to engage in OPT at third party locations. Of particular concern is the following statement: “For instance, the training experience may not take place at the place of business or worksite of the employer’s clients or customers because ICE would lack authority to visit such sites.” According to the preamble to the March 11, 2016 STEM OPT Final Rule:

There are several aspects of the STEM OPT extension that do not make it apt for certain types of arrangements, including multiple employer arrangements, sole proprietorships, employment through ”temp” agencies, employment through consulting firm arrangements that provide labor for hire, and other relationships that do not constitute a bona fide employer-employee relationship…. Accordingly, DHS clarifies that students cannot qualify for STEM OPT extensions unless they will be bona fide employees of the employer signing the Training Plan, and the employer that signs the Training Plan must be the same entity that employs the student and provides the practical training experience.

Therefore, it appears that the change in language on the USCIS website is overreaching, and that a STEM OPT employee could be placed at the worksite of an employer’s client or customer, as long as the STEM OPT student is a bona fide employee of the employer signing the training plan, and the employer that signs the training plan provides the practical training experience. This issue has been brought to the attention of DHS and interested members of Congress through industry groups and others and we understand that the issue is currently under review. AILA is monitoring this issue closely and will update this page with additional information as it becomes available.

How will the Government Shutdown affect the Immigration process and Immigration Agencies?

How will the Shut Down affect he Immigration Process and their Agencies? ?

Generally, if the government shuts for budgetary reasons, all but “essential” personnel are furloughed and are not allowed to work.

USCIS: USCIS is a fee-funded agency with the exception of E-Verify, so if the government shuts down, only E-Verify shuts down. Otherwise, it’s business as usual.

January 21, 2018 Update: USCIS has confirmed that DACA renewal processing will continue.
DOS: Visa and passport operations are fee-funded and should not be impacted by a lapse in appropriations, but operating status and funding will need to be monitored closely. If visa operations are affected, consular posts will generally only handle diplomatic visas and “life or death” emergencies.

CBP: Inspection and law enforcement personnel are considered “essential.” Ports of entry will be open; however, processing of applications filed at the border may be impacted.

ICE: ICE enforcement and removal operations will continue, and ICE attorneys will typically focus on the detained docket during a shutdown. The ICE Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) offices are unaffected since SEVP is funded by fees.

EOIR: EOIR’s detained docket is typically considered an essential function and would therefore continue to operate. During the 2013 shutdown, EOIR continued to accept court filings, even in non-detained cases.

DOL: The OFLC would cease processing all applications in the event of a government shutdown, and personnel would not be available to respond to e-mail or other inquiries. OFLC’s web-based systems, iCERT and PERM, would be inaccessible, and BALCA dockets will be placed on hold.

CIS Ombudsman: The DHS Office of the CIS Ombudsman would close and would not accept any inquiries through its online case intake system.

L Visa and The Texas Service Center

Texas Service Center to Begin Processing Form I-129 for L Visas
On February 12, 2018, the Texas Service Center (TSC) will begin processing certain Form I-129, Petition for
a Nonimmigrant Worker petitions for L nonimmigrant classification, also known as L visas. The TSC will
share this workload with the California Service Center to balance workloads and to provide flexibility as
USCIS works towards improving processing times and efficiency. The Vermont Service Center will no
longer process any new Form I‑129 petitions requesting L nonimmigrant classification.
Petitioners requesting an L nonimmigrant classification should file their Form I-129 at the address
indicated on the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker page. Starting
March 12, 2018, USCIS may reject any of these applications that are filed at the wrong service center.

New “Green Card” Design coming soon

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recent;y announced  a redesign to the Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card) and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) as part of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project. USCIS will begin issuing the new cards on May 1, 2017.

These redesigns use enhanced graphics and fraud-resistant security features to create cards that are highly secure and more tamper-resistant than the ones currently in use.

The new card designs demonstrate USCIS’ commitment to continue taking a proactive approach against the threat of document tampering and fraud. They are also part of an ongoing effort between USCIS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enhance document security and deter counterfeiting and fraud.

The Redesigned Cards

The new Green Cards and EADs will:

  • Display the individual’s photos on both sides;
  • Show a unique graphic image and color palette:
    • Green Cards will have an image of the Statue of Liberty and a predominately green palette;
    • EAD cards will have an image of a bald eagle and a predominately red palette;
  • Have embedded holographic images; and
  • No longer display the individual’s signature.

Also, Green Cards will no longer have an optical stripe on the back.

How To Tell If Your Card Is Valid

Some Green Cards and EADs issued after May 1, 2017, may still display the existing design format as USCIS will continue using existing card stock until current supplies are depleted. Both the existing and the new Green Cards and EADs will remain valid until the expiration date shown on the card.

Certain EADs held by individuals with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and other designated categories have been automatically extended beyond the validity date on the card. For additional information on which EADs are covered, please visit the Temporary Protected Status and American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act web pages on uscis.gov.

Both versions are acceptable for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, E-Verify, and Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE). Some older Green Cards do not have an expiration date.  These older Green Cards without an expiration date remain valid. Individuals who have Green Cards without an expiration date may want to consider applying for a replacement card bearing an expiration date. Obtaining the replacement card will reduce the likelihood of fraud or tampering if the card is ever lost or stolen.

 

green card

Fleischer Law Firm Success Story- Eirik

Eiri, originally from Vietnam came to the United States as a student. After meeting the love of his life , he got married. Various complicated circumstances prevented the case to go quickly, but eventually, all good things work out. His case was approved out of Louisville , Kentucky USCIS . He now has a green card and  have the opportunity to live the american Dream.

 

Louisville Kentucky USCIS