LawQuest Immigration Alerts - September 2017

RFEs in H-1B Cases Increase by 45% in 2017

The number of RFEs (Request for Evidence) being issued by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has shot up by 45% this year as compared to the previous year.  An RFE is usually issued when any document or evidence required for adjudicating a visa petition is not provided.   The request for additional documentation or information is made by the adjudicating officer in order to assist him in rendering an approval or denial decision on the case.  

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New U.S. Travel Restrictions Unveiled

President Trump signed a proclamation on Sunday, September 24, 2017, imposing new restrictions on entry to the U.S. on foreign nationals.  This proclamation will replace his prior travel ban which expired on September 24th. The new travel rules will apply to citizens of Chad, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen; and will go into effect on October 18, 2017.  

The previous travel ban barred citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who lacked a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S." from entering the country.  The new travel ban under the proclamation has dropped Sudan from this list and added Chad, North Korea and Venezuela, three countries which were not subject to the earlier travel ban. 

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Introduction of Electronic Travel Authorisation by Qatar

Recently at the UNWTO’s (United Nations World Tourism Organization) General Assembly which took place in Chengdu, China, Qatar’s Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) announced that the holders of valid visas or Residence permits from the US, Canada, New Zealand, UK, Australia, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) or the Schengen countries are eligible to receive single-entry Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). It will come into effect from September 27, 2017.

Increased U.S. Employment Visa Scrutiny

Recently, the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has been conducting site visits of U.S. employers using L-1B visas, as has been reported by Bloomberg BNA.  The L-1B visa is used for transferring foreign workers with specialized knowledge from their overseas workplace to a U.S. based work location.   This increased scrutiny could be a measure in the wake of Trump’s executive order, “Buy American Hire American”, directing officials to safeguard interests of U.S. workers.  The site visits are an additional layer of scrutiny that help officials to detect any fraud in the employment visa system at companies. 

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Visitors to the U.S. Need to Beware of New Grounds

Foreign nationals visiting the U.S. can now be denied entry, or those already in the country can be asked to leave, on the basis of a new ground – if such individuals fail to follow through on their stated plans for three months.  The Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, in a recent cable sent out to all American embassies, wrote that visitors who require a visa before entering the U.S. must then follow through on their stated plans for at least three months.  

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LawQuest at the Worldwide ERC Global Workforce Symposium in Chicago - September 27 - 29, 2017
LawQuest, a leading immigration firm from India, will be participating in Worldwide ERC®´s - Global Workforce Symposium in Chicago, from September 27 - 29, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  Worldwide ERC® is an organization, headquartered in Washington D.C., that connects workforce mobility professionals across the globe.  The Global Workforce Symposium is a remarkable think tank for global mobility - one of the most dynamic and rapidly changing industries.   The Symposium brings together mobility experts from across the world to share information on ever changing characteristics of globalization, and offer solutions touching on various aspects of this complex and diverse industry.

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