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In FOCUS Business Immigration News

January 2014
Welcome to the New Year! 
We trust that everyone had a happy and safe holiday celebration.  If you are new subscriber to our news and information, our firm focuses its practice on corporate employment verification compliance (I-9 audits, training, consulting and policy development), and US inbound business-related immigration for professionals in all industries including Intra company Transferees, Treaty Trade/Investors and  Extraordinary Ability cases for those in the arts & entertainment industry.  Our team has a depth of experience in providing uniquely tailored services and solutions to assist our clients in accomplishing their immigration and compliance related objectives.  If you'd like to become a client of our office or have questions about our services please contact us at info@immigrationcompliancegroup.com or call 562.612.3996.

 

Back in October of this year, President Obama stated "Immigration reform may not pass, but that's no reason to give up the fight." The pro-immigration reform movement has united in a strong front and is the most broad and diverse that we've ever observed.
 
Additional reading - Top 5 Immigration Stories from 2013
It's Beginning to Look Alot like H-1B Filing Season 2015! The H-1B visa category is one of the most used visa classifications by US employers and is available to professionals that will work in a specialty occupation that generally requires a bachelor's degree or its equivalent. Last year, the number of H-1B visa petitions filed in the first 5 days exceeded the entire H-1B visa allotment. Hundreds of employers were unable to hire all the foreign-based professional talent that they required, and their petitions went into a lottery pool, left to chance and uncertainty.

E-Verify: New/Revised MOU's Released

On December 8, 2013, the USCIS issued new and revised sets of Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) for E-Verify agreements. The MOU states the various terms and conditions of all parties involved: employers, agents, and the government. The most important points of the new and revised MOUs are:

1. E-Verify enrollment process has not changed;

2. Existing users will not need to execute a new MOU; rather they are bound by all changes to E-Verify, including the new or revised MOU that applies to their access method, effective January 8, 2014;

3. There are revised MOUs for Employers, Employer Agents, and E-Verify Employer Agents;

4. There are new MOUs for Web Services Employers, Web Services Employer Agents, and Employers using a Web Services E-Verify Employer Agent; and

5. New users must execute their new or revised version of the MOU that applies to their access method during enrollment.


According to USCIS, the changes were necessary because of the complexity of E-Verify, the danger of privacy breaches, pre-screening, and illegal discrimination. Furthermore, there are a variety of potential users of E-Verify, each of whom has different rules and requirements.

The USCIS has also added language that an Employer agrees to contact DHS at 1-888-464-4218 or E-Verify@dhs.gov, immediately in the event of a breach of personally identifiable information.


DHS/ICE continues to issue Notices of Intent to Fine (NOFs) at an unprecedented rate for Form I-9 related infractions. Mistakes occur in the I-9 process, it's inevitable. While establishing a written compliance policy, training and careful prevention is the best approach, all employers should take time at the beginning of each year to conduct an internal audit and self-examination of their systems, operating procedures, and past and present practices for handling I-9s, as well as to access training needs for the employees charged with handling and supervising the I-9 process. We also recommend that you review your E-Verify submissions, as well as revisiting just how compliant your I-9 software really is with your vendor if you are using an electronic system.
When the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was first announced, it was clear that individuals would have to meet some sort of education requirement in order to obtain the program's many benefits.
It is simply not true that individuals must be under 31 to be eligible for DACA. Any individual born after June 15, 1981 is within-and shall remain within-DACA's age requirements. Only individuals who were 31 years old or older on June 15, 2012 are ineligible for DACA.

Pro Video Gamer Gets P-1 Sports Visa for Athletes 

Professional StarCraft II player from South Korea Kim "ViOLet" Dong Hwan recently became the first person from the eSport to obtain a P-1A visa from USCIS.  Video games, such as StarCraft II (Blizzard) and League of Legends (Riot Games), have become hugely popular around the world. Professional national teams have been created where players train rigorously and earn hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in cash prizes and corporate sponsorships. This has become the norm in the eSport profession. As with other popular professional sports (e.g., boxing, football, basketball, baseball), eSports offer lucrative careers, media exposure, and loyal fans. Similar to NBA and NFL players, professional gamers from across the globe - especially South Korea and China - have become virtual super-stars and as a result, if they play their games right, may also be eligible for P-1 visa classification as internationally recognized athletes.

DHS Secretary Comments on Immigration Benefits for Same-Sex Marriages

Additional Resources

InFOCUS for HR's from "HR Daily Advisor"

Should You Play or Pay? ACA's Employer Tackhammer Penalty Explained

Employers must soon decide whether they are going to 'play or pay' under the Affordable Care Act (known as ACA or health care reform). Under this provision of the ACA, employers with 50 or more employees face penalties if they don't offer health insurance coverage or if the coverage they offer is insufficient.

In Closing... As always, we welcome your feedback. If there's a topic you'd like to know more about, please don't hesitate to let us know.  If you are interested in becoming an Immigration Compliance Group client or would like more information on our services, please contact us here
Disclaimer: This newsletter does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed. Copyright Immigration Compliance Group.  All Rights Reserved