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Immigration Update

May, 2013                                                                         Vol. 5 Issue 5

In the May Update
Gang of 8 Immigration Reform Bill
Gang of 8 E-Verify Provisions
Gang of 8 Invest Visa Provision
Legal Workforce Act
June Visa Bulletin
Answers to FAQs about the New I-9
News and Noteworthy
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Giselle Carson

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Gang of 8 Immigration Reform Bill

On April 17,  a long-awaited bipartisan immigration reform bill titled 

S.744 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act entered the Senate. The bill was created by the "Gang of Eight" Senators through extraordinary efforts and compromises. The original bill is composed of 844 pages, and is currently going through some amendments. In our Special Update in April, we provided highlights of this bill. Over the next few months, we will provide you with a more in depth look at its provisions.  This month we are covering the: Employment Verification System and Invest Visa (Startup Visa) provisions. 

 

Gang of 8 Employment Verification Provisions
 This section includes a mandatory and enhanced electronic employment verification system (E-Verify) to be phased-in over a five year period.   Non-citizens will have "a biometric work authorization card" or "biometric green card" which will contain a photo that must be verified to match the photo in the E-Verify system.  To protect against fraud, individuals will have the ability to "lock" their social security number once verified so it cannot be used by another person.   The bill also provides for protection not currently available under the E-Verify system such as the ability for employees to appeal a non-confirmation and good faith protection for employers that rely on E-Verify results.   Employers who fail to verify employees who are found to be undocumented would face penalties for the "knowing hiring of an unauthorized worker".  These penalties range from $3,500 to $7,500 for each unauthorized worker.  We will continue to provide updates on this section in the event that amendments are made.
 
Gang of 8 INVEST Visa (Startup Visa) Provision

The Investing in New Venture, Entrepreneurial Startups and Technology section provides for nonimmigrant and immigrant INVEST visas for entrepreneurs.  Applicants must be "qualified entrepreneurs", which means someone who: has significant ownership in a US business; is employed in a senior executive position; submits a business plan to the USCIS, and had a substantial role in the founding or early stage growth and development of such US business entity.  The nonimmigrant INVEST visa would be valid for up to three initial years, with renewal options for an additional three years based on job creation and annual revenue generated.  A qualified entrepreneur could apply for an immigrant INVEST visa and adjustment to permanent residence if the business creates five or more new jobs and meets revenue-raising requirements.  STEM degree holders entrepreneurs could also apply and must meet slightly lower requirements.

 

Legal Workforce Act reintroduced

 in the House

Rep. Goodlatte and  Smith have re-introduced the

Legal Workforce Act
to the House Judiciary Committee.  This bill was original presented in 2011.  The bill aims at discouraging illegal immigration and unauthorized employment.  The bill phases-in mandatory E-Verify and requires all employers to use E-Verify within three years of the enactment. The bill also repeals the current I-9 system, preempts duplicative state laws but allows states to enforce federal E-Verify requirements. The bill protects against identity theft by closely monitoring social security numbers and allowing individuals to lock their SSN, and provides safe harbor to employers using E-Verify.  Employers should be aware that a consistent theme of these immigration reform bills is ongoing employment verification measures.
  

June Visa Bulletin is Now Out!

In the EB-2 category, India had no movement in its US Visa priority date  but we expect forward movement in the next bulletin; and China moved forward by eight weeks. The most substantial activity was in the EB-3 category with China and Mexico's dates moving forward nine months, and other countries moving as well.   The Philippines and India EB-3 also moved forward, although modestly, by one and two weeks respectively. To read the bulletin in its entirety, click here.

 

The New Form I-9 now in use and Answers to Most FAQs

After almost a year of working on a suitable form and without significant warning, the new edition of the Form I-9 was released and is now required to be in use by all employers.  This new form and instructions will hopefully reduce I-9 errors and violation that lead to employers' penalties. Below is a link to an article I wrote for SHRM Jacksonville with answers to most commonly asked questions relating to this new form and process.   To read the entire article, click here.

 
 
  I am honored and humbled to have been named the 2013 "Lawyer of the Year" by the Jacksonville Bar Association.  I had completed the London Marathon and was in the United Kingdom when I heard  the news.  I accepted the award via YouTube. Click
here to see my acceptance speech and here to read the press release!
  
We will continue to monitor the development in immigration that matter to you and will be taking a June break from publishing our Immigration Update.  
Enjoy the beginning of the summer and Independence Day.  We'll submit our next Immigration Update to you in mid-July!
  
 GC Signature
Giselle Carson
Attorney at Law
Marks Gray, P.A.
1200 Riverplace Blvd., Suite 800
Jacksonville, FL 32207
(904) 398-0900
 
  
If you need assistance with any immigration-related issues, please contact Giselle Carson or Thyra Reveron at (904) 398-0900.

Marks Gray, P.A. is dedicated to customer service. We monitor proposed and current developments in the law. The contents of this newsletter are not intended as legal advice related to individual situations. If you have any questions about your particular situation, please contact a lawyer.