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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Dear Family, Friends, Clients, and Colleagues,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!

Phew, what a year 2017 had been!

We started 2017 with a presidential executive order that discriminated against Muslims, or otherwise known as the “travel ban.” Californians and others around the country would not have this, and we came out in the thousands at major airports and at courthouse steps to protest against this un-American executive order. My colleagues and I volunteered at San Francisco and SanJose airports to assist those who had families and loved ones stuck at the immigration check point as the ban took effect while the travelers were in the air and en route to the United States. Frankly, attorneys all over the world were willing and ready to assist those traveling to the U.S. with legitimate visas who risked being turned away once they reached the U.S. I could not be more proud to be an immigration attorney and this gives me hope as an American.

But we still have so much to do. As, during the remainder of the year, we continued to see assault to immigration policies that had made America great – policies that encouraged American businesses to hire and retain talented foreign workers; policies that protected immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, and who grew up in the U.S. as the only home they know, from deportation; policies that gave protected status to those whose countries had been undergoing war/armed-conflict, natural and environmental disasters and other extraordinary circumstances. These new changes in immigration affect over 1.1 million of our neighbors and our friends.

We at Yew Immigration Law Group, a P.C., continue to work tirelessly to fulfill our commitment to you and your family. And to our business clients, we believe in your services and products, and the contributions you make to this country; you deserve to hire the most talented and the brightest the global market has to offer, so you can be competitive and do what you do best. Each and every one of YOU, indeed, are the what and the who that makes America great!

A quick update on what’s happened at our office this past year:

  • Principal attorney – I, Alison Yew, continue to be the principal attorney. You will always meet or speak with me on all your substantive issues including at your first/consultation meeting.
  • Paralegal – Jenni Bales has joined us as our paralegal. She has many years of legal experience. In addition, she has a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and is working on her doctorate; her dissertation appropriately focuses on community development relating to the current immigrant population in the Bay Area. Her community services include being a chaplain at the Santa Clara County Jail.
  • Scheduler/Admin Assistant – We have been streamlining our telephone processes and we now have a designated scheduler who takes (or returns) your calls and schedules you for a meeting or a phone conference, as appropriate, with Alison. We believe this process will enable Alison to give you her undivided attention when speaking or meeting with you, because this time has been slated just for you. Michelle Kirst will join us in the new year to take on theadministrative assistant role; she comes to us with many years of receptionist experience with CPA offices especially during busy filing seasons.
  • Location – We continue to be at our new office, 1155 N. First Street #210, San Jose CA 95112, and we have now been here for 1.25 years. Time has sure flown and if you have not visited us here, please feel free to do so and say “hi.”
  • Website – If gave updated our look and feel and hopefully the navigation is easier with our new design. Come give it a whirl if you haven’t done so already, at www.yewlegal.com. If you have any suggestions to make your experience better, please let us know.

We hope to continue to keep you updated on immigration news in the upcoming year. Find us on social media for the most up-to-date news and trends. Do not hesitate to let us know what’s going on with you; we welcome your stories and how you’ve made the most of your immigration journey.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May your 2018 be the year of receiving and giving joy and blessings!

Best,
Alison Yew

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NEW USCIS FEES EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 23, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security has published a new rule, effective December 23, 2016, raising filing fees for applications/petitions filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”). The last time USCIS updated the fee schedule was on November 23, 2010. The current USCIS fee schedule and the new fees, are displayed in the below-table.

The new fee schedule will affect many of the type of work we do here at the Law Office of Alison Yew, including but not limited to:

  • N-400 Application for Naturalization
  • I-130 Petition for Alien Relative
  • I-485 Application to Adjust Status
  • I-812D/I-765 DACA filing
  • I-129 Petition for Non-Immigrant Worker
  • I-140 Alien Petition for Immigrant Worker
  • I-765 Application for Employment Authorization
  • I-131 Application for Travel Document (including reentry permit and advance parole)
  • I-129F Fiance(e) visa application
  • I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur (“EB-5”)

If you have any questions about your current case with us, and how the new fee schedule impacts the cost of your case, please feel free to CONTACT US.

NEW FEE SCHEDULE, EFFECTIVE 12/23/2016:

 

Form No. Title Current fee Final fee
G-1041 Genealogy Index Search Request $20 $65
G-1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Microfilm) 20 65
G-1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Textual Record) 35 65
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card 365 455
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document 330 445
I129/129CW Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker 325 460
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) 340 535
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative 420 535
I-131 /I131A Application for Travel Document 360 575
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker 580 700
I-191 Application for Advance Permission to Return to Unrelinquished Domicile 585 930
I-192 Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant 585 585/930
I-193 Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa 585 585
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal 585 930
I-290B Notice of Appeal or Motion 630 675
I-360 Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant 405 435
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status 985 1,140
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (certain applicants under the age of 14 years) 635 750
I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur 1,500 3,675
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status 290 370
I-600/600A Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative/Application for Advance Petition Processing of Orphan Petition 720 775
I-800/800A Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative/Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country 720 775
I-601 Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability 585 930
I-601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver 585 630
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement (Under Section 212(e) of the INA, as Amended) 585 930
I-687 Application for Status as a Temporary Resident under Section 245A of the Immigration and Nationality Act 1,130 1,130
I-690 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility 200 715
I-694 Notice of Appeal of Decision 755 890
I-698 Application to Adjust Status From Temporary to Permanent Resident (Under Section 245A of the INA) 1,020 1,670
I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence 505 595
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization 380 410
I-800A Supp. 3 Request for Action on Approved Form I-800A 360 385
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits 435 600
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition 405 465
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions 3,750 3,750
I-910 Application for Civil Surgeon Designation 615 785
I-924 Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program 6,230 17,795
I-924A Annual Certification of Regional Center 0 3,035
I-929 Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant 215 230
N-300 Application to File Declaration of Intention 250 270
N-336 Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings 650 700
N-400 Application for Naturalization 595 640
N-470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes 330 355
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document 345 555
N-600/N-600K Application for Certification of Citizenship/Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under Section 322 600/550 1,170
USCIS Immigrant Fee 165 220
Biometric Services Fee 85 85
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Immigrants Make Valuable Contributions to U.S. Economy

New Report: The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration

President-Elect Trump’s controversial immigration proposals have without a doubt caused many to question the future of immigration policy and the effect it will have on our nation’s immigrant community.   Among those who work closely with immigrants, such as in our immigration law practice, we know that immigration has great power and helps to propel our economy.  That’s why we believe it was very timely that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) published its recent 2016 report, and we share here some of its findings on our blog, as it confirms the positive effects of immigration.

Specifically, the report provides a comprehensive assessment of the impact of immigration on economic and fiscal outcomes for the U.S.  Through extensive data, the report confirms that immigrants make valuable contributions to economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the U.S. and are essentially integral to the nation’s economic growth. At the end of this post, there is a link to the full report (the site will request an email in exchange for a free PDF download of the full report).   We have below summarized some of the major findings of the report.

Impact on Employment, Wages, and the Economy

Effects on wages. When measured over a period of 10 years or more, the impact of immigration on the wages of native workers overall is very small. To the extent that negative wage effects are found, prior immigrants – who are often the closest substitutes for new immigrants – are most likely to experience them, followed by native-born high-school dropouts, who share job qualifications similar to the large share of low-skilled workers among immigrants to the United States.

Role of immigrants in consumer demand. The contributions of immigrants to the labor force reduce the prices of some goods and services, which benefits consumers in a range of sectors including child care, food preparation, house cleaning and repair, and construction. Moreover, new arrivals and their descendants are a source of demand in key sectors such as housing, which benefits residential real estate markets.

Effects on employment levels. There is little evidence that immigration significantly affects the overall employment levels of native-born workers. Any negative effects were small and were experienced primarily by other recent immigrants and those who did not graduate high school.

Impacts on economic growth. Immigration is integral to the nation’s economic growth. The inflow of labor supply has helped the United States avoid the problems facing other economies that have stagnated as a result of unfavorable demographics, particularly the effects of an aging workforce and reduced consumption by older residents. In addition, the infusion of human capital by high-skilled immigrants has boosted the nation’s capacity for innovation, entrepreneurship, and technological change. Research suggests, for example, that immigrants raise patenting per capita, which ultimately contributes to productivity growth. The prospects for long-run economic growth in the United States would be considerably dimmed without the contributions of high-skilled immigrants.

Impact on Federal, State, and Local Budgets

All population subgroups contribute to government finances by paying taxes and add to expenditures by consuming public services—but the levels differ. On average, individuals in the first generation group of immigrants are more costly to governments, mainly at the state and local levels, than are the native-born generations; however, immigrants’ children—the second generation—are among the strongest economic and fiscal contributors in the U.S. population overall, contributing more in taxes than either their parents or the rest of the native born population.

This outcome is primarily driven by two factors: first, the lower average education level of the first generation translated into lower incomes and, in turn, lower tax payments; second, higher per capita costs (notably those for public education) were generated at the state and local levels because the first generation had, on average, more dependent children than other adults in the population. Today’s immigrants have more education than earlier immigrants, and as a result, are more positive contributors to government finances. If today’s immigrants had the same lower educational distribution as immigrants two decades ago, their fiscal impact, would be much less positive. Thus, the total net fiscal impact of immigrants across all levels of government has become more positive over time.

For more information, a copy of the full report can be downloaded at (note that the site will request an email in exchange for a free PDF download of the full report):
https://www.nap.edu/catalog/23550/the-economic-and-fiscal-consequences-of-immigration

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Final Rule on High-Skilled Non-Immigrant Workers

 

 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Issues Final Rule on Immigrant Visa Petition Retention and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers

On November 18, 2016, DHS published a long anticipated final rule, “Retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers.” The rule goes into effect on January 17, 2017, and codifies existing policies and practices. It is intended to benefit U.S. employers and foreign workers by streamlining processes relating to the employment-based immigrant visa process and increasing job portability and flexibility for foreign workers.

Among its provisions, the final rule clarifies and improves the following policies and practices:

Clarifying Rules for Obtaining Post 6th Year H-1B Extension

 The final rule provides much needed clarity regarding the circumstances under which individuals are eligible for post-6th year H-1B extensions. The final rule confirms that foreign national applying for an AC21 extension need not be in H-1B status to be eligible as long as they previously held H-1B status and have additional H-1B time remaining to be used.

The regulation also consolidates guidance regarding when one may be eligible for an extension of H1B status beyond the standard 6-year max based on a pending labor certification or I-140 petition filed at least 365 days prior to the start date requested in the petition. The final rule further clarifies that one may be eligible for this benefit, even if the LC or I-140 was not filed at least 365 days before the foreign national exhausted the full 6-years of H1B time available.

 Recapture of Time Outside of the U.S. for H-1B Nonimmigrant Worker

The final rule clarifies that there is no time limit on recapturing time the H-1B nonimmigrant worker spends outside the U.S. The time may be recaptured at any time before the workers uses the full period of authorized H-1B admission.

Other H1B-Related Provisions

The new regulation includes a number of other provisions applicable to H1B classification. The regulation codifies longstanding DHS policies regarding “portability” and “bridge petitions.” In order to qualify for portability, the new H1B petition must have been filed while the worker either is in H1B status or has a timely filed H1B extension petition. Employment authorization continues until the pending H1B petition is adjudicated, as long as each petition in the “bridge” separately meets the requirements for H1B classification and extension of stay.

The new provision provides H1B workers with whistleblower protection in cases of employer retaliation based on reporting a violation of the employer’s obligations under the labor condition application (LCA). The DHS may consider a loss of status in these cases caused by the worker’s termination to be an “extraordinary circumstance,” and therefore grant an extension or change of status. 

I-140 Revocation and Priority Date Retention

Beneficiaries of approved I-140 petitions who change employers are permitted to retain their earlier priority date.  However, prior to the enactment of this final rule, there was some uncertainty as to whether this priority date retention applied in cases where the beneficiary’s prior employer withdrew or the government revoked the prior I-140 petition.

The final rule provides more certainty to I-140 beneficiaries and their prospective employers by clarifying that beneficiaries may retain the priority date from their initial I-140 petition as long as that petition was not withdrawn/revoked for fraud, willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or material error, or because of the invalidation or revocation of the underlying labor certification.  The new provision provides more certainty to beneficiaries of approved I-140 petitions that they will be able to change employers, move positions within their company, and pursue different employment opportunities without losing their priority date

I-140 Remains Valid Following Withdrawal or Business Termination – 180 Day Rule

The final rule also provides that where an I-140 petition has been approved for 180 days or more, USCIS will not revoke the I-140 petition based solely on the petitioner’s withdrawal of the petition of termination of the petitioner’s business.

Note this provision will not be applied retroactively and the 180 day rule will apply only prospectively from January 17th onward, the date the new rule becomes effective.

Eligibility for 1-year of Employment Authorization for E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, O-1, or L-1 Nonimmigrants Facing Green Card Backlogs When They Can Demonstrate “Compelling Circumstances”

The final rule permits for individuals facing immigrant visa backlogs in the above listed nonimmigrant visa categories to apply for separate employment authorization for a limited period of up to one year. To be eligible, the foreign national must 1.) be in one of the above listed visa categories, 2.) the principal beneficiary of an approved I-140, 3.) establish that an immigrant visa is not available on the date the application is filed, and 4.) demonstrate “compelling circumstances” (such as serious illness or disability to the worker or dependent family member, employer retaliation, substantial harm to applicant, or significant disruption to the employer) that justify the issuance of separate work authorization.

Expanding Availability of Two 10-Day Grace Periods for Certain Nonimmigrant Workers

The new rule expanded eligibility for a 10-day grace period before and after the petition validity period to the E-1, E-2, E-3, L-1, and TN nonimmigrant visa classifications. The grace periods will permit visa holders in the above classifications to enter or remain in the U.S. in lawful nonimmigrant status during these periods.  These grace periods were already available to foreign nationals classified as H-1B, O and P.

Establishing 60-Day Grace Period for Nonimmigrant Workers Following Loss of Employment

The final rule also provides for a 60-day consecutive grace period at the end of a nonimmigrant’s lawful stay in E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, O-1 or TN status, even if their employment ends prior to the end of the petition or visa validity period. This grace period will provide nonimmigrants in these visa classifications a reasonable amount of time to find and accept new employment within the U.S. where their prior employment is terminated or to make plans to depart the U.S.   During the 60-day grace period, nonimmigrants would not be authorized to work, but could potentially apply for a chance of employer or change of status.

EAD Adjudication

The final rule eliminates the requirement that USCIS must adjudicate EAD Applications within 90 days.  However, to avoid potential gaps in employment authorization, DHS will allow individuals to file renewal requests 180 days prior to the expiration of their current EAD (rather than the previous 120 days).  The final rule also includes an automatic 180-day EAD extension for timely filed renewal applications for those in certain categories, such as asylees and those in temporary protected status (TPS). However, this provision does not extend to all classes of nonimmigrants who are eligible for EADs, including those in L-2, H-4 and E.

New Supplement J to Form I-485

The final rule introduces a “Form I-485 Supplement J” which applicants will use to demonstrate certain threshold evidence regarding their eligibility to change employers when their Adjustment of Status Application has been filed and pending for more than 180 days. The supplement is intended to standardize the collection of the necessary information USCIS requires to confirm that the job offer from the I-140 petition is still available at the time of the adjustment of status filing or to adjudicate whether a worker’s portability request for a new position is in the same or similar occupational classification as their prior position(s).

If you would like to further discuss how these new rules might affect your current immigration status, call our office at 408-389-8930 to schedule a consultation today! 

Final Rule on High-Skilled Non-Immigrant Workers

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Issues Final Rule on Immigrant Visa Petition Retention and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers

On November 18, 2016, DHS published a long anticipated final rule, “Retention of EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers.” The rule goes into effect on January 17, 2017, and codifies existing policies and practices. It is intended to benefit U.S. employers and foreign workers by streamlining processes relating to the employment-based immigrant visa process and increasing job portability and flexibility for foreign workers.

Among its provisions, the final rule clarifies and improves the following policies and practices:

Clarifying Rules for Obtaining Post 6th Year H-1B Extension

 The final rule provides much needed clarity regarding the circumstances under which individuals are eligible for post-6th year H-1B extensions. The final rule confirms that foreign national applying for an AC21 extension need not be in H-1B status to be eligible as long as they previously held H-1B status and have additional H-1B time remaining to be used.

The regulation also consolidates guidance regarding when one may be eligible for an extension of H1B status beyond the standard 6-year max based on a pending labor certification or I-140 petition filed at least 365 days prior to the start date requested in the petition. The final rule further clarifies that one may be eligible for this benefit, even if the LC or I-140 was not filed at least 365 days before the foreign national exhausted the full 6-years of H1B time available.

 Recapture of Time Outside of the U.S. for H-1B Nonimmigrant Worker

The final rule clarifies that there is no time limit on recapturing time the H-1B nonimmigrant worker spends outside the U.S. The time may be recaptured at any time before the workers uses the full period of authorized H-1B admission.

Other H1B-Related Provisions

The new regulation includes a number of other provisions applicable to H1B classification. The regulation codifies longstanding DHS policies regarding “portability” and “bridge petitions.” In order to qualify for portability, the new H1B petition must have been filed while the worker either is in H1B status or has a timely filed H1B extension petition. Employment authorization continues until the pending H1B petition is adjudicated, as long as each petition in the “bridge” separately meets the requirements for H1B classification and extension of stay.

The new provision provides H1B workers with whistleblower protection in cases of employer retaliation based on reporting a violation of the employer’s obligations under the labor condition application (LCA). The DHS may consider a loss of status in these cases caused by the worker’s termination to be an “extraordinary circumstance,” and therefore grant an extension or change of status. 

I-140 Revocation and Priority Date Retention

Beneficiaries of approved I-140 petitions who change employers are permitted to retain their earlier priority date.  However, prior to the enactment of this final rule, there was some uncertainty as to whether this priority date retention applied in cases where the beneficiary’s prior employer withdrew or the government revoked the prior I-140 petition.

The final rule provides more certainty to I-140 beneficiaries and their prospective employers by clarifying that beneficiaries may retain the priority date from their initial I-140 petition as long as that petition was not withdrawn/revoked for fraud, willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or material error, or because of the invalidation or revocation of the underlying labor certification.  The new provision provides more certainty to beneficiaries of approved I-140 petitions that they will be able to change employers, move positions within their company, and pursue different employment opportunities without losing their priority date

I-140 Remains Valid Following Withdrawal or Business Termination – 180 Day Rule

The final rule also provides that where an I-140 petition has been approved for 180 days or more, USCIS will not revoke the I-140 petition based solely on the petitioner’s withdrawal of the petition of termination of the petitioner’s business.

Note this provision will not be applied retroactively and the 180 day rule will apply only prospectively from January 17th onward, the date the new rule becomes effective.

Eligibility for 1-year of Employment Authorization for E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, O-1, or L-1 Nonimmigrants Facing Green Card Backlogs When They Can Demonstrate “Compelling Circumstances”

The final rule permits for individuals facing immigrant visa backlogs in the above listed nonimmigrant visa categories to apply for separate employment authorization for a limited period of up to one year. To be eligible, the foreign national must 1.) be in one of the above listed visa categories, 2.) the principal beneficiary of an approved I-140, 3.) establish that an immigrant visa is not available on the date the application is filed, and 4.) demonstrate “compelling circumstances” (such as serious illness or disability to the worker or dependent family member, employer retaliation, substantial harm to applicant, or significant disruption to the employer) that justify the issuance of separate work authorization.

Expanding Availability of Two 10-Day Grace Periods for Certain Nonimmigrant Workers

The new rule expanded eligibility for a 10-day grace period before and after the petition validity period to the E-1, E-2, E-3, L-1, and TN nonimmigrant visa classifications. The grace periods will permit visa holders in the above classifications to enter or remain in the U.S. in lawful nonimmigrant status during these periods.  These grace periods were already available to foreign nationals classified as H-1B, O and P.

Establishing 60-Day Grace Period for Nonimmigrant Workers Following Loss of Employment

The final rule also provides for a 60-day consecutive grace period at the end of a nonimmigrant’s lawful stay in E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, O-1 or TN status, even if their employment ends prior to the end of the petition or visa validity period. This grace period will provide nonimmigrants in these visa classifications a reasonable amount of time to find and accept new employment within the U.S. where their prior employment is terminated or to make plans to depart the U.S.   During the 60-day grace period, nonimmigrants would not be authorized to work, but could potentially apply for a chance of employer or change of status.

EAD Adjudication

The final rule eliminates the requirement that USCIS must adjudicate EAD Applications within 90 days.  However, to avoid potential gaps in employment authorization, DHS will allow individuals to file renewal requests 180 days prior to the expiration of their current EAD (rather than the previous 120 days).  The final rule also includes an automatic 180-day EAD extension for timely filed renewal applications for those in certain categories, such as asylees and those in temporary protected status (TPS). However, this provision does not extend to all classes of nonimmigrants who are eligible for EADs, including those in L-2, H-4 and E.

New Supplement J to Form I-485

The final rule introduces a “Form I-485 Supplement J” which applicants will use to demonstrate certain threshold evidence regarding their eligibility to change employers when their Adjustment of Status Application has been filed and pending for more than 180 days. The supplement is intended to standardize the collection of the necessary information USCIS requires to confirm that the job offer from the I-140 petition is still available at the time of the adjustment of status filing or to adjudicate whether a worker’s portability request for a new position is in the same or similar occupational classification as their prior position(s).

If you would like to further discuss how these new rules might affect your current immigration status, call our office at 408-389-8930 to schedule a consultation today! 

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