Immigration Law

Innovative thinking and practical solutions

Free Webinar: Auto Dealer Industry Wage & Hour Compliance – October 8, 2014

Posted in Employment Law

Wage and hour lawsuits and governmental investigations targeting auto dealerships are on the rise.  Join my colleague James Nicholas, the Chair of Mintz Levin’s Wage & Hour Class Action Practice, for a free educational webinar on October 8 that will address the latest trends in compliance affecting auto dealerships and how you can develop and implement effective strategies for minimizing your exposure to these types of claims.  The full invitation with registration information can be found here.

6 Little Known Facts About H-1B Visas

Posted in H-1B, Immigration Policy, Nonimmigrant Visas

It is almost October 1st, when thousands of new H-1B visas will become effective with the onset of the US government’s 2015 fiscal year.  In light of this, here are six little known but important facts about H-1B visas:

  1. H-1B visas are available for part-time as well as full-time positions.
  2. People can hold multiple, concurrent, H-1B positions, as long as each employer has filed and has ultimately received an approval for its petition.
  3. Entrepreneurs can set up companies that can file H-1B visa petitions on their behalf, as long as they can prove they have an arms-length relationship with their company.
  4. If someone has worked in H-1B visa status for less than 6 years, and has taken a number from the H-1B visa quota, he/she is not subject to the quota for subsequent H-1B employment, even following an intervening period in a different visa status (such as a student visa) or following departure from the US.
  5. If someone is the beneficiary of a cap-subject H-1B petition approval effective October 1st, he/she is no longer subject to the quota and is eligible for approval of a new H-1B visa petition filed by a different employer.  This is true regardless of whether the person is inside or outside the US.
  6. Even when the H-1B visa quota has been exhausted, for-profit employers may obtain H-1B visa petition approvals for some employees under certain circumstances. For example, where the individual is also employed in H-1B status by an H-1B quota-exempt employer, such as a university, OR where the work will further the university’s educational purpose and will be performed on campus.

USCIS Regulations Slowly Catching up/Catching on to Current Immigration Realities

Posted in Employment Law, H-1B, Immigration Policy, Immigration Reform, USCIS ELIS

Written by Susan Cohen

In recent days, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) has published several proposed rules in the Federal Register, which, if adopted, will bring welcome and much needed regulatory changes.

Authorizing  Employment Authorization for Spouses of Certain H-1B Workers

On May 12, 2014 DHS published a proposed rule to allow the spouses of certain H-1B temporary workers the right to work in the United States.  Continue Reading

What F-1 Students Need to Know About Work & Travel Before October 1

Posted in H-1B, Immigration Policy

By Susan Cohen and Bill Coffman

If you are an F-1 student with OPT employment eligibility and your H-1B filing has been accepted by USCIS, visa petitions will be adjudicated over the next few months, and approved petitions will have an October 1, 2014 start date. Whether you can travel and return to work before October 1 depends on your specific situation.

We list our recommendations for these common scenarios in our recently published advisory, “Work and Travel Guidance for F-1 Students with Pending H-1B “Change of Status” Applications and “Cap-Gap” Employment Authorization.”

  • My OPT employment card has not expired and my H-1B petition has been accepted, but not yet approved.
  • My OPT employment card has not expired and my H-1B has been approved.
  • My OPT employment card has expired.
  • I need to depart the US and will not return until October 1 or later and will apply for the H-1B visa
  • My H-1B petition was denied by USCIS


Free Employment Law Webinar: Tips on Drafting Restrictive Covenants – May 28, 2014

Posted in Employment Law

Join two of our colleagues from the Employment, Labor & Benefits Practice for this free webinar on drafting restrictive covenants, to be held on May 28th. The panelists include Mintz Levin attorneys Bret Cohen and Mitch Danzig, and Jeff Lambert, the Chief Legal Officer of our client The Active Network. They will discuss the importance of getting the right restrictive covenant in protecting your trade secrets and restricting competition. The invitation with registration info is here.

To follow all posts from our employment attorneys, check out the Employment Matters blog.

Changes for H-1B tech workers and their spouses on the horizon?

Posted in H-1B, Immigration Policy, Immigration Reform

The Obama administration has proposed changes to regulations regarding spouses of people who are working under H-1B high-skilled employment visas. The changes, which will appear in the Federal Register later this week, are intended to attract people who work in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to the U.S.. In this Fox News Latino article, I comment on the merits of the proposal. Also discussed are criticisms of the proposed changes and their effect on the American workforce.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Rolling Out Electronic Travel Records

Posted in CBP News, I-94, Immigration Policy

Written by Maryanne Kline

In April 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) introduced electronic Forms I-94, enabling nonimmigrants entering the U.S. via air and sea to easily access their Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Records online.  As of  May 1, 2014, this electronic system has been expanded to provide access to an individual’s full arrival and departure history for the past five years. Continue Reading

The Start-up Chile visa program: Chile’s gain is our loss

Posted in Emerging Companies, Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Immigration Policy, Immigration Reform

The following opinion piece by Susan Cohen appeared in the December 20, 2013 issue of VentureBeat and is reprinted here with permission.

The U.S. market is a magnet for foreign entrepreneurs. Yet the U.S. immigration system throws up roadblocks to entrepreneurs. There is no “startup” visa, and the visa options that exist are unwieldy and often impractical.

Contrast that with the Chilean government’s Start-up Chile program. Nicholas Shea, a Stanford MBA and a Chilean citizen, began this program in 2010, when he realized that there were no viable visa options for the Chilean friends he wanted to start a company with in Silicon Valley. Since 2010, the Start-up Chile program has awarded over 1,000 startup visas and millions of dollars of funding to those who win the country’s business plan competition. Continue Reading