Francis Bocala, Author at Chugh LLP

Francis Bocala

US Stopgap Funding Approved: Immigration Programs Get Temporarily Extended, USCIS Premium Processing Program Expands

President Trump signed a law providing stopgap funding to the US government through December 11, 2020 while Congress continues to debate the fiscal year 2021 federal budget. The measure also expands the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) premium processing program to include many new types of employment-based cases and increases the cost of this service to $2,500 from $1,440. The law takes effect immediately, but USCIS’s implementation may take a few weeks.

Why California Corporations Should Have a Well-Crafted Buy-Sell Agreement

A buy-sell agreement protects a corporation’s interests if a shareholder needs to or wants to exit the business or wants to bring in a new owner. California corporations with more than one owner or shareholder should work closely with their attorneys to build a strong buy-sell agreement and avoid expensive conflict related to shareholder exits and entries.

DHS Proposal Would Limit F, J, and I Visa Holders to Fixed Periods of Stay

United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed a new rule to limit F, J, and I nonimmigrant student visas to two years for citizens of 59 countries. If this rule is passed, affected international students would have to apply for an extension of stay to continue their studies beyond the two-year period, and fulfill related biometrics requirements again. Additionally, the rule would impose defined limits of stay for all F, J, and I visa holders. Students would be subject to unlawful presence rules for stays beyond their visa’s fixed period. The proposed rule is published in the Federal Register as of September 25, 2020 and will be subject to a 30-day comment period before DHS reviews feedback and issues a final rule.

Employment-Based Green Card Dates Advance Significantly for Indian Nationals

Several employment-based immigrant visa cutoff dates have significantly advanced in the October 2020 US Department of State Visa Bulletin. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will use the Dates for Filing Visa Bulletin, which means that many foreign nationals are newly eligible to file for adjustment of status to obtain United States permanent residence, and the EB-3 immigrant visa cutoff date will significantly advance for Indian nationals

US Government Seeking to Change H-1B Visa Eligibility Requirements

The United States government under the Trump Administration has promised since 2017 that it would change the definition of “specialty occupation” as used to determine H-1B visa eligibility. On September 3, 2020, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent a new proposed interim final rule, “Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program,” to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). The new rule may make it more difficult for employers –especially staffing, outsourcing, and consulting companies – to sponsor employees on H-1B visas.

ICE Extends Remote Form I-9 Verification Policy through November 19

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has extended its remote Form I-9 document verification policy through September 19, 2020 to help employers cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Under this policy, employers do not have to verify new Form I-9- employment eligibility documentation in the employee’s physical presence until September 19, 2020, or within three days of the COVID-19 national emergency’s end, whichever comes sooner.

The Evolution of United States Immigration Policy for International Students during COVID-19

At the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, F and M students could take classes remotely. This allowed schools to maintain social distancing protocols while students could continuously maintain their immigration status in the US. On July 26, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) enacted policy requiring international students to leave the United States if their courses were fully online for the fall 2020 semester. After multiple lawsuits, DHS rescinded the policy for existing students only on July 14, 2020.

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