After many years of negotiations, the E-2 visa category is finally available to Israeli nationals, starting on May 1, 2019.
The U.S. Embassy in Israel made the announcement on their website, and already has detailed instructions for visa applications. This is an important announcement for the Israeli high-tech sector and the U.S. economy because it opens new possibilities for Israelis wishing to create start-ups in the U.S. or open subsidiaries in the U.S.
Israelis have been eligible for E-1 Treaty Trader status since 1949. E-1 status requires that the majority of the trade of the company is between the US and Israel, and that the trade be substantial.
In contrast, E-2 status does not require any continuing business between the US company and the treaty country. E-2 status is available to nationals of treaty countries who enter the US as managers/executives, or with "essential skills" and will be employed by a US company that is at least 50% owned by treaty nationals. A common misconception is that the E-2 visa holder must herself be the investor. This is not the case. E-2 visa holders fall into two general categories:
1. Treaty nationals who are creating a new US business or buying an existing business.
2. Treaty nationals who are entering the US to work for a company that is owned by people of the same nationality. For example, a German person coming to the US to work for a German-owned company could get E-2 status, assuming she met all other requirements.
For more information about E-2 visas (one of my favorites), contact Elaine Martin, Immigration Lawyer. Se also this link: http://www.martinvisalawyer.com/uploads/3/8/6/0/38600843/e-2_info_sheet.pdf
March 19, 2019: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the start of the fiscal year (FY) 2020 H-1B cap season, start dates for premium processing of cap-subject H-1B petitions, and the launch of its new H-1B data hub. It also reminded petitioners of its new H-1B cap selection process.
H-1B FY 2020 Cap Season
USCIS will begin accepting H-1B 2020 cap petitions subject on April 1, 2019. Any cap cases filed before that date will be rejected.
Premium processing (PP) will be offered in a two-phased approach during the FY 2020 cap season. USCIS says that this will allow it to manage premium processing requests without fully suspending it as it has done in the past.
Premium processing for H-1B petitions that are exempt from the cap, such as extension of stay requests, remains available.
New H-1B Data Hub
USCIS announced a new H-1B Employer Data Hub that will be available on April 1. The data hub is part of USCIS’ continued effort to increase the transparency of the H-1B program by allowing the public to search for H-1B petitioners by fiscal year, NAICS industry code, company name, city, state, or zip code. Memners of the public will be able to calculate approval and denial rates and to review which employers are using the H-1B program.
For any questions about H-1B cases, please contact Elaine Martin, immigration lawyer.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it plans to close its offices outside the United States. This would mean the closure of 23 local offices of USCIS, in 20 countries.
On March 12, 2019, the agency said that roughly 70 USCIS employees work in the offices abroad. If the plans to close these offices are finalized, the employees will return to the United States.
Local offices of USCIS handle family petitions for US citizens currently living in those countries, military citizenship applications, and helping people flee persecution in their countries.
Another "important function" of USCIS' international offices is "to provide technical expertise on immigration-related matters to U.S. government agencies abroad, including other Department of Homeland Security components, the Department of State and the Department of Defense," the agency explains on its website.
As reported by NPR, USCIS spokeswoman Jessica Collins announced on Tuesday the agency is in "preliminary discussions" to delegate its international responsibilities to the State Department, or to its own personnel in the U.S. In some cases, the workload would be absorbed by U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.
In a cost analysis conducted last year, USCIS officials estimated phasing out its international offices would save millions of dollars each year. "The goal of any such shift would be to maximize USCIS resources that could then be reallocated, in part, to backlog reduction" at the agency, Collins told NPR in an emailed statement.
In the statement, Collins downplayed the potential impact of shutting all 23 field offices across 20 countries. She provided assurances that the transition would be coordinated with the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the State Department, "to ensure no interruption in the provision of immigration services to affected applicants and petitioners."
For more information, please contact Elaine Martin, US immigration lawyer.
The long-threatened proposal to rescind the H-4 spousal work authorization has finally been sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.
The details of the proposal are confidential and not available for review. OMB has up to 90 days to review the proposal. Once OMB finishes its review, the proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register. There will then be a public comment period of 30-60 days.
If you are a foreign national that will be affected by this change, or an employer of H-1B workers, your comments will be very important in preventing this rule being finalized. It is critical that the government hears personal stories of the devastating impact this will have on US residents and on companies hoping to attract and retain talent.
Until any new rule is finalized, current eligible H-4 holders can continue to apply for new and renewed employment authorization. Given that the proposed rule is a priority for the Department of Homeland Security, and may be enacted very soon after clearing the regulatory steps mentioned above, we recommend that H-4 holders apply for new or renewed EADs as soon as possible, before the program is eliminated.
For more information, and to check your eligibility for H-4 work authorization, please contact Elaine Martin.
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.