News & Analysis as of

F-1 Optional Practical Training Proposed Rule Released; Work Authorization Expanded for STEM Students

The long-awaited proposed rule on F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) was published in the Federal Register on October 19, 2015, by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The proposed rule is titled “Improving and...more

Contingency Planning for the Upcoming H-1B Season

The H-1B non-immigrant visa allows foreign workers in certain occupations to legally live and work in the United States for a U.S. employer. In recent years, a growing number of foreign workers have applied for H-1B visas,...more

Immigration Updates: USCIS Announces Yet Another Change to the Visa Bulletin and STEM Graduates Granted a Reprieve by DHS

In our September 16th blog posting, we discussed the updated Visa Bulletin which provided a new chart for would-be immigrants. The new chart provides Dates for Filing Applications, or the earliest dates when an applicant may...more

You Down with OPT? DHS Proposes Longer Post-Graduate Work Authorization for STEM Graduates, with a Catch

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a proposed rule that would amend its F-1 nonimmigrant student visa regulations regarding optional practical training (OPT) for students with higher education degrees...more

Proposed DHS Rule May Save OPT STEM Extension

Foreign national students in F-1 status are generally allowed to apply for and obtain a one-year work permit, referred to as Optional Practical Training (OPT). Certain students degrees from U.S. universities in specific...more

Microsoft Lays Off Workers Amid Calls for Expanded H1-B Visas

In July, Microsoft Corporation announced it would lay off 7,800 workers worldwide. The layoffs amount to 7 percent of the technology company’s global workforce. Politicians rarely like to hear about corporate layoffs —...more

Federal Court Vacates STEM Extension Program

Current STEM OPT holders not affected until February 2016. A federal judge's ruling earlier this month invalidated the 17-month extension of optional practical training (OPT) for international students in the science,...more

What is going on with STEM OPT?

A recent federal court ruling has created uncertainty and speculation about the STEM OPT program. This summary is provided to inform employers and F-1 STEM students of the facts about the effect of this decision....more

Immigration Alert: Decision Overturning 17-month OPT/STEM Extensions is stayed as USCIS scrambles to cure deficiencies

On August 12, 2015, Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dealt a blow to employers by vacating the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) 2008 interim rule expanding the...more

Dealing with Rejection: Options for Applicants Not Selected in the FY2016 H-1B Lottery

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)’s announcement last month that it received nearly 233,000 H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2016 beginning October 1, 2015—a record total, and a 35% increase over last...more

Didn’t Make the H-1B Cut? Here are Some Alternatives

As previously reported, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap, including the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption for...more

The 2015 STAPLE Act: Will Relief Finally Come for U.S. Employers in Need of Foreign Talent?

USCIS announced May 4, 2015, that it has completed data entry of all fiscal year 2016 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected in its computer-generated lottery. USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that...more

Alternative Visa Strategies in The Aftermath of The Record-Breaking April 2015 H-1B Lottery

The United States Citizenship & Immigration Service announced yesterday that it received nearly 233,000 H-1B visa petitions in the first week of the application window for the 85,000 cap-subject visas available for fiscal...more

OPT Program Under Attack

While a lawsuit challenging President Obama’s executive action has garnered headlines recently, another lawsuit that could negatively impact the labor supply and increase the cost of doing business for employers has largely...more

How Will Immigration Executive Action Impact Higher Education Institutions?

Multi-national personnel and students are uniquely important to the mission and objectives of higher education institutions. The recent focus on immigration reform at the federal level raises the potential for broader...more

Reasons to Increase the H-1B Visa Cap

The H-1B visa is one of the most highly sought-after – and most difficult to obtain – work visas. Only 65,000 general H-1B visas, and 20,000 advanced degree H-1B visas, are available each year. Given that U.S. Citizenship and...more

H1-B Cap 2016 Filings Due In April, Competition Remains Steady

Time to start preparing for the H-1B Cap for Fiscal Year 2016! Demand for the H-1B visa category has steadily increased. Last year, USCIS received 172,500 petitions for 85,000 H-1B spots. Although USCIS issues receipts in...more

Employers: Start the New Year Off on the Right Foot with respect to Immigration Policies

Now is a good time for employers to take a look at their immigration policies to make sure that they are starting 2015 off on the right foot. For instance, employers should...more

Will the New Technology-Focused Immigration Bill Succeed?

Technology companies, industry groups, and trade associations are enthusiastically supporting a new Senate bill that would make it easier for foreign nationals working in the technology sector to stay and work in the United...more

How the President’s Immigration Executive Actions Will Impact Employers

As we reported, on November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a number of executive orders impacting US immigration policy, some of which will have a direct and significant impact on employers. For instance, among other...more

Immigration Bulletin - Summary Of President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced that his Administration would provide several executive actions with respect to immigration. This bulletin summarizes the elements expected to be included in such executive...more

Guidance on the President’s Immigration Initiatives

On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced a number of executive orders impacting US immigration policy. The Shapiro Law Group stands ready to assist anyone impacted by President Obama’s executive actions with respect to...more

The Immigration Accountability Executive Actions: Ramifications for Business

On November 20 and 21, 2014, President Obama announced his plan for executive action on the United States’ immigration problems, known as the immigration accountability executive actions. The actions represent the most...more

President Obama Announces Immigration Bills: Real Reform or Band-Aid Fixes?

On November 20, 2014 President Obama announced a series of executive actions to reform the “broken” immigration system after Congress failed to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill this year. These initiatives have...more

Visa Restrictions on Foreign Entrepreneurs to Ease Under Obama Immigration Directives

President Barack Obama’s immigration directives, announced on November 20, 2014, include a plan to ease visa restrictions, “mak[ing] it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and...more

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