US Immigration Update

August 31, 2017 All, USA
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US Immigration Update

USA Update: Enhanced Vetting for Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Applications The U.S. Foreign Affairs Manual, which provides guidance to consular officers regarding the issuance of U.S. visas, has been updated as…

USA Update: Enhanced Vetting for Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Applications

The U.S. Foreign Affairs Manual, which provides guidance to consular officers regarding the issuance of U.S. visas, has been updated as of August 2017. This move comes following the Executive order signed by President Trump in April 2017, entitled ‘Buy American, Hire American,’ which was drafted with the intent to “protect the interests of U.S. workers,” and prevent fraud and abuse within the U.S. immigration programme.

Impact on USCIS Filings

Ferguson Snell and our U.S. legal counsel have noted reports from clients and colleagues of a significant increase in the number of Requests for Evidence (RFEs) issued on filings with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) such as H-1B and L-1 petitions.

Non-Immigrant Visa Applications

There have also been increased reports across the sector of U.S. visa refusals and denials at consular posts abroad including London, as well as more intensive questioning for a broad range of non-immigrant visa categories, including the frequently-used L-1 intracompany transferees and E-2 treaty investors.

Employment-Based Green Card Applications

In addition to the changes for non-immigrant applicants, from October 1st, 2017 USCIS will begin requiring in-person interviews for employment-based Adjustment of Status (“green card”) applicants. Up until now, the majority of employment-based non-immigrant visa holders were able to proceed without the need for an in-person immigrant interview. In light of this new policy, applicants for employment-based Adjustment of Status green cards should be prepared for longer green card processing times.

What to Expect

These recent updates, combined with other changes to the U.S. immigration programme, point to increased implementation of the Trump Administration’s stance on immigration matters. Ferguson Snell and our U.S. legal counsel encourage employers to work with us in order to ensure company immigration programmes are legally compliant.

If you have been denied or refused a U.S. visa, please contact our subject matter expert in London so that we can assist you in finding a solution as well as provide guidance on applying for an alternative and appropriate visa

Ferguson Snell will continue to ensure visa applicants are thoroughly briefed by legal counsel in preparation for visa interview, and would recommend that any questions or concerns are raised with the team as soon as possible (whether for company matters or regarding individual applications).

In addition to the possibility of increased scrutiny at visa interviews, applicants should be prepared for longer consular processing times. We are continuing to monitor for any further changes to U.S. procedure, and will provide updates as new matters come to light. Should you or your employees have any questions, please contact the Ferguson Snell team.

 

If you would like further information on any part of this newsletter, please contact your dedicated Immigration Consultant via email on comms@fergusonsnell.co.uk or call us on +44 (0) 20 3668 2700.

FSA – US Immigration Update 2017