Month: February 2015

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Work Authorization for H-4 Visa Holders

USCIS announced today that spouses of certain H-1B visa holders working in the U.S. will soon be able to apply for work authorization of their own. Details on this new regulation will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, but here’s what we know now.

In order for the spouse in H-4 status to apply, the spouse in H-1B status must be eligible for H-1B visa extensions based on either of the following:

  • An approved I-140 employment immigrant petition; or
  • A filed Labor Certification application before the end of the 5th year in H-1B status.

Applications for H-4 work authorization will be accepted on May 26, 2015, but not before that date.

We know that people are eager to learn more about whether their spouse can receive work authorization under this new rule. We are offering a free teleconference to explain the details on March 12, 2015 at 12:00 pm MDT. To register and receive instructions for accessing the free teleconference, please RSVP here.

We will post updates on our blog  and on our Facebook page as new policies and regulations take effect. You can also stay abreast of developments at  www.uscis.gov. 

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Federal Judge Halts Expanded DACA and DAPA

Monday night Federal Judge Andrew Hanen granted an injunction that temporarily stops the implementation of President Obama’s Expanded DACA and DAPA Programs.  Because of this injunction, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that applications for Expanded DACA will no longer be accepted on February 18th as was originally planned. Instead, the Expanded DACA and DAPA Programs have been put on hold until Judge Hanen’s ruling is either reversed or a different ruling is issued. This means that the Obama administration is unable to implement either Expanded DACA or DAPA until this lawsuit is resolved.

This ruling only impacts Expanded DACA and DAPA.  Applications for the original DACA issued in June 2012, renewals, and extensions under original DACA are not affected.

This injunction derives from a lawsuit joined by 26 states that are suing President Obama over his executive action immigration reform issued in November 2014.  If Judge Hanen’s injunction holds, these 26 states will be able to proceed with their lawsuit while the Expanded DACA and DAPA programs remain on hold.

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H-2B Visas Hit the Cap for the First Half of Fiscal Year 2015

The H-2B visa program allows for employers to bring non-agricultural workers to the United States to fill temporary jobs such as seasonal work.  There is a statutory limit, or cap, on the number of temporary workers that may be granted an H-2B visa during each fiscal year.  At present, the H-2B visa cap is set at 66,000 visas per fiscal year, 33,000 in the first half of the year and 33,000 in the second half.  USCIS recently announced that January 26, 2015 was the final receipt date for H-2B petitions for the first half of fiscal year 2015.  Any H-2B petitions received after January 26, 2015 will be rejected by USCIS.  H-2B cap exempt applications will continue to be accepted.

Please call our office for more information about filing for an H-2B visa for the second half of the fiscal year.

 

 

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Benefits of the Colorado Road and Community Safety Act Cut for Undocumented Immigrants

Beginning February 2, 2015, foreign nationals living in the United States without authorization will have a much more difficult time getting a driver’s license in Colorado.  Following a vote by the Joint Budget Committee to restrict funding for the Colorado Road and Community Safety Act, the DMV has been forced to downsize their ability to offer driver’s licenses to immigrants who are in the country without authorization.

The DMV’s Denver Central office is now the only location in the State of Colorado that can issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.  These licenses are valid for three years and are restricted – meaning they do not serve as federal identification for air travel purposes, cannot be used for an I-9, and cannot be used to apply for public benefits.  Driver’s licenses for immigrants present in the United States without permission may be obtained by appointment only.  However, due to the lack of funding, the DMV office is not currently accepting new appointments.  Those seeking to make an appointment for a license are directed to visit www.colorado.gov/dmv on or after Jan. 5, 2016 to schedule an appointment.  Foreign nationals interested in learning more about obtaining a driver’s license can visit this website for more information.

 

 

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New DACA Applications will be Accepted Starting February 18th!

Great news for those who will be applying for the new expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program! Applications for a three-year deferral of deportation and a three-year work permit will be accepted starting on February 18, 2015.

To be eligible for the new DACA program you must the following criteria:

  • Have entered the United States before the age of 16;
  • Have lived in the United States continuously since at least January 1, 2010 (rather than the prior requirement of June 15, 2007);
  • Are currently in school, have graduated from high school or obtained a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. military; and
  • Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, or multiple misdemeanor offenses.

You can schedule a consultation to start your DACA application today by calling our office at 303.407.4100.

For parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, an application for deferred action will be available in mid-to-late May 2015. We will send an email when we learn the official application date.

If you know family or friends who may benefit from the President’s plan, please share our information with them. The attorneys at Stern & Curray will continue to update our blog and our Facebook page with any changes.

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