Month: May 2016

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Firm Recognized for Exemplary Workplace Practices

Stern & Curray Receives Prestigious When Work Works Award

 

Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2016
Heidi Box
Business Development Coordinator
303.407.4100
heidi.box@sterncurray.com

Denver, CO, May 31, 2016 – Stern & Curray LLC has been honored with a 2016 When Work Works Award for its use of effective workplace strategies to increase business and employee success.

This prestigious award, part of the national When Work Works project administered by the Families and Work Institute (FWI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), recognizes employers of all sizes and types in Colorado and across the country.

“We are thrilled to receive this recognition for our workplace policies and culture,” said Emily Curray, Managing Partner of Stern & Curray. “We take great pride in being excellent employers and offering an environment supportive of working parents and lives outside of work, in addition to competitive benefits.”

Director of Administration, Gail Berg, added, “The firm understands that the best way to invest in the company is to invest in our employees.”

The award is the result of a rigorous assessment. Worksites must first qualify by ranking in the top 20 percent of the country based on a nationally representative sample of employers. Two-thirds of the evaluation of applicants comes from an employee survey. Applicants are evaluated on six research-based ingredients of an effective workplace: opportunities for learning; a culture of trust; work/life fit; supervisor support for work success; autonomy; and satisfaction with earnings, benefits and opportunities for advancement — all factors associated with employee health, well-being and engagement.

“These employers have excelled at creating effective workplaces yielding tremendously positive results for business success, as well as for their employees’ well-being and productivity,” said Ellen Galinsky, president of FWI. “Effective workplaces recognize that employees are an organization’s greatest resource and make a critical difference in the organization’s ability to not only survive, but to thrive.”

“The 2016 When Work Works Award winners confirm that leading employers are continuing the movement toward effective workplace strategies that benefit both business and employees,” said Lisa Horn, director of SHRM’s workplace flexibility initiative. “These innovative strategies are what sets these organizations apart, allowing them to attract and retain top talent, giving them a competitive advantage.”

To learn more, check out this interactive map, which includes winning organizations by state: http://www.whenworkworks.org/be-effective/2016-when-work-works-award-winners-state-listing

About Stern & Curray LLC

Stern & Curray is a woman-owned, full service immigration law firm dedicated to helping clients hire and retain foreign workers, obtain proper immigration status to remain in the U.S., and become permanent residents or citizens of the U.S. Our business clients have operations throughout the world and include cutting-edge, start-up, and traditional industries, as well as established educational and research institutions. For more information about Stern & Curray, please view our website: www.sterncurray.com.

About When Work Works

When Work Works is a national initiative, led by the partnership of the Families and Work Institute (FWI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), to help businesses of all sizes and types become more successful by transforming the way they view and adopt effective and flexible workplaces. When Work Works is one of the foremost providers of resources, rigorous research and best practices on workplace effectiveness and flexibility in the nation. The initiative administers the prestigious annual When Work Works Award, which recognizes exemplary employers for creating effective workplaces to increase business and employee success. For more information about the When Work Works initiative and the When Work Works Award, visit www.whenworkworks.org

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USCIS Extends Comment Period for Changes to E-Verify Program

USCIS has extended the comment period for proposed changes to the E-Verify system. These changes would expand the information collected through the E-Verify program in two ways. First, the proposal creates a streamlined agency review process for Final Non Confirmations. Second, the proposed  changes would mandate reverification of all employees with expiring temporary work authorization, extending the use of E-Verify beyond the initial hiring process. Currently, employers must update an employee’s form I-9 with updated employment authorization documentation, but no actions are required in E-Verify. Under the proposed changes, employers will then be required to enter information from the updated I-9 into the E-Verify system.

To read a summary of the proposed changes and post a comment, visit the USCIS notice in the Federal Register. The comment period closes June 20, 2016.

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New Visa Program Proposed for Guest Workers

A recently introduced bill would establish a pilot guest workers program to create a new classification of lower-skilled, non-seasonal temporary workers. The “Willing Workers and Willing Employers Act of 2016,” sponsored by Arizona Senator Jeff Flake (R), would amend the INA to create a new H-2C classification to meet the employment needs of construction, nursing, manufacturing, landscaping and meatpacking industries. The bill would impose a flexible cap in the number of recipients from 65,000 to 85,000 per year, which would be adjusted based on market demand. In addition to requiring employers to first recruit U.S. workers from the local labor market, the pilot program would also be limited to counties and metropolitan areas where the unemployment rate is less than 5 percent. To protect the guest workers, the program would allow portability, enabling the workers to change jobs and work for any employer who has already been approved to hire workers under the program. The bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Finance Committee, but its chances of passing or even receiving a vote are uncertain.

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A Peek into an Immigration Court

Ever wondered what immigration court proceedings sound like? Have a listen to the April 28th episode of the NPR podcast “Embedded.”

On its face, the immigration system can look a lot like the criminal justice system: prisons, courts, judges, prosecutors. But the rules are different and the details are often hard to access. Today we go inside an immigration courtroom to follow the story of one man and his family.

 

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USCIS Proposes Steep Increase in Fees

USCIS recently proposed a substantial increase in immigration filing fees, which will likely go into effect this summer.  After a review of operating costs, USCIS found that current filing fees are too low to cover the cost of the services it provides, leaving the agency with an annual shortfall of $560 million. Approximately 95 percent of USCIS funding comes from filing fees collected from applicants and petitioners, with the remaining 5 percent covered by discretionary appropriation from Congress.

The highest fee increases will apply to employment-based filings, such as a 42 percent increase for filing Form I-129 for H-1B professionals and L-1 intracompany transfers (from $325 to $460), and a 21 percent increase for filing Form I-140 to petition a nonimmigrant worker for permanent resident status (from $580 to $700).  The most significant increase, however, would be to the EB-5 visa program for immigrants investing at least $1 million in the United States and creating at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers. The filing fee for the corresponding Form I-526 will increase by 145 percent, from $1,500 to $3,675. Fees will also increase substantially for EB-5 Regional Centers, which are U.S. entities that petitioners may invest in to indirectly satisfy the job creation requirement.  The proposed change will increase the initial filing fee to designate these regional centers from $6,230 to $17,795, and will create a new annual fee of $3,035. Fees for many family-sponsored petitions and other benefits will also increase under the proposed rule, such as filings for employment authorization, advanced parole, and reentry for permanent residents.  Premium processing fees, however, will remain at $1,225.

Interested stakeholders may submit comments on the proposed rule until July 5, 2016.

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