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Miami Florida Immigration Law Blog

2018 could bring changes to national immigration policy

Many businesses around Miami and throughout the state of Florida and the United States depend on immigrants to fill key positions in their companies. Many times, these workers fill skilled roles that require extensive education, such as engineering, chemistry or medical positions.

Typically, businesses engage in international hiring by securing visas for their workers that allow them to travel to the United States and reside in the country for the duration of their job contract or visa. With declining unemployment rates and increasing demand for skilled and educated workers, businesses often find the easiest solution is to hire internationally. Future immigration changes could make that process even more difficult.

Immigration fraud case highlights importance of applications

Most businesses that work with foreign employees understand that immigration is a complicated process. In fact, many visas are handed out via a lottery system, because the annual number of visa applicants tends to far exceed the permitted number of immigrants.

For businesses hoping to hire the best and brightest, difficulty obtaining the right kind of visa can leave them unable to hire the perfect applicant. There is a lot of paperwork involved with legal immigration into the United States, and getting a visa often proves to be a competitive process.

Avoid these potential pitfalls when hiring a foreign employee

It goes without saying that hiring a foreign employee is more difficult than hiring someone who is currently a citizen of the United States. While you may run into some challenges along the way, there's a good chance that you realize this is the best decision you can make for your company.

J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program: questions and answers

While many people have an interest in the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program, some don't take the time to learn more about the finer details. Generally speaking, the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program is a program that provides foreign visitors with the opportunity to experience the society and culture of the United States.

Trump vows to end diversity lottery in wake of terror attack

Florida residents may be aware that President Trump has vowed to end the diversity lottery program in the wake of a terror attack in New York City that claimed eight lives. The 29-year-old man who has been charged in connection with the Oct. 31 truck attack entered the United States in 2010 from Uzbekistan after being awarded a visa under the program. Trump told his cabinet that he plans to ask Congress to scrap the diversity lottery during a Nov.1 meeting at the White house.

The Diversity Visa Lottery was authorized by lawmakers in 1990 and went into effect in 1995. It was designed to encourage immigration from parts of the world that are not well represented in the United States, but Trump believes that future visas should be awarded based on merit rather than national origin. The program awards about 50,000 visas each year.

New H-1B renewal rules may cause problems

In Florida, there are individuals who work in the state using H-1B visas, which are available for highly skilled workers. A recent change by the Trump Administration may make it more difficult for workers who are working on H-1B visas to obtain renewals.

The Trump Administration has reportedly directed U.S. Customs and Immigration Services to exercise heightened scrutiny when they review H-1B renewal applications. USCIS is now supposed to subject the renewal applications to the same degree of scrutiny as it does with initial H-1B applications. Previously, workers who already had H-1B visas were granted deference in the renewal process, making it much easier for them to gain renewals.

Military green card holders face new requirements

Permanent residents of the United States living in Florida or other parts of the country who want to serve in the military will face more stringent standards. Those who have a green card will now be required to pass a background check prior to beginning basic training. Getting a certificate of honorable service generally provides a person with a faster path to citizenship. Under new guidelines, a person must pass basic training and serve 180 consecutive days before getting this certificate.

Alternatively, a person may spend a year in the reserves to get that certificate. In the past, those who served in the military could get that certificate after just a day of service. In addition to not being able to participate in basic training, green card holde without a completed background check may have their certificate revoked. It is unclear how changes in policy may impact how those already deployed may be impacted.

Technical glitch drops entrants in visa program lottery

Some immigrants in Florida succeeded in entering the United States through the U.S. Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. This program gives people a chance to win a diversity visa through a lottery managed by the U.S. State Department. People who do not have family members in the country or an employer to sponsor them can enter this drawing.

An announcement from the State Department has warned applicants who completed applications between Oct. 3 and Oct. 10 to reapply. A technical issue wiped out their entries. To give these people a second chance, the State Department urged applicants to complete new entries between Oct. 18 and Nov. 22.

Victims of abuse and immigration

Some immigrants to the United States who are living in Florida also live in fear of domestic abuse. Many of these individuals may be reluctant to report their abuse or leave their abuser because they are concerned about losing legal status to remain in the United States. However, federal law provides protection for some abuse victims who may be able to achieve permanent resident status independently of their U.S. sponsor.

Theater production imagines life with stricter immigration laws

A new Miami theater production called "Building the Wall" attempts to describe what life could be like in the future, if immigration laws continue to get stricter. The theme of the play could be of interest to anyone seeking to move to the United States, and also to employers looking to bring laborers and professionals into the country.

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