The attorneys originally wrote the article to address clients' questions about compliance during the Coronavirus pandemic, advising that the Fraud and National Security Division of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is likely to see payment of less than the I-129 rate as an H-1B violation and could expose employers to back-pay liability under Department of Labor regulations.
Before Denise and Yeon Me submitted their article, another attorney published an article on the topic, which took a more relaxed stance on how to handle H-1B wages during the pandemic. Denise and Yeon Me revised their article, which was then published by Law360 as a rebuttal to the original perspective.
GYH's rebuttal and stance on H-1B wage compliance during the pandemic is available here: Risks Of Including H-1B Workers In Companywide Pay Cuts
The Coronavirus pandemic is creating major obstacles for employers seeking to hire foreign workers under H-1B specialty occupation visas. Employers are already challenged with predicting future hiring needs and filing petitions remotely. Law360 reached out to GYH Managing Partner Becki Young for comment on its recent article, "Pandemic Creates Roadblocks During H-1B Visa Cycle."
Becki Young shared examples of fitness company client that opted not to proceed with a planned H-1B sponsorship after it was forced to close and restaurant and hospitality sector clients calling to find out whether they can lay off, furlough or cut hours for employees on H-1B visas.
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This year, the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) rolled out a new electronic pre-registration system for H-1B petitions, bringing in a record 275,000 H-1B petitions, a 37% increase over last year. While the pre-registration process clearly makes it easier for firms to apply for the H-1B lottery, this boon was fleeting. Many of these visa petitions were filed before the Coronavirus pandemic was in full effect, causing many business to shutter and, in many cases, terminate or furlough employees. The question now is whether employers will proceed with H-1B applications or drop their plans for visa sponsorship.
Tech Target asked GYH Managing Partner Becki Young for her expert opinion.
"[Some businesses that] are currently shut down or operating at partial capacity have asked us to proceed with their cases," said Young. "That's because some employers have sponsored H-1B work visa holders with unique skills to fill special roles. The clients have often invested substantial resources into recruiting these individuals, and don't want to lose them."
Full article here.
The plight of restaurant workers and other hospitality employees amidst the Coronavirus pandemic has been all over the news. Less discussed are the compounded struggles of the large percentage of those hospitality workers who are also immigrants. For those eligible for unemployment, is it even advisable that they apply, considering the recent roll-out of the new Public Charge Rule?
GYH Managing Partner, Becki Young, explained to Washington City Paper how lawyers are divided on the subject. “Everybody who applies for a temporary visa has to answer a question about if they’ve ever collected public benefits,” Young says. “My colleagues and I are still concerned that USCIS and the federal government have a huge amount of discretion.”
For the full article and Becki's complete commentary, click here.
Last week, the federal government announced it is loosening certain in-person form and document review requirement for employment eligibility verification. Employers are permitted to review I-9 eligibility documents electronically if their organization is teleworking due to the COVID-19 emergency. Typically, employers are required to review the original documents in person. Now, employers will be expected to conduct the in-person review once normal business operations resume. The agency also gave employers an additional 60 days to respond to audits if they were served with a notice of inspection in March, saving employers and their attorneys from having to collect physical documents when the CDC is urging Americans to stay home.
Last week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) also announced that it is suspending its premium processing requirement and temporarily issued a waiver allowing reproduced signatures on documents previously requiring original, "wet" signatures.
Law360 reached out to Becki Young for input on these temporary changes. "I think this will be a huge relief," said Young of the signature waiver. "This is what we've been hoping for all week." She also warned foreign nationals that, in light of recent events, green card applications may take longer than expected.
If you have a Law360 membership, you may view the full article here.
"Feds Relax In-Person Rules For I-9, Visa Forms Due To Virus," Law360, March 17, 2020 (Beck Young quoted).
USCIS announced on March 16th, days before its first ever electronic preregistration period was scheduled to close, that is is temporarily suspending premium processing for all H-1B visas until the end of May at the latest. Law360 reached out to GYH Managing Partner, Becki Young, for insights into the impacts of this suspension on employers.
"This is not a big deal. That's just business as usual for USCIS," said Young... "If they were to expand the premium processing freeze to other categories, that
would definitely create more issues."
Premium processing remains available to workers who already have H-1B visas and are applying for extensions. Young noted, however, that too could
face suspension in light of public health concerns stemming from COVID-19, which are already presenting staffing concerns for companies across all industries.
If you have a Law360 membership, you can view the full article here.
"USCIS Pauses Fast-Tracked Processing for H-1B Visas," Law360, March 17, 2020. (Becki Young quoted)
GeneralCounselNews.com, a aggregator of news and announcements for general counsel, executives, other in-house attorneys and private practice attorneys throughout the United States, reported Meg Hobbins' promotion to Partner in its Law Firm and Lawyer accolades section last week. To see the full announcement, click here.
January 24, 2020
News of Meg Hobbins' promotion to Partner was published today in Attorney at Law Magazine. The press release noted Meg's distinction as the first ever attorney in GYH history to make partner and outlined her extensive experience with family-based and humanitarian immigration issues, consular processing, INTERPOL red notices and more.
For the full press release, click here.
Today, the Federalist Society published an article, co-authored by Sandra Grossman and Ted Bromund (The Heritage Foundation), regarding the abuse of INTERPOL, its extensive threat to human rights, and the importance of the Transnational Repression Accountability and Prevention (TRAP) Act to prevent and diminish this serious abuse of power.
Repressive regimes, particularly in Russia, China, Turkey, and Venezuela, use Interpol to issue illegitimate Red Notices and diffusions against political opponents. The effect of this abuse can be severe and infringes on the due process and human rights of those who fall victim. Interpol abuse subverts the legal sovereignty of the United States by allowing authoritarian regimes to use U.S. legal proceedings to define their political opponents as criminals, and then to punish these political opponents or even have them imprisoned in the United States.
To understand the problem of Interpol abuse, it is important to first understand what Interpol actually is. Hollywood portrays Interpol as an international police agency with the power to investigate crimes and make arrests around the globe. In reality, Interpol has no ability to conduct investigations or make arrests. In fact, Interpol’s constitution strictly prohibits it from any involvement in political, racial, religious, or military affairs. Interpol is akin to a bulletin board on which the world’s police forces can post their own, national wanted notices.
The TRAP Act is framed as a response to the problem of transnational repression. It requires that the U.S. use its “voice, vote, and influence . . . within INTERPOL’s General Assembly and Executive Committee to . . . improv[e] the transparency of INTERPOL and ensur[e] its operation consistent with its Constitution.” While the TRAP Act does not address every kind of Interpol abuse, it makes a valuable contribution to shedding light on the issue. It also requires the U.S. to adopt processes to strengthen accountability and transparency within Interpol, thus limiting abuse at its source.
To read the complete article, click here.
November 26, 2019
Sandra Grossman offered an attorney’s perspective on INTERPOL abuse and the TRAP Act for AILA's "Think Immigration" blog.
“[INTERPOL] is a necessary and valuable law enforcement agency… However, its system of color-coded notices and diffusions… has become increasingly subject to abuse by autocratic regimes. Countries such as Russia, China, Turkey, and Venezuela, among others, have successfully manipulated INTERPOL to persecute dissidents abroad and manufacture immigration violations in the United States.”
Sandra’s testimony before the U.S. Helsinki Commission advocated for the passage of the TRAP Act which, if passed, would put in place crucial monitoring mechanisms and safeguards to address INTERPOL abuse, including enhanced transparency and accountability.