DOL Prevailing Wage Determinations on Hold; Delays Will Thwart Employers Ability to File PERM Applications for Employees

August 22nd, 2011

The Department of Labor National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) advises that it is not issuing prevailing wage determinations (PWDs), often a necessary beginning step in the PERM labor certification process, as it uses all of it resources to reissue some 4,000 court-ordered H-2B wage determinations. Requests for reconsideration or appeal are also on hold. This means that employers seeking to begin PERM cases must wait, even though certain cases must be filed for their H-1B workers due to AC-21 extension requirements, expiring recruitment, or other reasons. DOL advises employers to submit prevailing wage determination requests at least 60 days in advance of the employer’s initial recruitment efforts. As of this writing, it is unclear when DOL will resume PWD processing for new cases and whether any relief will be made available for PERM cases that must but cannot be filed. For now, employers are advised to plan accordingly and build additional time into the application process.

Comment » | Department of Labor

Controversial Secure Communities Initiative Continues But Without Agreements with States

August 22nd, 2011

In an abrupt change of approach to a key immigration enforcement program, ICE declared in early August that it would continue its “Secure Communities” program but without memoranda of agreements (MOA) with state or local law enforcement agencies because ICE deemed them unnecessary. MOAs already in place were unilaterally terminated.  Under the three-year-old Secure Communities program, the FBI shares fingerprint data of people arrested by local (or state) law enforcement authorities with DHS so that it, in turn, can check for immigration law violations. Procedurally, the program has been criticized by some state and local governments for lack of uniformity, inconsistency, and confusion. For example, local authorities have been led to believe that the program is “voluntary” when in fact there is no mechanism for them to opt out. More substantively, the program has been criticized for netting low-level or non-criminal immigration violators – 60% of those arrested are not serious criminals according to ICE statistics – at the expense of local community policing efforts. Indeed, as reported in the Washington Post, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino assessed the program more bluntly, and wrote to ICE Director Morton that “Secure Communities is negatively impacting public safety.” Despite the criticisms, ICE plans to have the program in place nationwide by 2013.

Comment » | Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement

States Continue to Carve Out Piecemeal Immigration Law and Policy in Absence of Federal Approach

August 22nd, 2011

State and local governments continue to be the staging ground for real action on immigration reform while Congress does nothing. Conservative state legislatures have enacted draconian, restrictive immigration laws (Arizona, Alabama, Utah, Georgia, and South Carolina) that, in some cases, are winding their way through the courts, while other states have moved in the direction of enacting more liberal policies toward immigrants. Most recently, the governors of Illinois and California signed into law “DREAM Act” bills that would allow undocumented immigrants to receive private funds to attend state colleges and universities. The same issue will go before the Maryland electorate as part of a referendum in November 2011.  And the courts, state as well as federal, continue to enter the fray. In Texas, a district court recently barred the Texas Department of Public Safety from enforcing rules that denied driver’s licenses to immigrants living and working in Texas with valid work authorization.  In Georgia, a federal district court blocked key provisions of that state’s “Show Me Your Papers” law, granting a preliminary injunction in the suit filed by a coalition of civil rights groups and individual attorneys.

In the absence of a federal approach to immigration reform and continued congressional inaction which is expected until after the next presidential election, we can expect more of the same from state and local governments as they attempt to regulate immigration and address the strain our broken immigration system causes to their communities.

Zulkie Partners is nationally recognized for its command of immigration law. We offer services that cover all aspects of corporate immigration law, including nonimmigrant work visas, permanent residence sponsorship and more.

Connect with us today to learn how we can help you further your hiring goals.

Comment » | Department of Homeland Security, E-Verify, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Immigration reform, Worksite enforcement policies

DOS Warns of Increased Diversity Visa Lottery Scamming

August 22nd, 2011

The Department of State advises of a notable increase in fraudulent e-mails and letters sent to Diversity Immigrant Visa program applicants. The scammers are posing as the U.S. government in an attempt to extract payment from lottery applicants.  Many of the fraudulent emails have elements that make them look legitimate, such as the DOS seal. For more information, click here.

Zulkie Partners is nationally recognized for its command of immigration law. We offer services that cover all aspects of corporate immigration law, including nonimmigrant work visas, permanent residence sponsorship and more.

Connect with us today to learn how we can help you further your hiring goals.

Comment » | Department of State, Lawful permanent resident

USCIS Launches I-9 Central Online

May 31st, 2011

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has launched I-9 Central, a new online resource center dedicated to the most frequently accessed form on USCIS.gov: Form I-9, Employee Eligibility Verification. The website provides employers and employees access to resources, tips, and guidance on completing the I-9 and understanding the I-9 process.

I-9 Central includes sections on employer and employee rights and responsibilities, step-by-step instructions for completing the form, and information on acceptable documents for establishing identity and employment authorization. The site also includes a discussion of common mistakes to avoid when completing the form, guidance on how to correct errors, and answers to employers’ recent questions about the I-9 process.

Comment » | Department of Homeland Security, E-Verify, I-9

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