On August 22, 2017, President Donald Trump signed the Northern Mariana Islands Economic Expansion Act. H.R. 339 into law. The legislation modifies provisions relating to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Transitional Worker classification, more commonly known as “CW1.” The CW1 transitional worker category is a limited nonimmigrant work visa applying only to individuals in the Northern Mariana Islands who would be ineligible to work under other nonimmigrant work visa categories. The new legislation adds 350 CW1 visas to the fiscal year 2017 CW1 cap. This raises the CW1 cap from 12,998 to 13,348. It also restricts the availability of CW1 visas for certain employees going forward and raises the mandatory CNMI education fee for all CW1 employees.
On August 28, 2017, Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will soon expand in-person interview requirements for certain individuals seeking adjustment of immigration status. According to the report, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that beginning October 1, 2017, those seeking adjustment of status in the employment-based preference categories will be required to undergo in-person interviews. The in-person interview requirement will also apply for all Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petitions.
On August 9, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new Policy Memorandum on the definitions of “affiliate” and “subsidiary” in the H1B ACWIA fee context. The Memorandum is titled Definition of ‘Affiliate’ or “Subsidiary’ for Purposes of Determining the H-1B ACWIA Fee.” In this blog, we introduce the issue and provide a link to our full article on the memo.
Citing to a recent Wall Street Journal report, The Hill reported that the Trump Administration is considering curtailing certain foreign work exchange programs. The report specifically notes that the review includes some exchange programs that fall under the J1 exchange visitor program, including the summer work travel and au pair programs.
In what appears to be a new instance of politically motivated prosecution in Russia, the Associated Press reported that Russian investigators have detained internationally renowned director Kirill Serebrennikov on charges of embezzling government funds provided for his productions. Despite his productions having garnered state funding, Serebrennikov has been a target of many Russian politicians for his social views and activism.
On August 22, 2017, Stephen Dinan of The Washington Times reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had exercised its authority under section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to trigger visa sanctions against four countries found to be recalcitrant in accepting the return of their nationals. In accord with the statute, the DHS notified the U.S. Department of State (DOS), which will have responsibility for imposing the visa sanctions.
Members of AILA have reported that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been denying Form I-131, Application for Travel Document applications for advance parole for applicants who traveled abroad while their applications were pending. This includes circumstances where the USCIS previously allowed the advance parole application to proceed.