Recent Publications - Henry M. Mascia


What You Need to Know about Biden’s Travel Ban Revocation
February 25, 2021 | Immigration | Employment & Labor
Yesterday, the Biden administration revoked parts of the Trump-era executive orders that had prevented certain foreign nationals from entering the United States due to the coronavirus outbreak. Here’s what you need to know: What’s Changed U.S. consulates can issue an immigrant visa (i.e. a “green card”) to foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States …
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A Divided Bench Revealed in Top Court’s Commercial Cases
February 23, 2021 | Commercial Litigation | Appeals
When discussing the U.S. Supreme Court, commentators spend considerable time reviewing the decisions of the Court to create “lineups” of conservative versus liberal Justices and to speculate which Justices, or group of Justices, are the deciding or so-called “swing” votes. In cases raising constitutional issues involving prominent social issues, legal philosophies can be observed that …
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What Employers Need to Know about the Upcoming H-1B Lottery
February 9, 2021 | Immigration | Employment & Labor
It is time for employers to prepare for the first H-1B lottery under the Biden administration. The following outlines what employers need to know, what changes to expect, and what will remain the same. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will conduct the lottery in its traditional form, with beneficiaries holding a master’s degrees …
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Groundbreaking Changes to the H-1B Lottery in 2021
January 7, 2021 | Immigration
Today, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a final rule that would drastically change the lottery system this year. Under the new rule, USCIS would give priority to applications offering the highest wages, rather than selecting applications on a random basis as it has historically done. USCIS acknowledges that the new rule will …
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Trump Administration Changes Student Visa Eligibility for the Fall Semester
July 7, 2020 | Immigration
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced changes to the student visa program for the fall semester for international students in F-1 or M-1 status. The new policy has three key features: Fully online programs: Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. government will not issue visas or permit entry to F-1 and M-1 international students …
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How Will President Trump’s Immigration Ban 2.0 Affect You?
June 23, 2020 | Immigration
On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued an executive order that bans certain nonimmigrants from entering the United States (the “Nonimmigrant Ban”) until December 31, 2020. The Nonimmigrant Ban comes on the heels of an April 2020 executive order preventing certain foreign nationals from receiving an immigrant visa (the “Immigrant Ban”). A summary of the …
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How Will Trump’s Immigration Ban Affect You?
April 23, 2020 | Immigration
After a teaser on Twitter and a verbal preview during a press conference, President Trump has signed an executive order preventing certain foreign nationals from receiving an immigrant visa for the next 60 days. The purpose of the order is protecting United States workers from competition from foreign workers. In reality, however, the order will …
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U.S. Department of Homeland Security Relaxes I-9 Requirements
March 20, 2020 | Immigration | Employment & Labor
In response to the current public health crisis, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that it will allow certain employers to defer the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). Under ordinary circumstances, employers must physically inspect the documents produced by employees to establish their identity and authorization …
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NY Appellate Courts Cancel Oral Arguments and Suspend Filing Deadlines
March 18, 2020 | Appeals
The outbreak of COVID-19 presents the New York court system with unprecedented challenges.  New York’s appellate courts have responded by taking swift, decisive action.  Attorneys litigating in New York’s appellate courts should be aware of the modifications to oral argument and the deadlines established by court rules. The courts have made other temporary changes, and …
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Special Procedures to Extend Your Stay Under Visa Waiver Program Due to Coronavirus
March 18, 2020 | Immigration
Many foreign nationals who were admitted into the United States through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) cannot leave due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the related travel restrictions announced by President Trump last week. To remain in the United States longer than authorized through the VWP requires obtaining special permission called “Satisfactory Departure”.  Requests for …
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Employers Must Consider Immigration Compliance When Responding to COVID-19
March 17, 2020 | Immigration | Employment & Labor | Corporate
The spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented unprecedented challenges for employers who hire foreign nationals. Employers must take special care to ensure compliance with immigration laws during this crisis.  Here a few of the most common scenarios, with recommendations on how to address them. Working Remotely Now that social distancing has become the norm, many …
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Trump Administration Travel Restriction Explained
March 12, 2020 | Immigration
To slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Trump administration has temporarily suspended entry of foreign nationals in the European Union into the United States.  The full Presidential Proclamation can be found here. This decision comes on the heels of a similar travel restriction on foreign nationals who had been physically present in China …
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EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program to Undergo Changes
July 30, 2019 | Immigration
After 26 years, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a component of U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USDHS), published a new rule modernizing the Immigrant Investor Program with several changes. This is the first substantial revision to the Employment-Based Immigration: Fifth Preference or EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program since the program’s enactment in 1993. This …
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New Rules for Premium Visa Processing and H-1B Data Hub
March 20, 2019 | Immigration | Employment & Labor
On March 19, 2019, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced two major changes to the H-1B visa program. First, USCIS will allow a modified form of premium processing for H-1B visa petitions that are subject to the annual cap (“cap-subject H-1B petitions”). In the past two years, USCIS had suspended premium processing …
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What Employers Need to Know Now about H-1B Visas
March 6, 2019 | Immigration | Employment & Labor
It is now H-1B visa season, meaning that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is accepting H-1B visa applications from April 1st to April 5th. The H-1B visa program has come under intense public scrutiny over the last two years. In response to perceived abuses in the H-1B program, President Trump issued the “Buy …
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DHS Proposes Termination of H-4 Work Authorization
February 28, 2019 | Immigration | Employment & Labor
On February 20, 2019, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent the Office of Management and Budget a proposed rule that would eliminate the work authorization for those present on an H-4 visa. The proposed termination of work authorization has the potential to drastically affect the companies that employ H-4 workers. Proactive employers can avoid a disruption …
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Trump Administration Implements Major Changes to H-1B Lottery System
January 30, 2019 | Immigration | Employment & Labor
On January 31, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will publish a final rule changing the H-1B lottery system. The final rule implements the proposed two changes discussed earlier here. According to the DHS announcement, “The final rule reverses the order by which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B regular …
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Trump Administration Proposes Changes to H-1B Lottery
January 3, 2019 | Immigration | Employment & Labor
The public comment period for the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) proposed changes to the H-1B lottery system has now closed.  U.S. companies filing H-1B visa petitions must typically enter a lottery because the law caps the number of H-1B visas that DHS can issue each year. The proposed rule would make two important changes …
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USCIS Clarifies 1-Year Foreign Employment Requirement for L-1 Visas
December 4, 2018 | Immigration | Employment & Labor | Corporate
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a policy memorandum clarifying the one-year foreign employment requirement for an L-1 visa for intracompany transferees. Previously, USCIS inconsistently applied this requirement when a foreign national was in the United States in one status but sought to change to L-1 status. An L-1 visa permits …
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Trump Administration’s New Immigration Policies Take Effect Oct. 1, 2018
October 1, 2018 | Immigration | Corporate
Two of the Trump administration’s new immigration policies go into effect today. Beginning today, October 1, 2018, foreign national students who had been working under a regulation known as the “cap-gap” are no long authorized to work. The announcement can be found here. The “cap-gap” period starts when an F‑1 student’s status and work authorization …
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The One Thing Employers Need to Know for This H-1B Season
February 22, 2018 | Employment & Labor | Corporate
The H-1B visa program has come under intense public scrutiny over the last year. In response to perceived abuses in the H-1B program, President Trump issued the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, which directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to advance policies to help ensure H-1B visas are awarded to only the most-skilled …
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Visa-Renewal Policy About-Face Creates Uncertainty
October 30, 2017 | Corporate
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) changed its policy on visa renewals. USCIS will no longer defer to prior visa approvals and will instead treat each renewal application as if it were an initial application. This represents a major turnaround to an immigration policy that had been in place for 13 years. Since 2004, …
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Trump Administration to Increase Worksite Enforcement of Immigration Laws
October 18, 2017 | Corporate
Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Thomas Homan confirmed what most immigration experts predicted – the Trump administration will intensify worksite enforcement of immigration laws. Speaking at the Heritage Foundation, Acting Director Homan stated that the agency would increase the amount of time spent on “worksite enforcement” by “four or five times” this year. ICE …
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What the DACA Rescission Means for Employers
September 7, 2017 | Corporate
The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known by the acronym “DACA.” The administration has, in effect, delayed the termination of DACA to allow Congress to pass legislation providing legal status to DACA recipients. Employers should know the implications for their obligations to verify work …
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Trump Administration Issues New Form I-9
July 17, 2017 | Corporate
Today the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Issued a new version of the Form I-9, which employers must use to document their efforts to verify the identity and employment eligibility of its employees. The new version of the Form I-9 can be found here https://www.uscis.gov/i-9. Employers must begin using the new version of the …
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What Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order Means for Your Business
April 20, 2017 | Corporate | Commercial Litigation | Appeals
On April 18, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order entitled “Buy American and Hire American.” The Order states that the Executive Branch’s official policy is “to rigorously enforce and administer the laws governing entry into the United States of workers from abroad,” in an effort “to create higher wages and employment rates for workers …
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Trump’s Travel Ban: What It Means for Businesses
January 31, 2017 | Corporate
On January 27, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order that temporarily restricts visitors from seven countries deemed to harbor terrorists. The order suspends for 90 days the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States by foreign nationals from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.  The Department of Homeland Security …
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E-Visas Help Foreign Brands Build U.S. Business
January 24, 2017 | Corporate
The combination of globalization and the trend toward clean living has revolutionized the natural products industry, creating opportunities and presenting challenges. Opportunities include the availability of products and human capital from around the world. Bringing those resources into the United States, however, presents challenges. Companies that meet those challenges will have a competitive advantage. NatureCare, …
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An Employer’s Guide to Immigration Policy in a Trump Administration
December 5, 2016 | Corporate
After months of uncertainty during the campaign season, employers finally know that Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. The Trump administration, which takes power on January 20, 2017, will likely bring fundamental changes to immigration law and policy.  Although many of the details remain uncertain, employers can take action now …
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Language Immersion Programs Qualify as a Q-1 International Cultural Exchange Program
November 2, 2016 | Corporate
United States immigration laws permit a foreign national to enter and work in the United States in an international cultural exchange program that is approved by the Department of Homeland Security.  If the foreign national and the program qualify, the foreign national will be classified as a Q-1 cultural exchange visitor. To qualify for the …
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So You’re Hiring Your First Employee…
October 4, 2016 | Corporate
As an entrepreneur starting your own business, you have a lot to think about.  Hiring your first employee is no exception.  Federal law requires employers to verify every employee’s identity and work authorization by completing and retaining an Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) for each employee.  This obligation can present challenges to an employer hiring …
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L-1 Visa to Open a New Office in the United States
September 6, 2016 | Corporate
The L-1 visa permits employees working abroad to enter the United States and work as a manager, executive, or worker in a specialized knowledge capacity.  Many United States companies petition for L-1 visas so that high-level executives can transfer from a foreign office to an existing U.S. office, but employees may also be eligible for …
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Companies with H-1B and L-1 Employees Are Subject to On-Site Audit — Are You Prepared?
August 8, 2016 | Corporate | Commercial Litigation | Appeals
When an employer sponsors an employee for an H-1B or L-1 visa, the employer agrees to comply with on-site compliance reviews.  The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which conducts such on-site compliance reviews through the Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) directorate, will often visit an employer unannounced and will not typically reschedule …
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August 8 is the Deadline for 7-month STEM OPT Extension
August 4, 2016 | Corporate
An F-1 Visa allows foreign nationals to enter the United States to study full time at an academic institution.  Students on an F-1 Visa can participate in an Optional Practical Training (OPT) while they are still attending school (pre-completion OPT) or after they graduate (post-completion OPT), or both. A student on a F-1 Visa is …
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Permissible Questions to Ask about Job Applicant’s Immigration Status
July 7, 2016 | Commercial Litigation | Corporate | Appeals
The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-related Unfair Employment Practices (“OSC”) at the U.S. Department of Justice recently issued Technical Assistance Letter (“TAL”) regarding employer compliance with the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”).  The OSC concluded that an employer does not violate anti-discrimination laws by 1) refusing to hire all applicants …
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L-1 Visa for Intracompany Transferees
June 2, 2016 | Corporate | Commercial Litigation | Appeals
An L-1 visa permits multinational companies to transfer qualifying employees from their foreign office to their United States office or to the office of its parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate in the United States.  L-1 visas allow multinational companies to facilitate their expansion and to help establish an office in the United States. L-1 visas …
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O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
May 2, 2016 | Corporate | Commercial Litigation | Appeals
A foreign national with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics can obtain an O-1 visa to enter the United States and work in their field of expertise.  Due to the annual numerical cap set by Congress on the number of workers that can obtain an H-1B visa for workers in specialty …
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New Guidance on Standards for Job Portability
April 4, 2016 | Corporate
In a new policy memorandum, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently clarified the agency’s interpretation of the phrase “same or similar” occupation for purposes of Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) § 240(j).  Under INA § 240(j), foreign nationals with an approved I-140 can only change jobs if (1) he or she has …
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New Rules Proposed for Optional Practical Training
February 26, 2016 | Corporate
An F-1 Visa allows foreign nationals to enter the United States to study full time at an academic institution.  Qualifying academic institutions include an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, or elementary school. Students on an F-1 Visa can participate in an Optional Practical Training (OPT) while they are still attending school (pre-completion …
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