Immigration News: A Reminder of New Developments
By The Immigration Practice Group
Welcome to 2008! Reminder of New Immigration-Related Developments
As the new year begins, it is important to remember that there are many new developments in the immigration field:
Nonimmigrant Visa Application Fee Increased to $131
Effective January 1, 2008, the Department of State increased the fee that nonimmigrant visa applicants must pay to obtain a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate. The new fee is $131. (See December 12, 2007 Client Alert for additional details.)
Employers Must Use New I-9 to Verify Employment Eligibility
Effective December 27, 2007, employers are required to use the revised Form I-9 to verify the employment eligibility of all new employees. The revised version of the I-9 has a revision date of June 5, 2007, which is noted as "(Rev. 06/05/07)N" on the lower right corner of the form. (See November 29, 2007 Client Alert for additional details.)
State Laws Require Employers to Use E-Verify
Arizona, Colorado and Georgia have passed laws requiring certain employers to participate in the government's E-Verify electronic employment verification program. (The laws vary with respect to which employers must participate.) As of January 1, 2008, all three laws are now in effect. Oklahoma has passed a similar law that is not yet effective, and many other states are considering legislation that would require private employers to verify employment eligibility through E-Verify.
Document Requirements for U.S. Travelers
Effective January 31, 2008, U.S. and Canadian citizens 19 years of age and older will be required to present a government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license) along with proof of citizenship, to enter the U.S. through a land or sea port of entry. Children 18 years of age and under will be required to present only proof of citizenship. (A passport is required of all persons to enter through an airport.)
Expiration of Certified Labor Certification Applications
Pursuant to the May 17, 2007 final rule issued by the Employment and Training Administration, labor certification applications approved on or after July 16, 2007 will expire 180 days from their date of issue, unless the application is filed prior to its expiration in support of an I-140 immigrant visa petition. Labor certification applications approved prior to July 16, 2007 expire on January 12, 2008, unless filed in support of an I-140.
April 1, 2008 Filing for H-1B Petitions
Employers should identify employees for whom an H-1B petition must be filed for the government's new fiscal year. H-1B petitions seeking an October 1, 2008 start date may be filed on April 1, 2008. It is imperative that employers mail H-1B petitions on March 31, 2008 for delivery to USCIS on April 1, 2008, as it is anticipated that the H-1B quota will be exhausted immediately, creating the need for a lottery similar to the one last year.