• H-1B Visa Cap Reached. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on June 12, 2012 that it had received sufficient number of H-1B petitions for the government fiscal year beginning October 1, 2012, and would not be accepting cap-subject H-1B petitions received after June 11, 2012. No new H-1B filings will be accepted until April 1, 2013, for an earliest U.S. employment start date of October 1, 2013. Importantly, while H-1B numbers have been exhausted for the upcoming government fiscal year, alternative visa types may be available, including E's, J-1's, TN's, and L-1's among others. In addition, foreign nationals who have already been counted against the H-1B numerical cap may be able to return to H-1B status. Be sure to consult your immigration attorney to discuss all available options for potential new hires.
  • On June 15, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security announced it will grant, to certain individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children and do not have immigration documentation, ability to remain and work in the U.S. on a short-term basis. In order to qualify, the individual must be between the ages of 15 and 30, have come to the U.S. before the age of 16, have been in the U.S. for at least five years, have no criminal history, complied with certain education or military service requirements, and be in the U.S. as of June 15, 2012. Importantly, this will not grant the person any permanent status or U.S. citizenship, but rather will be issued on a case-by-case basis and renewable every two years. We advise consulting your immigration counsel to discuss, and to carefully consider any options this new development may provide.
  • Efforts are underway in Congress to achieve extension of the EB-5 Regional Center Program, which is supposed to sunset September 30, 2012. On May 24, 2012, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a bill which seeks, among other things, to permanently reauthorize the Regional Center Program. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was created in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy and provide new jobs for U.S. workers, and, in the recent years, has become an attractive avenue for securing alternative financing in the commercial real estate context.