Jennifer Grady, Esq. to Speak Again at the Top FDI Event in the Country, SelectUSA

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Ms. Grady as a panelist at the 2016 SelectUSA Investor Academy

For the second year in a row, Jennifer Grady, Esq. has been invited to speak at the SelectUSA Investment Summit Investor Academy on June 18, 2017 in Washington, D.C.  The Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, has been confirmed as the host of the event.  Last year, President Obama and Former Secretary of State, John Kerry spoke at the event to a crowd of over 2,500 investors and Economic Development Organizations (EDOs).  This year, it is rumored that President Trump will be a keynote speaker.  On the first day of the Summit, Ms. Grady will be providing her expertise as an immigration and employment lawyer to educate hundreds of potential foreign investors from around the world on US business culture,  employment law regulations, and visa options for entrepreneurs.

Ms. Grady’s presentation, designed for investors and Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) will be titled, “Achieving Global Mobility – Employment Structures, Visas, and Compliance Standards for Expanding into the U.S. Market.”
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The Grady Firm Attends World Trade Week Breakfast With Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair as Keynote Speaker

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Former UK Prime Minster Tony Blair Addresses the Audience on his international efforts to combat religious extremism, and Trump’s First 100 days

On May 4, 2017, Jennifer Grady attended the 92nd Annual World Trade Week Kickoff Breakfast, hosted by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles, California.  The event was attended by over 900 people connected to international business and trade in Los Angeles.

The keynote speakers were Mayor Eric Garcetti; Jack Dangermond, the billionaire founder of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI); and Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007.   Mayor Garcetti discussed what makes Los Angeles one of the premier places to do business in the world, and his hopes to make Los Angeles the site of the 2024 Olympics.  Mr. Dangermond explained how the use of interactive maps are changing the world as we know it, even in response to the international refugee crisis.

Mr. Blair explained his efforts to combat religious extremism, and commented on President Trump’s First 100 Days in Office: he wants President Trump to succeed, as his success is the US and Britain’s success.  Since leaving office, Mr. Blair has spent most of his time on work in the Middle East, Africa, and on the fight against religiously-based extremism. Continue reading

The Grady Firm Speaks USC Gould Law School LLM Students

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Jennifer Grady and Andrea Graef

On April 11, 2017, business and immigration attorneys, Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Andrea Graef, JD, LLM, spoke to a group of foreign lawyers who are earning a Masters in Law (LLM degree) from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law in downtown Los Angeles, California.

As a licensed attorney from Mexico and a alumna of the program, Ms. Graef spoke to the students about her experience transitioning from student to attorney, and how proper planning is essential to obtaining a job and work visa upon graduation.  one of the more popular strategies for recent LLM graduates is to use the one year available of Optional Practical Training (OPT), and apply for an H-1B visa during that time to take advantage of the cap-gap extension.

Ms. Grady explained the various visa options in detail, including the Specialty Occupation H-1B visa, J-1 Trainee visa, and TN visa for professionals from Mexico and Canada, and the E-2 Investor Visa for new and existing US businesses and L-1A option for executives, managers, and entrepreneurs opening an office of an existing foreign business in the United States. Continue reading

USCIS Reaches FY 2018 H-1B Cap In Only 5 Days

Release Date: April 7, 2017

Lottery BallsWASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally-mandated 65,000 visa H-1B cap for fiscal year 2018. USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, also known as the “Master’s cap.”

USCIS began accepting applications on Monday, April 3.  It will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not duplicate filings.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.  However, USCIS suspended premium processing on April 3 for up to six months for all H-1B petitions, including cap-exempt petitions. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the congressionally-mandated FY 2018 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

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Trump’s Travel Ban Unanimously Rejected by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

trumpOn February 5, 2017, President Trump’s controversial “travel ban” was unanimously rejected by the United States Courts of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, located in San Francisco, California. This controversial “travel ban” stems from President Trump’s January 27, 2017 Executive Order “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” that banned citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for the next 90 days, and suspended the admission of all refugees for 120 days.

The Executive Order ignited protests in many airports around the country as US Customs and Border Protection officials struggled to interpret the new rules, and citizens of the banned countries were prevented from entering the United States.  Just three days later, the plaintiff, the State of Washington (“Plaintiff”) filed suit in the Seattle District Court, to stop the enforcement of the ban. Continue reading

DHS Announces New International Entrepreneur Parole Option for Startup Founders

international-flagsOn January 17, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a new immigration avenue for foreign entrepreneurs who benefit the U.S economy. The “International Entrepreneur Rule” will serve as a pathway for qualified investors and foreign entrepreneurs to develop business enterprises which have significant public benefit in the United States.

This exciting news for start-ups and foreign entrepreneurs comes as a much welcomed development for those frustrated by the lack of immigration options available through the existing U.S. visas, which generally are not oriented to companies that are still in start-up mode.

Requirements

uscisThis new rule will be effective on July 17, 2017 and it will allow certain international entrepreneurs, on a case-by-case basis, to remain in the United States for up to five years in order to start or expand their businesses.  To secure the parole, three prerequisites are required: (1) applicant must submit the required application; (2) the application must be approved; and (3) a physical entry into the United States with the parole status is required. Continue reading

L-1B Intracompany Transferee Visa for Employees With Specialized Knowledge

international-movers-and-packersThe L-1B visa permits a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge from one of its foreign offices to one of its U.S. offices.  There is also the option for a foreign company that does not yet have an office in the U.S. to send an employee with specialized knowledge to the states to help establish a U.S. office.  Both the employer and employee must meet certain qualification requirements:

1. To qualify for L-1B classification in this category, the EMPLOYER must:

  • Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations); and
  • Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1.  While the business must be viable, there is no requirement that it be engaged in international trade.

Doing business means the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and/or services by a qualifying organization and does not include the mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying organization in the United States and abroad. Continue reading

Take Action on Your Immigration Application Before Fees Increase 12/23 and a New Administration Takes Office in January

trumpIf you are planning to file an application for a visa, Green Card, or naturalization, we highly recommend you do so before the end of the year.  Filing fees will increase by an average of 21% on December 23, 2016.  In addition, due to the uncertainty of the transition to a new President and GOP-majority Congress, we recommend filing your application now so that it will be in the queue in the event programs are taken away, modified, or application wait times increase.

Fee Increase

money-bagsFor the first time in six years, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be increasing its filing fees to help cover the increasing costs of providing its services.  Some increases will be substantial, others less so, and overall, fees will increase by a weighted average of 21%.  Some more common and popular applications that will be affected include the following forms,  which are used for Green Card, work permit, and citizenship applications: I-90, I-130, I-140, I-485, I-765, and N-400, to name a few.  For more detailed information on each of these changes, and all other fee increases, check out our recent blog post here. Continue reading

New I-9 Form Must be Used by Jan 21, 2017

I-9The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that an updated Form I-9 has been approved. While the current form had a revision date of 03/08/2013 N and expired in March this year, is is acceptable for continued use until January 17, 2017.

On August 25, 2016, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. USCIS must publish a revised form by November 22, 2016. After January 21, 2017, all previous versions of Form I-9 will be invalid. Make sure you are always using the most current, acceptable version of the Form I-9, and ensure that the I-9 is completed by all new employees within three days of hire.

For more information on self-audits and other Form I-9 issues, see the “Handbook for Employers” https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/m-274.pdf issued by USCIS. Find the latest version of the I-9 form here.

JGrady Firm-Logo-2016The Grady Firm, P.C. attorneys specialize in helping businesses grow and succeed through employment, business, and immigration law advising for clients in California.  They help perform personnel audits, train employers on employment law compliance, provide on-demand legal analysis for hiring and firing questions, and provide leadership and sexual harassment training in English and Spanish.

To learn more about ensuring your business is compliant with state and local laws, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s attorneys; call +1 (323) 450-9010; or fill out a Contact Request Form.

*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This article does not make any guarantees as to the outcome of a particular matter, as each matter has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated individually by a licensed attorney.

The EB-5 Program Buys More Time Until December

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The EB-5 Program, as it presently stands, grants permanent residence to foreign investors if they invest $500,000 (in high unemployment areas) or $1 million (in low unemployment areas) in a new business that employs at least 10 U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents on a full-time basis.

Since its inception in 1990, many believe the program minimum amounts of investment is due for an increase, and there has been speculation that the minimum amounts will increase, from $500,000 to $800,000 and from $1 million to $1.2 million, respectively.

Congress extended the EB-5 visa program on September 30, 2016, allowing the program to run until December 2016.  Continue reading

How to Overcome the 3-Year and 10-Year Time Bar with the I-601 “Extreme Hardship” Waiver

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

Contrary to popular belief, undocumented immigrants who entered the US without inspection, or overstayed their visas, do not automatically gain US Citizenship when they marry or become engaged to an American citizen.  One reason for this is the unlawful presence “Time Bar”.  In the late 1990s, Congress decided to punish foreign-born people who spend time in the U.S. unlawfully without a visa, Green Card, or other official permission from the U.S. immigration authorities.

calendarIn doing so, Congress created a penalty that prevents undocumented aliens from returning to the U.S. for three (3) years or ten (10) years, depending on how long they stayed unlawfully in the country.  In addition, if the immigrant spouse has a criminal record, overcoming the bars to admission may be even more difficult, if not impossible. Continue reading