We are pleased to share the following article from Wuersch & Gering LLP (www.wg-law.com)
On April 18, 2017, President Trump signed the “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order, which seeks to create higher wages and employment rates for U.S. workers and protect their economic interests by rigorously enforcing and administering U.S. immigration laws. It also directs DHS (Department of Homeland Security), in coordination with other agencies, to advance policies to help ensure H-1B visas are awarded to the most skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries. Since then, USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) is working on a combination of rulemaking, policy memoranda, and operational changes to implement the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order. These initiatives are intended to protect the economic interests of U.S. workers and prevent fraud and abuse within the immigration system. The impact of this Executive Order can already be felt throughout U.S. immigration proceedings and border processing, including:
INCREASED BORDER CONTROL AND SCRUTINY
Over the last several months, U.S. entry control and scrutiny has clearly increased at U.S. borders. In particular, frequent Business Travelers are reporting increased questioning and control through CBP (Customs and Border Protection) Officers at airports and land border crossings. For your knowledge, foreign travelers coming to the United States to conduct temporary business, for example business meetings and consultations, attending conventions and conferences, or negotiating contracts, need B-1 visitor visas unless they qualify for entry under the Visa Waiver Program.
In particular, business travelers are extensively questioned on their U.S. activities, engagements and possible violations deemed by CBP to be conducting “productive work”. For instance, a foreign officer of a U.S. company who admits to “supervising and controlling” U.S. employees is considered engaging in productive work and may be denied entry into the U.S. as a Business Visitor.
Frequent U.S. business travelers should ensure that they are able to fully document their U.S. activities, including their continued foreign employment and maintenance of a foreign residency, and it is recommended that frequent travelers carry a letter from the foreign employer, confirming the bona fide business travel purposes of the employee, a foreign employment agreement, recent pay stubs and a copy of the traveler’s foreign lease in demonstration of his foreign abode.
It is also important to note that, if an ESTA Business Visitor is denied entry into the U.S., he has the right to withdraw his/her request for U.S. entry and offer his/her voluntary departure to avoid a possible deportation from the U.S., which can have dire consequences for future U.S. travel. A Business Traveler entering under a valid B-1 visa, has the same right and can also request a hearing before an Immigration Judge which, however, may take some time, and the traveler may be put into detention pending the hearing. It is also always good practice to ask to be seen by a CBP supervisor in secondary inspection should the initial entry officer intend to deny the traveler entry into the U.S.
As a general rule, all visitors and visa holders should also verify their permissible U.S. stay by downloading their I-94 Arrival/Departure records in the electronic system at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/ upon EACH individual U.S. entry.
INCREASED ADMINISTRATIVE SITE VISITS
Since 2009, FDNS (Fraud Detection and National Security) conducts site visits to employers of H-1B, L-1A/B and R-1 (Religious Workers) visa holders to verify whether the employers and employees are complying with U.S. immigrations laws and regulations. FDNS conducts site visits on randomly selected visa petitioners after USCIS has adjudicated their petitions, and on all religious worker petitioners before adjudication. Employers should be prepared to present any information originally submitted with the visa petition and should immediately provide any available documents and information at or after the site visit. If FDNS detects fraudulent activity, it will refer the case to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) for further investigation. Please note that the frequency of site visits has increased over the last year, and employers are advised to maintain requisite documentation at the visa holders work location site.
The full article can be found here: http://www.wg-law.com/important-changes-u-s-immigration/
Management Inc. As a U.S. business expert, he has helped European companies developing the U.S. market for more than 20 years. He uses his unique knowledge to support companies succeeding with their business development in the United States.