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January 2016 Archives

South Carolina workers face new citizenship rules

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that it would implement a new rule on Feb. 16, 2016. The rule will apply to certain individuals who want to enter the U.S. as highly-skilled workers and promote immigration that seeks to boost employment.

Proposed changes in employment-based immigration

Foreign nationals in South Carolina who have visas to work in the United States may be interested in some proposed changes put forth by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. Final rulings may alter from these proposals, and they will not be put into place until later in 2016.

Getting naturalized before the election

Immigrants in South Carolina who are permanent residents and who would like to vote in the November presidential election should begin the naturalization process as soon as possible to ensure that they finish in time to register. The process can take about five months although for some people, it goes more quickly.

Fee increases for certain work visas

South Carolina businesses that employ workers from foreign countries may find the fees required for these visas to be a necessary cost for achieving their staffing goals. It is important to note that the government is increasing the fees required for some L-1 and H-1B visas. The Consolidated Appropriations Act was formalized on Dec. 18, 2015, providing for these increases as part of the legislation. The announcement of these changes was made by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services on Jan. 12, 2016.

Officials admit to losing track of visa overstays

Even though a law was enacted in the 1990s that required the government to create a visa tracking system, federal officials confess to losing track of how many foreigners remain in the United States each year beyond the expiration of their visas. South Carolina residents might also be surprised that one official revealed during the House Oversight Committee hearing on Dec. 17 that the government does not know the locations of all of the former visa holders of the 9,500 visas that have been revoked for terrorism concerns since 2001.

Immigration law affects employers' handling of information

While immigration issues are consistently in the news, South Carolina employers may be particularly frustrated by guidance issued in December 2015 related to the Immigration and Nationality Act. The law provides for the use of I-9 forms to evaluate the authorization of a prospective employee to work, which may help in preventing the employment of unauthorized parties. However, employers need to be aware that auditing their existing workforce could produce a legal backlash.

Green cards for the spouses of U.S. citizens

When South Carolina residents who are U.S. citizens decide to marry foreign nationals, they often wonder what is involved in securing approval from the immigration authorities. Spouses of American citizens qualify for permanent resident green cards, but the program has been widely abused in the past. This means that applications for the permanent residence of a spouse are closely scrutinized, and applicants should expect questions to be asked about the nature of their relationship.

Immigrants may face new challenges

Legally compliant South Carolina immigrants and visa holders may find that the changing social and political climate in the U.S. presents them with unique problems. Following terrorist actions in California and France, individuals who hold the correct documentation have been stopped from entering the country without being given justification. More than 20 British families with Muslim members or ties were denied entry in late December.

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Charleston, SC 29407

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Flushing, NY 11354

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