Friday, May 14, 2010

H-1B Site Visits to Become the Norm

Over the past several months clients employing foreign nationals in H-1B status, including large academic institutions, have received unannounced visits from USCIS. These worksite visits have occurred throughout the U.S., and the purpose has been to decrease H-1B fraud. According to CIS' Office of Fraud Detection and National Security ("FDNS"), as many as one in five H-1B petitions are affected by either fraud or technical violations. Recently, CIS indicated that it will continue these visits in the coming year, probably visiting about 25,000 employers.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Green Card is Green Again

USCIS announced yesterday that it has redesigned its green card (lawful permanent residence card). The new green cards will include a number of state-of-the art security features designed to deter immigration fraud. Holographic images, laser engraved fingerprints, and high resolution micro-images will make the card nearly impossible to reproduce, and tighter integration of the card design with personalized elements will make it difficult to alter the card if stolen. Additionally, for the first time in many years, the cards will be green, living up to it "green card" nickname. CIS will begin to issue the new cards today.

It's important to note that while green cards must be renewed before they "expire," a lawful permanent resident never loses that status (absent unusual circumstances, such as commiting a serious crime). But renewal is required because USCIS needs to make sure that all lawful permanent residents eventually have a card that's up-to-date with the current technology.