Most entries below contain actual legal discussions of events directly related to Filipinos in or immigrating to the United States.
Remember- These writings are provided for general information only and do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. Each person's needs and requirements are different and require a personal evaluation to determine the proper legal course of action.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

H-4 EAD Program Will NOT Be Cancelled

The H-4 EAD program will continue unchanged.

The prior administration attempted to cancel allowing certain persons in H-4 status to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by proposing a new rule that would cancel the program.  On January 25, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security withdrew the proposed rule from consideration before the cancellation of H-4 EADs went into effect.

This action means that persons in H-4 status who are elgible for work authorization can still apply for and receive an H-4 EAD.

However, issuance of H-4 EADs are experiencing substantial delays.

Over the last year, the time it takes to actually receive an H-4 EAD has slowed significantly.  There are two causes Hfor the processing delay. 

First, the delays began when USCIS changed their procedure to no longer adjudicate the H-4 Extension of Status (and attached I-765 EAD request) at the same time they decide the H-1Bs Extension of Status.  This added a delay of many months before the H-4 EAD was issued.

And second, overall USCIS processing times of many applications greatly slowed during COVID times.  A large part of the delayed processing has also been attributed to implementation of time-consuming changes in adjudicative policies that applied a more restrictive view to H-1B eligibility.

Many of us are hoping that these inefficiencies will gradually be corrected within the next year.

 View Qualifications of Attorney James W. Austin

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Sunday, January 24, 2021

New Immigration Laws on the Horizon? Don’t Get Scammed!

 There is not a new U.S. immigration amnesty law.

 Whenever there is a new major immigration law proposed, my phone starts ringing.  The top two questions:  “Will it apply to me?”, and “when can I apply?”

To all who have already called me or emailed, and to those who will do so in the next few weeks, below is the four part answer to those questions:

First, there is no new law.  Only the outline of a proposal has been made public.  Soon an actual bill may be introduced in the House and the Senate

Second, any bill introduced now is not what the law will say when – and if - it is later passed by Congress.  If this proposal is even actually taken up and considered by Congress, the legislation will first undergo hundreds of changes before there will be any chance of the legislation becoming a new law.

Third, this does not mean to give up hope that some law will pass that may benefit you.   There is presently considerable support in Congress to implement positive changes to our immigration system.  We all have to wait and see how this develops.

And fourth, be careful.  I always have to give this reminder whenever rumors are circulating of a new immigration laws.  There are good immigration providers and there are people who take advantage of your hope to just get your money.  If you wish to watch how the proposed legislation develops over the next several months, follow multiple reputable news sources.  Do NOT rely on social media posts and comments.

If a new law does pass, chose an immigration service provider carefully.  Look for knowledgeable immigration attorneys or agencies with non-attorneys accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals.  Never trust anyone who does not take the time to deeply question and document your complete immigration history.  Aside from the obvious questions you would expect, a thorough immigration provider will discuss the details all of your entries and exits, history of any immigration filings by you or your relatives, details of documents you have used to work in the U.S., and any contacts you and your family have had with U.S. officials.  At some point, they may even ask about traffic tickets, so be prepared for a long discussion!


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