U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is proposing changes to the requirements governing its Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) that are intended to improve management of international student programs and increase opportunities for study by spouses and children of nonimmigrant students.

The change would provide school officials more flexibility in determining the number of designated school officials (DSOs) to nominate for oversight of campuses by eliminating the limit of 10 DSOs in favor of a more flexible approach. DSOs are dedicated resources at SEVP-certified schools who help F-1 and M-1 nonimmigrant students maintain their status, fill out important government forms and obtain benefits while in the United States.

Additionally, the changes proposed in the notice of proposed rulemaking would allow dependents and spouses of international students with F-1 or M-1 nonimmigrant status to study at a SEVP-certified school as long as it is less than full-time.

"These proposed changes will provide greater incentives for international students to study in the United States by broadening study opportunities for their spouses and children," said SEVP Director Louis Farrell.

The proposed changes stem from recommendations put forth by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council (HSAAC) and build on a series of reforms designed to further the commitment to attracting international students while maintaining national security standards.

The rulemaking supports DHS’s initiative to enhance the economic, scientific and technological competitiveness of the United States by finding new ways to encourage the most talented international students to study and learn about expanded post-graduate opportunities in the United States.

The proposed rule was submitted for publication to the Federal Register and is open for public comment until Jan. 21, 2014. ICE encourages the public to submit formal input on the proposed rule through www.regulations.gov during the open comment period.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas today announced an enhancement to the E-Verify program that will help combat identity fraud by identifying and deterring fraudulent use of Social Security numbers (SSNs) for employment eligibility verification.

This enhancement provides a critical safeguard to the E-Verify system by detecting and preventing potential fraudulent use of SSNs to gain work authorization. An employer, for example, may enter information into E-Verify that appears valid – such as a matching name, date of birth, and SSN – but was in fact stolen, borrowed or purchased from another individual. This new safeguard now enables USCIS to lock a SSN that appears to have been misused, protecting it from further potential misuse in E-Verify.

“We are committed to strengthening E-Verify’s ability to combat identity fraud,” said Director Mayorkas. “This new enhancement provides yet another significant safeguard for E-Verify users and could assist employees who have had their Social Security numbers stolen or compromised.”

The new enhancement strengthens the E-Verify program by implementing standards that have proven effective in protecting individual identity. Just like a credit card company will lock a card that appears to have been stolen, USCIS may now lock SSNs in E-Verify that appear to have been used fraudulently. USCIS will use a combination of algorithms, detection reports and analysis to identify patterns of fraudulent SSN use and then lock the number in E-Verify. This will help deter and prevent fraudulent use of SSNs in the E-Verify system.

If an employee attempts to use a locked SSN, E-Verify will generate a “Tentative Nonconfirmation” (TNC). The employee receiving the TNC will have the opportunity to contest the finding at a local Social Security Administration (SSA) field office. If an SSA field officer confirms the employee’s identity correctly matches the SSN, the TNC will be converted to “Employment Authorized” status in E-Verify. Employees who successfully confirm their identities are encouraged to call USCIS so they can learn more about available resources on identity theft and fraud prevention.

E-Verify is a free Web-based service offered by the Department of Homeland Security that allows employers to quickly verify the employment eligibility of new employees. Employer enrollment in E-Verify has more than doubled since January 2009, with more than 470,000 participating employers representing more than 1.4 million hiring sites. Approximately 1,500 new employers enroll each week. In fiscal year (FY) 2013, E-Verify was used to authorize workers in the U.S. more than 25 million times, representing a nearly 20 percent increase from FY 2012.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announces that one million people have been given the designation of a ‘trusted traveler’ through the Global Entry program. The program, which was launched five years ago, provides arriving travelers with a quicker, more efficient and more secure entry process into the United States.

“I commend the commitment and efforts of CBP and our government and industry partners who have made Global Entry the success that it is today,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski. “Global Entry is a vital part of CBP’s efforts to maximize resources to facilitate the thousands of travelers that enter the country every day while enhancing border security at airports.”

Global Entry was launched on June 6, 2008, as a pilot program at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Washington’s Dulles International Airport and New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. Currently, Global Entry services are available at 44 airport locations. During the most recent peak travel season, more than 820,000 crossings were made using Global Entry kiosks, a 75 percent increase from 2012.

In order to qualify, an applicant must complete and submit an on-line application through the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES). For more information, visit CBP.gov/globalentry. In addition, Global Entry members who are U.S. and Canadian citizens also receive the benefits of TSA’s PreCheck program.

CBP continues to maximize resources to support a 12 percent growth in air arrivals since 2009. CBP is working to bring advances in technology and automation, such as I-94 automation and Automated Passport Control kiosks, to the passenger processing environment and exploring public-private partnerships to help support current and future mission requirements.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Somalia for an additional 18 months, effective March 18, 2014, through Sept. 17, 2015.

Current Somali beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during a 60-day period that runs from Nov. 1, 2013, through Dec. 31, 2013. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible once the 60-day period begins. USCIS will not accept applications it received before Nov. 1, 2013.

The 18-month extension also allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Eligible Somali TPS beneficiaries who re-register during the re-registration period and request work authorization will receive a new EAD that expires on Sept. 17, 2015.

To re-register, current TPS beneficiaries must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Re-registrants do not need to pay the Form I-821 application fee, but they must submit the biometric fee, or a fee-waiver request, if they are age 14 or older. All TPS re-registrants must also submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, but no I-765 application fee is required if the re-registrant does not want an EAD. TPS re-registrants requesting an EAD must submit the Form I-765 application fee, or a fee-waiver request.

Applicants may request that USCIS waive any or all fees based on inability to pay by filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or by submitting a written request. Fee-waiver requests must be accompanied by supporting documentation. Failure to submit the required filing fees or a properly documented fee-waiver request will result in the rejection of the TPS application.

All USCIS forms are free. Applicants can download TPS forms from the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/forms or request them by calling USCIS toll-free at 1-800-870-3676.

Additional information on TPS for Somalia—including guidance on eligibility, the application process, and where to file—is available online at www.uscis.gov/tps. Further details on this extension of Somalia for TPS, including application requirements and procedures, are available in the Federal Register notice published Nov. 1. A correction to the Federal Register notice amending the dates of the re-registration period published today.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.