IMMIGRATION UPDATE:Admin Backs Off Proposal to Eliminate Extension of H-1B Visas Beyond 6 Year Limit
For weeks, rumors have been circulating that U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) planned to eliminate extensions of stay for H-1B workers beyond the normal 6 year limit. Current law allows H-1B workers to extend their H-1B status beyond the normal 6 year limit if (1) they have an application for permanent residence that has been pending for at least 1 year, or (2) they are unable to complete the green card process because of limited “per country” quotas on green card issuance.
Rumors were circulating that USCIS, under pressure from the Trump administration, intended to reduce or eliminate the ability of H-1B workers to extend their status beyond 6 years. Last night, a spokesman for USCIS announced that no such plans are currently being considered. This is good news for H-1B workers, and for employers who rely on the expertise of highly skilled H-1B employees.
McCandlish Holton is pleased to announce that three of our attorneys have been named among the Legal Elite for 2017 by Virginia Business magazine. Each year Virginia Business asks attorneys around the Commonwealth to nominate their peers for distinction in 18 categories. The following McCandlish Holton attorneys, sorted by practice area, have been named to the 2017 Legal Elite:
Labor & Employment Law:
More about Virginia Business’s 2017 “Legal Elite” rankings can be found here.
McCandlish Holton Morris has been named a “Recommended” law firm in Virginia in the 2018 edition of Benchmark Litigation, the only publication to focus exclusively on litigation firms and attorneys. In addition to the firm-wide ranking, seven McCandlish Holton Morris attorneys were named as either a “Local Litigation Star” or a “Future Star.”
The McCandlish Holton Morris attorneys recognized as “Local Litigation Stars” were:
- General Commercial
- General Commercial
- Construction, General Commercial, Product Liability, Trucking and Transportation
- General Commercial and Product Liability
- General Commercial
The McCandlish Holton Morris attorneys recognized as “Future Stars” were:
First published in 2008, Benchmark Litigation is the definitive guide to America’s leading litigation firms and attorneys. Rankings are based on a six-month period of research and extensive interviews with litigators and their clients. More information on the selection process can be found here.
Firm Vice President and Director, Scott C. Ford and Director, Amanda T. Belliveau will speak at the Commonwealth Contractors Management Seminar on November 14, 2017. The event, hosted by CCGSIA, will cover a range of topics including OSHA visit preparedness, return to work programs, toxicology and its impact on workers’ compensation, and distracted driving.
McCandlish Holton's worker's compensation practice group represents employers, carriers, and self-insurers in cases throughout Virginia, Maryland, and D.C.
McCandlish Holton Morris has received 13 metropolitan rankings in the 2018 edition of US News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms.” The firm received metropolitan Richmond Tier 1 ratings in Immigration, Commercial Litigation, Labor & Employment Litigation, and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants. Several other practice areas earned Richmond Metro ratings. See the full ratings here: U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” 2018.
Tier 1 - Richmond Metropolitan Area
Tier 2 - Richmond Metropolitan Area
• Employment Law - Individuals
• Employment Law - Management
• Health Care Law
• Litigation - First Amendment
• Litigation - Tax
• Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
The U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process. For more information, please see http://www.bestlawyers.com.
D. Cameron “Cam” Beck, Jr., a Director in our litigation practice group, was recently elected President of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys (VADA).
VADA assists Virginia attorneys in the professional and ethical representation of their clients in civil litigation through education, communication, and fellowship.
To learn more about Cam Beck, click here.
To learn more about VADA, visit VADA.org.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2017— U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed premium processing today for all H-1B visa extension of stay petitions. Premium processing is now available for all types of H-1B petitions.
H-1B visas provide skilled workers for a wide range of specialty occupations, including information technology, engineering, and mathematics. When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, USCIS guarantees a 15-calendar day processing time. If that time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application.
In addition to today’s resumption of premium processing for H-1B visa extension of stay petitions, USCIS had previously resumed premium processing for H-1B petitions subject to the annual cap, petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers and certain H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap.
On September 27, 2017 our Workers' Compensation Practice Group hosted the 16th Annual Workers' Compensation Seminar at The Westin Richmond. This year's event was our most successful ever, with more than 300 adjusters, nurse case managers, risk managers, and employers in attendance.
The event featured a full day of useful information and training regarding workers' compensation claims in and around Virginia. Topics covered this year included an overview of vocational rehabilitation, a crossfire panel featuring the competing legal perspectives of claimant and defense attorneys, and a review of recent case law from the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission.
Special thanks to our keynote speakers, Robert Wilson and Dr. Victor Chin.
We would also like to thank our incredible sponsors for helping to make this event a huge success. Sponsors this year included:
- Access On Time
- Interventional Spine and Pain Management
- Detect Inc.
- H Wave
- Global Trans Services, Inc.
- Home Care Connect
- M. Joseph Medical
- National Spine & Pain Center
- Planet Depos
- REHAB AT WORK
- Select Physical Therapy
- One Call Care Management
- Transcend Services
If you have any questions regarding this year’s seminar, or have suggestions for next year, feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the 2012 Memo implementing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program has been rescinded by the Trump administration. The withdrawal will be implemented over the course of the next six (6) months. The Department of Homeland Security has released an implementation memo and will release an FAQ later today outlining the following details:
1. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will accept no further “new” DACA applications after today (Tuesday, September 5, 2017)—however they will process “new” applications received up to today. These applications will be processed according to prior policy
a. “New” applications mean:
i. Applications by persons who have never held DACA status; or,
ii. Applications where the applicant did not apply to renew DACA within one year of the expiration of their prior grant of DACA.
2. Renewal applications for DACA will be accepted until October 5, 2017 and will be processed according to the prior existing policy.
a. If approved, the DACA extension will be for the full two (2) year period, per existing policy.
b. These applications will only be accepted for applicants whose DACA expires before March 5, 2018 (6 months from application date).
3. Current DACA grants will not be rescinded and EADs already issued will not be revoked—they remain valid for the facially approved period of time.
4. Advance Parole: No new advance parole documents will be approved under DACA.
a. Currently pending applications will be closed and refunds issued. No new applications will be accepted.
b. Advance Parole documents already approved will “generally” remain valid; however the memo specifically states admission will still be subject to CBP discretion at the border and USCIS retains authority to revoke or terminate advance parole at any time. Travel on Advance Parole based on DACA is quite risky in this environment.
5. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) states they will not target DACA holders specifically for removal (i.e. will not use registration information to specifically target DACA holders); however, DACA holders will be treated like anyone else in the country illegally.
a. ICE stated they will not “proactively” seek out DACA holders/applicants using information in the databases for DACA application purposes; HOWEVER, that information could be obtained for national security and/or criminal investigations.
6. Neither DHS nor ICE would provide information on what might happen if Congress does not enact one (of the several versions) of the DREAM Act currently being proposed in Congress.
The administration contends that a six month wind-down period for DACA, along with not revoking current DACA grants and employment authorization, will allow Congress to speak on the matter—giving them time to pass and for the federal government to implement one of the currently proposed versions of the DREAM Act.
 This is not fully explained in press reports and could mean several different things. We withhold guessing on what this means until further information is released.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has announced a new Trump administration policy to require in-person immigration interviews for employment-based green card cases, in the name of what the Trump administration calls “extreme vetting.” The policy will require in-person interviews for employment-based green card applicants (who currently do not require interviews except in rare circumstances) and for family members of asylum and refugee grantees (primary asylum applicants are already routinely interviewed).
Previously USCIS generally “waived” the interview requirement for employment-based adjustment of status (“green card”) applicants since these applicants are typically long-time residents of the United States and background checks including name and fingerprint checks are already run on them prior to green card approval. Duplicating those efforts through in-person interviews has long been considered a waste of resources.
The new interview requirements will be implemented incrementally, to allow for hiring and training of new USCIS adjudicators to handle the increased workload. The first interviews are scheduled to start October 1. We hope to see further formal announcements prior to that date that will provide more detail on the policy.
Initial estimates indicate the first wave of new classifications requiring that interviews will increase interviews nationally by well over 100,000 per year. This requirement is sure to cause delays for already backlogged USCIS local offices which are currently required to conduct in-person interviews for naturalization, asylum and family-based green card applications. Interviews for these application types typically take 30-150 days to schedule interviews already—depending on the number of cases in queue at the particular field office already busy local office workload.
Eight lawyers from McCandlish Holton Morris were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers In America© for 2018.
Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. For the 2018 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America, 7.4 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in almost 58,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers "the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice."
More information about the Best Lawyers® rankings, including the selection process, can be found here.
The recognized attorneys are:
-Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, Litigation - First Amendment, Litigation - Labor and Employment, Litigation and Controversy - Tax, Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants, and Product Liability Litigation - Defendants
-Commercial Litigation, Mass Tort Litigations / Class Actions-Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation- Defendants, and Personal Injury Litigation- Plaintiffs
-Employment Law- Individuals, Employment Law- Management, and Litigation - Labor and Employment
-Richmond Immigration Law, "Lawyer of the Year"
-Commercial Litigation and Personal Injury Litigation- Defendants
-Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, and Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants
-Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants, and Product Liability Litigation - Defendants
A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, Claims Licensing Advancement for Interstate Matters Act or CLAIM Act. (H. R. 3363) would provide for uniformity in licensing requirements and reciprocity across states that license claims adjusters. The bill was introduced on July 24, 2017 by Rep. David Kustoff, [R-TN] and has been referred to the Committee on Financial Services. We'll keep you updated on any new developments. To read the CLAIM Act in its entirety, click here.
Congratulations to the Immigration Pratice Group of McCandlish Holton Morris for being named to the Top 21 Immigration Firms in the Washington DC area. Expertise.com scored immigration lawyers on more than 25 variables across five categories, and analyzed the results to produce a hand-picked list of the best immigration lawyers in Washington DC. For more information, please click here.
McCandlish Holton is thrilled to announce our 16th Annual Workers' Compensation Seminar! The seminar has become one of the premier industry events in the Mid-Atlantic Region-- a full day of useful information and continuing education free to adjusters, risk managers, nurse case managers, and brokers. The event will take place September 27, 2017 at The Westin Richmond.
For more information, follow this link!
Jennifer Minear was elected to serve as the AILA Second Vice President for the 2017-2018 term. Ms. Minear is a director in the Immigration Practice Group, where her practice focuses on employment-based immigration, with a particular emphasis on the healthcare sector, including J-1 waiver and green card processing for foreign medical graduates. She is the 2014 recipient of the Susan D. Quarles AILA Service Excellence Award, in recognition of her outstanding service over a period of years in advancing the mission, development, and value of AILA for its members and the public it serves. Ms. Minear has served AILA as a volunteer in a wide range of capacities. She has been a member of, or chaired, liaison committees and conference program committees, spoken at numerous AILA conferences, and written for AILA publications. She was an elected member of the AILA Board of Governors from 2012 - 2015.
On Friday, April 27, 2017, the Virginia Supreme Court decided Manu v. GEICO Casualty Company, Record No. 160852, 2017 Va. Lexis 70 (Va. April 27, 2017), a "bad faith" opinion significant to insurers that issue family automobile policies in Virginia. Plaintiff was a passenger in a car involved in a multi-vehicle accident. Plaintiff sued the driver of his vehicle plus the unknown "John Doe" driver of another vehicle involved in the accident.... Read More
On Monday, April 17, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that it received approximately 199,000 H-1B petitions during the first five business days of April (April 3-7, 2017) exceeding the statutory cap on available H-1B slots. As a result, USCIS conducted a random computer generated selection process, or “lottery,” to determine which H-1B petitions filed during this period would be accepted. Read More.
On January 27, 2017, the new administration issued an Executive Order which suspends "entry into the United States" of individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days (and possibly longer). The affected individuals include the following:
• Individuals who hold US non-immigrant and immigrant visas, and who hold passports from the listed countries,
• dual citizens who hold passports from a country not listed, but are nationals of one of the listed countries (unless the country of dual citizenship is the US),
• refugees from the listed countries.
Over the weekend, there were reports that US permanent residents and those with U.S. immigrant visas from these listed countries were also being barred entry to the US. Government officials have now publicly stated that US permanent residents are NOT barred from travel to the US, although US permanent residents should expect additional screening upon return from international travel. US citizens who were born in these countries should also be able to travel, but should also expect additional screening. Additional screening should be expected by anyone in any immigration status who is returning to the US following a visit to one of the 7 listed countries.
The Executive Order specifically does not bar travel for those traveling on diplomatic visas (A visas), NATO visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-4 visas; they may, for the time being, continue to travel and to return to the United States without restriction.
There are a number of lawsuits already filed which challenge the legality of the Executive Order, and several federal courts have issued Temporary Restraining Orders ruling that the Executive Order appears to violate constitutional principles as well as the Immigration and Nationality Act. Following these decisions, the administration released memos reiterating their commitment to the Executive Order. The Executive Order explicitly allows for additional countries to be added to the current list of affected nationalities during or after the initial 90 day period.
In short, the situation is fluid, and subject to change at any time. Any individual who holds a passport from or is a national of one of the listed countries is advised not to travel outside the United States until they have consulted an immigration attorney. Any individual who holds a passport from or is a national of one of the listed countries who is already outside the US is advised not to attempt to re-enter the US until they have consulted an immigration attorney.
Two Long-Established Richmond-Based Law Firms Announce Merger
Richmond-based law firms McCandlish Holton and Morris & Morris announce a merger of the two firms, to take effect December 1, 2016. The newly combined firm will have 39 lawyers, with offices in Richmond, Fairfax, and Roanoke, offering clients a full range of legal services with specialties in business and corporate law, commercial real estate law, civil litigation in state and federal courts, workers' compensation, products liability, healthcare, and immigration. Both firms have had a presence in Virginia in excess of twenty-five years.
Mark Rhoads, President of McCandlish Holton, commented that the merger provides important benefits to the clients of both firms: "The merger offers McCandlish Holton's clients access to increased depth in our seasoned litigation department, while Morris & Morris clients now have access to McCandlish Holton's established expertise in corporate, real estate, healthcare and business immigration law."
Cam Beck, Managing Partner of Morris & Morris, echoes the client-focused benefits of the merger: "The merger of our two firms creates one of the largest litigation practice groups in the Commonwealth, and provides our long-standing litigation clients with the resources and additional legal specialties available at McCandlish Holton."
Scott Ford, current litigation practice group leader and Vice-President at McCandlish Holton, added, “The culture of the two firms meshes extremely well with both demonstrating a history of legal excellence and service to the community."
To facilitate the merger for clients, McCandlish Holton will operate as McCandlish Holton Morris.
Amanda Tapscott, a Director in our Workers' Compensation practice group, was recently named chair of the Worker's Compensation Section of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys (VADA).
VADA assists Virginia attorneys in the professional and ethical representation of their clients in civil litigation through education, communication, and fellowship.
To learn more about VADA, check out VADA.org.
To learn more about Amanda, click here.