Dhs Announces Customer Service Improvements To Entry Process For International Travelers

The U.S. Department Of Homeland Security (Dhs) Announced Today The Launch Of Three Initiatives ? The Global Entry Pilot Program, The Passenger Service Program, And An Expanded Model Ports Initiative ? Intended To Strengthen Customer Service At U.S. Ports Of Entry.

"Perhaps The Single Criticism We Hear Most From International Travelers Is Frustration With The Entry Process," Said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "We're Committed To A More Welcoming Environment For The Roughly One Million Foreign Travelers Arriving At Our Ports Each Day. These Initiatives Will Reduce Much Of The Frustration And Anxiety We Encounter, And Make It Easier On Our Frontline Personnel To Focus Even More On Actual Security And Criminal Risks."

Global Entry Is A Customer Service And Security Program Designed To Expedite The Screening And Processing Of Pre-Approved, Low-Risk Travelers Entering The U.S.* Currently Only U.S. Citizens And Lawful Permanent Residents (Lpr) Are Eligible To Join.** The Pilot Starts Today At George Bush Intercontinental, John F. Kennedy International And Washington Dulles International Airports. Global Entry Applicants Will Voluntarily Provide Their Biographic And Biometric Information, Undergo A Background Check And Complete An Interview With A U.S. Customs And Border Protection (Cbp) Officer. Once Accepted, Global Entry Travelers Can Use A Kiosk At Any Of The Three Pilot Airports To Verify Their Identity Electronically And Make Any Needed Customs Declarations. Cbp Has Been Accepting Applications At Www.Cbp.Gov/Travel Since May 12.

Under The New Passenger Service Program, Cbp Program Service Managers Will Serve As A Dedicated Point Of Contact For Identifying And Resolving Passenger Issues. The Initiative Promotes Customer Service Techniques In Officer Interactions With The Traveling Public, And Includes Joint Efforts With The Private Sector And Industry Stakeholders To Reduce Wait Times Through The Use Of Improved Signage And Technology. The Program Will Be Established At Cbp's Top 20 Model Ports.

The Department Also Is Expanding The Model Ports Initiative To 18 Additional Airports. Originally Established In 2006 As Part Of The Rice-Chertoff Initiative, Model Ports Has Enhanced Border Security With The Use Of The New Technology While Streamlining Security Processes And Facilitating Travel For Legitimate Visitors. In Addition To Brochures And Increased Signage, A New Video, Currently Available In Spanish, French, German And English, Will Assist Travelers Through The Customs And Immigration Process By Providing Practical Information About The Entry Process And Required Entry Documents And Forms.

In A Related Effort, Cbp Is Providing Wait Times Online At Www.Cbp.Gov For 16 Of The Busiest International Airports And Pedestrian Wait Times For 12 Land Border Crossings In Arizona, California, And Texas.
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Announcement Of Higher Fines For Immigration Violations
On Friday, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey Announced Higher Civil Fines Against Employers Who Violate Federal Immigration Laws. The Announcement Was Made In A Joint Briefing Today With Secretary Of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff About Newly Enacted Border Security Reforms Put In Place By The Departments Of Justice And Homeland Security. Under The New Rule, Which Was Approved By Attorney General Mukasey And Secretary Chertoff, Civil Fines Will Increase By As Much As $5,000. The New Rule Will Take Effect On March 27, 2008, And Will Be Published In The Federal Register Early This Week.

Dos Launches New Website In Spanish Language
The U.S. Department Of State Launched Spanish.State.Gov, A New Website For Spanishspeaking Members Of The U.S. And International Public. The Site Features A Selection Of Information From The Department's Englishlanguage Site At Www.State.Gov

Changes Proposed For New H-2B Program

On August 20Th, 2008 The United States Citizenship And Immigration Services (Uscis) Agency Made Two Announcements That Will Have Huge Impacts On The H-2B Immigration - First To Withdraw The 2005-Issued Proposed Rule Changes To H-2B Program, And The Second To Introduce The New Proposed Changes To H-2B Program.

The Proposed Changes For H-2B Program Put Forward In January 2005 Had Suggested Making Procedural Change Such As Eliminating The Temporary Labor Certification Requirement. Today's Announcement In Effect Means That Uscis Will Abandon That Approach. Instead The New Rule Proposes A Two-Tier System, While Retaining The Current Procedural Requirements. However, India's Past Record As A Country That Has Refused To "Repatriate Its Nationals" May Cost It Heavily Under The New Rules.

The H-2B Non-Immigrant Temporary Worker Program Allows Us Employers To Bring Foreign Nationals To America To Fill Non-Agricultural Temporary Jobs For Which Us Workers Are Not Available.

Significant Proposed Changes

Let's Quickly Take A Look At What The New Two-Tier System Will Mean For The H-2B Program. According To Uscis Acting Director Jonathan Scharfen, The New Changes Will Include

  • Allowances Will Be Made In The Regulation To Allow Employers To Petition For Unnamed Foreign Employees
  • The Current Limit Of 6 Months Time That An H-2B Worker Needs To Spend Outside Of Us Between His H-2B Status Expiration And Re-Eligibility To Apply Under H Or L Status Will Be Reduced To Three Months
  • Employers Will Be Required To Provide Attestations On The Scope Of The H-2B Employment, Its Use Of Recruiters And On The Fact That The Recruiter Did Not Receive Any Fee From The Beneficiary.
  • An Approved Temporary Labor Certification Will Be Made The Mandatory Pre-Requirement For Filing An H-2B Petition
  • Once The Temporary Labor Certification Is Approved, The Employment Start Date Mentioned On It Cannot Be Changed For Any Reason
  • Employers Will Be Required To Notify Dhs Of No-Shows, Fired Or Absconding Employees
  • The Definition Of "Temporary Employment" Will Be More Clearly Defined To Eliminate The Need To Cite "Extraordinary Circumstances" When An Employment Requirement Is For More Then One Year, But Less Then Three.
  • H-2B Approvals Will No Longer Be Granted To Petitioners From Countries Which Are Blacklisted For Consistently Refusing And Unreasonably Delaying Repatriation Of Their Nationals
  • A Land-Border Exit System Will Be Establish, Under Which A H-2B Worker Admitted Through A Port Of Entry Participating In The Program Must Also Depart Only Through A Port Of Entry In The Program.

India Worried About Changes?

India Is Certainly Worried About These Changes As Along With China And Iran, It Is Among The Eight Countries That Have Been Blacklisted As Countries That Are Determined To Be Consistently Refusing Or Unreasonably Delaying Repatriation Of Workers Under Deportation Orders. As We Mentioned Above, The New Rule Proposes To Not To Grant H-2B Approvals To Petitioners From These Countries. If The Rule Goes Through As It Is, India Will Be Hard Pressed To Get Out That List. As Of Now, Indian Nationals Form A Large Percentage Of H-2B Petitioners Each Year.

The Proposed Rule Change Is Now On Its 30-Day Public Trial, Where The People Are Invited For Submitting Comments. Once Public Comments Are Received And Reviewed, Uscis Will Finalize And Publish The Rule With An Effective Date. We Urge Our Readers To Take The Time To Comment On This Law And Make Sure The New Rules Are Just And Fair To All.

Eoir Press Release On Final Rule Implementing St. Cyr Decision
The Attorney General Published A Final Rule In The Federal Register Establishing Procedures For Eligible Lawful Permanent Residents (Lprs) With Certain Criminal Convictions Obtained By Plea Agreements Prior To April 1, 1997, To Apply For Relief From Deportation Or Removal Under Former Section 212(C) Of The Immigration And Nationality Act (Ina). This Rule Becomes Effective On October 28, 2004.

House Judiciary To Conduct Series Of Immigration Hearings
The House Judiciary Committee Chairman, John Conyers, Jr. (Dmi), And Chairwoman Of The Subcommittee On Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, And International Law, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (Dca), Announced That The Oversight Hearing On The H2b Program Will Be The First In A Series Of Immigration Hearings. The Subcommittee And The Full Committee Will Conduct Several Hearings On This Issue In The Coming Weeks

Iraqi Refugees Can Now Seek Asylum In The U.S.
The U.S. Department Of Homeland Security (Dhs) And The U.S. Department Of State (Dos) Have Been Committed To Streamlining The Process For Admitting Iraqi Refugees To The U.S. While At The Same Time Ensuring The Highest Level Of Security. Starting In May 2007, Dhs And Dos Have Worked Cooperatively To Administer The Overseas Component Of The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (Usrap).

Uscis Q&A: New Background Check Policy
Recently Uscis Announced A New Background Check Policy, Where Certain Cases, Including Adjustment Of Status Cases With Pending Name Check Will Be Adjudicated After 180 Days Regardless Of The Fact That The Name Check Is Unresolved. This Is In Response To The Large Volume Of Petitions That Have Been Pending For An Unusually Long Time And Have Resulted In Numerous Lawsuits Against Uscis And Fbi. This New Policy Promises To Finally Resolve The Huge Backlog Of Approvable Cases That Have Not Been Adjudicated Due To The Name Check Portion Of The Background Check. Some Of These Cases Have Been Pending For A Number Of Years And Number Into Thousands.

Travelogue: Immigration Workshop In Bangalore
This Month's In Focus Section Will Journey You Through Yet Another Exciting Day In Our Attorney's Travelogue: Bangalore, Our First Immigration Workshop In The Immigration Events Series Last Year.

Re-Entry Permits Now To Require Biometrics

All Lawful Permanent Residents Of Us Age Through 14 To 79 Applying For Re-Entry Permit And Individuals Applying For Refugee Travel Document Will Now Be Required To Provide Biometrics I.E. Finger Prints And Photographs At A UscisApplicationSupportCenter (&Ldquo;Asc&Rdquo;) For Background And Security Checks.

Why Biometric?&Nbsp;

Uscis Has Stated That Biometrics Is Not Only Vital To The Security Of The Immigration Process, It Also In Compliance With Congressional Mandates For Issuance Of Secure Documents. According Uscis, The Biometric Information Will Be A Big Deterrent To Frauds.&Nbsp;

What Is A Re-Entry Permit?

A Re-Entry Permit Allows A Permanent Resident To Re-Enter The United States Without Having To Obtain A Returning Resident Visa. Re-Entry Permits Are Generally Applied For When The Resident Plans To Stay Outside Of The United States For Six Months Or More. For Refugees, A Refugee Travel Document Is Issued Instead And They Must Have This Document In Order To Re-Enter The United States After Any Travel Abroad.

How Does It Work?

As Per The New Instruction, Once The Uscis Receives The Form I-131 Filed By Any Resident, The Agency Will Mail The Asc Appointment Notice Along With The Receipt. To Speed Up The Process, Applicants Are Allowed So Enclose Pre-Paid Express Mailers With The Form I-131. By Sending Two Such Mailers, Applicants Can Ensure That Both The Biometrics Appointment Schedule As Well As The Approved Re-Entry Permit Or Refugee Travel Document Will Reach Faster Then Traditional Mail. In This Case, The Applicant Is Required To Mention The Reason For Needing The Expedited Service.&Nbsp;

This Revised Instruction For The Form I-131, Application For Travel Document Came Into Effective On March 5, 2008. The Changes Will Likely To Cause Delay For Those Individuals Who Had Plans To Travel Abroad In The Recent Future As Applicants Will Be Scheduled For A Biometric Appointment Only After They Submit Form I-131.

New Agreement For Full Labour Mobility Across Canada

By April 2009, Canada Will Have A Truly National Labour Market, Whereby Workers In Regulated Occupations, Such As Architects, Accountants, Plumbers, And Doctors, Will Be Able Freely Move Across Provincial And Territorial Borders.&Nbsp; At Present, Many Individuals In Regulated Occupations Need To Be Re-Certified By The Province Or Territory To Which They Are Relocating Before They Can Start Working.

Uscis Q&A: New Background Check Policy
Recently Uscis Announced A New Background Check Policy, Where Certain Cases, Including Adjustment Of Status Cases With Pending Name Check Will Be Adjudicated After 180 Days Regardless Of The Fact That The Name Check Is Unresolved. This Is In Response To The Large Volume Of Petitions That Have Been Pending For An Unusually Long Time And Have Resulted In Numerous Lawsuits Against Uscis And Fbi. This New Policy Promises To Finally Resolve The Huge Backlog Of Approvable Cases That Have Not Been Adjudicated Due To The Name Check Portion Of The Background Check. Some Of These Cases Have Been Pending For A Number Of Years And Number Into Thousands.

Infopass Available In All Uscis Districts
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American Citizen Sponsoring Argentinian Mom
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Samenfink Heads Cbp&Cedil;S Modernization Office
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Can I File For I-130/Aos While On B-2/B-1 Visa
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Highlights Of Interim Final Rule On Opt Extension
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Uscis Moves Lockbox To New Site In Chicago
U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Services (Uscis) Moved The Agency Lockbox To A New Location In Chicago On May 28. While The Post Office Box Address Is The Same, The Move Changes The Address For Deliveries By Private Couriers (Nonusps).

The Show Is Over; Uscis Reaches H1b Cap
The Uscis Has Received Enough H1b Petitions To Meet This Year's Congressionally Mandated Cap Of 65,000 Workers. After Today, Uscis Will Not Accept Any New H1b Petitions For Firsttime Employment Subject To The Fy 2004 Annual Cap.

Uscis Revises Instructions On Where To Submit Applications Previously Processed By Its Tijuana Field Office
U. S. Citizenship And Immigration Services (Uscis) Today Revised Its Instructions On Where To Submit Applications Previously Processed By Its Tijuana Field Office. The Tijuana Field Office Is Closing On July 3, 2008 And To Prepare, The Agency Stopped Accepting The Following Applications And Transferred Responsibilities As Reflected Below.

Canada Introduces 3-Year Renewable Work Permits For Nafta Professionals
Canada'S Minister Of Citizenship, Immigration And Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney Has Announced The Introduction Of 3-Year Renewable Work Permits For Professionals Seeking To Enter The Country Under The Terms Of The North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta)....