BHL Bogen

BHL Bogen
BridgehouseLaw LLP - Your Business Law Firm

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Complying with Changing Immigration Policy: Tips for US Employers Who Employ Migrant Workers

Complying with Changing Immigration Policy: Tips for US Employers Who Employ Migrant Workers

            On August 8, 2018, ICE officials served search warrants in 13 locations in Nebraska and Minnesota, arresting over 130 people according to a press release by the Department of Homeland Security. The operation targeted businesses that officials say knowingly hired and mistreated immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. Among those arrested were 14 business owners and managers. While the general focus of law enforcement has remained honed on those working in the U.S. illegally, there are now growing concerns that law enforcement is also targeting businesses and business owners who hire immigrants who are unauthorized to work in the U.S. While this is not the first time the U.S. government has cracked down on employers of unauthorized workers it is certainly not expected to be the last. This raises the question though: How can employers insure they are in compliance with the law in regards to their immigrant workers?

            The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (also known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act) makes it illegal for employers with four (4) or more employees to knowingly hire someone who entered the U.S. without the proper permission to work, or to transport people into the U.S. for the purpose of work without permission. Here’s what you need to know to remain compliant with the law:

Confirm that employees are legally able to work in the U.S. This confirmation process requires that employers submit an I-9 form for all new employees, regardless of their citizenship status. New employees must fit into one of four categories of legal workers: U.S. citizens, noncitizen national, lawful permanent resident or alien authorized to work.

Avoid discrimination based on perception of an employee’s immigration status. Employers may not inspect a potential employee’s immigration or citizenship documents prior to making a job offer. Such documents can only be requested after an offer of employment has been made. Employers are also prohibited from designating which identification documents a new employee may present from the acceptable documents list.

Terminate the employment of any employee found to be working in the U.S. This may happen due to an expired work visa or other circumstances. Employers are also liable for any undocumented workers employed by subcontractors. If you contract with a service provider and discover that the provider employs undocumented workers, you’re obligated to insist that the subcontractor terminate the employment of all undocumented workers – or you must terminate the contract.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Kryptowährungen – wenn Sicherheit zur Gefahr wird

Kryptowährungen – wenn Sicherheit zur Gefahr wird

Die Relevanz von digitalen Zahlungsmitteln in Form von Kryptowährungen hat in der Vergangenheit stark zugenommen. Es gibt immer mehr Investoren in digitale Währungen wie Bitcoin oder Litcoin.

Durch Kryptowährungen ist es möglich, den bargeldlosen Zahlungsverkehr ohne die Mitwirkung von Banken oder Behörden zu sichern. Kryptowährungen werden vielmehr eigens in verschlüsselten Wallets gesichert. Die digitale Währung wird dann in diese Wallet eingelegt und der Zugang hierzu durch einen privaten Key, also ein privates Passwort, erschwert. Kryptowährungen können dadurch sehr sicher gehalten werden.

Diese sichere Verwahrung birgt aber gleichzeitig Risiken.
Problematisch ist in diesem Zusammenhang, dass der deutsche Gesetzgeber die spätere Investition in Kryptowährungen bei der Fassung des Erbrechts noch nicht bedenken konnte. Zwar gehört Kryptogeld zur Erbmasse, jedoch ist noch nicht geklärt, wie Erben digitaler Zahlungsmittel ohne die entsprechenden Keys Zugang zu diesem Vermögen erhalten können. Zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt wird den Erben, die nicht über die entsprechenden Codes verfügen, kein Zugang zu den Wallets gewährt und das Kryptogeld gelöscht.

Durch die Keys ist das Vermögen des Erblassers zu dessen Lebzeiten vor unberechtigtem Zugriff geschützt.
Auf der einen Seite besteht also ein großes Interesse des Erblassers daran, die Keys nicht frühzeitig bekannt zu geben. Auf der anderen Seite sind Kryptowährungen ohne die Zugangscodes für Erben wertlos.

Eine zufriedenstellende Lösung dieses Dilemmas konnte bisher noch nicht gefunden werden.

Links for reference:

Friday, August 31, 2018

USCIS Extends Suspension of H-1B Premium Processing and Increases Premium Processing Filing Fee

USCIS Extends Suspension of H-1B Premium Processing and Increases Premium Processing Filing Fee

            On August 29, 2018, the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that its suspension of Premium Processing for Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap Petitions will be extended to February 19, 2019. Originally, the suspension was meant to end in early September. Now, starting on September 11, 2018, the USCIS will not accept Premium Processing for an H-1B Petition unless the filing is statutorily cap-exempt or if the Petition requests a continuation of previously-approved employment without change – whether the employee is present in the United States and seeking an extension of stay, or if they are presently outside the United States and will need to apply for a Visa to return. For all other H-1B Petitions, (e.g. Amended H-1B Petitions, H-1B Portability Petitions and new employment for H-1B employees abroad), Premium Processing will not be available until at least February 19, 2019.

            The USCIS cited several reasons for its decision to extend and expand its suspension of H-1B Premium Processing, all of which are nothing new: a back-log of pending petitions due to an increase of Premium Processing requests, as well as the need to process H-1B Extension Petitions which are approaching their 240-day limit as well as other H-1B Petitions with “time-sensitive start dates.” These reasons conflict with the fact that H-1B Cap Petitions, many of which are currently pending, also have “time-sensitive start dates” of October 1, 2018, yet will not have access to Premium Processing. Also, the extension correlates with the USCIS’ implementation of its July 13, 2018 Policy Memorandum (PM) 602-0050.1 which allows the USCIS greater latitude to deny any application, petition or request for an immigrant or nonimmigrant benefit – such as H-1B – without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). With the extended suspension, the USCIS will also have more time to decide these cases.

            On August 31, 2018, the USCIS released a Final Rule increasing Premium Processing fees from $1,225.00 to $1,410.00 effective September 30, 2018. The Premium Processing fee was last increased in 2010 and therefore the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is increasing the fee based on inflation. The USCIS intends to use the premium funds that are generated by the fee increase to provide certain premium processing services to business customers, and to make infrastructure improvements in the adjudications and customer-service processes. In recent years, premium processing has been suspended on employment-based petitions to permit officers working on premium processing cases to process long-pending nonpremium filed petitions as well as to prevent a lapse in employment authorization for beneficiaries of extension petitions resulting from the high volume of incoming petitions and a significant surge in premium processing requests. DHS estimates an additional $44 million in revenue to be collected from the increase in premium processing fees due to adjustment of inflation.

            Number of Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing) Received Annually