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OIS NEWS - 06/27/2017

Executive Orders on Travel & Immigration: Information & Resources

As the primary center for immigration advising and expertise for the UIC international community, the Office of International Services (OIS) continuously monitors changes to the U.S. immigration system with the goal of keeping our community as informed and supported as possible. While currently it feels as though the immigration landscape surrounding us may be shifting, sometimes on a daily basis, OIS' guiding mission of creating a culturally diverse learning and working environment at UIC that is both welcoming and supportive has not changed. It is our hope that the following information and resources regarding the Executive Orders on travel and immigration can provide our community with guidance during this confusing and potentially stressful time. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office by phone (312-996-3121), email (ois@uic.edu), or during Open Advising.

Updates

6/30/2017 UPDATE – U.S. Department of State and Department of Homeland Security issue guidance on implementation of travel ban

On June 29, 2017 U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued guidance on implementation of the travel ban at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad in light of the Supreme Court’s decision to partially allow Executive Order 13780. The same day, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted Frequently Asked Questions outlining how the ban will be interpreted at U.S. borders and ports of entry.

 

While students admitted to a U.S. school, workers who have accepted an offer of employment from a U.S. employer, and lecturers invited to address a U.S. audience should not be impacted by the travel ban, members of the UIC international community may find these resources helpful in understanding the full scope of the travel ban.

 

6/27/2017 UPDATE – Supreme Court allows portions of travel ban to move forward for those lacking a bona fide relationship with the United States

On June 26, 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court announced that portions of the travel ban (Executive Order 13780) could be enacted while the court prepares to hear arguments on the case in October. The Court’s decision does, however, exempt from the ban individuals who “have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” While the government must further clarify the practical application of what constitutes a “bona fide relationship with the United States,” the Supreme Court provided as likely examples: Students who have been admitted to a U.S. school; Workers who have accepted an offer of employment from a U.S. employer; and Lecturers invited to address an American audience.

 

While this decision appears to protect the travel of international students, scholars, and employees from the six affected countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen), the Office of International Services (OIS) will closely monitor the application of this decision at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad. Additionally, OIS is in direct communication with the UIC students, scholars, and employees from the six affected countries and will continue to provide advisement, support, and advocacy as needed.

 

Members of the UIC international community with questions or concerns about this update are encouraged to connect with the Office of International Services along with reviewing the reminders and resources listed at the bottom of this page. 

 

4/20/2017 UPDATE - White House Executive Order (EO) “Buy American and Hire American”

On April 18, 2017, the White House issued the EO “Buy American and Hire American”. The “Hire American” portion of the EO addresses the current H-1B visa program only, and calls on the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor to propose new rules and new guidance that would replace existing rules relating to the H-1B visa program only. (Applies to both university and non-university employers in the U.S. who employ H-1B beneficiary-employees.) The general purpose of the “Hire American” portion of the EO is to create higher wages and employment rates for U.S. workers.

 

The EO explicitly states that federal agencies should suggest changes to the existing H-1B visa program that would give preference to those foreign nationals that have the most-skill or will be the highest-paid H-1B beneficiary-employees. Although no specific time-frame was stated in the EO by which the federal agencies would need to submit the suggested new rules and new guidance of the H-1B visa program, the EO directs the federal agencies to do so as soon as possible.

 

You may read the full EO “Buy American and Hire American” issued April 18, 2017 here.

 

Our understanding is that these changes to the H-1B visa program could lead to the following:

 

  • In addition to giving preferential treatment to those foreign national H-1B employees that have higher skills or will be paid the highest, if implemented the EO would give foreign nationals that have been awarded a Master’s degree from a U.S. university higher preferential treatment under the annual H-1B lottery.

 

  • Enhance the enforcement of federal agencies to further prevent employer fraud and abuse of the H-1B visa program.

 

  • Increase the prevailing wage component as it relates to some or all fields.
  • Increase or create new H-1B filing fees to be paid by petitioning employers.

Please also note that the EO does not apply to existing H-1B beneficiary-employees nor existing H-1B employers, and will not apply to future H-1B beneficiary-employees and employers until a final rule or regulation is passed.

 

The Office of International Services (OIS) will continue to monitor any developments relating to the H-1B visa program, and we welcome you to contact our office if you have any additional questions about these matters.  You may reach us at ois@uic.edu or 312-996-3121.

 

3/16/2017 UPDATE - U.S. District Courts block March 6, 2017 Executive Order (EO) on travel and immigration

On March 15, 2017, the U.S. District Court in Hawaii issued a nationwide temporary restraining order, preventing the Government from enforcing EO 13780’s 90-day entry bar and 120-day refugee entry ban, which had been scheduled to go into effect on March 16, 2017. On March 16, 2017, the U.S. District Court in Maryland issued a nationwide preliminary injunction, preventing the Government from enforcing EO 13780’s 90-day entry bar but not the 120-day refugee admission.

 

While encouraged by these temporary halts to the EO’s restriction on travel to the U.S. for nationals of Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, the Office of International Services (OIS) continues to advise UIC students, scholars, and employees from these six countries to consult with OIS prior to making arrangements for international travel. Additionally, any member of the UIC international community with questions about the EO should feel free to contact us by phone (312-996-3121), email (ois@uic.edu) or during Open Advising.

 

 

3/6/2017 UPDATE - Notable points from the March 6, 2017 Executive Order (EO) on travel and immigration

Lines in italics are OIS annotations

  • Entry into the United States by nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen is suspended for 90 days from the 12:01 am (EST), March 16, 2017 effective date.
  • The EO applies to the nationals of the six countries who:
    • are outside the United States on the March 16, 2017 effective date;
    • did not have a valid visa at 5:00 p.m., eastern standard time on January 27, 2017; and
    • do not have a valid visa as of the March 16, 2017 effective date.
      • The visa is the stamp in the passport issued by a United States consulate overseas.
  • The EO provides certain exemptions. A few are listed below:

o   any lawful permanent resident of the United States;

  • Permanent residents are often referred to as "green card holders."

o   any foreign national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the effective date of this order;

  • This line refers to someone holding a "combo card" or advanced parole obtained by filing a Form I-485.

o   any dual national of a country designated under section 2 of this order when the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;

  • For example, a Canadian national who also holds a passport from one of the six countries named in the EO.

o   any foreign national who has been granted asylum; any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture…

  • Iraq has been removed from the original list, but is still subjected to additional, discretionary border inspection.
  • United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and consular officials may grant a waiver of this EO to foreign nationals on a case-by-case basis, especially if one can prove they have been previously admitted to the United States for a “continuous period of work, study…” or have another significant reason to reenter the United States.
    • Details regarding the appropriate circumstances for such waivers are listed in the EO.
  • There are several details listed regarding the status of refugees; the program will be suspended for 120 days.
  • The “Visa Interview Waiver Program” has been suspended for all non-diplomats, meaning that all visa applicants must have an in-person interview.
    • This will slow down visa application times at many consulates which previously allowed interview waivers.

Reminders

  • Members of the UIC international community are encouraged to:
    • Contact the Office of International Services regarding any concerns you may have about how the EO could impact your immigration status at UIC. Advisors can be reached by email (ois@uic.edu), phone (312-996-3121) or during Open Advising.
    • Maintain valid visa status and carry printed copies of your immigration documentation. Within the context of January 25, 2017 Executive Order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements it is also advised to abide by all laws of the United States.
    • Contact the Office of International Services prior to international travel to review necessary documentation and current guidance for successful travel.

External resources for further education

  • Full text of the Executive Order, "Buy American and Hire American"
  • Full text of the Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Fact Sheet and Q&A on the Executive Order
  • Presidential Memorandum on Implementing Immediate Heightened Screening and Vetting of Applications for Visas and Other Immigration Benefits

Additional internal resources for the UIC community