Blog : Immigration Practice

Minami Tamaki Partner Olivia S. Lee Honored with 2022 AILA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award

Minami Tamaki Partner Olivia S. Lee Honored with 2022 AILA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has selected Minami Tamaki LLP Partner Olivia Serene Lee with its 2022 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award. AILA’s Annual Awards are the highest recognition of achievement and contributions in the national immigration law community.

AILA is a national association of more than 16,000 attorneys and law professors who practice and teach immigration law. The AILA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award is bestowed upon an individual, law firm, law school, nonprofit, or organization in the immigration field that has promoted diversity, equity, and inclusion excellence in the immigration legal profession.

Olivia and other AILA award recipients will be recognized at AILA’s 2022 Annual Conference during the Annual Membership Meeting, which will be held June 16, 2021, at 5:15 p.m. in the Jacob J. Javits Convention Center, New York City.

Olivia is an elected member of the AILA Board of Governors, helping the organization promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Olivia has been part of AILA since 2009, when she joined the Advisory Council of the AILA Northern California chapter. From June 2016 to July 2017, she served as the Chair of AILA Northern California. During that time, the chapter won the Platinum Award, the highest recognition for AILA chapters.

Before her election to the AILA Board of Governors, Olivia served as Chair of the AILA National Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She also currently serves on the American Bar Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council. Olivia is frequently invited to serve as faculty on local and national AILA CLE panels on topics such as O-1s, H-1Bs, entrepreneur visa options, and business immigration litigation in federal court.

H-1B Initial Electronic Registration Selection Process Completed

H-1B Initial Electronic Registration Selection Process Completed

USCIS has completed the H-1B lottery selection process and has completed notifying those selected in the first round of selection. 

If any registration(s) for your company have been selected, you will have received an email from myUSCIS stating that USCIS has taken action on your case.  To review which case(s) were selected, you may log in to your myUSCIS account. 

  • “Selected” means that the case was selected.
  • “Submitted” means that the case will be kept “in reserve” in case any additional numbers become available.  USCIS will not provide final confirmation of non-selection until after September 30. In prior years, USCIS has not provided final confirmation of non-selection until February of the following year.

We have notified any selected beneficiaries in a separate email.  We will move forward with preparing an H-1B petition for those selected beneficiaries.  If we need further information from you, we will be in touch. 

If there are additional rounds of the lottery, we will be in touch once we have any updates.  

Immigration Law Update: H-1B FY2023 Registration

Immigration Law Update: H-1B FY2023 Registration

Over the weekend, USCIS began the process of notifying employers of registrations that were selected in this year’s H-1B lottery. To date, USCIS has not yet confirmed that it is done notifying all selected registrants. There may be additional notifications until March 31, unless USCIS makes an announcement before then, stating that it has completed notifying selected registrants.

Until then, we may have incomplete information about who was selected in this round of this year’s lottery. We are working to notify the lottery results to all selected candidates timely. We thank you for your patience as we wait for USCIS to complete notifying selected registrants.

Webinar: How to Prepare for the H-1B Lottery Registration

Webinar: How to Prepare for the H-1B Lottery Registration

UPDATE: The H-1B lottery registration window will be opening next Tuesday, March 1, 2022 and will close on March 18, 2022. 

Today, we provided a complimentary webinar with a comprehensive overview of the H-1B registration system and guidance on what employers are expected to do as well as the workflow and anticipated timeline.

We would like to provide a recording of our webinar along with copies of the slides that were presented today: 

We would also like to remind you of the information previously provided in our bulletin: https://app.box.com/s/ono6eoaomdgd4v0vn9oyhd7qq4w2u3z8.  This bulletin includes information about cut-off dates for initiating a case and rush fees. 


Please join us to learn more about the H-1B registration system and what you can do to prepare.

We will provide a comprehensive overview of the H-1B registration system and guidance on what employers are expected to do as well as the workflow and anticipated timeline.

For this year’s H-1B lottery registrations, the electronic registration period for participation in the lottery is March 1 through March 18, 2022. USCIS will notify employers of selection by March 31, 2022, and the H-1B petition filing window for selected registrants begins on April 1, 2022.

The webinar will be recorded, and the presentation materials will be made available for clients.
When: Feb. 25, 2022 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Please register in advance for this webinar: [link deleted]

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

H-1B Lottery Registration: Time to Get Started!

H-1B Lottery Registration: Time to Get Started!

It is time to start getting ready for the annual H-1B lottery registration period, which is expected to open sometime in March 2022.  (USCIS has not yet announced exact dates.) 

As a reminder, individuals who have never previously been in H-1B status will need to go through the lottery registration process.  This may include, for example, employees or candidates who are:

  • Working with you pursuant to F-1 OPT/STEM OPT.
  • Working with you pursuant to a dependent EAD based on their spouse’s nonimmigrant status
  • Located outside the U.S.

We have prepared a bulletin providing a detailed overview of the process timeline, deadlines, and important things to know.  Please note that this bulletin will be updated as we receive more information from USCIS regarding exact dates.  (The link to the bulletin will remain the same as it gets updated.) 

Please review our bulletin closely as it contains important information.  Action items for you to be aware of at this time are: 

  1. Please start collecting and providing the names and email addresses of potential candidates now.  We ask that you provide this information by February 1, 2022.  Due to anticipated volume, advance planning is critical.  
  2. Please note that cases initiated on or after February 23, 2022 will be subject to additional surcharges.  Further details are listed in the bulletin linked above.   

If you have candidates who were not selected this year, or if you have provided the names of potential candidates to us throughout the past year, our office will follow up by mid-January. 

We anticipate reaching out to the bulk of H-1B lottery candidates throughout the months of January and February.  In the meantime, please feel free to provide any interested candidates with our flowchart overviewing the process.  The flowchart will be updated once we receive more information from USCIS regarding exact dates.

Thank you, and happy holidays! 

Olivia Serene Lee Authors Article in New Book, ‘Immigration Options for Academics and Researchers’

Olivia Serene Lee Authors Article in New Book, ‘Immigration Options for Academics and Researchers’

Partner Olivia Serene Lee authored the article “Gathering Evidence for Researchers in Private Industry” in the new book Immigration Options for Academics and Researchers, 3rd Ed released in October 2021 by the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Olivia is an elected Director on AILA’s national Board of Governors.

Immigration Options for Academics and Researchers, 3rd Ed. breaks down the legal environment of this unique branch of immigration with practice pointers and articles, analyzing it from many different angles, including border and consular issues.

With articles written by AILA attorneys and members of NAFSA, this new third edition includes advice on avoiding and challenging RFEs; tips for handling researchers in the private sector, at public universities and colleges, and in unionized positions; client intakes including developing alternative strategies, avoiding potential pitfalls, and planning efficiently; clear, detailed information on increasingly complicated F and J visas; and reviews of AAO cases involving a variety of academic-related petitions.

Learn more and purchase the book here.

New Regional COVID-19 Travel Ban for Several African Countries

New Regional COVID-19 Travel Ban for Several African Countries

On November 26, 2021, President Biden announced a new COVID-19 public health travel ban from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe in response to the Omicron Variant.

Effective November 29, 2021, at 12:01 am EST, foreign nationals who have been physically present in any of the above-mentioned countries within 14 days of travel to the U.S. will be barred from entry with the exception of the following:

  • U.S. citizens and nationals;
  • U.S. lawful permanent residents;
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents;
  • A foreign national parent or legal guardian of an unmarried U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident under the age of 21;
  • A foreign national sibling of a U.S. citizen of lawful permanent resident, provided they are both unmarried and under the age of 21;
  • A foreign national child, foster child or ward of a U.S. citizen of lawful permanent resident, or a prospective adoptee with IR-4 or IH-4 visa;
  • A foreign national who has been invited by the U.S. government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the COVID-19 virus;
  • A foreign air or sea crewmember;
  • Certain A, C, E-1 (TECRO or TECO employees), G and NATO nonimmigrants within the scope of section 11 of the UN Headquarters Agreement;
  • A foreign national whose entry would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives;
  • A foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest; and,
  • Members of the U.S. armed forces and their spouses and children.

Exempt individuals must comply with the existing vaccination and testing requirement.

The CDC website provides updated information regarding testing and vaccine requirements.  The U.S. will accept vaccines that are FDA approved or authorized as well as those that are on the WHO’s emergency use list.

MT Perspective:

The Department of State has not issued guidance how to apply for the “National Interest Exception” to obtain a waiver for the travel ban.

As of November 29, 2021, it is unclear whether the criteria and standards for the previous regional travel bans will apply. It is also unclear whether the Department of State will issue a visa even if the foreign national is subject to the ban and has not been granted a waiver.

MT is closely monitoring the COVID-19 travel ban and restrictions and will continue to provide updates.

USCIS Completes Third Round of Selections for FY2022 H-1B Lottery

USCIS Completes Third Round of Selections for FY2022 H-1B Lottery

On November 19, 2021, USCIS announced that they have selected an additional 16,753 registrations for this year’s H-1B lottery.

If your company filed any H-1B registrations this year that have not yet been selected, you will be able to check for updates on each case in the myUSCIS portal.

  • Cases that indicate “Selected,” and were not already selected in March or July, have been selected in the additional round and the next step will be to file a petition between November 22, 2021 and February 23, 2022.
  • Cases that indicate “Submitted” will be held “in reserve.” We do not know when USCIS will provide final confirmation of non-selection; for last year’s lottery, USCIS did not provide final confirmation of non-selection until February 2021.

In June 2021, USCIS announced that they received 308,613 registrations for the 85,000 available slots, of which it selected 87,500. In July 2021, USCIS selected an additional 27,717 registrations.

If USCIS does not receive enough petitions to meet the annual cap, it may select additional cases from the reserve. We do not know if there will be any additional rounds of selections in the coming months.

Our office will reach out to candidates regarding the status of their cases. We will begin work on the petitions for those selected in the lottery over the course of the next week.

Diversity Visa Lottery registration period ends Nov. 9

Diversity Visa Lottery registration period ends Nov. 9

The annual ‘green card’ lottery is here again. Please share this information with your foreign national employees!
 
The annual Diversity Visa Lottery registration is currently open and concludes on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 (EST Noon). Applicants may apply online at https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/ during the registration period. For Fiscal Year 2023, there are 55,000 visas available for random selection, distributed among six geographic regions.
 
Because the process is fairly straightforward, we doubt your foreign national employees will need our assistance, and there are no filing fees to apply.
 
Please note that eligibility is by country of birth, not country of citizenship, and individuals born in the following countries are NOT eligible to apply: BANGLADESH, BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (including Hong Kong SAR), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, HAITI, HONDURAS, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, NIGERIA, PAKISTAN, PHILIPPINES, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, VENEZUELA, and VIETNAM. Persons born in MACAU SAR and TAIWAN are eligible.
 
Also, please note that those who are currently going through the green card process (e.g. PERM, I-140) can still apply, and spouses, if both qualify, can each apply to double their chances. Starting May 8, 2022, applicants for the Diversity Visa Lottery will be able to check whether their application has been selected through the website https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/. Given the current visa backlogs in some categories, we encourage eligible foreign national employees to apply.