On April 18, 2017, President Trump signed his latest Executive Order “Buy American and Hire American.” The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) observed that while the announcement reflects the administration’s desire to move toward reforms to the H-1B program, there will be no immediate changes or impacts on H-1Bs. It appears that the agencies are asked to review policies related to all visa programs and recommend changes to root out “fraud and abuse,” and to propose additional reforms so that H-1B visas are awarded to the most skilled or highest-paid applicants.
See the official White House announcement here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/04/18/presidential-executive-order-buy-american-and-hire-american
Starting April 3, 2017, USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions. This suspension may last up to 6 months. We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for H-1B petitions. While premium processing is suspended, we will reject any Form I-907 filed with an H-1B petition. If the petitioner submits one combined check for both the Form I-907 and Form I-129 H-1B fees, we will have to reject both forms. Read more here: USCIS Will Temporarily Suspend Premium Processing for All H-1B Petitions and here USCIS Newsletter .
Martensen Wright PC was represented by Ebba Josefson at the Tech Forecast 360 event in San Francisco on February 8, 2017. The event was hosted by the Silicon Vikings, http://siliconvikings.com/.
Key note speakers included Scott A. Anderson, Chief Economist at Bank of the West; John Chiang, California State Treasurer; Sean Randolph, Senior Director of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute; Bill Reichert, Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures; Carl Fritjofsson, Principal at Creandum; Christian Lagerling, Co-Founder & Senior Advisor at GP Bullhound, and Barry Broome, President & CEO of Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council.
The speakers shared their point of view on how the new White House administration will impact the tech economy in the Bay Area and California and Nordic companies seeking to enter the US. Here are some of the highlights:
• Most speakers agreed that the cost of housing and a general housing shortage, especially in the Bay Area, are central issues for the tech economy and the economy of California. In the near future the aim to create affordable housing may be negatively impacted by the new administration’s tax policies. (more…)
Dorthe Mikkelsen Wright and Edward Wright attended The Business of Racing with Champion Ferrari Driver Christina Nielsen. A big thank-you to the Danish Chamber of Commerce Southern California for hosting this exciting event. Christina is the first Danish female driver in the 24-hour Le Mans race and the first female driver to win a professional, full-season Sports Car Championship.
Martensen Wright wishes all our clients, friends and acquaintances a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We thank you for your patronage in 2016 and look forward to being of service to you in 2017.
Our office will reopen Tuesday, Dec. 27 following the Christmas holiday. We know that work continues for many of you; be assured that your matters will receive our prompt attention upon our return on the 27th.
In the meantime, if you are inclined to follow the efforts of another busy soul over the holidays, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracks Santa’s journey and you can follow along at http://www.noradsanta.org/ or on Twitter @NoradSanta.
Sorry, no Nisse report available at present!
In May 2016, President Obama directed the U.S. Department of Labor to update overtime pay regulations with the publication of The Final Rule, https://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/final2016/, affecting many U.S. employers and employees. The Final Rule was to take effect on December 1, 2016.
Federal law requires that employers pay overtime wages to all employees unless the employee is considered “exempt” from overtime regulations. The Final Rule increased the minimum annual salary for exempt employees to $47,476. Under the new rule, many employers would be required to either increase the salaries of these employees or change their classification to “non-exempt”, thus making them subject to overtime pay. Many employers therefore took the opportunity to reevaluate the exemption classification of their employees.
Shortly before the Final Rule was to take effect, a federal court temporarily blocked the rule pending further order by the court. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/what-to-do-now-that-federal-overtime-rule-is-blocked.aspx.
Danish Nationals living in the United States now enjoy the option of having dual citizenship.
This means that Danes can apply to become US citizens via naturalization in the USA without losing their Danish citizenship. The Application for Naturalization, form N-400 is available here: https://www.uscis.gov/n-400
Danes who lost their Danish citizenship when they became citizens of another country prior to September 1, 2015, can apply to have their Danish citizenship reinstated. For more information about Citizenship [in Danish statsborgerskab og indfødsret] please see www.statsforvaltningen.dk and http://www.statsforvaltningen.dk/site.aspx?p=8903 .
The application, Erklæring om Generhvervelse af Dansk Indfødsret for Tidligere Danske Statsborgere, is available here http://www.statsforvaltningen.dk/sfdocs/Andre%20omr%C3%A5der/Indf%C3%B8dsret/20150901/Erkl%C3%A6ringsskema%20-%20dobbelt%20stb%20%C2%A7%203.pdf
Questions about the application should be directed to the State Administration at phone no.: 011 45 72 56 70 00 or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The following should be of interest to all our clients with employees in the United States:
USCIS has revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Employers may continue using Form I-9 with a revision date of 03/08/2013 N. through Jan. 21, 2017. By Jan. 22, 2017, employers must use the revised form.
These are some of the changes in the new version:
• Employees only need to provide other last names used in Section 1, rather than all names used.
• The certification in Section 1 for certain foreign nationals takes less time to complete.
• There are additional spaces to enter multiple preparers and translators.
• There is a dedicated area to enter additional information that employers have been required to notate in the margins of the form.
Furthermore, it is now easier than ever to complete Form I-9 on a computer as the revised form includes many upgrades over the old format.
Martensen Wright has learned that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be increasing the filing fees for a number of applications and petitions effective December 23, 2016. Fees paid by the applicants and petitioners fund the USCIS work and fees will be increased by an average of 21 percent.
This may affect some of our immigration clients, especially those that are in the process of preparing applications or might be considering it.
Here is a link to the new fees: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/our-fees
The chart lists USCIS’ fees effective December 23, 2016. Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after that date must include these new fees in order for USCIS to process them.
Martensen Wright PC, a Premium Sponsor of the Danish American Chamber of Commerce of Northern California was proud to be a part of the presentation by, and welcome dinner for, the former Prime Minister of Denmark and former NATO Secretary General, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Mr. Rasmussen was promoting his new book, “The Will to Lead”.
The evening at Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco started with a fireside chat, where Mr. Fogh Rasmussen presented his views on American leadership in the global struggle for freedom and democracy, and concluded with dinner. We enjoyed input on the world situation today by this seasoned politician. Anders Fogh Rasmussen also shared anecdotes from his interesting life as the highest political representative of Denmark and later NATO. Dorthe Mikkelsen Wright, Honorary Consul of Denmark, and Edward Wright were in attendance, along with several of the firm’s clients.
Thank you DACCNCAL for a lovely evening!