Articles Posted in Updates

In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick answers one of your most frequently asked questions: What is the Execution Action on immigration all about? What will happen if DACA/DAPA passes? For the answer to this question please keep watching. For more information about these executive actions please click here.


On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama introduced a series of executive actions on immigration. The most important aspects of his executive actions include the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) program and the implementation of the new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. The President also announced new initiatives to crack down on illegal immigration, prioritize deportation of felons and other criminals, require undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check, and enforce payment of taxes by granting eligible undocumented immigrants temporary protection from deportation. Applications for the expanded DACA and new DAPA program were supposed to begin to be accepted on February 18th however a federal court order has suspended these programs from going into effect. The Supreme Court will hear arguments for the lawsuit challenging DACA/DAPA (United States v. Texas) today April 18, 2016 with a final decision expected in June.

From the USCIS website:

The Executive Action initiatives include:

  • Expanding the population eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to people of any current age who entered the United States before the age of 16 and lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010, and extending the period of DACA and work authorization from two years to three years; 
  • Allowing parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, in a new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents* program, provided they have lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010, and pass required background checks;
  • Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
  • Modernizing, improving and clarifying immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs to grow our economy and create jobs ;
  • Promoting citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents and providing an option for naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee; 

For more information please contact our office for a consultation.

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In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses the modified Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, introduced in November 2014 as part of President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The modified DACA and DAPA programs have been temporarily suspended pending a federal court order. The Supreme Court will begin to hear oral arguments for United States v. Texas in April. For more information about these programs and their court proceedings please click here.


President Barack Obama’s announced his Executive Actions on Immigration on November 20, 2014. One of the new programs that was introduced is a modified Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for the purpose of expanding the population eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a program that currently grants ‘deferred status’ to young people who came to the United States before turning 16 years old and have been continuously present in the United States since January 1, 2010. The modified DACA program and new DAPA program are currently suspended. The Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of both programs this summer.

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The UK Border Agency has issued new policy guidance following the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Quila and Bibi v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] UKSC 45.

This case challenged the requirement under paragraph 277 of the Immigration Rules for both foreign spouses and their sponsors in the UK to meet a minimum age of 21 before the foreign spouse could be granted a visa to enter or remain as a spouse or partner. Paragraph 277 (along with other paragraphs of the Immigration Rules) was amended on 27 November 2008 to raise the minimum age from 18 to 21.

The Supreme Court has ruled that, whilst they recognised that the Secretary of State was pursuing a legitimate and rational aim of seeking to address forced marriage, the change to the rule (increasing the minimum marriage visa age from 18 to 21) disproportionately interfered with the Article 8 rights of those who were in genuine marriages.

The guidance primarily affects applicants whose applications for entry clearance or leave as a fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner were refused under paragraphs 277, 289AA, or 295AA of the Immigration Rules solely because they or their sponsor were aged between 18 and 20 and whose application was refused on that basis between 27 November 2008 and October 2011. This applies to applications made within or outside the UK. The guidance sets out how such applicants can apply for a review of the original decision to refuse a visa which might now result in a visa being issued.

Changes to the Immigration Rules have been laid in Parliament today to reinstate a minimum age of 18 for a spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e), proposed civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner and for their sponsor in order to qualify for entry clearance, leave to enter, leave to remain or a variation of leave on that basis. These rules will come into effect on 28 November 2011. The new policy guidance explains how applicants affected by the judgment can request a review of an earlier refusal due to the age requirement by 31 May 2012.

The Government of Canada is planning to welcome more federal skilled workers in 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) remains the principal avenue for permanent immigration to Canada. In 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) plans to welcome 55,000–57,000 federal skilled workers, up from 47,000–47,400 in the 2011 Immigration Levels Plan.

““The government’s number one priority remains the economy. We recognize the importance of immigration to our labour market and we value the contributions of skilled immigrants who add to our international competitiveness,”” said Minister Kenney. ““We are committed to facilitating the arrival of the best and the brightest to our country.””
An important milestone was reached this year when the backlog of FSW applications prior to the launch of the 2008 Action Plan for Faster Immigration was reduced by more than 50 percent – two years ahead of schedule. The higher range in 2012 will support labour market responsiveness and sustain progress on backlog reduction.

CIC completed an extensive evaluation of the FSWP in 2010, showing that the program is working well and selecting immigrants who perform well economically. The report found that 89 percent of FSWs were employed or self-employed three years after landing. Moreover, 95 percent of the employers surveyed indicated that FSWs were meeting or exceeding their expectations. The evaluation indicated a strong continuing need for skilled immigrants in Canada.

““CIC will continue to ramp up efforts to modernize our immigration system to make it more nimble and responsive to labour market needs,”” said Minister Kenney. ““Following nationwide consultations this past spring on proposals to improve the Federal Skilled Worker Program, we are actively exploring policy options on the way forward.””

The U.S. Consulate General Mumbai will shift this month from Lincoln House in Breach Candy and the American Center in Churchgate to its new facility in the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). The new U.S. Consulate General at BKC reflects the expansion in U.S.-India relations, and features expanded space for consulate operations. The number of interview windows for services to visa applicants and U.S. citizens will increase significantly, from 13 to 44.

U.S. Consul General Peter Haas comments “Our new home reflects the overall trend of U.S.-India ties. Our relationship with India is growing and modernizing, and our Consulate must do the same.”
Lincoln House will close its doors to the public on November 15 and reopen on November 21 at the new BKC location. The Consulate cannot provide visa services between November 15 and 21. Consular officers will host a webchat on November 9th at 7:00PM to answer specific questions about the shift and its effect on consular services: The American Library at New Marine Lines near Churchgate has already closed and will reopen to the public shortly after consular operations begin at the new Consulate.

The new consulate compound will house all United States Government offices in Mumbai, including the Department of State, the Foreign Commercial Service, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Foreign Agricultural Service. The new consulate will also include the Consul General’s residence. The new consulate features state of the art green technology, including high-efficiency lighting, a gray-water recycling system, and a self contained waste water treatment facility.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas today announced the launch of an enhanced Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and a redesigned Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-560) with new features to strengthen security and deter fraud.

As part of USCIS’s ongoing efforts to enhance the integrity of the immigration system, the state-of-the-art technology incorporated into the new documents will deter counterfeiting, obstruct tampering, and facilitate quick and accurate authentication. USCIS began issuing the new EADs today and will begin using the redesigned certificates on Oct. 30. The agency anticipates that more than 1 million people will receive the new documents over the next year.

“These enhanced documents are more secure than ever,” said Director Mayorkas. “They advance our efforts to safeguard against fraud and protect the integrity of the immigration system.”
The new features of the EAD will better equip workers, employers and law enforcement officials to recognize the card as definitive proof of authorization to work in the United States.

USCIS worked closely with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Forensic Document Laboratory to incorporate technology and tactile features in order to deter fraud and facilitate card authentication.

Canada has repealed an ineffective refugee program in order to put more emphasis on work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and refugees in the greatest need, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

“By repealing programs such as the Source Country, we can direct more resources on proven and effective resettlement programs, such as our partnership with the UNHCR,” said Minister Kenney. “This will enable us to quickly offer refuge for more individuals in real need of protection.”
The Source Country class was intended to be a flexible tool for humanitarian intervention, capable of responding to a variety of situations. The objective of the class was to provide resettlement assistance to people who were in need of protection, but who were unable to leave their countries and were therefore not receiving international protection under the mandate of the UNHCR.

In practice, however, the Source Country class was an inflexible tool that did not allow the government to respond to emerging situations. The class was too restrictive as it only applied to people in countries listed in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and this list was difficult to change. As well, in some of the designated source countries, there was minimal uptake, while in others, the people who applied were not eligible or were not those for whom the program was intended.

Furthermore, overall approval rates in the program were low. In Colombia, for example, the approval rate was estimated at less than 10 percent. This meant that CIC had to process nine cases before finding one that merited Canada’s protection. In contrast, by working through the UNHCR, over 85 percent of all cases are approved.

As part of the measures taken to repeal the Source Country class, Canada will also be ending direct access in the six countries where the source country program had previously operated. Direct access allows refugees in designated source countries to apply for resettlement directly to the Canadian embassy serving their area without a referral or a sponsorship. Once direct access ends, all applicants who have left their country of origin will need to include a referral from the UNHCR, a designated referral organization or a private sponsor with their resettlement application in order to be eligible for resettlement.

“Canada remains committed to those who need our protection,” added Minister Kenney. “We are working with international partners to find long-term solutions to a number of protracted refugee situations. For example, Canada will resettle 20,000 refugees from Iraq and Iran over a five-year period, many of whom were persecuted for their religious beliefs or sexual orientation. Also, as part of the measures to reform Canada’s refugee protection system, the Government of Canada is increasing the total number of refugees resettled each year by 20 percent. This means that up to 500 more government-assisted refugees and 2,000 privately sponsored refugees will find protection in Canada.”

The U.S. Department of State released the lasted visa bulletin for November 2011 on October5, 2011.

For the month of October 2011, the EB-1 category was still current for nationals all over the world. In EB-2 category, the cut-off dates moves forward from July 15, 2007 to November 1, 2007 both for Chinese Mainland nationals and Indian nationals. In the EB-3 category, the cut-off dates moved forward from August 8, 2004 to August 22,2004 for Chinese Mainland nationals and moved forward from July 15, 2002 to July 22, 2002 for Indian nationals.

For the recently popular EB-5 investment immigration, although applicants are getting more and more, the visa number now is still current.

The Department of State released the lasted visa bulletin for October 2011 on September 9, 2011.

For the month of September 2011, the EB-1 category was still current for nationals all over the world. In EB-2 category, the cut-off dates moves forward from April 15, 2007 to July 15, 2007 both for Chinese Mainland nationals and Indian nationals. In the EB-3 category, the cut-off dates moved forward from July 15, 2004 to August 8,2004 for Chinese Mainland nationals and moved forward from July 8, 2002 to July 15, 2002 for Indian nationals.

For the recently popular EB-5 investment immigration, although applicants are getting more and more, the visa number now is still current.

It is imperative that you consult with a highly trained legal professional, particularly since USCIS has become stricter with EB-1 applications after a memo was released on August 18, 2010. In essence, the USCIS memo breaks the EB-1 evaluation process up into two parts:
1) Evaluating whether the applicant meets the baseline criteria for the immigration category and
2) determining whether the applicant’s evidence demonstrates the required high level of expertise for the immigration category. In the second part of the review process the USCIS will evaluate the evidence to see if, as a whole, it proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the applicant is at the very top of his or her field of endeavour.

Immigration New Zealand advises foreign nationals unable to leave New Zealand because of the Chilean ash cloud and whose visas expire in the meantime that, even though they may become unlawfully in New Zealand, no action will be taken against them while the disruption continues. However, there is a clear expectation that people will take steps to leave New Zealand as soon as flights resume.

When natural disasters occur or in similar circumstances that are beyond the control of the visa holder, we apply common sense and empathy in considering any visa issues.

We don’t disadvantage people for being stuck at an airport because of climatic conditions, just as we didn’t disadvantage foreign nationals whose immigration status was affected by the Christchurch earthquake.

To ensure we are aware of the reason a person has become unlawfully in New Zealand, anyone whose visa has expired pending resumption of flights should contact their nearest Immigration New Zealand branch or call the Immigration Contact Centre at 0508 55 88 55.