Ann Badmus tapped as featured speaker at national physician recruiter

2017 NAPR/NALTO Conference, “Solving Immigration Obstacles to Help Fill Challenging Positions, Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 4 p.m. CST., La Jolla, California. Ann Badmus will participate in an immigration law roundtable, answering questions from physician recruiters.

Who is NAPR?

It is the purpose of the National Association of Physician Recruiters (NAPR) to maintain industry leadership by promoting excellence, ethical standards, innovation and a spirit of cooperation in the delivery of services to the health care industry.

https://napr.site-ym.com/

 

 

Trump Travel Ban Causes Uncertainty for Foreign Born Physicians and Rural Healthcare

The travel ban is on hold because the states of Washington and Minnesota sued the Trump administration, claiming that, among other things, the ban harmed residents and companies in their states. The IT and healthcare industries are the most likely to suffer from the ban, according to the lawsuit.

A recent National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast and article highlight the problems the travel ban and other harsh immigration policies could create for our healthcare system. Nearly 25% of our physicians are foreign-born and in some specialties, the percentage is much higher. Quoted in the article is industry spokesperson, Dr. Andrew Gurman:

And the U.S. medical system depends on doctors like Tauseef, says Dr. Andrew Gurman, president of the American Medical Association. He worries that if President Trump’s executive order on immigration takes effect, it will mean parts of the country that desperately need medical care may not have a doctor.

“International medical graduates have been a resource to provide medical care to areas that don’t otherwise have access to physicians,” he says. “With the current uncertainty about those physicians’ immigration status, we don’t know whether or not these areas are going to receive care.”

Read the NPR article, “Trump Travel Ban Spotlights U.S. Dependence On Foreign-Born Doctors.”

Listen to the broadcast

Big Surge in Citizenship Applications Expected under Trump Administration

For the past six years, I have been a featured speaker and volunteer  at the Plano Multicultural Outreach Roundtable (MCOR) Citizenship Workshop.  The workshop always draws a large number of future citizens but this year, we saw three times as many attendees.  Why?  Some believe the Trump administration’s executive orders, like the travel ban, have many afraid that even permanent residents can lose their status and rights in the U.S.

Whatever your reason, if you plan to become a citizen, don’t delay.  Apply as soon as you are eligible.  For more information about citizenship requirements, visit our citizenship information page.
Here’s TV coverage of the Plano MCCOR Citizenship Workshop on February 11, 2017.

Travel and Refugee Ban Suspended For Now

By court order, the travel ban and refugee ban are suspended for now. However, the Trump administration has appeal the court order.  Basically, the federal judge’s ruling in favor of the states of Michigan and Washington, temporarily stops the any actions under Executive Order until the court can fully consider the lawsuit.  The lawsuit seeks invalidation of the Executive Order (E.O.) as unconstitutional.  The court’s order places a nationwide block on the E.O.  The Trump administration has appealed but the appeals court has denied the administration request to continue the E.O. until further hearing.

According to current news reports, the Department of Homeland Security “announced it has suspended all actions to implement the immigration order and will resume standard inspections of travelers as it did prior to the signing of the travel ban.”

Also, according to CNN:

“CBP alerted airlines Friday night that the US government would quickly begin reinstating visas that were previously canceled, and it advised airlines that refugees in possession of US visas will be admitted as well, an airline executive said.

CBP told major US airlines Friday night that the government is in the process of reinstating visas and is “back to business as usual” before the situation that was in place before last week’s executive order, the airline executive told CNN. Airlines were expected to remove travel alerts from their websites and get messages out to customers to alert them about the change.”

Learn more with these resources:

DOS Alert: Executive Order does not restrict the travel of dual nationals from any country with a valid U.S. visa in a passport of an unrestricted country.

The Department of State, which is the agency responsible for processing visa applications outside the U.S., posted this alert yesterday:

“The U.S. government’s national security screening and vetting procedures for visitors are constantly reviewed and refined to improve security and more effectively identify individuals who could pose a threat to the United States.  We welcome every opportunity to continue to review and improve our systems and procedures.  As a result of this executive order, the Department of State has temporarily stopped scheduling appointments and halted processing of immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applications for individuals who are nationals of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.

This Executive Order does not restrict the travel of dual nationals from any country with a valid U.S. visa in a passport of an unrestricted country.  Our Embassies and Consulates around the world will continue to process visa applications and issue nonimmigrant and immigrant visas to otherwise eligible visa applicants who apply with a passport from an unrestricted country, even if they hold dual nationality from one of the seven restricted countries. Please check with your local Embassy or Consulate for country specific information.”

In other words, if you are national of banned country and a country that is not banned, you may be eligible for a visa and entry into the U.S.

Of course, you should check with an immigration attorney for your specific situation, before taking any action.

I-9 Form Alert:  USCIS issues New Guidance for Employers on Automatic Extensions of Employment Authorization Documents

For those that qualify, an employment authorization document (EAD) gives immigrants  permission to work for a specific period of time, usually one or two years.  For continued work authorization, workers should apply for renewal 180 days before the EAD expiration date to ensure timely approval of the extension.

What happens if the EAD is not renewed before the current EAD expires?  In that case, many workers must stop work until the EAD renewal is approved.  However, some workers can continue working if their EAD qualifies for the  new “automatic extension”  rule .

According to the new rule, an individual receives an automatic extension of employment authorization and can continue working for 180 days while waiting for the EAD renewal if:

  • The employee applies for renewal before the current EAD expires;
  • The employee applies for renewal based upon the same employment authorization category as the current EAD; and
  • The employment authorization category is one of the 15 categories which are eligible for the automatic extension.

The USCIS recently issued a fact sheet, providing further details about the rule and specific directions for employers to complete the I-9 form and an E-Verify case when an employee is eligible for an EAD automatic extension.  Employers are reminded to use the new I-9 form and use the fact sheet to ensure compliance.

Here are compliance resources for employers:

USCIS website page about automatic extension for EAD

USCIS Fact Sheet: Automatic Extensions of EADs Provided by the “Retention of EB-1, EB- 2, and EB-3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers” Final Rule

I-9,  Employment Eligibility Verification form and instructions

E-Verify – New Rule Effective Jan. 17 Affecting Form I-9 Completion for Certain Employees

I hope this article helps you understand basic immigration requirements, but please don’t consider it as legal advice or legal opinion about your specific circumstances.  Immigration rules are complex so contact a qualified immigration attorney for qualified advice and guidance.
For legal advice and guidance for your immigration compliance program, you are invited to schedule an immigration strategy session with me.

The Rumors Are False. There is No Expansion of Travel Ban to Other Countries.

“Fake news” has been circulating that the travel ban and visa revocations have been or will be expanded to other countries.  In response to these rumors, the Department of State (DOS) recently told the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) that  there are NO current plans to add other countries to travel ban or visa restrictions in the Executive Order entitled, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”

According to AILA, ” DOS confirmed that there is no information that supports such a rumor and asked that AILA members help end the spread of this false information.”

Trump Travel Ban Update for Immigrants and Their Employers – January 31, 2017

The recent Executive Order (E.O.) banning visas and travel to the U.S. for citizens of seven countries has caused turmoil and distress for immigrants, their families, and their employers or businesses.   The E.O. also imposes other restrictions that could affect immigrants from other countries as well.  We are constantly monitoring the situation and expect changes to the implementation of the order at any time.

Here is what we know so far on the immigration restrictions imposed by the E.O.:

-Ban on entry of nationals of Muslim-Majority Countries.  For at least 90 days since January 27, 2017, nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen are banned from entering the United States.  

–Who is banned? According to a recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo, the ban includes “nearly all travelers, except U.S. citizens, traveling on passports from Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen.”   Other countries could be added to this list at any time.

–Are Dual Citizens Banned? According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the DHS has stated that “the ban included dual citizens who hold passports from a designated country as well as a non-designated country, BUT that CBP would be processing people based on how they present themselves at primary inspection.”  However, there are conflicting reports on this from news sources.

–Are Those with Lawful Permanent Residence (“Green Cards”) Banned? The DHS has stated that “the entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest” and so, “absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in [DHS’s] case-by-case determinations.” We understand this to mean LPRs should generally be allowed to board airplanes and enter the U.S. but could be subject to extended questioning before admitted. If asked to abandon or give up your permanent residence, do not.  You may be presented with a form I-407, Abandonment of Permanent Residence.  You are not required to sign the form and you should not do so even if threatened with court action.

-Suspension of Visa Processing and Other Immigration Benefits.  For at least 90 days since January 27, 2017, nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen cannot apply for or receive visas, including immigrant visas (green card). Other countries can be added to this list at any time.  There is a narrow “national interest” exception that allows issuance of visa or other immigration benefits to nationals of such countries.  Posted on the Department of State website: “ Per the Executive Order on Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals signed on January 27, 2017, visa issuance to nationals of the countries of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has been suspended effective immediately until further notification. If you are a citizen of one of these countries, please do not schedule a visa appointment or pay any visa fees at this time. If you already have an appointment scheduled, please DO NOT ATTEND. You will not be permitted entry to the Embassy/Consulate. We will announce any other changes affecting travelers to the United States as soon as that information is available.”

-Immigration applications in the U.S. suspended for nationals of the 7 countries? According to AILA:  “Media articles have reported that USCIS has suspended the adjudication of certain affected immigration benefits. Given the language of the Executive Order and the reports, it appears likely there has been or will be some directive to USCIS on how to handle benefits applications. AILA has contacted USCIS, but has been unable to confirm these reports definitively.”

-Suspension of Visa Interview Waiver Program (VIWP).  The VIWP grants waiver of a consular interview to low risk travelers who have already been vetted previously by the government.  The suspension of this program means everyone must interview at the embassy, even for renewals of visas.  Expect longer wait times for visa issuance if you are applying for an H-1B or other work visa. 

-Suspension of Refugee Program.  Refugee admissions are suspended for 120 days for all refugee applicants and indefinitely for Syrian refugees. In addition, refugee limit is reduced to 50,000 from 110,000 for the rest of this fiscal year, ending September 30, 2017.

There are other requirements in the E.O. which will likely change or extend processing times for many immigration benefits. The situation is very fluid, especially considering the many lawsuits that have been filed and are pending. In these uncertain times, any immigrant should consult an attorney before travel or taking any action that could affect their immigration status.  Employers should also consult with an attorney to avoid disruption to operations.

This post is an educational service of Ann Massey Badmus, partner of Scheef & Stone, LLP and is not intended to be legal advice. For legal advice for your specific circumstances, you are invited to contact me

ALERT: PREPARE YOUR COMPANY FOR THE SEASON OF W-2 EMAIL SCAMS

By Shawn Tuma, Cybersecurity Partner at Scheef & Stone, LLP

Hunting season just began — the season in which cybercriminals are hunting for W-2 information from your company. They do this by sending emails spoofing high level executives, such as the company President or CEO, to lower level clerical personnel requesting that W-2s for employees be provided by return email. The email is coming from — and then returned to — the criminal, not the executive, along with the W-2s. The company now has a serious data breach on its hands. Worse, your company’s employees’ information has been exposed and they now have this problem to worry about.

Tax Season is Prime Hunting Season for Cybercriminals

Law enforcement officers and cyber forensics professionals are reporting a drastic increase in this scam now, because it is tax season and these scammers are using this for tax related fraud. This week alone I have had 2 new cases come in that involve this scam. If you haven’t been targeted yet, it is likely that you will be very soon.

What Can You Do Now to Protect Your Company?

  1. Send this post to your employees so that they understand what the threat is and that they are the ones who will be targeted. You want to make them aware, discuss the issue with them, and help them understand that they should be very suspicious of any requests to email out anything of this nature (or make payments, such as with the very similar Business Email Compromise).
  2. Limit who has access to your company’s W-2s and other sensitive information.
  3. Put policies and procedures in place to require a second method of making sure that requests like this are valid, before complying (multi-factor authentication).
  4. Learn more about this scam from the FBI’s bulletin on this.

What Do You Do if it Happens to Your Company?

  1. Immediately contact experienced legal counsel who understands how to guide you through these compromises and, ideally, has appropriate contacts with law enforcement to assist in reporting this incident (See Reporting to Law Enforcement).
  2. Report the incident to the FBI or Secret Service and appropriate IRS investigators so that the IRS can implement appropriate procedures to protect your workers whose information was exposed in the W-2s.
  3. Prepare appropriate notifications (Incident Response Checklist) to the people whose information was exposed and be sure to stress to them that the IRS will never contact them directly, for the first time, via email, telephone, text message, social mediaor any way other than through a written “snail mail” letter from the IRS.

Immigration Attorneys for Foreign National Physicians