Beginning April 30, 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will no longer adjudicate L-1 intracompany transferee petitions for Canadian citizens at the Blaine, Washington ports of entry. Canadians seeking L-1 status who wish to enter the United States through Blaine must first file their petitions with the USCIS California Service Center for processing. This will apply to both L-1 admissions based on an employer’s previously approved blanket petition and individual L-1 petitions. Once an approval notice is issued, the beneficiary may use it at any northern border port of entry to request admission. It has been strongly advised that applicants wait for the USCIS approval notice before applying for admission at the border. However, USCIS has indicated that applicants could be able to bring the filing receipt to the border for entry, at which point CBP would contact USCIS to verify whether the case would be approved, and then act on the admission request accordingly. USCIS is expected to provide further information on the pilot program as the implementation date nears and HLG will provide updates as they are available. Initially, the pilot program will operate only at Blaine, Washington ports of entry. CBP is expected to continue to adjudicate Canadian L-1 applications for admission at other ports of entry until further notice. USCIS also has indicated that the program could be implemented across the northern U.S. ports of entry, and may also be extended to other immigration categories, such as the TN! If you are a Canadian planning to apply for admission at the Blaine ports of entry for an L-1 visa, you need to take the upcoming pilot program into account when planning your travel.
The CBP released a statement on its procedures for handling L petitions under NAFTA. Our experience is that CBP officers have a far greater grasp of the L regulatory standards and far less of a political agenda than their US Consulate brethren and that well-prepared L petitions are met with routine approval at the border.
Last week, the DHS released data regarding NIV usage in FY2010. Although it conatins a lot of data that could easily go into the category of "why would anyone need to know that ?" it is probably worth the 5 minutes it will take to skim through it.
Senate bill 887 proposed by Senators Grassley and Durbin, contains provisions that if enacted would eliminate the use of H-1b visas for any staffing or consulting company. Essentially, the bill would prohibit the placement of H-1b workers at any third party work-sites unless a waiver was first obtained and a waiver would not be available for any placements that would be considered as, labor for hire. Further the bill would prohibit the supervision of the H-1b worker by the end client. These provisions would essentially eliminate the use of H-1b visas for computer and engineering consulting companies, healthcare staffing companies, and others. For many years the esteemed Senators have sought ways to completely eliminate the H-1b category and with the current economic climate, they are seizing on the opportunity.