There has been much discussion lately of cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, the first and best-known of all such currencies. Investors and futurists alike hail the beginning of a new era, an era where decentralized digital money can be sent around the world in the blink of an eye.
But, while large institutions have been quick to accept the blockchain technology underneath cryptocurrencies, they have been somewhat slower about using the currencies themselves. Despite the fact that they often must move large sums of money across borders, and even though banks charge them sizeable fees to do so, they have not yet shown any signs of adopting cryptocurrencies as a means of “cutting out the middleman” when transferring money across borders.
The questions, then, are whether Bitcoin can legally be used to transfer such large sums of money between countries, and whether it can practically be used to do so.
The first question has a myriad of answers depending on the countries and currencies involved. For example, in the United States, Bitcoins are not considered cash. There is no general limit on assets being transferred out of the United States, but a Form 8300 must be filed with the IRS to report any transaction or set of related transactions that results in receipt of a cash payment over $10,000, as long as part of the transaction took place in the United States. It is debatable, for several reasons, if when entity A buys bitcoins in the United States from entity B and then sells them in another country, entity A would need to file a form 8300 at all – though it would still be safest to do so, of course, and entity B would have to file regardless. But, other countries might have other reporting requirements, definitions of “cash” or “related transactions,” or limits on the amount of money that can be taken out of the country at one time, so using Bitcoins as a means of money transfer is likely to incur more legal research costs for large entities or entities making large payments. [READ MORE]
U.S. District Court for District of Columbia Dismisses Legal Challenge to 2016 STEM OPT Rule
April, 19, 2019 The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a legal challenge to the 2016 STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) rule, finding that although the plaintiffs had standing to challenge the rule, they failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Because of this decision, there is currently no live legal challenge to the STEM OPT rule. There is no indication yet as to whether this decision will be appealed. (Wash. Alliance of Tech. Workers v. DHS, 4/20/17)
Earlier on May 13, 2016 the D.C. Circuit Court had dismissed the appeal of the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech) and vacated the judgment of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, holding that WashTech’s challenges to DHS’s 2008 STEM OPT interim final rule—including the argument that the 2008 rule reopened the 1992 rule—are moot, because the 2008 rule is no longer in effect. DHS’s new final rule that allows certain F-1 STEM students who have elected to pursue 12 months of optional practical training (OPT) in the United States to extend the OPT period by 24 months took effect on May 10, 2016.
Blanket L Admission Procedures
The blanket L process can be a useful way for qualifying employers to sponsor intracompany transferees for work in the U.S. However, despite its utility, inconsistencies abound in the length of stay granted to blanket L beneficiaries at U.S. ports of entry. ‘
Specifically, inconsistencies can arise when the initial validity period of a blanket petition expires before the ending validity date of a beneficiary’s endorsed I-129S. 9 FAM 402.12- 16(A)(b) clarifies the appropriate admission practice in this scenario, stating that:
- “The beneficiary of a blanket petition may be admitted for up to three years even though the initial validity period of the blanket petition may expire before the end of the threeyear period.”
Notwithstanding the FAM’s confirmation that a blanket L beneficiary may be admitted beyond the ending validity date of the blanket petition, neither the FAM nor the immigration regulations provide clear guidance on determining a blanket L beneficiary’s maximum permitted stay in the U.S., resulting in unpredictable authorized admission periods.
To provide some clarity on the issue, the Department of State Visa Office (VO) confirmed its blanket L admission policy to AILA in a liaison meeting on October 8, 2015 (AILA Doc. No. 15103066). Specifically the VO confirmed that the validity dates on an endorsed I- 129S define a blanket L beneficiary’s authorized period of admission, in contrast to prior CBP guidance confirming that a blanket L beneficiary is entitled to a uniform three-year admission period.
Although it has not released any public guidance, it appears CBP has abandoned its former uniform three year blanket L admission policy, and adopted a new policy in line with the VO. However, until CBP officers are fully apprised of current admission policy, inconsistent admission periods will remain prevalent. In cases where a blanket L beneficiary’s admission is mistakenly cut short, he/she should contact the local deferred inspection office to request correction of his/her I-94; the blanket L beneficiary should be prepared to present his/her passport, I-94, endorsed I-129S, and blanket L approval notice in order to be granted an updated admission period.
ADHIKARI LAW suggests H-1B petitioners to keep in mind that USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions on April 1, 2017 for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 H-1B quota cases. If the petition is approved the H-1B beneficiary can start working on October 1, 2017 or earlier if he/she is eligible for H-1B cap-gap. It is very important to start the H-1B sponsorship process as soon as possible to make sure all the petitions are timely filed. FY 2018 H-1B Cap and Cap Amounts Last year, USCIS received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for FY 2017 in first week of April, 2016. After the numerical cap is reached, USCIS will reject petitions subject to the H-1B. The current annual cap on the H-1B category is 65,000, and out this up to 6,800 visas are set aside each fiscal year for the H-1B1 program under the U.S.-Chile and U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreements. Unused numbers in this pool are made available for H-1B specialty occupation workers for the next fiscal year. There is a high likelihood that the FY 2018 H-1B quota might be reached much earlier than last year. It should be noted that in the past the numerical quota was reached in a short period of time, sometimes within a week. Therefore, it is better to plan everything in advance so that all H-1B petition will be filed in a timely manner. Most importantly, USCIS will continue to accept H-1B petitions that are not subject to annual numerical limitations, (e.g. H-1B amended petitions, H-1B extensions for individuals who have already been counted against the cap within the last six years, etc.), DOD petitions and Chile/Singapore H-1B1 petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2018. Please note the following tips to ensure that your petition is filed timely: Read more
USCIS Publishes Interim Rule on T Nonimmigrant Status
DHS first published the T nonimmigrant status regulations in 2002 as an interim rule, which included eligibility criteria, the application process, evidentiary standards, and benefits associated with the T visa. Since then, the public has submitted comments on the regulations and Congress has enacted numerous pieces of related legislation. With the interim rule published today, DHS is responding to the comments on the 2002 rule, clarifying requirements using insight gained from operating the program for more than 14 years, and amending provisions as required by legislation.
The interim rule was published in the Federal Register and will become effective on January 18, 2017. The public has until February 17, 2017 to submit comments by following the directions in the Federal Register notice.
These amendments also require USCIS to amend Form I-914, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status and related forms. USCIS will accept older versions of Form I-914 for 60 days after the revised form is published.
The T visa was created for and provides immigration protection to victims of human trafficking, and allows eligible victims to remain in the United States to assist in an investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. For more information on T nonimmigrant status, visit the Victims of Human Trafficking: T Nonimmigrant Status page.
USCIS PUBLISHES FINAL RULE FOR CERTAIN EMPLOYMENT-BASED IMMIGRANT AND NONIMMIGRANT VISA PROGRAMS