US: Presidential Proclamation on the Travel Ban – Courts temporarily block implementation

Posted by Immigration Law Team|US Immigration
Oct 17

In brief

Federal courts issue temporary restraining order blocking travel ban which would have restricted individuals from certain countries from entering the U.S.


President Trump signed a Proclamation on 24 September 2017, imposing new indefinite travel restrictions on citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and North Korea.  The Proclamation also barred entry into the US by certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate families.  The travel restrictions were set to take effect in full on 18 October 2017.

On October 17, 2017, Federal District Courts in Hawaii and Maryland issued nationwide orders against enforcement of the Presidential Proclamation.  Both judges found that the challengers to the Proclamation were likely to win their claim that the restrictions exceeded the President’s power.

The travel restrictions on certain Venezuelan government officials and on nationals of North Korea remain in place.

To learn more about the Proclamation, please visit our prior alert.

Impact and Recommendations

Citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen can continue to apply for visas and apply for entry into the United States.  However, the Trump Administration is expected to appeal the District Court rulings which could lead to the restrictions being enforced.

Nationals of the countries listed still remain subject to higher scrutiny security checks under the Administration’s extreme vetting policies.

Caution is still advised to those from the affected countries, whether they are in the US and seek to travel internationally, or are currently outside the US and will be seeking re-entry.  US immigration counsel should be sought before any travel.

For further details, please contact a member of our team.

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US: USCIS has resumed Premium Processing for all H-1B petitions

Posted by Immigration Law Team|US Immigration
Oct 17

In Brief

As of October 3, 2017, USCIS has resumed premium processing for all H-1B petitions.


USCIS’ premium processing service guarantees a 15 calendar day processing time for certain petitions filed at a Service Center, including H-1Bs, L-1s, and certain I-140 petitions. In April, USCIS suspended premium processing for all H-1B petitions for up to a six month period. At the 2017 AILA Annual Conference, representatives of USCIS confirmed that the reason for the suspension of premium processing was to allow adjudicators to focus on adjudicating backlogged H-1B extension cases. With 69% of H-1B petitions being premium processed, and therefore moved to the front of the line, USCIS adjudicators did not have the ability to focus on, and adjudicate, backlogged cases. Although premium processing offers a significant source of revenue for USCIS, the agency made the decision to temporarily suspend the service and then reintroduce it in a phased approach, to avoid an insurmountable surge in caseload. As a result, in June, USCIS resumed H-1B premium processing under the Conrad 30 Waiver program and, in July, it resumed premium processing for certain cap-exempt H-1B petitions. In September, USCIS resumed premium processing for H-1B petitions subject to the annual cap. Finally, on October 3, USCIS announced that it resumed premium processing for all H-1B petitions, including H-1B extensions, amendments, and change of employer petitions.


Premium processing has been a very important part of the H-1B program and its resumption is significant for employers and employees alike. Below are some examples of how the ability to premium process cases is beneficial to both employers and employees:

–  Premium processing allows for employers to know which cap-subject beneficiaries are approved well in advance of the October 1 start date, thus assisting with workforce planning
–  Cap-subject H-1B workers can know whether they have approved H-1B employment in advance of the October 1 start date
–  Employers can know whether an H-1B change of employer case is approved before having to accrue onboarding costs
–  H-1B workers can move to a new employer with some certainty that their H-1B change of employer case has been approved
–  H-1B workers with expiring driver’s licenses can apply for driver’s license renewals from those states that make it difficult to obtain a driver’s license without an H-1B approval notice
–  H-1B workers who have international travel plans can obtain an H-1B approval prior to departing the US, thus facilitating H-1B visa processing and re-entry into the US

For more information on how the premium processing service may be utilized, please contact a member of our team at
PwC Law LLP.

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Canada: Changes to the Citizenship Act as a result of Bill C-6

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Oct 17

In brief:

On June 19, 2017, Bill C-6 received Royal Assent, resulting in a number of changes to the Citizenship Act. Several changes came into effect on June 19, 2017, with other changes coming into effect in fall 2017 and early 2018. Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, confirmed that certain key changes to the Citizenship Act will be coming into force as of October 11, 2017.


The citizenship changes which will come into force on October 11, 2017 include:

–  To be eligible for citizenship, applicants will be required to be physically present in Canada for 3 out of the 5 years preceding their application. Under the current regime, applicants must be physically present in Canada for 4 out of the 6 years preceding their citizenship application, including a minimum of 183 days in each of those 4 years.

–  Citizenship applicants will be permitted to count each day they were physically present in Canada as a temporary resident or protected person before becoming a permanent resident as a half-day towards meeting their physical presence requirement for citizenship, to a maximum credit of 365 days. Under the current regime, citizenship applicants may not count any time spent in Canada as a permanent resident or protected person towards the citizenship’s physical present eligibility requirements.

–  Applicants between the ages of 18 and 54 will be required to undergo language testing and write a citizenship examination. At present, applicants between the ages of 14 and 64 must meet language and knowledge requirements.

–  Applicants must provide Canadian tax returns for 3 out of the 5 years preceding their application, when they are required to file such tax returns by law. At present, applicants must submit tax returns for 4 out of the 6 years leading up to their citizenship application.

With this announcement, all of the proposed changes that were announced on June 19, 2017 will come into force as of October 11, 2017.

For a complete list of the changes that were introduced on June 19, 2017, please see PwC Law LLP’s client alert here:


The previous and anticipated changes to the Citizenship Act are expected to streamline the citizenship process by simplifying and relaxing the application requirements. These changes are necessary to support the implementation of amendments to the Citizenship Act made pursuant to the Bill C-6, which will facilitate access to citizenship for qualified applicants.

For more information about these changes or obtaining Canadian citizenship, please contact a member of our team at
PwC Law LLP.

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