USCIS Returns Unselected Fiscal Year 2018 H-1B Cap Subject Petitions.

USCIS announced on July 19, that it has returned all fiscal year 2018 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected in our computer-generated random selection process.  USCIS previously announced on May 3, that it completed data entry of all selected cap-subject petitions. 

If you submitted an H-1B cap-subject petition between April 3 and April 7, 2017 and have not received a receipt notice or a returned petition by July 31, you may contact USCIS for assistance.

Florida May Drop Ties to Businesses Linked to Venezuela.

Amid an escalating political crisis in Venezuela, Florida may sever its connections to businesses that support the South American country’s government. Florida Governor, Rick Scott, announced he will continue on with a proposal that targets businesses helping the regime of President N. Maduro; such proposal could result in the State ceasing its business with companies tied to Venezuela. Florida already has current laws in place that prohibit the state from investing in companies that do business in Cuba, Iran, and Sudan.

USCIS to Resume H-1B Premium Processing for Physicians Under the Conrad 30 Waiver Program.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that starting Monday, June 26, the agency will resume premium processing for all H-1B petitions filed for medical doctors under the Conrad 30 Waiver program, as well as interested government agency waivers. The Conrad 30 program allows certain medical doctors to stay in the United States on a temporary visa after completing their medical training to work in rural and urban areas that have shortage of physicians.

Starting June 26, eligible petitioners for medical doctors seeking H-1B status under the Conrad 30 program, or through an interested government agency waiver, can file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Form I-907 can be filed together with an H-1B petition or separately for a pending H-1B petition.   

USCIS plans to resume premium processing of other H-1B petitions as workloads permit. USCIS will make additional announcements with specific details related to when they will begin accepting premium processing for those petitions.   

Until then, premium processing remains temporarily suspended for all other H-1B petitions. USCIS will reject any Form I-907 filed for those petitions, and if the petitioner submitted one check combining the Form I-907 and Form I‑129 fees, USCIS will have to reject both forms.

New Zealand to Implement New Legislation starting July 1, 207.

Starting July 1, 2017 New Zealand will implement AEOI standards as part of the second wave of member countries who have committed to the automatic exchange of information.

Summary of Amendments:

·         The New Zealand reporting period for Common Reporting Standard purposes will align with the New Zealand tax year (that is, the period ending March 31st).

·         The annual reporting deadline for financial institutions for each reporting period will be the following June 30.

·         Starting July 1, 2017, financial institutions will be required to apply the new specified due diligence procedures for all new accounts, and begin due diligence reviews of all pre-existing accounts. The due diligence for pre-existing individual accounts that are high value accounts (generally, accounts with an account balance exceeding US$1 million) is to be completed by June 30, 2018, taking into account the following:

·         The period between April 1, 2018 and June 30, 2018 is effectively a three-month grace period.

·         Given the July 1, 2017 start date, the grace period will effectively allow financial institutions 12 months to complete their due diligence reviews of high value accounts.

·         Importantly, any high value accounts identified as reportable during the grace period must be reported with respect to the reporting period of July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018.

·         The due diligence and reporting must also both be completed by the June 30, 2018 deadline.

·         New Legislation will also require foreign trusts to disclose more information to tax authorities, and will require mandatory registration with the Inland Revenue. Such information to be provided at registration will result in substantial disclosures of information pertaining to the foreign trust.


Supreme Court Lifts Most of Injunction that Blocked President Trump's Travel Ban.

The Supreme Court is letting the Trump administration enforce its 90-day ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries, overturning lower court orders that blocked the ban.

The action isn't expected to set off the kind of chaos seen around the world when Trump signed the first travel ban into effect on Jan. 27. That's partly because travelers with a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States" will be allowed in.

The revised travel ban, with the court's limitations, can go into effect this week, based on a memorandum recently signed by the president. It allows travelers with green cards and visas to continue entering the U.S., but still forbids all refugees. That means some refugees may get stuck, but nowhere near the number of people ensnared by the first ban.

The revised travel ban, issued in March, blocks most new immigrants from six predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days. As a result of the high court's action, the ban can be implemented along with a long-delayed review of vetting procedures used to screen foreigners trying to enter the United States.

Bahamas to Sign OECD Anti-Tax Avoidance Convention.

The Bahamas Government declared it will sign up to the OECD's Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters; joining the 111 jurisdictions currently participating in the Convention.

The Convention provides for all possible forms of administrative co-operation between states in the assessment and collection of taxes; with a view to combating tax avoidance and evasion. This co-operation ranges from the exchange of information, including automatic exchanges, to the recovery of foreign tax claims.

According to the OECD, the Convention is seen as being the ideal instrument for the swift and effective implementation of the Common Reporting Standard for the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters developed by the OECD and G20 countries, as well as for the automatic exchange of country-by-country reports under the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project.

USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2018 H-1B Cap Subject Petitions.

USCIS announced on May 3, 2017, that it has completed data entry of all fiscal year 2018 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected by the computer-generated random process. USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected. Due to the high volume of filings, USCIS is unable to provide a definite time frame for returning these petitions. USCIS asks petitioners not to inquire about the status of submitted cap-subject petitions until they receive a receipt notice, or an unselected petition is returned. USCIS will issue an announcement once all the unselected petitions have been returned.

Additionally, USCIS is transferring some Form I-129 H-1B cap subject petitions from the Vermont Service Center to the California Service Center to balance the distribution of cap cases. If your case is transferred, you will receive notification in the mail. After receiving the notification, please send all future correspondence to the center processing your petition.

As previously announced on March 3, USCIS has temporarily suspended premium processing for all H-1B petitions, including cap-subject petitions, for up to six months. While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Services for a Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker, which requests the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. While premium processing is suspended, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 filed with an H-1B petition.

FinCEN Renews Surveillance of Luxury Property Buyers.

The U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has renewed the six (6) so called 'temporary geographic targeting orders' that requires US title insurance companies to name the natural persons behind shell companies used to buy luxury residential property for cash in major metropolitan areas. FinCEN states that 30% of transactions covered by the orders - in Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Antonio, San Diego, and San Francisco - involve a beneficial owner or purchaser representative that is also the subject of previous suspicious activity report.

IRS Replaces Audits With Mass Mailings.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is reducing the number of taxpayer audits it conducts, now restricting them to large companies and the ultra-wealthy. It is instead sending out computer-generated "mass notices" to taxpayers requesting detailed information on specific issues, such as charitable contributions, mortgage interest deductions, college savings plans and so called "hobby losses".