by Kristine Nazir
On December 1, 2020, a federal judge struck down the policies proposed by the Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security regarding H-1B visa holders, finding the policies were created in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”). The first policy, unveiled by the Department of Labor on October 6, 2020, proposed to increase wages for foreign workers based on surveys of salaries in each profession. The second policy, published by the Department of Homeland Security on October 8, 2020, proposed several new measures focused on tightening the regulatory definition of a “specialty occupation” and limiting placements at third-party worksites. Although the agencies argued their policies were justly created under the APA’s “good cause exception” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding unemployment, the Court found this argument unconvincing and pointed out that the agencies waited six months to take action and its factual basis for use of the exception was sparse.
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Immigration – The Firm represents businesses, institutions of higher learning, and individuals with respect to immigration-related matters, including obtaining visitor visas, temporary and permanent work visas, consular processing of visas, obtaining citizenship, advising employers on employment sanctions issues, and defending employers faced with INS I-9 audits and investigations.
Kristine Nazir represents corporations and institutions of higher education with their immigration needs, including obtaining temporary and permanent visas, handling employer sanctions issues, I-9 and E-Verify employment eligibility verification compliance, consular processing, and naturalization. Prior to joining the firm, Kristine clerked for the Honorable Jeffrey M. Geller at the Baltimore City Circuit Court and for the Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review at the Arlington Immigration Court. During law school, Kristine interned with the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of the Principal Legal Advisor and National Security Law Section; the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; and Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen, & Loewy LLP. Before attending law school, Kristine also served in Peace Corps Mongolia as a community economic development volunteer.
Diane Metzger practices in the areas of immigration law and employment law. From large multi-national employers to small employers who have no prior experience with our nations’ complex immigration laws, Ms. Metzger represents and provides counsel to clients with a wide range of business immigration needs, including but not limited to obtaining non-immigrant visas (e.g. H-1B, L-1, TN, E, O); applying for permanent residency (e.g., PERM, Schedule A, EB-1); navigating the naturalization process; consular processing and other applications made directly with the U.S. Department of State; out-bound immigration matters when U.S. employees are transferred abroad; and family-based immigration through U.S. citizen relatives.
Ms. Metzger also assists corporate clients with preventive advice and counsel, including advice on immigration-related corporate reorganization issues and corporate compliance & due-diligence matters including, I-9s, E-Verify, and immigration-related audits. Ms. Metzger regularly provides training to her clients.
Melanie Gurley Keeney practices in the areas of employment, immigration and education law. Melanie has been included in Best Lawyers in America® for 25 years, and has been recognized in all areas of her practice. She also has been named to Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers® lists for over 10 years, and has been rated one of the top 50 female lawyers in Missouri and Kansas. She was named a “Top Missouri Lawyer” by St. Louis Magazine and Kansas City Magazine for Immigration Law. Melanie has been distinguished as Best Lawyers® St. Louis Immigration Law Lawyer of the Year in 2019, 2015, and 2012, and St. Louis Education Law Lawyer of the year in 2017. In 2016, Missouri Lawyers Weekly presented Melanie with the Women’s Justice Litigation Practitioner Award and in 2014, Washington University School of Law honored Melanie with the International Women’s Day Award for Employment Law. She has served as an adjunct professor at Washington University and is a frequent presenter on legal topics. Melanie is a founding Shareholder of the Firm and currently serves as the Chairperson of the Firm.