As recently reported in our firm insight, on December 1, 2020, a federal judge struck down certain policies proposed by the Department of Labor (“DOL”) and Department of Homeland Security affecting the H-1B visa program, including changes to the H-1B visa program’s required wage system. In some instances, the new policies resulted in a more than 50% increase in the wages required for certain H-1B positions. In response to this court ruling, however, the DOL has issued a notice outlining its efforts and anticipated timelines to comply with the court’s order, including the DOL’s efforts to quickly make changes to the DOL’s Foreign Labor Application Gateway (“FLAG”) system to update the wages used by employers to sponsor an employee for an H-1B visa or to seek certain employment-based green card sponsorships.
The updates to the DOL’s FLAG portal will include a return to the prior wage methodology in effect on October 7, 2020. The DOL anticipates that by 8:30 a.m. (Eastern Time) on December 9, 2020, employers will be able to submit Labor Condition Applications using the (prior) wage data which was in effect on October 7, 2020. Similarly, the DOL anticipates that beginning around 8:30 a.m. (Eastern Time) on December 15, 2020, employers will be able to submit requests for prevailing wage determinations using the wage data in effect on October 7, 2020. The notice also advises that employers who received a prevailing wage determination based on the wage data that was in effect from October 8, 2020 to June 30, 2021 (i.e., the wage data that was struck down by the December 1, 2020 court ruling), may request a review of such prevailing wage determination on or before January 4, 2021.
The full DOL notice and schedule of anticipated changes can be found here. Our firm will continue to monitor and issue any necessary updates on these developments, including any efforts of the government to challenge or obtain a motion for stay against the courts’ December 1, 2020 rulings.
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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.