ADR for the International Business: Online Dispute Resolution Breaks Down Logistical Barriers

March 31, 2008

For business leaders, alternative dispute resolution rather than litigation has no doubt become the preferred process for handling problems, thanks to its efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and flexibility.

As businesses become more global, however, the traditional methods of face-to-face mediation, arbitration or other dispute resolution processes pose significant logistical barriers to parties separated by oceans or continents, calling into question traditional ADR’s value in these circumstances.

Read the rest of this article, which is the first of a five-part series co-authored by attorneys Vonda K. Vandaveer and Gini Nelson, being published on Gini Nelson’s Engaging Conflicts blog.


Round Up of Individual Woes Across the U.S.: How H-1B and H-2B Employment Visa Caps Are Hurting the Economy

March 29, 2008

Headlines across the country in recent weeks have been sharing a common theme describing the consequences to the American economy caused by the insufficient availability of H-1B professional work visas and H-2B seasonal work visas.

The technology and other industries say they are having to relocate high-paying jobs abroad because they cannot find qualified Americans to fill them in the United States, and they cannot bring in professionals from overseas because the H-1B visas, capped at 65,000, with an additional 20,000 for those with advanced degrees from the U.S., are too limited for the need.

Meanwhile, seasonal industries that support the U.S. economy, including fishing and tourism are simply closing down because the owners cannot find American workers and cannot obtain H-2B visas to bring in foreign workers because of a similar cap on availability. For example, on the Gulf Coast, the seafood companies could not find enough home-grown crab pickers, so they are now having to import crab meat from Latin America to meet local demand.

Read the rest of this entry »

Naturalization Interviews To Be Held Weekends, After Hours

March 21, 2008

If you receive your notice for a naturalization interview and it is schedule for the weekend or after hours, it was not a mistake.

USCIS said it is expanding its hours and staff to help respond to the deluge of naturalization applications received last year.

In pursuit of its processing time goals, USCIS will be interviewing applicants on Saturdays, Sundays and during the week after traditional work hours.

L-1 Visa Transfert Interne

March 19, 2008

Le visa non immigrant L est un visa qui permet aux employés d’entreprises multinationales d’être transférés à une filiale basée aux Etats-Unis et cela pour y travailler temporairement. Ce visa est destiné aux employés occupant des postes de gestionnaires ou d’administrateurs (L-1A) ou aux employés hautement qualifiés (L-1B). Le tributaire du visa L-1 est appelé «transfert interne».

Les rapports entre l’entreprise américaine et l’entreprise étrangère justifiant l’accès au visa L-1 :  Afin de bénéficier du visa L-1, l’éventuel employé doit avoir été employé à l’étranger avec une filiale, une maison mère, une succursale ou annexe de l’entreprise américaine faisant la requête. Le contrôle établi entre les deux entreprises constitue l’élément à la justification du rapport, signifiant que soit l’entreprise américaine ou l’entreprise étrangère exerce le contrôle sur l’autre. Une copropriété à 50/50 remplira les conditions d’admissibilités.

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Estimated Processing Times For Summer Surge Naturalization Applications Reduced to 14-16 Months

March 16, 2008

USCIS has reduced its processing time projections to 14-16 months for naturalization applications filed during the surge last summer, increasing the chance yours will be approved in time to vote in the November presidential election, according to a recent statement.

Processing times were originally estimated to be between 16-18 months.

USCIS reports that during FY 2007, it received approximately 1.4 million naturalization applications. In the months of June and July of 2007 alone, it experienced an increase of nearly 350 percent compared to the same period in 2006.

The summer surge is attributed to a desire to beat the fee increase and to stepped up campaigns promoting naturalization in anticipation of the upcoming presidential election.

Study Slams Mandatory E-Verify Program As Ineffective, Expensive, Intrusive

March 8, 2008

The CATO Institute has issued a report lambasting the concept of a federally-imposed electronic employment eligibility verification system as ineffective, expensive and intrusive.

The report is arriving as more and more states are joining Arizona in passing laws that require employers to use the federal government’s existing E-Verify program to confirm work authorization and as the federal government is threatening to make its use mandatory nationwide.

The report says this state and federal effort to require use of any such electronic employment eligibility verification (EEV) program is ill-conceived and ill-advised, promising to create more problems than it may potentially solve.

A mandatory national EEV system would have substantial costs yet still fail to prevent illegal immigration. It would deny a sizable percentage of law-abiding American citizens the ability to work legally.

The report predicts such a program will actually result in an increase in identity fraud, document fraud and abuse of desperate foreign nationals seeking a better life in the United States.

Such a system would make working in the United States more difficult, of course, but it would not eliminate the United States’ attraction to immigrants. Some potential illegal immigrants would change their plans, but others would respond quite differently. Some workers and employers would collude to avoid this immigration enforcement system. Work “under the table” would increase and, along with it, other forms of illegality.

The value of committing identity fraud would rise, and more illegal immigrants would commit this crime or deepen the minor frauds they are now involved in. Criminals and criminal rings would use the Social Security number (SSN) data from stolen laptops and hacked databases much more often in identity fraud as a robust black market for Americans’ personal information emerged.

The use of these data to fabricate mock identities would compound the problem for victims in a diabolical way. Seeking to prove their right to simple employment, American workers would have to appeal to bureaucrats who assume they are identity thieves.”

The CATO Institute says EEV constitutes one more excessive, Big Brother intrusion by the government into our privacy and an attack on our civil liberties.

Even if it were free, the country should reject a national ID system. It would cause law-abiding American citizens to lose more of their privacy as government records about them grew and were converted to untold new purposes. “Mission creep” all but guarantees that the federal government would use an EEV system to extend federal regulatory control over Americans’ lives even further.

But, the system is not free. CATO says that creating an accurate EEV system would require a national identification (ID) system costing the taxpayer about $20 billion to create and hundreds of millions more per year to operate.

This figure does not take into account the time that Americans and legal workers will waste gathering paperwork and standing in line at government offices waiting to correct errors.

The current E-Verify system has been maligned as error-prone. A human resources association reports that the social security database, which is the source used by E-Verify, has a 4.1 percent error rate. The group, Human Resource Initiative for a Legal Workforce further explains:

If all U.S. employers were to use the system, as many as six million U.S. citizens and legal residents could be denied employment due to bureaucratic error.  The error rate for legal foreign-born workers is estimated to be as high as 10 percent – opening the door to increased discrimination based on national origin.  

The federal government has said it will try and improve the system, according to this article in the Indianapolis Star.

Plan Ahead: Biometrics Now Required For Re-Entry Permits BEFORE Leaving the U.S.

March 7, 2008

Permanent residents who require a re-entry permit to return to the United States after traveling abroad for more than an year can no longer simply file and leave, according to a new USCIS requirement.

Now, they must wait for an appointment to provide fingerprints and photographs (i.e. biometrics) first.

The new policy also applies to refugees needing a Refugee Travel Document, but it does NOT apply to those seeking Advance Parole. The same Form I-131 is used for all three forms of permission to return.

This new requirement became effective March 5, 2007. After providing biometrics, the applicant may then travel and, just as before, and have the approval sent to the embassy for pick up overseas.

Although USCIS offers an expedite service, this new requirement promises to wreck further havoc on travel plans, given the frequent delays in processing applications.