• VisasFive European countries face removal from Visa Waiver program

    DHS has told five countries – France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Greece – that they have until Monday, 1 February, to fix a security flaw – DHS described it as a “crucial loopholes”— in their passport stems. If they fail to do so, they will be removed from the Visa Waiver program. The move will affect millions of European citizens.

  • Visas1 percent of visitors to U.S. over-stayed past 2015 exit dates

    DHS said that about 1 percent of visitors who arrived in the country by air or sea remained in the country last year after they were supposed to leave. DHS release data on Tuesday which show that about 45 million of those visitors were due to leave at some point in the year ending 30 September, and that DHS could confirm that all but 416,500 had exited the country. Another 66,500 people stayed past their leave date, but later left the United States.

  • DHSNew regulations improve opportunities for certain highly skilled workers

    DHSU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Friday announced changes to the programs serving the H-1B1, E-3, and CW-1 nonimmigrant classifications, and the EB-1 immigrant classification. The purpose of the changes was to remove the obstacles and disadvantages workers in these categories faced compared to workers in other visa classifications.

  • VisasSan Bernardino mosque may be reason for barring British Muslim family from entering U.S.

    Muhammad Mahmood, 47, who is a U.S. citizen and who a runs a car repair shop in San Bernardino, California, speculated that the reason his two brothers, their wives, and their children — all of them British citizens – have been barred from entering the United States to visit Disneyland was that he prays at the same mosque where one of the San Bernardino shooters, Syed Farook, used to pray.

  • VisasSince 2001, U.S. has revoked 9,500 visas over terrorism threat

    Since 2001, the U.S. government has revoked more than 122,000 visas – of which some 9,500 were revoked because of the threat of terrorism. The information was revealed by Michele Thoren Bond, assistant secretary for the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the Department of State. When Bond was asked about the whereabouts of the thousands of foreigners whose visa had been revoked, she admitted she did not know. Members of a House panel before which Bond was testifying pressed her on why public social media postings should not be routinely examined as part of the vetting process for those attempting to enter the United States.

  • Social mediaU.S. officials barred from reviewing social media postings of visa applicants

    Officials from DHS and the Department of State, as a general policy, do not check social media postings of applicants out of civil liberties concerns. With this policy in place, the department’s officials who handled Tashfeen Malik’s application could not have seen her pro-ISIS postings and note her growing radicalization. Officials from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) pressed for a change in DHS policy in light of the fact that social media  is increasingly used by followers of jihadist groups to declare their allegiance, but the disclosures by Edward Snowden about NSA surveillance programs was behind the reluctance of DHS high officials to change the policy for fears such a change would further damage the administration’s standing with civil rights groups and European allies.

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  • Visa WaiverGOP lawmakers draft bill to bolster Visa Waiver security

    About twenty million people use the Visa Waiver program to come to the United States every year. A bill being considered in the House would block anyone who has traveled to Syria, Iraq or a few other nations in the past five years from participating in the Visa Waiver program. It would also require the United States to collect more information about those who avail themselves of the program, codifying a policy already in place.

  • Visa WaiverU.S. modifies Visa-Waiver program to make it more secure

    The United States announced Monday that it would make changes to the Visa Waiver program in an effort to prevent terrorists who are citizens of Visa Waiver countries from easily entering the United States. The New York Times reports that the White House has admitted that the changes — which would impose higher fines for airlines which fail to verify passengers’ identities and increased information-sharing among countries — are limited, and that more sweeping changes would require Congressional action. Law enforcement and security experts say that the Visa Waiver program — which allows more than twenty million foreigners form the thirty-eight Visa Waiver countries to travel to the United States each year without being interviewed at American consulates and embassies — dwarfs the administration’s Syrian refugee plan, and poses a far greater threat to national security.

  • Visa WaiverVisa Waiver program more serious threat than refugees: Senate Intel. Comm. chair

    Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said that terrorists who are citizens of Visa Waiver countries – and who, therefore, can travel from Europe to the United States without a visa — pose a more serious threat to U.S. security than refugees from Syria. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), vice-chairman of the intelligence committee, said that around 13 million people enter the United States each year through the Visa Waiver program, but she also understands that more than 40 million stolen travel documents are on the black market in Europe.

  • Foreign investor visaEB-5 foreign investor visa program susceptible to fraud, misuse: GAO

    The United States has launched dozens of investigations into fraudulent practices in a program, called EB-5, which grants Green Cards to foreigners who invest $500,000 in selected U.S. ventures. A GAO report notes that the program is vulnerable to fraud, because many of the applicants care less about the success of the venture in which they invest and more about getting the Green Card, and can easily afford to lose $500,000 in order to get the card.

  • Visa Waiver programU.S. tightens Visa Waiver Program security measures

    Citizens of the thirty-eight countries which are part of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program may travel to the United States without having to obtain an entry visa if they plan to stay in the United States for a period not exceeding ninety days, and if they meet the requirements. Last Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would tighten the security measures which are already part of the program, and add additional security measures to it.

  • Human smugglingSelling visas could help put an end to human smuggling trade

    Researchers say that using a new visa-selling economic model could help governments eradicate human smuggling. The policy involves pricing criminals out of the market while raising funds for improving traditional border controls. The researchers say existing schemes are not working and believe new policies are needed to control illegal migration and stop people paying criminals to smuggle them overseas.

  • H-1B visasTech companies push for more visas for highly skilled foreign workers

    Tech companies seeking more visas for highly skilled foreign workers are pushing their agenda as the United States grant visas to a number of immigrants in a lottery which began this week. Supporters of the campaign say 233,000 people are vying for 85,000 H-1B temporary visas. Some critics want to cut back on the H-1B visas, blaming the program for displacing American workers, butcalls to scale back on H-1B visas will have to overcome a campaign backed by powerful groups. In 1999, Congress raised the cap to 115,000 to help the booming technology sector. That limit soon rose to 195,000 before falling back to its current level in 2004.

  • Visa Waiver ProgramBill would expand Visa Waiver Program despite security concerns

    U.S. Representatives Joe Heck (R-Nevada) and Mike Quigley (D-Illinois) have re-introduced the Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, which aims to create American jobs by expanding the nation’s Visa Waiver Program(VWP) to more countries. Today, thirty-eight countries are included in the VWP, but with more than 3,000 European nationals flocking to Syria and Iraq to fight in the ranks of terror groups such as Islamic State (ISIS), expanding the VWP to more countries is a security concern.

  • VisasWith thousands of Westerners joining ISIS, visa waiver program puts U.S. at risk: Lawmakers

    Security concerns are threatening the 1986 visa waiver program (VWP), which allows millions of people with (mostly) Western passports to travel to the United States for ninety days without a visa. Lawmakers argue that the program, which applies to citizens of thirty-eight countries, has created a security weakness that terrorist groups, specifically the Islamic State (ISIS), could exploit. Thousands of European citizens have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS. Security officials fear that many of them could return back to Europe, then board a U.S.-bound flight with the intent of launching an attack on American soil.