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While immigration debates, policies and rules make the news seemingly every day, very few new laws or regulations have actually been implemented for employment-based immigration. Behind the scenes, however, strict new interpretations of existing laws and under-the-radar changes in enforcement have significantly impacted the ability of companies to transfer, hire and keep foreign employees in the United States. Several key changes have been buried in seemingly innocuous policy memorandums and government websites. The impact on companies can be both real and urgent.

While these changes have occurred in different areas, there is one central theme: there is little to no margin for error on the part of employers or employees. Click here to view the four tips employers should consider in this ever-changing environment where compliance is paramount.

Following the Senate’s historic vote in favor of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, the Federal Government announced on June 20, 2018 that recreational marijuana will become legal on October 17, 2018. In anticipation of Bill C-45 becoming law, the provinces have begun preparing a framework for regulating the production, distribution, sale, possession and consumption of cannabis. Ontario’s response is Bill 174. With legalization fast approaching, we outline below key aspects of Bill 174 and steps to help employers prepare for the new reality.

Click here for more specifics on the bill and how employers should prepare.

(Huge thanks to our own Jordan Kirkness and Susan MacMillan for sharing this with us.)

On June 26, the Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s controversial Executive Order 9645, commonly referred to as the Travel Ban, in a 5-4 decision.

The Travel Ban restricts entry into the United States for citizens of seven countries: North Korea, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Iran and Venezuela. The table below describes the impact of the ban for citizens of each country:

Country Impact
Iran All entry prohibited except by persons holding nonimmigrant student (F and M) and exchange-visitor (J) visas.
Libya Prohibited from entering the US as immigrants or on a business/visitor (B1/B2) visa. No other restrictions are expressly stated.
North Korea All entry into the US prohibited.
Somalia Prohibited from obtaining immigrant visas; nonimmigrant visas may be subject to heightened scrutiny.
Syria All entry into the US prohibited.
Venezuela Government officials and their family members are restricted from entry on a business/visitor (B1/B2) visa. Other visa holders may be subject to verification of traveler information.
Yemen Prohibited from entering the US as immigrants or on a business/visitor (B1/B2) visa. No other restrictions are expressly stated.

Click here to learn more about exceptions to the ban, and next steps for employers.

(With thanks to Lois Rodriguez from our Madrid office for preparing this post in collaboration with Yana Komsitsky.)

Before conducting workplace surveillance, employers who want to monitor their workplaces, even if they suspect their employees of stealing or other nefarious activity, should heed the recent European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judgement in the case of Lopez Ribalda and others v. Spain.

In early January, the ECHR held in favor of five supermarket chain employees who had been dismissed after they were caught stealing on hidden cameras because the cameras had intruded on their right to respect for private and family life.

Continue Reading The European Court Of Human Rights Awards Damages To Five Employees Filmed Stealing From Their Employer

On December 22, 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law bringing significant changes to US tax law. One provision of the Act may further incentivize individuals to work as independent contractors instead of as traditional employees.

The new provision allows for independent contractors, and for service providers structured as a partnership or other flow-through entities, the potential to deduct up to 20% of their revenue from their taxable income. And while some companies might view the opportunity to re-classify individuals from employees to independent contractors as a “win–win” scenario, it could create substantial legal exposure for employers.

Continue Reading New Tax Law Could Incentivize Employees To Become Independent Contractors – Employers Should Proceed With Caution

Seraphim Ma, a partner in Baker McKenzie’s Taiwan office, shares a broad overview of Taiwan’s new Act for Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals.

The Act provides a package of benefits designed to increase the desirability and convenience for foreign nationals to work in Taiwan. Currently, the Executive hopes to promulgate the Act by the end of February. While the Act is limited in applicability to specific fields, the passage of this legislation marks the start of an exciting era for Taiwan as it begins to compete for foreign talent.

Continue Reading Taiwan Passes Act To Encourage Employment Of Foreign Professionals

[As reported by our Baker McKenzie Compensation colleagues]

As of December 20, 2017, both the House of Representatives and the Senate have voted to approve the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in substantially the form released by the Conference Committee on December 15th. The bill is expected to be presented to the President for signature before Christmas, making US tax reform a reality for 2018.

What’s In? From a Compensation & Benefits perspective, among other things, the approved bill includes:

  • Significant changes to Code Section 162(m);
  • A new tax deferral regime for options and RSUs granted by private companies;
  • Elimination of exclusion for fewer than expected employer-provided fringe benefits; and
  • Increased disallowance of compensation-related deductions under Code Section 274.

What’s Out? Fortunately, the final bill does not include a Senate proposal to require the use of a first-in-first-out (FIFO) methodology when calculating capital gains on sale of shares, nor does it add back any of the changes to non-qualified deferred compensation that were proposed in the initial House version of the bill. Also, most of the changes proposed to qualified retirement plans have been eliminated.

Continue Reading Breaking News! Tax Cuts And Jobs Act Expected To Come Into Effect In 2018