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Green and Spiegel U.S. Blog

Mar 1, 2021

USCIS Extends Flexibilities to F-1 Students Filing for OPT

On February 26, 2021 USCIS announced flexibilities for certain F-1 students in the filing of Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (EAD) for Optional Practical Training (OPT). This is due to the substantial delays in issuing receipt notices at certain USCIS lockboxes where these applications are filed. These flexibilities only apply to I-765 forms received by USCIS on or after October 1, 2020 through May 1, 2021. Learn more in this blog.

Feb 25, 2021

Biden Administration Lifts Suspension of Immigrant Visa Issuance

On February 24, 2021, the Biden Administration issued a Presidential Proclamation that reversed President Trump’s EO that, for more than 10 months, has prevented many foreign nationals physically outside the United States from obtaining an Immigrant Visa which, upon issuance and admission to the United States, would automatically convert the individual to a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (“LPR”). Passed under the guise of protecting the U.S. workforce since LPRs are permitted to accept any and all forms of employment, in effect, the ban served to keep close family members of U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents, diversity visa lottery winners, key employees, and others from obtaining the Immigrant Visa that would permit them to assume LPR status. Learn more in this blog.

Feb 24, 2021

BREAKING NEWS: USCIS Extends Premium Processing for E-3 Australian Specialty Worker Petitions

On February 24, 2021, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that it would immediately provide the option of Premium Processing for petitioners filing Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, requesting a change or extension of status to E-3 classification, which applies only to Australian nationals coming to the U.S. to perform services in a specialty occupation. The USCIS premium processing service allows petitioners to pay an additional filing fee of $2500 to ensure a government response within fifteen days. Until now, this service was not available for the E-3 category. Learn more in this blog.

Feb 23, 2021

Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to “Public Charge Rule”

On February 22, 2021, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments and determine the legality of the Trump Administration’s immigration rule that bars individuals from receiving residency if they previously received public benefits. The rule is commonly referred to as the “public charge rule.” Legal challenges to the rule have wound their way through the federal court system and now the final decision about the validity of the public charge rule rests with the Supreme Court. Learn more in this blog.

Feb 19, 2021

Biden Administration Signals Broad Immigration Enforcement Changes

The Biden Administration has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to review and update policies related to enforcement guidelines. As an initial step, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has released new guidance on immigration enforcement and removal categories. The enforcement priorities are divided into three main categories. Learn more in this blog.

Feb 5, 2021

President Joe Biden Rolls Back Several Trump-Era Immigration Policies

President Joe Biden wasted no time when, on February 2nd, just two weeks after taking office, he followed through on some of his campaign promises through three executive orders aimed at dismantling the Trump administration’s ‘America First’ immigration agenda. The three orders bring the total number of executive orders on immigration to nine in just two weeks since he’s been in office. Learn more in this blog.

Jan 29, 2021

USCIS Extends Flexible Response Times for Certain Filings in Light of COVID-19 Pandemic

On March 30, 2020, in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that it was adopting measures to assist applicants and petitioners who are responding to certain Requests for Evidence (RFE) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID) and other filings. USCIS announced that these same flexibilities have been extended for an indeterminate period of time. Learn more in this blog.

Jan 28, 2021

USCIS Replaces Sticker that Extends Green Card Validity

USCIS recently announced that, starting this month, it will no longer issue stickers extending the validity of expired permanent resident cards to lawful permanent residents (“LPRs”). The agency has instead revised the Form I-90 receipt notice, which will be used with the expired card to demonstrate status for an additional twelve months from expiration. Learn more in this blog.

Jan 27, 2021

Update – All In-Bound Travelers to United States Must Have Negative COVID-19 Test

As of January 26, 2021, all passengers on international flights to the United States must show a negative viral test for COVID-19. Requirement applies to all passengers, even U.S. Citizens, and as of right now proof of vaccination is not a substitute. Viral test must be taken within 72 hours of travel. Post-arrival self-quarantine also suggested. No testing requirements required at this time for travelers entering the United States at land crossings or by sea.

Jan 26, 2021

Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Non-Immigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease

On January 25, 2020, the Biden Administration extended the travel restrictions for Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Schengen Area, and Brazil and added travel restrictions for South Africa. Travel restrictions for South Africa go into effect on January 30, 2021 and the others are an extension of existing travel restrictions. The travel restrictions do not apply to a number of categories of Noncitizens and provide a waiver for the national interest. The policy does not contain procedures necessary to request national interest exceptions, likely leaving in place the procedures presently employed.

Jan 22, 2021

Biden Administration Changes to International Travel Policy Leaves People Wondering If the Travel Restrictions Will Remain

U.S. travel restrictions will be lifted unless the Biden Administration steps in. The White House says it will not lift the travel restrictions. COVID-19 testing and quarantine / isolation are not required for international travel. Learn more in this blog.

Jan 21, 2021

Biden Issues 100-Day Moratorium on Deportations

President Biden announced a 100-day moratorium on deportations to allow his Administration time to review relevant priorities for deportation within the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”). The order stops all deportations for those foreign nationals physically present in the United States prior to November 1, 2020. There several notable exceptions for those who voluntarily choose to accept removal and those who present a national security threat. Learn more in this blog.

Jan 20, 2021

THE TRAVELER TWO-STEP: Forecasting Travel Restriction Changes Under the Biden Administration

U.S. travel restrictions affect those who have been in China, Iran, the U.K., Ireland, Brazil, and Schengen Area countries at any time during the fourteen days prior to seeking entry. There are waivers of the travel restrictions and they are likely to remain in place for some time. The Biden Administration will likely replace the executive orders underpinning the travel restrictions and embrace new policies and procedures without lifting them altogether. Learn more in this blog.

Jan 20, 2021

Trump Administration’s Last Immigration Actions – Lifting Travel Restrictions and Expanding the Definition of H-1B Employers

Restrictions on travelers from Schengen Area countries, the UK/Ireland, and Brazil, set to expire on January 26, 2021, though Biden expected to reinstate. Elevated standard for H-1B employer-employee relationship may be sidelined as a “midnight regulation” and would be subject to legal challenges, though may have slightly stronger chance of surviving in some form. Learn more in this blog.

Jan 20, 2021

Executive Order Deferring Removal of Venezuelan Nationals

Donald Trump, in one of his final acts as President, issued an executive order yesterday deferring removal of Venezuelan nationals from the United States for eighteen months beginning January 20, 2021. Learn more in this blog.

Jan 20, 2021

Biden-Harris to Propose Immediate Residency to DACA Recipients and Eight Year Path to Residency for Other Immigrants

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are poised to present a comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform package to Congress for passage on the first day of their historic Administration. The comprehensive plan to grant status to over ten million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States will be the most anticipated legislative reform package in years. Learn more in this blog.

Jan 15, 2021

Trump Tries Again to Raise Prevailing Wages, Success not Expected

In the last full week of the Trump administration, the DOL has once more issued a prevailing wage rule that lifts wages for H-1B, E-3, and H-1B1 nonimmigrant cases and for the PERM labor certification program. The new final rule, which was published on January 14, and goes into effect sixty days later, contains significant prevailing wage increases for all wage levels, though the new minimums are not as high as initially sought by DOL. The rule also provides a multi-year transition period which is intended to give employers time to meet the wage increases and makes certain accommodations for H-1B workers who are pursuing employment-based permanent residence. Initial wage increases are set to begin on July 1, 2021.

Jan 8, 2021

Final Rule Signals Major Change in H-1B Selection Process

In November 2020, we reported on the Trump administration’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making, announcing a major change in the process for filing cap subject H-1B petitions. The new proposed selection process prioritizes registrations based on wage level, thus giving priority to those registrations by employers who are paying the highest prevailing wages. Following the mandatory notice and comment period, the government has announced that the final rule will go into effect, without modification, on Friday, January 8, 2021.

Jan 4, 2021

H-1B, L-1 Restrictions Extended through March 31, 2021

Late on December 31, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation continuing Proclamations 10014 and 10052, which suspended the entry of certain immigrants and nonimmigrants into the United States as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The proclamations have been continued until March 31, 2021. Learn more in this blog.

Dec 29, 2020

Employers Can Verify Form I-9 Identity and Work Authorization Remotely Through January 31, 2021

Whether the flexibilities are again extended or sunset on January 31, 2021 depends on a number of factors such as the impact on resurgent COVID-19 infection rates and the transition to the next federal executive administration. It does provide remedies for fully remote working enterprises and it may provide remedies for companies which are hybrid, companies which have some positions fully remote and others in-house. Such analyses are fact-dependent and we’re happy to help companies develop effective processes which meet management goals and necessities.