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Green and Spiegel - An Immigration Law Firm - United States

Green and Spiegel U.S. Blog

Aug 19, 2020

State Department Waiver Guidance Further Opens the Door to the Return of Some of Our Foreign Workers

Foreign national employees of U.S. companies struggle to return to their employment because of Trump Administration travel restrictions. There are exemptions written into those restrictions but they have been difficult to access with closed consulates and embassies and a lack of guidance. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has begun issuing visas and consular services are becoming more available. August 12, 2020 guidance lays out approaches to getting exemptions to travel restrictions through U.S. consulates and embassies and may help people apply for exemptions through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Carefully framed requests for these exemptions is a remedy for some foreign workers seeking to work for U.S. employers.

Jul 24, 2020

USCIS Staves off the Axe... For Now

Patrick Leahy (U.S. Senator, VT) announced today that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is postponing a proposed furlough of employees through at least August 31, 2020 to provide Congress and the White House an opportunity to address its projected $571 million deficit. Learn more in this blog.

Jul 15, 2020

U.S. Consulates Begin Phased Resumption of Visa Services

Limited resumption on consulate-by-consulate basis, depending on local conditions. No timetable for universal reopening, resumption of normal workload, or availability of all services. Travel restrictions and visa suspensions still in place. Learn more in this blog.

Jul 8, 2020

M.I.T. and Harvard Sue the Trump Administration over Plan to Require In-Person Classes for International Students

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced plans to severely modify temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online courses during the fall semester forcing students enrolled in programs operating entirely online to depart the United States or transfer to another school in order to avoid deportation. Universities across the country were swift to criticize and decry this decision by the Trump administration; and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T) and Harvard have filed a lawsuit against them. Learn more in this blog.

Jul 7, 2020

SEVP Modifies Temporary Exemptions for International Students Taking Online Courses During the Fall 2020 Semester

On Monday, July 6th the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced that it has implemented modifications to temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online courses during the Fall 2020 semester. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a change in policy had permitted nonimmigrant students to take more online courses than usually permitted by Federal regulations to maintain their nonimmigrant status. Learn more in this blog.

Jul 7, 2020

Global Entry Enrollment Reopening Postponed Until at Least August 10, 2020

The Global Entry Program has been closed since March 19th due to COVID-19. Its reopening has been postponed until at least August 10th, 2020. Because of the continued closure applicants have 485 days from their conditional approval to complete the enrollment application. Those who scheduled interviews in July and early August must reschedule their appointments. The Enrollment on Arrival program remains operational. Residents of New York State are still ineligible for Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs.

May 30, 2020

UPDATE - U.S. Adds Brazil to Ongoing Travel Restrictions

Effective 11:59 PM March 26, 2020, recent visitors to Brazil will also be banned from traveling to the United States. U.S. Citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens/Lawful Permanent Residents, and NATO/UN/Diplomatic personnel amongst those who continue to be exempted. Travelers returning from restricted countries subjected to significant delays and uncertainty at designated airports as restrictions take effect.

May 14, 2020

USCIS Issues Temporary Policy Changes for Certain Foreign Medical Graduates Complying with J-1 Waiver Employment Obligation During the COVID-19 National Emergency

On May 11, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a Policy Memorandum introducing temporary policy changes regarding the full-time work requirement for H-1B foreign medical graduates who have received a J-1 waiver of the 2 year foreign residence requirement based on an Interested Government Agency (IGA) or through the Conrad State 30 Program. Learn more.

May 13, 2020

H-2B Nonimmigrants in the Country with Valid Status Are Allowed to Extend Their Stay Beyond Three Years During Pandemic

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is temporarily removing certain limitations on employers or U.S. agents seeking to hire certain H-2B workers already in the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the U.S. food supply chain, and for certain H-2B workers, who are essential to the U.S. food supply chain, seeking to extend their stay. Learn more in this blog.

May 12, 2020

Companies Can Use Some Expired Identity Documents in Completing Form I-9s

Last week (May 5, 2020) we wrote that executing a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) required a valid, current identity document. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has modified the policy to permit employers to accept validly issued but expired List B identity documents during the pandemic as long as they record a valid replacement document after the pandemic. Learn more in this blog.

May 12, 2020

The Quarantine Presents Restaurants with a Unique Opportunity to Clean Up Their Form I-9s

The quarantine is creating havoc in the restaurant industry. Many places temporarily closed, others went to curbside pickup or delivery, and some have thrown in the towel. Those which switched to takeout during the quarantine may be off more than fifty percent, while some businesses accustomed to delivery already have seen an uptick in business. However, this chaos presents an opportunity to get restaurant management in better order. Learn more in this blog.

May 8, 2020

Fines, Penalties, and Budget Woes

Agencies feel starved for resources in even the best of times. There is always more work to do than the resources allow for. However, when budgets get tight, agencies turn their attention to eking more value out of core income producing operations. Given how tight budgets will be for all levels of government, we are expecting to see heavier fines and penalties. Learn more in this blog.

May 5, 2020

Executing a Form I-9 Requires an Identity Document, Even in a Pandemic

The question presented: “How can we complete a Form I-9 on someone without identification during the pandemic.” I found no specific document on this point. The short answer is that we can’t. Learn more in this blog.

May 1, 2020

ALERT – USCIS Announces 60-Day Extension of Deadlines for RFEs and other Agency Requests

Quick Takeaways: -If RFE, NOID, NOIR, Denial, or other Agency request issued between March 1, 2020 and July 1, 2020, may submit up-to-60-days beyond stated deadline or decision date. -New notices will not be issued. Learn more in this blog.

Apr 24, 2020

UPDATE: USCIS Extends Suspension of Most In-Person Services through June 3, 2020

Appointments, Interviews, naturalization ceremonies, and other face-to-face interactions with the public are cancelled through June 3. USCIS will automatically reschedule and send out new notices to those affected. USCIS Service Centers remain operational. Learn more in this blog.

Apr 23, 2020

UPDATE - Executive Order to Prohibit Issuance of Certain Immigrant Visas for 60 Days

Effective 11:59 PM April 23, 2020 and for the next 60 days thereafter, some individuals outside the United States seeking an immigrant visa will be prohibited from processing that request. Suspension may be extended beyond 60 days, and measures to limit nonimmigrant visa processing may arrive next month. Learn more in this blog.

Apr 17, 2020

Monthly Update / Live Q&A: E3 Visa and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Amy from Aussie Recruit and Jonathan from Green and Spiegel are hosting a 30 minute update on impacts to Visas caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19). Learn more about this event and register here.

Apr 8, 2020

USCIS Answers Common Questions about Form I-9S and E-Verify During the Pandemic

USCIS has created a document called “Questions and Answers Related to Temporary Policies for Form I-9 and E-Verify” with policy responses to the coronavirus pandemic. To assist employers during the pandemic, we have restated the most common occurrences here.

Apr 6, 2020

Department of State Issues Automatic Two-Month Extension to Most J-1 Visa Programs

In light of international travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 situation, the United States Department of State (DOS) has granted an automatic two (2) month extension to J-1 Exchange Visitors under the Au Pair, Intern, Trainee, Scholar, and Specialist categories. Any J-1 program that had an expiration date between April 1 and May 31, 2020 will be granted a two-month extension in order to provide exchange visitors the opportunity to complete their programs and to continue to finalize travel plans to return home. Learn more in this blog.

Apr 3, 2020

OFLC Announces Electronic Issuance of PERM Labor Certification Documents and Releases FAQs on Impacts of COVID-19

The Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) remains fully operational amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to process and issue prevailing wage determinations and labor certifications that meet all statutory and regulatory requirements. Learn more in this blog.