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Green and Spiegel U.S. 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.

Dec 22, 2020

State Department Reverts to Phase 1 COVID-19 Guidelines as Cases Surge

The U.S. State Department announced on Monday, December 21, that it was reverting back to Phase 1 Covid-19 guidelines for the National Capital Region, which include limiting travel to mission critical trips and putting restrictions on the size of gatherings, according to a department-wide memo from Brian Bulatao, Under Secretary for Management. The plan is to return from Phase 2 guidelines to the more restrictive Phase 1 for almost a month. Learn more in this blog.

Dec 16, 2020

Holiday International Travel Update

With limited international flights and country-specific restrictions, leaving the United States may present issues up front. Ongoing travel restrictions, consular closings, visa suspensions, and other issues may hinder readmission to the United States. In particular, direct travel from mainland Europe, the UK/Ireland, Brazil, Iran, and mainland China to the United States remains very limited, and may require an exception. Certain H, L, and J Visas remain unavailable through the end of the year, and routine visa services continue to be sporadic and subject to cancellation. These restrictions may change in the coming weeks depending on COVID-19 developments in the United States and around the world.

Dec 10, 2020

Biden Administration: Expansion to the Ability of Physicians and Nurses to Obtain Permanent Residence and Reduction of H-1B Restrictions

Medical associations and hospitals are joining forces with immigration groups to advocate for legislation that will address the healthcare worker shortage by allowing unused immigrant visas to be allocated to highly skilled foreign workers: doctors and professional nurses. However, in order for this bill to pass a bipartisan solution must be reached.

Dec 9, 2020

Juez federal ordena al USCIS que acepte nuevas solicitudes de DACA

Un juez federal de Nueva York ordenó a la Administración Trump que comience a aceptar nuevas solicitudes de DACA (Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia) de inmediato. Green & Spiegel ofrece evaluaciones gratuitas de DACA, en inglés y español, para las personas que creen que pueden calificar para el programa. Comuníquese con Green & Spiegel al (215) 395-8959 hoy.

Dec 9, 2020

Federal Judge Orders DHS to Accept New DACA Applications

A federal judge in New York has ordered the Trump Administration to begin accepting new DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) applications beginning immediately. As a result of the ruling, the Department of Homeland Security has posted policy guidelines acknowledging that they intend to accept new applications for qualified applicants and extend one-year work authorization cards to two years for existing recipients. Learn more in this blog.

Dec 2, 2020

Two Immigration Regulations Set Aside in Federal Court

A federal district court in California has set aside two new immigration regulations that were promulgated on a fast track by the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Homeland Security (DHS) in early October. The court found that the agencies did not have good cause to bypass notice and comment rulemaking procedures in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. Learn more in this blog.

Nov 20, 2020

I-9 vs. E-Verify: What’s the Difference?

Confused about when to use E-Verify, whether an I-9 needs updating, or how to make sure you’re in compliance when rehiring a former employee? Unsure if your business should opt-in to E-Verify? This blog post should help to clear things up, by explaining the differences, similarities, requirements and appropriate uses for each system.

Nov 19, 2020

Until the End of the Year, Employers Can Verify Form I-9 Identity and Work Authorization Remotely

The federal government has created “flexibility” protocols, designed to accomplish the Form I-9 goals remotely. It has extended the period companies can use those protocols until December 31, 2020. Learn more in this blog.

Nov 18, 2020

New Administration Proposes Ambitious Immigration Reforms

The incoming Biden Administration has set forth an ambitious plan to reform the nation’s immigration system. His proposals, if successfully enacted, will dramatically expand programs to benefit immigrants, increase nonimmigrant visas, strengthen asylum protections, boost operational efficiency, and hopefully ease backlogs that have stymied the U.S. immigration system for years. Learn more in this blog.

Oct 30, 2020

Trump Administration Proposes Major Change in H-1B Selection Process

The Trump Administration has announced a major change in the process for filing cap subject H-1B petitions. The proposed rule would replace the current random selection process by which USCIS selects H-1B registrations for filing of H-1B Cap-subject petitions with a system that prioritizes the selection of H-1B registrations by first selecting registrations based on the highest Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) prevailing wage level that the proffered wage equals or exceeds for the relevant Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code and area(s) of intended employment. Learn more in this blog.

Oct 30, 2020

November 2020 Visa Bulletin: Business as Usual

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released the November 2020 Visa Bulletin. There is some movement in the final action (FA) chart, but the dates for filing (DF) chart remains nearly unchanged. Moreover, in a significant move, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will honor the State Department’s Dates for Filing chart for adjustment of status filings in November. To be eligible to file an employment-based adjustment application in November, employer-sponsored foreign nationals must have a priority date that is earlier than the date listed for their preference category and country of birth.

Oct 19, 2020

USCIS Announces Increased Premium Processing Fees Effective October 19, 2020

Starting October 19, 2020, the fee for Premium Processing, will be $2,500 (previously $1,440) for all filings except those requesting H-2B (non-agricultural seasonal worker) or R-1 (Religious Worker) status, for which the new fee is $1,500 (previously $1,440).Any filings post-marked on or after October 19th must include the new fee amount. Any Form-1-907 postmarked on or after October 19th with the incorrect fee amount will be rejected and the fee returned.

Oct 13, 2020

US and European Partners are Moving Towards Reopening Transatlantic Travel by Adopting New Pandemic Protocols

KEY POINTS: • Foreign nationals who wish to travel to the United States from Europe either must fit into one of the travel restriction exceptions or obtain advance permission to board a plane to the U.S. • In the alternative, they may travel to a third country and quarantine there for two weeks prior to coming to the United States. • The U.S. and overseas partners are anxious to relax those restrictions. Advanced COVID-19 airport testing may provide a solution. • We expect some testing of these technologies followed by the announcement of new travel protocols in time for the winter holidays.