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Government Agency Actions - USCIS, ICE, etc. Immigration Compliance US Immigration Policy

Changes to I-9 Rules

Lawsuits against the USCIS do work and spur change. As a result of a class action lawsuit filed by AILA member Rob Cohen, which challenged the post-approval delays in EAD issuance, USCIS will now allow people to show the I-797 approval notice as proof of authorization to work:
See this update on I-9 Central

The USCIS stated:

Due to the extraordinary and unprecedented COVID-19 public health emergency, the production of certain Employment Authorization Documents (Form I-766, EAD) is delayed.  As a result, employees may use Form I-797, Notice of Action, with a Notice date on or after December 1, 2019 through and including August 20, 2020 informing an applicant of approval of an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) as a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, List C #7 document that establishes employment authorization issued by the Department of Homeland Security pursuant to 8 C.F.R. 274a.2(b)(1)(v)(C)(7), even though the Notice states it is not evidence of employment authorization.  Employees may present their Form I-797 Notice of Action showing approval of their I-765 application as a list C document for Form I-9 compliance until December 1, 2020.

Categories
Government Agency Actions - USCIS, ICE, etc. Green Cards Visas - H-1b, L-1, E, O, TN

New I-765 Form

For all of our clients that file for your own EAD cards, please take note that the USCIS will be requiring a new form as of Aug 25th. More info. and a copy of the form can be found here.

Categories
Government Agency Actions - USCIS, ICE, etc. US Immigration Policy Visas - H-1b, L-1, E, O, TN

H-1b Visa Ban Update

Yesterday, the Department of State (DOS) enumerated 4 exceptions to the Visa Ban. You can find them here.

It is expected that the 3rd exception may have the widest application. It states ” Travel by applicants seeking to resume ongoing employment in the United States in the same position with the same employer and visa classification. Forcing employers to replace employees in this situation may cause financial hardship. Consular officers can refer to Part II, Question 2 of the approved Form I-129 to determine if the applicant is continuing in “previously approved employment without change with the same employer.”

You should note however, that it requires no change from the prior petition and many people have changes in extension petitions. Among the most common are WFH allowances, a change in DOL classification, a change in job title or a promotion, etc. Not all extensions will qualify. For those of you in India, it is being reported that the earliest they are scheduling appointments is Feb so this may be moot.

Categories
Government Agency Actions - USCIS, ICE, etc. Immigration Compliance US Immigration Policy Visas - H-1b, L-1, E, O, TN

DOL and USCIS Playing Nice

The DOL has recently announced that the USCIS has agreed to start sharing data with the DOL regarding potential LCA violations that are detected as part of a non-immigrant or immigrant petition filing. For example, if an H-1b worker is transferring her H-1b petition from Co. A to Co. B and the last pay-stubs presented are not current, there may be a failure to pay the required wage violation which the USCIS would refer to the DOL for potential investigation. For employers following the rules and paying all wages required and at the correct level, this is good news as increased enforcement may level the playing field from those cos. that are not in compliance.

Categories
US Immigration Policy Visas - H-1b, L-1, E, O, TN

Issues at the Border ?

One of our partners, Douglas Halpert and a senior associate, Christy Turovisky recently published a helpful article about issues that business travelers may encounter at the border. Check it out here. If you advise business travelers at your company, this will be worth the read.

Categories
Government Agency Actions - USCIS, ICE, etc. Green Cards US Immigration Policy Visas - H-1b, L-1, E, O, TN

Trump’s New Public Charge Rules Suspended

The USCIS has accepted the ruling from a U.S. Federal Court and has suspended the application of the new Public Charge rule issued in Jan of 2020. The public charge rules based upon prior statute and regulation remain in effect. As a practical matter, this means that certain questions on the I-129 and I-539 will no longer be relevant and need not be answered. It also means that the I-944 need not be included with the I-485. The USCIS has specifically stated the following about forms received: “In the interim, USCIS will not reject any Form I-485 on the basis of the inclusion or exclusion of Form I-944, nor Forms I-129 and I-539 based on whether Part 6, or Part 5, respectively, has been completed or left blank.”

Categories
Government Agency Actions - USCIS, ICE, etc. US Immigration Policy

USCIS Filing Fees Increase

In a long anticipated move, the USCIS announced today that it will have new filing fees as of Oct 2nd, 2020. Most filing fees increased with L petitions and naturalization applications being among the hardest hit with increases of 75% and 81% respectively. A few petitions will have their filing fees go down including the I-140. The new filing fee chart starts on pg 13 of the document linked above.

Categories
Government Agency Actions - USCIS, ICE, etc. Green Cards

New PERM Form

Last week the DOL published notice in the Federal Register of its intention to change the ETA 9089 form which is used for PERM filings. A copy of the form can be accessed here by going to its July 20th announcement and it has links included for the proposed form along with all attachments. There is a 60 day comment period ending on Sept 18, 2020 and our firm will be submitting comments on behalf of our clients.

Categories
Government Agency Actions - USCIS, ICE, etc. Green Cards US Immigration Policy Visas - H-1b, L-1, E, O, TN

Consular Services Re-opening

Recently, the Department of State (DOS) announced that visa services at U.S. Consular Posts will resume operations as local conditions warrant. This is an ever changing situation and we encourage you to contact your HNM attorney before seeking any service at a US Consulate.

Categories
Green Cards

August Visa Bulletin

The Department of State (DOS) has released the August Visa Bulletin and we saw significant forward movement in several categories. For example, India EB1 moved forward 8 mos; China EB1 moved forward 6 mos; and, EB3 all other countries and the Philippines both moved forward almost a full year. The USCIS has announced that they will use the Final Action Date chart for filing I-485’s in Aug. We typically experience retrogression at the end of the fiscal year so do not assume that your date will remain current in Sept but, we encourage you to file your I-485 in August if you are eligible.