The United States Departments of Homeland Security, Labor, and State have released new regulatory agendas which include priorities and rulemaking timelines for each agency. All the agendas have been published in the Federal Register, except the State Department’s, which may soon be published in the Federal Register but is currently available on the Federal Office of Management and Budget’s website.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has extended its flexibility for students requesting Optional Practical Training (OPT) to accommodate for delays in the application process. The flexible policy originally applied to Forms I-765, Application for Employment Authorization filed through May 1, 2021, and has been extended to applications filed through October 31, 2021. The extension comes in response to growing delays in issuing receipt notices leading to shortened or lost OPT periods and rejections.
On July 28, 2021, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducted a second round H-1B lottery selection process for fiscal year (FY) 2022. The agency did not receive enough H-1B petitions during the initial filing period to meet the annual quota of 85,000 H-1B visas for FY 2022. Employers will have between August 2, 2021 and November 3, 2021 to file petitions for recently selected H-1B beneficiaries.
United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will extend border restrictions which block all nonessential land and ferry travel across the United States borders with Mexico and Canada through February 21, 2021. Air travel is not affected by the restriction. Essential travel is permitted, and includes things like travel for work, school, medical treatment, and more. These restrictions have been renewed multiple times since being enacted on March 21, 2020 to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
After a Texas federal judge suspended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on Friday, July 16, 2021, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has confirmed that it will continue to process DACA renewal applications, employment authorization, and advance parole requests for current DACA grantees.
On Friday, July 16, 2021, Texas federal judge Andrew Hanen ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is illegal and should be suspended. The program has survived other legal challenges, including President Trump’s attempts to shut it down. The ruling will only affect future DACA applicants and potential recipients.
The August 2021 Visa Bulletin has been released by the State Department. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) also announced that for employment-based categories, it will use the Final Action Dates chart to accept applications for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident.