Effective March 20, 2020, Premium Processing has been suspended for ALL types of Form I-129 petitions (H/L/O/R/TN etc.) and I-140 petitions, including H-1B cap petitions. This is a very important development affecting petitioners who use the premium program. The Premium Processing program is an important source of revenue for the USCIS as petitioners paid nearly $545 million in premium processing fees during FY-2019.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has provided guidance for nonimmigrants who have to unexpectedly remain in the US beyond their authorized period of stay as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that there will be a delay in data entry and receipt notices for fiscal year (FY) 2021 H-1B cap petitions. Petitioners will not get their receipt notices until May 1, 2020 at the earliest.
US citizens in India have been able to return to the United States due to a nationwide COVID-19 shelter in place order. The US Mission to India has organized flights from India to the United States this week specifically for US citizens.
Existing Department of Labor (DOL) policy allows H-1B employers to provide electronic notices of Labor Condition Application (LCA) filing rather than physically post notices at the applicable worksite. This reminder is especially critical as many employees are working from home due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
USCIS Will Use Previously Captured Biometrics to Process Employment Authorization Extension Applications
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will reuse previously submitted biometrics to process extension requests for employment authorization (Form I-765) during the temporary closure of Application Support Centers (ASC).
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will be flexible with delays from applicants and petitioners who are required to respond to requests for evidence (RFEs), notices of intent to deny (NOIDs), notices of intent to revoke (NOIR), notices of intent to terminate (NOIT) regional investment centers, and notices of appeal or motion (Form I-290B) dated between March 1 and July 1, 2020.
The US Department of State (DOS) is encouraging medical professionals who are working to treat or mitigate the effects of the coronavirus and who also hold approved immigrant or nonimmigration visa petitions (I-129, I-140, etc.), or certificates of eligibility from an approved visitor exchange program (DS-2019), to review their nearest embassy or consulate’s DOS website page for procedures on how to request a visa appointment.
The Indian government has enacted a curfew to help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), effective from March 24 through April 15, 2020. While the exact requirements of the curfew are still unclear, the country has currently banned leaving one’s home. US citizens in India are required to comply with Indian law and should shelter in place.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on March 20, 2020 that it will exercise discretion and temporarily defer the physical presence requirement for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) for certain employers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced it may offer forms of relief for certain foreign nationals who have missed immigration deadlines or are facing hardship due to extreme situations, such as the coronavirus pandemic. Expedited processing may be available.
Remote Work During the Coronavirus Pandemic: How Employers Can Comply with H-1B and Green Card Regulations
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak leads to increased remote work arrangements, employers are left unsure how to fulfill site-based H-1B and PERM requirements. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations require employers to notify employees at a specific worksite when they are filing a H-1B petition or application for permanent labor certification.
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the border between the United States and Canada has closed to all non-essential travel starting, Friday, March 20, 2020, at 11:59 PM at each border crossing’s local time. The international border will remain open for essential travel, but non-essential travel will be restricted until at least Monday, April 20.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that the agency will accept a reproduced original signature on all benefit forms and documents, including Form I-129 petitions, for submissions starting March 21, 2020 until the end of the coronavirus National Emergency.
Uscis to Exempt Foreign Nationals from Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Resulting from the Coronavirus
USCIS formally announced that the public charge ground of inadmissibility will not apply to foreign nationals who seek testing, screening, or treatment of any communicable disease, including the coronavirus (COVID-19). In addition, USCIS will take into consideration circumstances where a foreign national is prevented from working or attending school due to the coronavirus and must rely on public benefits during the outbreak.
Effective immediately, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will temporarily suspend requests for premium processing service for all Form I-129 and Form I-140 petitions until further notice.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is continuing their suspension of all routine in-person services through June 3, 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Suspended services include biometrics appointments, adjustment of status and naturalization interviews, and oath ceremonies for naturalization. USCIS will begin to re-open offices on or after June 4, 2020, unless public closures are extended until further notice.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will temporarily suspend requests for premium processing of fiscal year (FY) 2021 H-1B cap petitions when it begins to accept petitions on April 1, 2020.
US Consulates in Mexico and Canada are suspending operations due to coronavirus.
US embassies and consulates in India will cancel all immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments effective March 16, 2020 until further notice due to the coronavirus.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has prompted the federal government to enact the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), to protect Americans against a significant economic impact. The FFCRA provides separate benefits to employers if they intend to maintain their workforce, or if they decide to reduce staff. Employees are protected if they are experiencing symptoms or need to care for another that has indications of COVID-19.
When facing mass reduction in workforce, employers need to comply with the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act ( and respective State WARN Acts.
The main objective of the WARN Act is to protect employees and their families and in a broader perspective the entire community by making it mandatory for employers to give a 60-day notice to those employees who will be effected by the plant closing and mass layoffs as also to state and local representatives, prior to the closing and layoffs.
What are an employer’s options for H-1B employees who do not have available projects? Can an employer reduce the work hours of H-1B employees?
Because H-1B workers have a mandatory salary requirement, employers cannot furlough or bench them. Employers should first consider whether there is a different position on any other project, either at an end-client site or in-house, that the beneficiary can perform.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has disrupted normal business operations all over the world. As of March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus as a pandemic. In light of this pandemic, many businesses are unable to perform some of their contractual obligations. Some are stuck with suppliers who are unable to deliver due to factory closures, while others must cancel mass events due to curfews or limitations on group gatherings. In challenging times like these, a key contractual provision is the force majeure clause, which allows one or both parties to be relieved of their contractual obligations based on unforeseen events. Given the increase in international force majeure cases, it is a critical time for businesses to review all their contracts to understand the various force majeure clauses at play.
The global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is leading to a public crisis of domestic violence. Although stay-at-home orders are crucial to curbing the spread of COVID-19, they are also causing a spike in domestic violence cases since many victims are spending increased time with their oppressors. While courts are generally closed, states like California have enacted special emergency protections for people experiencing domestic violence.
The global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19, known more commonly as the Coronavirus is affecting every aspect of everyday life for individuals all over the world. As if child custody exchanges were not an issue during normal times already, the Coronavirus, is here to add to our child custody exchanges. Coronavirus is now impacting the daily lives of families all over the country in unprecedented ways.
In the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the related economic fallout, revenue losses are proliferating across different industries while business owners look to extrinsic solutions to stay afloat. Many businesses may find such relief through insurance claims and related litigation. New policies will likely exclude COVID-19. However, businesses may already have many types of insurance coverage that can provide relief during the pandemic.
Before Breaking a Commercial Lease Due to COVID-19, Tenants Should Try Applying Doctrines of Commercial Frustration or Force Majeure
It has become difficult, costly, or even impossible for some businesses to maintain contractual obligations, like commercial leases, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Luckily for business owners, the doctrines of commercial frustration and force majeure may allow them to rescind leases without penalty if unforeseeable circumstances make it impossible for them to operate under the stated purpose of their lease.