Executive Order Requires US Government to Assess their Hiring of Foreign Workers for Impact on US Workforce
On August 3, 2020 the United States government issued an Executive Order to assess whether the US government’s practice of hiring foreign workers negatively impacts US workers, especially in areas that heavily rely on government jobs, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the Trump Administration, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is closely scrutinizing visa petitions and issuing Requests for Evidence (RFEs) that can seem templated and randomized. L-1 intracompany transferee visas are targeted the most, with high rates of denial and over 60% of L-1 petitions receiving RFEs. Work with an experienced immigration attorney to overcome these barriers and effectively sponsor your L-1 employees.
The Department of State (DOS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are temporarily restrained from enforcing public charge rules during the COVID-19 national health emergency, based on a ruling by Judge George Daniels of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on July 29, 2020. This order is effective nationwide, at any time when there is a national health emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Homeland Security has clarified that new or initial F and M students may not engage in fully online learning for Fall 2020. The US Department of State will not issue new visas to these students, and US Customs and Border Protection will not admit them into the country. Foreign nationals who have been granted a change of status to an F or M visa may not be permitted to engage in fully online studies and may violate their status if they do so in Fall 2020.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Acting Director Joseph Edlow has confirmed that the agency will postpone furloughs of more than 13,000 of its workers through August 31, 2020. Previously, the furlough was set for August 3. USCIS is hoping that this delay will give Congress enough time to approve the additional funding needed to help the agency avoid furloughing their staff.
On July 20, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended its interim policy allowing employers to inspect Form I-9 documents remotely due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This temporary flexibility policy was first announced in March 2020.
On July 6, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that F and M student visa holders will no longer be eligible for valid nonimmigrant status if they are enrolled in fully online courses for the fall 2020 semester.
On June 4, 2020, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin reopening some field offices and application support centers (ASCs) to the public and resume non-emergency face-to-face services. USCIS offices were temporarily closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
USCIS will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines. They will establish measures to protect their workforce and the public when facilities reopen.
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) and notices of intent to deny (NOIDs) dated between March 1 and May 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.
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.