The Biden administration continues to undo the expansive immigration restrictions put in place by the former president. The latest measure to fall: Presidential Proclamation 10014, an economically-based suspension initiated on April 22, 2020, which barred many new permanent residents from entering the United States as permanent residents (“green card holders”). The Presidential Action of February 24, 2021 puts an immediate end to this twice-extended suspension in advance of its slated expiration date of March 31, 2021.

Economic Travel Suspension: Extensions and Impact

As explained in our April 23, 2020 Client Alert, “COVID-19 Immigration Suspension Proclamation Has Limited Scope,” the impact of  Proclamation 10014 was initially muted due to the practical realities of consular closures. However, in time, its broad provisions and the freeze on action on these cases created substantial backlogs, family separation, and notable litigation related to the time-bound immigrant visa lottery category. The impact to visa lottery candidates, who lose visa eligibility if their cases are not processed within set fiscal year time frames, was specifically mentioned in the revocation of Proclamation 10014. The revocation stated that Proclamation 10014 (and subsequent extensions) harmed the United States, rather than advancing national interests. The harm cited was both family separation and economic harm to industries which depend upon global talent.

Continue Reading Biden Administration Revokes Order Suspending Entry into the United States by New Green Card Holders

Two important actions by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have provided clarity on the process and time frame for employers to register for the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY 22) “cap” lottery on H-1B temporary work visas. The H-1B visa classification is familiar to many US employers, as it is used for a multitude of professional positions across many industries, most notably IT and other STEM-based positions.

Employers who need to sponsor recent college graduates or other foreign nationals under the H-1B cap must prepare now for the March 2021 limited registration period. The demand in the H-1B, temporary professional worker category, greatly outpaces annual limits.

Continue Reading Client Alert: Biden Administration Clarifies Process for H-1B Work Visa Cap

The Biden administration has taken an important step to stabilize employment eligibility within the H-4 immigration category.

On January 25, President Biden terminated the prior administration’s unfinished efforts to end H-4 eligibility for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). This action by the Biden administration is consistent with the President’s January 21, 2021 Regulatory Freeze of unpublished rule making left over from the prior administration. The beneficiaries of this action include the US businesses which employ the approximately 100,000 work-authorized H-4 visa holders. As explained below, in recognition of the value of this largely well-educated workforce, the Biden administration plans to further secure and expand H-4 employment eligibility benefits.

Continue Reading President Biden Acts to Stabilize H-4 EAD Workforce, Extend Employment Eligibility for Spouses of H-1B Workers

From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States has issued a series of restrictions on entry to the country. The latest restriction, effective January 26, 2021, mandates proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from COVID prior to boarding any flight to the United States. As set forth below, it differs from the existing patchwork of COVID-related travel restrictions, in that it applies to all travelers age two or older–including US citizens and US permanent residents.

The new COVID testing mandate for all international air travelers was ordered by the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC). The CDC’s Order, issued on January 12, 2021, is in response to the identification of a highly-transmissible variant form of the COVID virus. While the CDC Order impacts travel to the United States from abroad, it is a public health measure—not an immigration restriction. This is an important differentiation from the earlier Presidential Proclamations suspending travel. As a public health measure, the CDC’s order applies to all passengers, without consideration of US immigration status or immigration-based exceptions.

Continue Reading US Requires Negative COVID Tests or Proof of Recovery for all International Air Travelers; Biden Expected to Reinstate Travel Suspension Proclamation

With continuing high unemployment rates and COVID-driven economic woes, on August 3, President Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) that could potentially lead to restrictions on the ability of government contractors and subcontractors to use foreign labor in the performance of government contracts.

Specifically, the EO (1) requires executive agencies to review and assess past

As anticipated, President Trump issued a proclamation on June 22, suspending the ability of foreign nationals in common employment-based non-immigrant (temporary) categories to enter the United States. The proclamation, which is valid until December 31, 2020, places a suspension on the L-1, H-1B, H-2B, and specified J-1 categories. While the proclamation is significant, there are

Update: On Monday, June 22, the Trump Administration signed a proclamation temporarily suspending H-1B and other work visas. Click here for our client alert discussing the impact of this new restriction.

Reports from well-placed sources indicate the Trump Administration will be announcing an additional round of immigration restrictions shortly. These measures are expected to include

On May 29, President Trump announced in a White House news conference the US government would “begin the process” to revoke the “full range of agreements” providing the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China separate treatment from mainland China under US law. Although the president’s announcement contained few specifics on the proposed measures or

As businesses remain closed and employees continue to work remotely, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has revisited COVID-19 related accommodations for Form I-9 Employment Verification. There have been several flexibility policy extensions, with related employer follow-up obligations that must be tracked. There also has been a scheduled Form I-9 update, with related guidance. Employers

On April 22, President Trump signed a proclamation titled “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present a Risk to the US Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.” This proclamation followed the president’s tweets about plans to suspend US immigration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While these developments raised many questions and concerns, the scope of the proclamation is limited. Under the current state of affairs with COVID-19 related closures of consulates and embassies, the proclamation will have no immediate impact. Its overall, long-term, impact will depend largely upon whether it is extended beyond its current 60-day duration.

Continue Reading Client Alert: President Trump’s COVID-19 Immigration Proclamation Has Limited Scope