Immigration Insights and Issues (III)

Any corporate immigration program must consider what documents to retain, how long to retain them, and where to store them. In an era of increased inter-agency cooperation, a heightened focus on compliance, and an increasingly mobile workforce, it is important for a company to review its document retention practices. There are three primary types of immigration documents with regulatory retention requirements: Forms I-9, Labor Condition Applications (LCAs)/Public Access Files (PAFs), and PERM Labor Certifications.  The…
Beginning October 1, 2021, COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for all immigrant visa applicants in the United States and abroad who receive their medical examination from a Civil Surgeon (U.S.) or a Panel Physician (abroad) on or after October 1, 2021. This new requirement is according to recent instructions issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The requirement affects those applying for permanent residence in the U.S. and immigrant visas abroad at…
To reduce the backlogs of National Interest Exception (NIE) applications required by the Presidential Proclamations (Proclamations) regarding travel from designated countries to the U.S. due to the pandemic, the U.S. Department of State  (DOS) announced on July 6, 2021, that it will extend the validity period of NIEs from 30 days to 12 months from the approval date. Additionally, instead of restricting the use of NIEs to one entry to the U.S., travelers using…
As employers make adjustments to incorporate Remote Work Policies in a post-COVID world, employers with a foreign workforce must also carefully consider antiquated immigration rules for their Work from Home (WFH) workforce. Of all the nonimmigrant work visa sponsorships, the H-1B category is the most restrictive on worksite location and movement. The same strict rules do not apply to the other nonimmigrant work visas (e.g., E, L, TN, F-1 OPT, P-1, O-1 workers). In these…
On June 9, the Office of the Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued three Policy Alerts (PAs), which continue a trend by USCIS to insert (hopefully) more reason and justice in adjudications by the agency.  The PAs were issued on the following issues: Increasing the validity period of employment authorization card (EAD) validity from one year to two years for adjustment of status applicants (I-485) for permanent residence.  The reason stated…
Before filing an I-140 petition for an employee beneficiary, petitioning employers brave a seemingly endless obstacle course, spending several months filing a prevailing wage determination (“PWD”) application, complying with a tedious recruitment process, and finally, awaiting certification of the PERM (ETA 9089). Once the PERM is certified, the petitioner can finally petition for the permanent residency of a beneficiary. After the certified PERM, the most important evidence supporting an I-140 petition is documentation showing that…
In January 2021, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued new I-9 guidance regarding the completion of Form I-9 for certain employees working pursuant to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. The new guidance specifically addresses the situation where an employee presents an unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with category code of C33 that was issued on or after July 28, 2020, along with an I-797 Extension Notice issued by USCIS that…
In response to President Biden’s executive order, “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans,” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new policy on April 27, 2021, effective immediately, directing officers to “generally defer to prior determinations of eligibility when adjudicating petition extensions involving the same parties and facts as the initial petition.” (New Deference Policy) Thus, USCIS now permits officers again, in…
April 1, 2021 marked the beginning of consular processing at U.S. consulates and embassies throughout the world without the restrictions imposed on certain nonimmigrant visa processing under Presidential Proclamation 10052, which went into effect on June 24, 2020 during the Trump administration (PP 10052).[1]  The legal bases cited for the imposition of PP10052 were §212(f) and §215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (INA).  The focus of the explanation for the…
Beware the Ides of March? Not in 2021. Spring has brought the immigration world some welcome relief.  USCIS announced this month that the much-maligned Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, will no longer be required. The 2019 Public Charge Final Rule will no longer be applied to applicants for permanent residence as of March 9, 2021. Instead, USCIS will revert back to the public charge inadmissibility rules established by the 1999 Interim Field Guidance, which…