As many of us started to think about weekend plans, this afternoon, USCIS promised us an interesting Monday with its latest announcement. Effective Monday, October 19, 2020, the premium processing fee associated with the expedited 15 day review of eligible petitions filed with USCIS will increase from $1,440 to $2,500.  H-2B and R-1 petitions however will see a minimal increase from $1,440 to $1,500. This fee increase is in line with the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act, which was signed into law on September 30, 2020.

Premium Processing submissions ( Form I-907)  postmarked on or after October 19, 2020, must include the new fee amount.  Premium Processing is often used to ensure  more reasonable adjudication timelines in a number of visa  categories including H-1B, L-1 and O-1 temporary visa categories, as well as some employment based green card sponsorships.  Standard case processing for these categories often range anywhere from three to eight months.

By: Angelo A. Paparelli

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last week affirmed the truth of the Upton Sinclair maxim on just how hard it is get someone “to understand something, when his [or her] salary depends on . . . not understanding it.”

In this case, federal immigration bureaucrats have had three decades to comprehend the delicate legislative balance of business needs and labor protections that produced the H-1B visa category for workers in specialty occupations.  For most of the ensuing years they seemed to appreciate that balance.  Yet, now, with the fate of their Executive Branch leader and paymaster up for a plebiscite in three weeks, their comprehension has (unsurprisingly) failed.  As this blog post will explain, because the needs and best interests of employers and workers (citizen and noncitizen alike) are intertwined, changing the rules of play late in the game without fair notice in order to favor one team over others will only hurt everyone. Continue Reading Immigration Rush to Judgment – No Good Cause for New H-1B Rules in a Hurry

On September 15, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that employers have an additional 60-day extension to the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 completion.  This extension relates to the relaxation of the requirement to defer the in-person, physical inspection of new hires’ identity and employment eligibility documentation. Initially granted in March, ICE has issued several extensions, with the latest one now set to expire on November 19, 2020.  ICE previously granted 30-day extensions, but likely offered this longer time frame due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Continue Reading ICE Stays the Course and Extends I-9 Flexibility

 

Seyfarth Synopsis: In light of the recent Supreme Court decision, DHS continues the DACA program, but implements new guidance as it conducts a complete review of the program.   

On July 28, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) issued a memo, “Reconsideration of the June 15, 2012 Memorandum Entitled ‘Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children,” in response to the recent Supreme Court Case, Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California (“Regents”) that allowed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program to continue based on regulatory grounds, as we reported in our June 19, 2020 post.  The  Supreme Court found that the Trump administration’s 2017 rescission, reported here of DACA was done in “an arbitrary and capricious way” that violated the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”). Continue Reading Dreamers Face DACA Reboot

On August 25, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) Deputy Director for Policy, Joseph Edlow, confirmed the agency no longer intends to furlough 13,000 employees at the end of the month. The message, circulating on social media and now posted on the USCIS website notes that while the doors of the agency will remain open through the end of FY 2020, there will be “aggressive spending” reductions impacting services across the board. USCIS is largely funded by filing fees, which support the agency’s operations, but USCIS claims the fees are not sufficient and accordingly announced a fee increase to take effect later this year.

Deputy Director Edlow warns that there will be operational impacts as a result of foregoing the planned furlough, that may include increased processing times for pending case queries, longer case processing times, and increased adjudication times for adjusting status and naturalizing. The message also notes that there is no guarantee that future furloughs can be avoided, leading him to call on Congress to take long-term action. Continue Reading USCIS Furlough Averted, but Crisis Still Looms

On August 18, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that employers have an additional 30-day extension to the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 compliance. This relaxation of the requirement to defer the in-person, physical inspection of new hires’ identity and employment eligibility documentation was initially granted in March and will now expire on September 19, 2020.  Continue Reading The 2020 Summer Defrost Continues: ICE Extends I-9 Flexibility

Pop-Up Webinar Series

Getting Your Key Employees Into the U.S. Under the “Exceptions” to the Visa and Entry Bans and the National Interest “Exemption”
Thursday, August 20, 2020

Join seasoned attorneys in Seyfarth’s Business Immigration Group for this pop-up webinar which will discuss how employers can seek and obtain visa and entry ban exemptions and exceptions under the latest U.S. Department of State and Department of Homeland Security guidance and interpretations. While the discussion will focus on strategies to help key H-1B and L-1 workers, the panelists will also offer strategies that assist other nonimmigrant business and employment-based applicants.

Register today!

Pop-Up Webinar Series

New Immigration Executive Order Affecting Federal Contractors and Subs: Trojan Horse or Window Dressing?
Friday, August 14, 2020

Please join us as we offer early insights into the potential impact of the August 3 Executive Order (EO) focusing on federal contractors (and their subcontractors) that employ H-1B workers. Join the team as we discuss possible implications, prudent strategies, and timelines to comply with these recent government actions.

Register today!

By: Tieranny Cutler, Cheryl Gardner & Jason Burritt

Seyfarth Synopsis:  U.S. employers, applicants for immigration benefits, and other stakeholders should be aware of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) application fee increases and form changes scheduled to take effect on October 2, 2020. Continue Reading USCIS to Implement Significant Fee Changes on October 2, 2020

The trend of recent months to curtail employment-based immigration, purportedly prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, continues unabated. On August 3, 2020 President Trump issued yet another executive order, this one entitled, “Executive Order on Aligning Federal Contracting and Hiring Practices With the Interests of American Workers” (“EO” or “Executive Order”). The new EO focuses on federal contractors (and their subcontractors) who employ H-1B and other nonimmigrant foreign workers. While the Executive Order itself imposes no new entry or other immigration restrictions, it instructs the Department of Labor (“DOL”), Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), and other agencies and departments to take steps that undoubtedly will lay the groundwork to limit H-1B employment in the near future. Continue Reading Another Day, Another Immigration Executive Order: Now Federal Contractors are Targeted