On May 14, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced an extension of the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 compliance, initially granted on March 20. The ICE notice extends the ability for employers to conduct Form I-9 completions virtually/remotely, for an additional 30 days, or until June 18. The guidance provides an alternative – for a time – to “in-person” I-9 document review in light of precautions necessitated by COVID-19. With the rules relaxed, Section 2 verification or Section 3 reverification can be virtually completed via an online meeting (Skype, Zoom, FaceTime etc.), email, or fax, provided employers retain copies of the documents, and complete the Form I-9 within three business days of an employee starting work. In the original announcement, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stated that the virtual/remote process was not available to employers where employees were physically present at a work location. DHS also requires employers availing themselves of this discretion to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s presence, once normal operations resume, making the flexibility not so flexible and very time consuming in practice. The process of having to virtually check documentation, and then recheck in person within a tight time frame, has been unworkable for many employers.
Continue Reading ICE Announces Further Extension of Flexibility in Form I-9 Rules

As employers consider whether it is safe for employees to return to work, busy in-house counsel and HR leaders need I-9 and E-Verify answers.  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) have temporarily allowed virtual I-9 completion procedues in place of the in-person verification of employment eligibility, but are

On April 24, 2020, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a targeted reopening date of June 4, 2020 for offices that are currently closed in response to COVID-19.

What is impacted by this reopening announcement?

This impacts offices that provide in-person services, including field offices, asylum offices and application support centers (ASCs).  On March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services temporarily suspended in-person services at these offices to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Continue Reading USCIS to Reopen Offices on June 4th

Seyfarth Synopsis:  The President’s Proclamation will pause the issuance of immigrant visas for those seeking lawful permanent residence (Green Card) status through consular processing at posts outside of the U.S. for the next 60 days.  This order is limited in scope and should not have a significant impact on the transfer of global talent.

On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation to pause the issuance of new Immigrant Visas outside the U.S. for an initial period of 60 days, taking effect at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, 2020.
Continue Reading It Shall be Tweeted, It Shall be Written: Temporary Suspension of Immigrant Entry

Seyfarth Synopsis: Following a late-night tweet from the President on suspending immigration into the U.S., we have learned today that the President’s executive order (“EO”) on immigration will be limited in scope. The EO is expected to pause the issuance of immigrant visas for those seeking lawful permanent residence (Green Card) status through consular processing at posts outside of the U.S. The EO is limited in scope and should not have a significant impact on the transfer of global talent. This is true, especially because existing travel restrictions and consulate closures abroad have already brought these Immigrant Visa processes to a near halt.

Following his Monday night Tweet regarding an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the United States, President Trump announced during his evening COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, that this order will pause the issuance of Immigrant Visas for 60 days. Preliminary information indicates the moratorium will only affect individuals applying for immigrant visas abroad. Those present, in the U.S., seeking to adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR or “green card”) status by filing for an I-485 adjustment of status application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service will be able to continue the process. 
Continue Reading Executive Order on Temporary Suspension of Immigrant Visas Announced

Seyfarth Blog SynopsisIn today’s posting we discuss the impact that furloughs and layoffs may have on F-1 student workers and related employer obligations.

Attracting and retaining talent involves recruitment of recent graduates and those completing their studies at universities in the U.S.  This talent pool often includes great candidates who are in the U.S. as students on temporary F-1 visas.  U.S. Based businesses  and the F-1 students who they employ now face new challenges as employers move forward with temporary or sometimes permanent cost saving measures through salary reductions, furloughs or layoffs in response to the impacts of COVID-19. This post provides an overview of some of the commonly asked questions to help employers navigating through ongoing changes.
Continue Reading F-1 Student Workers & COVID-19 Impacts on Employment

Seyfarth Blog Synopsis: In today’s posting we discuss the impact that COVID-19 related changes in working conditions, furloughs and layoffs have on  businesses with employees currently working on H-1B, H-1B1 or E-3 work visas.

As we continue complying with shelter-in-place and safer-at-home orders implemented in response to COVID-19, organizations nationwide are also starting to assess the impact of these measures on their businesses and operations.  For some employers and industries the sudden transition to a work-from-home model may have been seamless, but overall, the sheer force of the economic impact of these changes is now being felt as company after company considers possible furloughs, salary reductions, and layoffs to help them revamp operations and survive the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. For employers who also sponsor non-citizens for temporary work visas like the H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3 (specialty occupation) categories, opting for work-from-home models, furloughs, changes in employment terms, or layoffs as cost-saving measures will require additional analysis.  
Continue Reading Visa Obligations & COVID-19 Changes in Working Conditions

Please note, while we address some country-specific updates related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the below is a list of global restrictions and closures as they stand today. Given the constantly changing nature of this situation, we highly recommend reviewing any global mobility inquiries on a case-by-case basis, including any consulate-specific or immigration authority resources in real-time before traveling internationally. Please reach out to our Global Mobility Team in advance of any international travel.
Continue Reading Seyfarth Global Immigration Update: April 2020

Late Friday afternoon, April 3, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security posted the following questions and answers in response to stakeholders queries on Form I-9 obligations in the midst of COVID-19.  We applaud the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for taking the lead on coordinating these responses and anticipate they will continue to be responsive to employer queries. The Q&A reiterates the original Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) guidance, including confirming a hard deadline on timing- three days to complete the I-9 initially via a virtual/remote method and then three days to update with an in-person inspection once the business resumes normal operations. The Q&A also provides clarification on how to complete a Form I-9 with an expired driver’s license (sneak peek: use the actual expired date and write COVID-19 on the Form). Curiously the Q&A references electronic systems that don’t offer an additional information box field but suggests attaching a note to the I-9. The Q&A also confirms our suggestion, the person who views the documents  in -person should enter their name and date in the Additional Information Box.
Continue Reading New COVID-19 Q&As Related to Form I-9 and E-Verify

In-Person Services Suspended Until At Least May 3

In response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) developments, as of April 1, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated its office closures suspending routine in-person services until May 3rd.

What does this mean for cases in progress?

USCIS will reschedule appointments for applicants with permanent resident (green