For the first time in two decades, a limited number of eligible H-1B workers are now able to apply to renew their visas without having to leave the United States. Starting January 29, 2024, the U.S. Department of State’s pilot program will allow 20,000 eligible H-1B visa holders the opportunity to apply to renew their visas stateside.
This pilot program is limited to eligible foreign nationals who received an H-1B visa from:
- A U.S. consulate in Canada between January 1, 2020 and April 1, 2023; or
- A U.S. consulate in India between February 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021.
Other details regarding eligibility criteria, as well as a questionnaire to help you determine whether you are eligible, can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/employment/domestic-renewal.html
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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued new policy guidance following the November 10, 2021 settlement agreement discussed in our previous Shumaker Immigration Bulletin blog post. As of November 12, 2021, USCIS has updated its I-9 Handbook and is allowing certain automatic extensions of Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards for H-4, L-2, and E-1 Dependent, E-2 Dependent, or E-3 Dependent (“E dependent”) visa holders.
H-4, L-2, and E Dependent Spouses
The new guidance indicates that USCIS will also soon provide EADs incident to status for L-2 spouses, E-1 Treaty Trader dependent spouses, E-2 Investor dependent spouses, and E-3 specialty occupation professionals from Australia dependent spouses. Meaning, once the policy takes effect, L-2 and E dependent spouses will be authorized to work without applying for an EAD.
H-4, L-2, and E dependent spouses will qualify for an automatic extension of their valid EAD expiration if they:
- Properly file a Form I-765 EAD renewal application prior to expiration; and
- Continue to maintain H-4, L-2, or E dependent status beyond the expiration of the existing EAD as evidenced on Form I-94.
The expired EAD will considered valid until the earliest of the following periods:
- 10 days following expiration;
- Expiration of the H-4 / L-2 / E dependent nonimmigrant’s I-94 record; or
- When USCIS issues a final decision on the EAD extension application.
Continue reading “USCIS Announces Employment Authorization Policy Changes for certain H-4, E, and L Dependent EAD Workers”
Today, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) and its litigation partners achieved a historic settlement with the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) in Shergill, et al. v. Mayorkas, Case 2:21-cv-01296, 9/23/21 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
In Shergill, AILA brought a class action lawsuit on behalf of H-4 and L-2 spouse who had applied for work authorization as the dependents of H-1B and L-1 principal visa holders, but had faced processing delays, forcing them out of employment and creating gaps in work authorization.
The parties’ settlement reverses a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) policy that prohibited H-4 spouses from obtaining automatic extensions of their employment authorization during the pendency of standalone employment authorization document (“EAD”) applications. The settlement represents a massive change in position by USCIS, which now recognizes that L-2 spouses enjoy automatic work authorization based upon their underlying status, meaning spouses of executives and managers will no longer have to apply for EADs prior to working in the United States. Continue reading “Breaking News: Major Settlement Changes How USCIS Will Adjudicate Employment Authorization Documents for Nonimmigrant Spouses”
Beginning November 8, 2021, adult foreign nationals traveling to the United States by air, with limited exceptions, must demonstrate proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and must also provide a negative COVID-19 test taken in the past 3 days.
This new global travel system replaces the existing country-by-country restrictions, putting in place a consistent approach worldwide. Airlines will be responsible for verifying the vaccination and testing status of their passengers.
Unvaccinated travelers – whether U.S. citizens, LPRs, or the small number of excepted unvaccinated foreign nationals – will now need to show documentation of a negative viral test from a sample taken within 1 day of travel to the United States. Continue reading “U.S. Announces Updates to International Air Travel Vaccine Policy”
Each month, the U.S. Department of State’s Visa Office (V.O.) compiles an update to the “waiting list” for immigrants from countries subject to the quota system under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The total number of documentarily complete applicants reported to V.O. are compared each month with the numbers available for the next regular allotment of visas that may be issued. Numbers are then allocated to reported applicants in order of their priority dates, with the oldest dates processed first.
If there are enough visa numbers available in a particular category to satisfy the demand of documentarily complete applicants, the category is considered “current.” For example, if the Employment First preference monthly target is 5,000 and there are only 3,000 applicants, the category is “current.”
However, when the total number of documentarily complete applicants in a visa category exceeds the available supply of visa numbers allotted for the upcoming month, the category is considered “oversubscribed,” and a visa availability final action date is established. This results in visa “retrogression,” which refers to situations when there are more visa applicants for a certain category or country than there are available visas for that month. Continue reading “November 2021 Visa Bulletin Signals Severe Retrogression for Indian EB-3 Visas”
On October 12, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security directed ICE, CBP, and USCIS to take actions to promote a fair labor market by supporting more effective enforcement of wage protections, workplace safety, labor rights, and other employment laws and standards.
“The Department of Homeland Security has a critical role to ensure our Nation’s workplaces comply with our laws,” said U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “We will not tolerate unscrupulous employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities, or impose unsafe working conditions. Employers engaged in illegal acts compel the focus of our enforcement resources. By adopting policies that focus on the most unscrupulous employers, we will protect workers as well as legitimate American businesses.”
In accordance with a memorandum issued by Secretary Mayorkas on October 12, ICE, CBP, and USCIS will develop and update policies to enhance DHS’s enforcement of employment and labor standards. The agencies must also develop strategies for prioritizing workplace enforcement against unscrupulous employers and, through the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, facilitate the participation of vulnerable workers in labor standards investigations. Employers who shirk employment regulations not only harm workers, they also unfairly drive down business costs and disadvantage their business competitors who abide by the law. Continue reading “DHS Releases Worksite Enforcement Strategy to Protect the American Labor Market, the Dignity of Workers, and Worksite Conditions”
A proposed Donald Trump-era rule to replace the current H-1B cap lottery system with a wage-level-based selection procedure has been knocked down by a federal judge in the United States.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White A Trump-era H-1B cap selection regulation was nullified by the Northern District of California District Court on the basis that then-Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was not lawfully operating in his post at the time the regulation was adopted.
The judge ruled in favour of the United States on Wednesday. According to the court ruling submitted by the Chamber’s litigation centre, the Chamber of Commerce filed a motion for summary judgement in the complaint challenging the regulation.
Continue reading “TechGig: New H-1B VISA rules changed by the US court, all details here”
Vaccinated passengers will be able to travel to the US from the EU and UK from
November onwards, the Biden administration will announce on Monday, in a
major diplomatic victory for Brussels and London.
The White House will announce a new travel policy on Monday morning, marking the end of the 18-month blanket ban on travel imposed by Donald Trump, the former US president, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic that was maintained by Joe Biden. Continue reading “Financial Times: US to relax EU and UK travel restrictions for vaccinated passengers”
A federal judge has ended a Trump administration regulation designed to make it difficult for international students to gain H-1B status. The ruling is the latest judicial decision to stop a Trump administration H-1B rule, leaving in tatters the legacy pursued by Trump aide Stephen Miller and others.
Between 2017 and 2021, Trump administration officials increased H-1B denial rates by issuing memos and policies that judges determined to be unlawful. Once those policies ended, H-1B denial rates returned to pre-Trump levels, according to a National Foundation for American Policy analysis. Today, the most significant H-1B restriction is the same one in place before Donald Trump took office—the 85,000 annual limit on new H-1B petitions for companies.
Continue reading “FORBES: Judge Kills The Last Trump H-1B Visa Rule Left Standing”