USCIS Ends COVID-19–Related Flexibility for Responding to Agency Requests on Notices Dated After March 23, 2023

On March 23, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that COVID-19–related deadline extensions for responses to agency notices or requests, such as Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny, have now ended. Requests or notices from USCIS dated after March 23, 2023, must once again be timely filed by the deadlines listed on them by USCIS.

USCIS Updates O-1 Guidance for Extraordinary Ability in Arts and Motion Picture Industries

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently updated its policy guidance related to O-1B nonimmigrants of extraordinary ability in the arts and motion picture or television industry. The updated guidance, effective immediately, is intended to clarify how USCIS evaluates evidence submitted by employers seeking to sponsor foreign national employees under the O-1B visa category.

OSHA Activates U and T Nonimmigrant Visas—‘Law Enforcement Visas’—as New Tool in Agency’s Investigation Toolbox

On February 13, 2023, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker had signed a memorandum giving OSHA new authority to issue certifications supporting applications for U nonimmigrant status and T nonimmigrant status visas.

H-2B Cap for Fiscal Year 2023 Is Met: A Supplemental Cap Increase Summary

On March 2, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified the public that the 33,000 H-2B cap positions within the second half of the fiscal year had been reached. DHS indicated that the number of positions for which DHS had received petitions surpassed the number of total H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas available for fiscal year (FY) 2023. On March 1, 2023, DHS performed a computer-generated random selection process of the petitions that were received on February 27, 2023, assigning the selected petitions receipt numbers and beginning premium processing services.

OMB Approves State Department Fee Increases

On February 15, 2023, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved a final rule that would increase certain U.S. Department of State fees for visa services. This is the final step prior to publication of the final rule. Once published, the final rule will likely become effective sixty days from its publication, as it has been classified as a major rule change that is economically significant.

USCIS Redesigns Green Cards and Employment Authorization Documents to Combat Counterfeiting and Tampering

On January 30, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a redesign of permanent resident cards (green cards) and employment authorization documents (EADs). The new cards feature state-of-the-art fraud protection technology that aims to combat document counterfeiting and tampering.

USCIS Implements Final Rule on Public Charge Ground of Admissibility

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) final rule on public charge inadmissibility has been in effect since December 23, 2022. Accordingly, USCIS released a revised Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, for applications submitted on or after December 23, 2022, for adjustment of status to comply with the newly codified rule.

USCIS Announces Registration Period for the FY 2024 H-1B Cap

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that the registration period for the fiscal year (FY) 2024 H-1B cap will open on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, at noon ET, and will end on Friday, March 17, 2023, at noon ET. It is only during this period that employers or their representatives can register potential H-1B beneficiaries through a myUSCIS online account.

Employment-Based Immigration Updates for 2023

As we move deeper into the new year, the U.S. government continues to try to resolve the challenges facing the immigration system due to the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting processing backlogs. These challenges may still continue, but new changes and updates have already taken effect—and more will likely come in 2023, impacting employers and the decisions they make with regard to their foreign national employees.

USCIS Expands Premium Processing to All EB-1 and EB-2 Classifications, Including New Petitions

Beginning January 30, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers E-13 (EB-1C) multinational executive and manager petitions and E21 (EB-2) National Interest Waiver (NIW) petitions.

DHS Announces Proposed Fee Increases for Immigration Benefits

On January 4, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would increase fees for specific immigration and naturalization benefit requests. The department’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) cited the expansion of humanitarian programs, federally mandated pay raises, additional staffing requirements, and the need for essential investments as reasons for the proposed increases.


Foreign Worker Visas Issues Could Complicate Employers’ Planned Reductions in Force

Businesses across industries are reducing their workforces and implementing hiring freezes amid increasing labor costs and fears of slower economic growth. In fact, reports suggest that tens of thousands of workers could be looking for new jobs in 2023 following announced layoffs and job cuts at several major companies across the United States. Many of

CDC Announces Travelers From China Must Show Negative COVID-19 Result

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that effective 12:01 AM ET on January 5, 2023, travelers entering the United States from flights originating in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test or proof of COVID-19 recovery.

U.S. Consulates in China Announce Suspension of Visa Services in Response to China’s Latest COVID-19 Surge

The U.S. Department of State’s U.S. Mission China Consular Services announced on December 15, 2022, that all routine visa services would be indefinitely suspended. As of December 19, 2022, routine visa appointments at all U.S. consulate offices in China have been canceled, with the exception of some visa appointments already scheduled at the U.S. consulate in Shanghai.

Traveling for the Holidays: Planning for Successful International Travel This Season for Foreign Nationals

With the pandemic finally drawing closer to an end, many foreign nationals may use the first opportunity they have had in years to plan international travel this holiday season. In order to avoid any unnecessary hiccups when departing from and returning to the United States pursuant to international travel, foreign national travelers may want to confirm that they have all of their documents in order.