On January 31, 2020, the Trump administration expanded the list of countries affected by Presidential Proclamation 9645, more commonly referred to as “Travel Ban 3.0.” Nigeria, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Sudan, and Tanzania have all been added to the list after failing to meet minimum U.S. security standards.
On January 30, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will begin implementing the new public charge regulations on February 24, 2020. The regulations broadly expand the list of public benefits that can be considered, as well as the discretion given to immigration officers when deciding whether someone is “more likely than not” to become a public charge.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it would begin accepting electronic registrations for H-1B candidates subject to the annual quota for fiscal year (FY) 2021 on March 1, 2020. The registration period will run through at least March 20, 2020. USCIS intends to notify selected registrants no later than March 31, 2020.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has confirmed that it will implement the new electronic H-1B registration system for the upcoming cap season. Employers seeking to file cap-subject H-1B petitions will be required to electronically register each candidate for selection in the fiscal year 2021 (FY2021) lottery.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed a new fee schedule designed to mitigate an approximate $1.3 billion shortfall in the annual budget of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). According to DHS, immigration fees would increase by a weighted average of 21 percent across the board. In reality, however, the fee changes would not affect all immigration benefits equally. Fees for some commonly used classifications are set to go up significantly.
The Trump administration’s public charge rule is on hold, at least temporarily. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State each introduced a version of the rule. Both versions were scheduled for implementation on October 15, 2019, and would have established expansive new tests to be used by those agencies when determining if certain visa applicants were likely to become public charges—a determination that would generally make them inadmissible to the United States.
On August 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the final version of its public charge rule in the Federal Register. According to a statement by DHS, the rule is intended to formalize the way in which the agency determines if an individual applying for a nonimmigrant visa or adjustment of status (to obtain a green card) is likely to become a public charge—a determination that would generally make the person inadmissible to the United States.
On July 10, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1044, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019, by a vote of 365 to 65. The bill is intended to reduce lengthy immigrant visa (green card) wait times by eliminating per-country caps for employment-based green cards. In addition, senators have reportedly reached an agreement on a version of a companion bill (S. 386) in the U.S. Senate that presently includes an amendment imposing tighter restrictions on recruitment and creating new reporting requirements for H-1B visa sponsors.
Foreign nationals are now required to provide a five-year history of social media usernames, telephone numbers, and email addresses when applying for U.S. nonimmigrant or immigrant visas. The plan to require more information from visa applicants has been in the works since 2017, when President Donald Trump called on the U.S. Department of State to enhance the vetting of individuals seeking immigration benefits from the United States. The State Department already requires social media histories from visa applicants deemed to present a heightened security risk to the United States, but this new requirement will greatly expand the number of applicants subjected to enhanced vetting.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released its spring 2019 regulatory agenda, highlighting the agency’s rulemaking priorities through 2019. While many of the agenda items appear to be carryovers from agendas past, they serve as continuing reminders of the Trump administration’s immigration-related goals.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has completed the selection process for H-1B cap subject petitions filed for fiscal year (FY) 2020. On April 10, 2019, the agency ran computerized lotteries for both regular cap petitions and those subject to the U.S. advanced degree exemption after determining it had received a sufficient number of petitions to meet the congressionally mandated quota for each category.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) processing times continue to lag compared to previous years, according to data recently released by the agency.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the agency is postponing the implementation of the revised Form I-539 and the new Form I-539A.
On November 20, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the termination of the temporary protected status (TPS) designation for Haiti.
On June 28, 2017, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly announced the implementation of enhanced security measures for all commercial flights arriving in the United States. These enhanced procedures are set to affect 280 airports in 105 countries.
On April 18, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order (EO), “Buy American and Hire American,” which aims to “stimulate economic growth” and “ensure the integrity of the immigration system.” Although this action provides impetus to federal agencies to propose changes to the U.S. immigration system, the EO itself does not present an immediate impact to immigration programs.
On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order suspending admission to the United States of foreign nationals from the following countries for a period of at least 90 days: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
On August 26, 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released advance notice of proposed rulemaking designed to encourage and facilitate entrepreneurship within the United States.