FY2022 H-1B Cap Update: USCIS Confirms Registration Details, Delays Wage-Based Selection Process

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting new H-1B petitions subject to the annual quota for fiscal year (FY) 2022 on or shortly after April 1, 2021. USCIS has confirmed it will use the same preregistration system introduced for last year’s lottery and will accept registrations starting on March 9, 2021. The registration window will close at noon eastern standard time (EST) on March 25, 2021. Importantly, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has confirmed it will delay the effective date of the new H-1B selection final rule until December 31, 2021.

State Department Issues Guidance on National Interest Exceptions to Proclamations Suspending Entry of Certain Foreign Nationals

On August 12, 2020, the U.S. Department of State issued guidance on scenarios that may qualify for a “national interest exception” under Presidential Proclamation 10052 of June 22, 2020 (“Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak”) and Presidential Proclamation 10014 of April 22, 2020 (“Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak”). Citing economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, President Donald Trump issued the proclamations and temporarily suspended the entry of certain foreign nationals into the United States. Although both proclamations referenced exceptions for individuals “whose entry would be in the national interest,” formal guidance had not been released prior to this announcement.

U.S. Suspends Entry of Certain Graduate Students and Researchers from the People’s Republic of China

On May 29, 2020, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation suspending the entry of a small subset of Chinese nationals that seek to study or conduct research in the United States, citing a threat to the “long-term economic vitality” of the United States “and the safety and security of the American people.” The accompanying press release notes that the proclamation “will not affect students who come to the United States for legitimate reasons.”

Mapping the Impact From USCIS’s Surprise Suspension of H-1B Premium Processing

On March 3, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) unexpectedly announced that it will temporarily suspend its premium processing service for all H-1B petitions received on or after April 3, 2017. The premium processing program allows a petitioner to receive a decision on its case within 15 calendar days upon payment of an additional government filing fee to USCIS.

USCIS Will Begin Accepting Cap-Subject H-1B Petitions for FY2018 in April 2017

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept new H-1B petitions subject to the annual quota for fiscal year 2018 (FY2018) starting in April of 2017 (April 1, 2017 falls on a Saturday, so USCIS will accept cap-subject petitions for the year starting on the following business day, Monday, April 3, 2017). Employers may want to begin identifying current and future employees who may require new H-1B visas to work in the United States.

USCIS Final Guidance on L-1B Adjudications Offers Some Comfort—But No Cure—for Employer Concerns

On August 17, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a policy memorandum aiming to clarify the standard required for L-1B specialized knowledge visas. The memorandum notably begins by reminding adjudicating officers that the L-1B visa category, which allows for the transfer of company personnel with specialized knowledge, is critical in fostering the growth and competitiveness of U.S. businesses in an increasingly global marketplace.

Corporate L-1 Blanket Petitions: How to Handle Increased USCIS Scrutiny in the L-1 Visa Process

The recent increase in scrutiny by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on L-1 visa petitions has led many employers to revamp their intracompany transferee visa procedures. Certain multinational corporations are able to bypass the standard USCIS application by filing for corporate blanket approval. However, recent trends demonstrate that obtaining and amending existing corporate blanket

USCIS Clarifies Eligibility Requirements for STEM OPT Extension

A recent interim policy memorandum, released by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), clarifies the degree completion requirements for the 17-month extension of Optional Practical Training (OPT) available to F-1 students enrolled in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) degree programs. The memorandum concludes that F-1 students engaging in post-completion OPT are eligible for a 17-month STEM extension even if they have not completed the thesis or equivalent requirement for their STEM degree.

ICE (Again) Changes Its Position on Pre-Population of Section 1 of Form I-9

An important issue for many employers that use electronic I-9 systems is the pre-population of employee information in Section 1 of the I-9 form by electronic I-9 programs. Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, is the form that must be completed by all employers to verify the employment eligibility of every new hire. Electronic I-9 systems

Justice Department Settles Citizenship Status Discrimination Claim

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), through the Civil Rights Division’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), recently settled a claim alleging that the company in question violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) when it preferred temporary visa holders over U.S. workers during its recruitment process by placing online job postings that contained citizenship status preferences for F-1 and H-1B temporary visa holders.

DHS Report Signals New Challenges for L-1 Intracompany Transferees

The L visa allows qualifying multinational companies with a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate abroad to transfer managers and executives (L-1A) and employees with “specialized knowledge” (L-1B) to work in the United States. To qualify, the transferee, within the three-year period preceding entry into the United States, must have been employed abroad in an executive,

Significant Advancement of EB-2 India Cut-off Date

The U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) Visa Bulletin sets out per country priority date cut-offs that regulate when an individual can begin the final phase of the lawful permanent residence (“green card”) process, either through adjustment of status or consular immigrant visa application. Those with priority dates that are earlier than the date listed for that visa category and country can proceed with their applications.

Sweeping Immigration Reform Bill Passes Senate

On June 27, 2013, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S. 744) passed the Senate by a vote of 68 to 32. The bill, which was introduced in the Senate on April 17, 2013 by the Senate “Gang of Eight,” would allow a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States and proposes significant changes to employment-based immigration laws.

Senate Passes Comprehensive Immigration Reform

On June 27, 2013, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S. 744) passed the Senate by a vote of 68 to 32. The bill, which was introduced in the Senate on April 17, 2013 by the Senate “Gang of Eight,” would allow a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States and proposes significant changes to employment-based immigration laws. Below is a brief summary of the bill’s key provisions.