Biden Administration Announces Plan to Lift COVID-19 Travel Restrictions in November and Replace with Vaccination Requirement

Biden Administration Announces Plan to Lift COVID-19 Travel Restrictions in November and Replace with Vaccination Requirement

In a much-anticipated development, the Biden Administration has announced plans to end the COVID-19 travel restrictions affecting foreign nationals traveling from Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the UK, sometime in November 2021. These travel restrictions have been in place since the beginning of the pandemic.

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New US Travel Restrictions to Significantly Limit Travel from India Beginning May 4

New US Travel Restrictions to Significantly Limit Travel from India Beginning May 4

President Joseph Biden has issued a presidential proclamation prohibiting the entry of foreign nationals who have been physically present in India within 14 days of their travel to the United States. These new travel restrictions were prompted by the surging number of COVID cases in India.

The travel restrictions impacting India will take effect at 12:01 am EDT on May 4, 2021 and will remain in place until terminated by the President.

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Biden Administration Allows Work Visa Ban to Expire; Other Restrictions on Travel Remain in Place

Biden Administration Allows Work Visa Ban to Expire; Other Restrictions on Travel Remain in Place

The Biden Administration has allowed the temporary work visa ban (Presidential Proclamation 10052) to expire on March 31, 2021 and will not extend it. While this is welcome news, individuals may still face challenges traveling to the U.S. due to other COVID-19 measures, including regional travel bans, consular service limitations and COVID-19 testing requirements.

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New DOL Rule Results in Substantial Increases to H-1B, E-3 and PERM Prevailing Wage Levels

New DOL Rule Results in Substantial Increases to H-1B, E-3 and PERM Prevailing Wage Levels

The Department of Labor (DOL) has published a new regulation that substantially increases the prevailing wage levels used when filing H-1B and E-3 work visa applications and PERM labor certification applications. This new DOL rule is effective immediately.

However, since DOL circumvented the normal rulemaking process to roll out this new rule with very weak legal justifications for doing so, we expect this new rule will be challenged in court.w rule with very weak legal justifications for doing so, we expect this new rule will be challenged in court.

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New DHS Rule Narrows H-1B Eligibility Requirements and Imposes Other Limitations

New DHS Rule Narrows H-1B Eligibility Requirements and Imposes Other Limitations

The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) has published a new rule that has the potential to significantly narrow the eligibility criteria for the H-1B work visa program. Unless it is blocked by litigation that is sure to follow shortly, the new rule will take effect in 60 days and it will apply to all H-1B petitions filed on or after the effective date, including new petitions, extensions, a request to change employers, and amendments.

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Congress Expands Premium Processing Program to Additional Application Categories

Congress Expands Premium Processing Program to Additional Application Categories

As part of the year-end appropriations process, Congress passed legislation yesterday that will permanently expand the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) premium processing program, while also increasing program fees, and the legislation was signed into law by the president today.

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October 2020 Visa Bulletin Published; USCIS Will Use “Dates for Filing” Chart

October 2020 Visa Bulletin Published; USCIS Will Use “Dates for Filing” Chart

After much anticipation, the US Department of State has published the Visa Bulletin for October 2020, which showed advancement in most employment-based categories.

Surprisingly, USCIS followed with an announcement that it will be using the “Dates for Filing” chart for accepting employment-based adjustment of status application filings in the month of October. Typically, USCIS uses the “Final Action Dates” chart for accepting adjustment of status application filings.

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New H-1B Rule Submitted for OMB Review

New H-1B Rule Submitted for OMB Review

On Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) submitted a new H-1B rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to be reviewed. OMB review is the final step of the agency rulemaking process that must be completed prior to a new rule being published.

The actual text of the rule is not yet available, but based on a description of the rule previously included in the agency’s regulatory agenda, the new H-1B rule is expected to modify the definition of an H-1B specialty occupation, as well as the definition of employment and the employer-employee relationship for H-1B purposes. Additionally, it is anticipated the rule will also impose new H-1B wage requirements.

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H-1B Cap Update: Second Round of H-1B Cap Numbers Released

H-1B Cap Update: Second Round of H-1B Cap Numbers Released

Last week rumors of a second round of FY21 H-1B cap registration selections began circulating in the US immigration community. Delware Consulting is excited to report that these rumors have become reality and we started receiving new H-1B cap selection confirmations on Friday, August 14.

By way of background, by March 27, 2020, USCIS announced that it had received nearly 275,000 H-1B registrations for FY21 H-1B cap, and selected the first round of registrations. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, closure of borders, and several presidential proclamations, USCIS has received far fewer H-1B petitions than expected. As a result, USCIS will select additional registered cases.

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National Interest Exception Criteria Clarified by DOS

National Interest Exception Criteria Clarified by DOS

On June 22, 2020, President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation (P.P. 10052) which suspended the entry and issuance of nonimmigrant visas (NIV) for applicants applying an H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and certain J-1 visas.

The US Department of State (DOS) has now issued new guidance clarifying how applicants subject to the visa suspension may qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE), specifically those applying for an H-1B or L-1 visa who will resume their work in the US in the same position, with the same employer, and visa classification.

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Trump Issues Proclamation Suspending Entry to the US in Several Major Work Visa Categories

Trump Issues Proclamation Suspending Entry to the US in Several Major Work Visa Categories

In a move that many had anticipated for some time, President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation on Monday, June 22, suspending the issuance of work visas in the H-1B, H-2B, J-1 and L visa categories based on the administration’s belief that doing so will avoid the risk of “displacing and disadvantaging United States workers during the current recovery.”

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President's Promised Immigration Suspension Very Limited in Scope; Only Suspends Entry of Some Immigrant Visa Applicants for 60 Days

President's Promised Immigration Suspension Very Limited in Scope; Only Suspends Entry of Some Immigrant Visa Applicants for 60 Days

On April 22, 2020 President Trump signed a presidential proclamation suspending the entry of only a limited group of immigrant visa applicants to the US for 60 days. The proclamation is effective as of 11.59pm on April 23, 2020. Notably, the proclamation does not impact immigrants already in the US, or individuals or any nonimmigrant visa programs, including the H-1B, L-1, TN, E, O-1, P-1, F-1, J-1 and B visa programs.

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Via Tweet, Trump Says He Plans to Sign Executive Order to Temporarily Suspend US Immigration; Provides No Other Details

Via Tweet, Trump Says He Plans to Sign Executive Order to Temporarily Suspend US Immigration; Provides No Other Details

Via tweet, President Trump has announced that he plans to sign an Executive Order that would temporarily suspend immigration into the US. No other details have been provided by the President, White House staff or government agency officials.

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