As USCIS continues to face a historic backlog of cases, the government is now facing a barrage of lawsuits. As reported by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, TRAC—a non-partisan entity reporting on the federal government—found that there have been a record high number of lawsuits against the government for its delay on immigration-related matters. Many of these lawsuits are writs of mandamus or improper delay complaints under the Administrative Procedure Act. TRAC notes the number of lawsuits will likely reach over 6,000 by the end of the fiscal year. At BIL, we have successfully filed a number of these lawsuits for individuals facing a long wait for adjudication on various case types. If you have questions about this practice, please contact your BIL attorney.
Premium Processing Expanded as Planned for Previously Filed I-140 Petitions
As announced in July, USCIS continues to phase in the expansion of premium processing for certain case types, including I-140 petitions in the EB-1 (multinational managers/executives) and EB-2 (national interest waiver) petitions. As of August 1, 2022, if your case was received by USCIS on or before July 1, 2021 (for multinational managers/executives), or August 1, 2021 (for NIWs), the case is now eligible to be upgraded to premium processing for 45-day adjudication.
Our attorneys have been tracking cases in these categories for possible premium upgrades. If you have a question about your pending case and upgrading to premium, please contact your BIL attorney.
HR Partners – Note on Reductions in Force (RIF)
As many are aware, the United States is likely approaching a recession. In the business immigration context, this can mean RIFs and other workforce slimming measures preparing for an economic downturn. Companies who sponsor nonimmigrants for work authorization in the United States have certain obligations when undergoing an RIF or other measures, such as terminations. If your company is currently experiencing this situation, please contact your BIL attorney for an assessment and advice on next steps and/or register for upcoming free webinars (listed below).
Social Security Administration (SSA) Resumes E-Verify Operations
As reported by AILA and the SSA, “Starting July 15, 2022, employees whose E-Verify cases are referred to SSA on or after July 15, 2022, will have the normal 8 federal working days to contact their local SSA office to begin resolving the mismatch.” During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SSA office had allowed an extended timeframe for contacting the agency in this scenario; however, this allowance has now ended, and the agency has returned to the 8 federal working days contact requirement.
Renewing Immigration Provisions of the Immigration Act of 1929
A bill has been introduced to the House of Representatives to update the qualifying date for the U.S. Registry Law, which allows certain immigrants to register after living in the U.S. since a certain date and apply for a green card. Currently, to qualify, an individual must have lived in the United States since January 1, 1972 (among other considerations). The bill seeks to update that date to allow more individuals to qualify for this benefit. The most recent update to this law was made during the Reagan Administration in 1986. As reported by VOA News, “There is no specific date being suggested. Instead, House Democrats are proposing that applicants would have to have lived in the U.S. for seven years to become eligible, creating a rolling registry that allows new people to apply every year.” We will continue to monitor this, and other immigrant reform legislation, as the bills progress through Congress’ process.
Permanent End of the “Wet Signature” Requirement and Continued Flexibility to Respond to Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and Other USCIS Requests
During the pandemic, USCIS extended the due date on certain agency requests, including RFEs. Near the end of July, USCIS announced that it would extend this flexibility through October 23, 2022.
At the same time, USCIS has now formally announced that it will permanently adopt a policy allowing the filing of documents with electronically reproduced original signatures, instead of its pre-pandemic requirement of original “wet ink” signatures. We welcome this policy as a commonsense practice for our clients.
U.S. Department of State Updated COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Paroled Individuals under Uniting for Ukraine
As noted in a USCIS alert, “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has updated the COVID-19 vaccination requirements for beneficiaries paroled into the United States under Uniting for Ukraine. Effective immediately, all beneficiaries aged 6 months and older must have an attestation submitted attesting that they received COVID-19 vaccinations both before traveling to the United States and after arrival in the United States, unless they are eligible for an exception. Previously, beneficiaries younger than 5 years old qualified for an exception to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement because the vaccine was not approved or licensed for use in that age group.”
The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for September 2022. USCIS determined that for September 2022, all family-sponsored preference categories must use the Dates for Filing chart and all employment-based preference categories must use the Final Action Dates chart. For September 2022, we do not see movement in most categories, including the EB-2 and EB-3 categories for Indian and Chinese nationals, as the worldwide categories remain current.
New Learning Opportunities!
The Best Practices to Follow When Structuring a Reduction in Force (RIF) (Two Dates to Chose From)
Please join Managing Partner, David Zaritzky Brown, on August 30th at 1:00 PM CST for a new round of webinar learning (repeat on September 7th). As we have witnessed changes in capital markets and financial forecasting and seen the decline in certain industries some of our clients have had to grapple with the unfortunate decision to reduce headcount. Having seen both good and bad markets, David has counselled clients extensively on the best practices to follow when structuring a reduction in force (RIF). In this webinar David will discuss the impact a lay-off has on status and green card processing. He will walk through the benefits you can offer employees in this unexpected situation. After he goes over the major RIF related issues in the first 30 minutes, David stay on a generous Q&A time to provide answers to interested HR/Management attendees.
For those individuals who are interested in attending but away on the 30th, David will repeat this session on September 7th, also at 1:00 PM CST.
The Best Practices in Hiring Foreign Nationals – NIV Options (Two Dates to Chose From)
In addition to facing the possibility of a RIF we find a significant number of our clients are still seeking key staff to ensure they find the talent they need to grow and compete. This session is intended for HR Managers and recruiters to better understand the key visa types employers use to hire key talent. Additionally, David will share best practices for hiring H-1B transfers to ensure it is a smooth and easy onboarding. David is happy to stay on after the core 30 minute program to discuss case specific hiring issues for individuals in a NIV status.
David will repeat this session on October 5th, also at 1:00 PM CST.
Once registered, you will receive an email with a link to use to join the video chat on the day of the event. Please note: This link should not be shared with others; it is unique to you. If you ever misplace the invitation link, simply visit the webinar schedule on our website to join the LIVE chat.
If you have contacts or colleagues who may benefit from our talks, you are welcome to invite them to join our VIP invitation list by sharing our webinar schedule where they can subscribe for further information.
Don’t miss these opportunities to increase your knowledge on important immigration issues!
Thank you and we look forward to having you at the event.
The Team at Brown Immigration Law
** This newsletter/memo is provided for informational and discussion purposes only. It does not act as a substitute for direct legal contact on an individual basis **