Newsletter – April 2021

News RoomFebruary 23, 2022

Newsletter – April 2021

USCIS Completes Initial H-1B Electronic Registration Selection

On March 30, USCIS announced it had received enough electronic registrations during the initial registration period to reach the fiscal year 2022 H-1B numerical allocations and that it had completed the registration selection for the H-1B lottery. Our firm has reached out to petitioners and selected registrants to provide notification of the lottery selection. For our clients that paid to have their cases prioritized, we have drafted and submitted their cases to USCIS. For our remaining selected cap cases, we will draft and submit these cases as expeditiously as possible, within the 90-day window provided by the selection notices. Unlike past years, and for the first time in recent memory, USCIS has continued to allow premium processing for regular case filings as well as cases selected into the lottery this year.

For HR and those individuals who have additional questions about alternative solutions and options in the event someone was not accepted in the lottery please join our Managing Partner David Brown for his webinar this Thursday – details below.

USCIS Continues to Extend the Time to Respond to Inquiries

On March 24, USCIS announced that it would continue to allow Petitioners 60 extra days over the published response time on Request for Evidence, Notices of Intent to Deny, and other requests by the agency issued between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, inclusive in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Our firm will continue to respond to RFEs as soon as practicable, however, in cases where additional time may be beneficial, we will discuss this with petitioners.

Immigration Group Sues Department of State due to Refusal to Issue Visas

On April 8, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and Partners filed a complaint against the Secretary of State alleging that the Department of State (DOS) has unlawfully refused to issue certain visas because of the suspension of entry that apply to individuals who were physically present in Iran, China, Brazil, South Africa, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Schengen area of Europe during the 14-days prior to seeking entry. Though these regional entry bans allow entry after an individual has remained outside the designated countries for 14 days, the DOS has refused to issue visas to impacted individuals which would allow them to travel to a nonrestricted country and remain there for 14 days prior to seeking entry into the U.S.

We will continue to closely track this critical litigation and provide timely updates.

USCIS Allows F-1 Students to File Form I-765 Online for OPT

On April 12, USCIS announced that F-1 students can now file form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, online if they are seeking pre-completion OPT, post-completion OPT, or 24-month OPT STEM extension. The agency reminds applicants that the option to file Form I-765 online is only available to F-1 students filing Form I-765 for OPT. If an applicant submits a Form I-765 online for a different eligibility category, USCIS will deny the application but retain the filing fee. The agency anticipates expanding the online filing for Form I-765 for additional categories as it transitions to paperless operations. Unlike the Canadian system which promotes online filing as a way to receive faster adjudications, USCIS continues to treat online filings on par with paper filing.

The online Form I-765 for F-1 OPT applicants joins a list of 10 other online forms available for electronic submission. We will continue to provide updates as USCIS continues to expand its digital capabilities.

ICE Provides New Guidance and Extends COVID I-9 Flexibility

On March 31, ICE announced an extension of the flexibilities of rules related to Form I-9 compliance initially announced in March 2020 until May 31, 2021. The March 2020 guidance had allowed employers to remotely inspect an employee’s identity and employment authorization documents if an employer’s workplace is operating 100% remotely. The current extension also provides new guidance for employees hired on or after April 1, 2021 which expands the scope of the in-person exemption benefit. Specifically, if they will work exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19-related precautions, these employees are temporarily exempt from the physical inspection requirement until they undertake non-remote employment “on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis or the extension of the flexibilities related to such requirements is terminated, whichever is earlier.”

Please contact a member of our legal team if you have questions regarding existing I-9 COVID-19 flexibilities or the new guidance for employees hired on or after April 1.

Didn’t Make the H-1 Cap? Let’s Talk Options, and Other Updates in Business Immigration – What you Need to Know in Just 30 Minutes

The H-1B Cap lottery ended on March 28th and those who were selected have a clear path forward. However, based on stats we’ve seen, we know more were not accepted than accepted and now employers and employees are grappling with the “what do we do?” question to ensure continued or future employment eligibility in the U.S. And as those who are dealing with immigration issues know, our system is showing significant cracks in the foundations as cases are not timely processed and people encounter travel issues. In this session Managing Partner David Brown will answer the “what do we do?” question and provide real actionable options for people who did not get accepted in the lottery.

Additionally, David will spend a few minutes providing key immigration updates related to recent moves by the Biden administration to undo many of the prior administration’s ill advised policy changes. The core program will be a quick 30 minutes and leave ample time for Q&A.

If your company or fellow HR colleague can benefit from such a session, please register, and invite your friends.

REGISTER HERE For April 22nd

This is a text block. You can use it to add text to your tOnce 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.

Best Regards,

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 **