On July 30, 2018, US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it will postpone its June 28, 2018 guidance for the issuance of Notices to Appear (“NTA”) to commence removal proceedings in certain cases. For the time being, USCIS will delay activating the new NTA policy until the agency determines an implementation plan. USCIS did not indicate a timeline or date however by which it will publish its NTA operations plan, an agency function traditionally held by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”).
Although USCIS NTAs are on hold until further notice, employers can take practical steps now to prepare for the agency’s transition, specifically by assessing if any of their foreign national employees may be at risk of a potential removal or deportation proceeding. For example, student employees should have their most current address on file with USCIS in case they receive a Request for Evidence, otherwise they will not be able to respond to USCIS, and could unknowingly receive a NTA if they fail to provide a respond. Similarly, for employees whose work authorization relies upon a non-immigrant visa category, such as an H-1B visa, employers may renew or extend the non-immigrant status beginning six months in advance of the visa expiration. Renewing a non-immigrant visa status as early as possible allows both employers and employees more time to respond to Requests for Evidence, or concurrently strategize other immigration options that may be available, and minimize a disruption of work.
For more information about the USCIS NTA policy delay, please read our Mayer Brown Global Mobility Legal Alert here.