Photo of Elizabeth (Liz) Espín Stern

Elizabeth Espín Stern, a partner in Mayer Brown's Washington DC office, leads the firm’s Global Mobility & Migration practice, which forms part of the Employment & Benefits group. She is a seasoned veteran, advising on US and global immigration, HR and mobility services. She is consistently ranked as a leading business immigration lawyer by Chambers GlobalChambers USAWho's Who LegalThe International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, and national and local publications. In addition, she has been named in Best Lawyers in AmericaSuper Lawyers and "Women in Law Awards 2014" by Lawyer Monthly and named one of National Law Journal’s “Outstanding Women Lawyers 2015.” She spearheads Mayer Brown's new global worksite management initiative. This "Global People Solution" offers multinational clients, in a variety of sectors including financial services, IT, defense, telecommunications and multimedia, a comprehensive compliance and risk management program in connection with their mobile workforce. Liz regularly speaks and writes about immigration policies and contributes to major news agencies and publications, including Law 360, Quartz.com, Global Business News and a host of global HR publications.

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President Donald Trump’s tweet late Monday night, April 20, 2020, that he would suspend immigration temporarily “[i]n light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens,” led to widespread speculation across the business community that the president was instituting a blanket ban

In a tweet late Monday, April 20, 2020, President Trump said he will issue an executive order temporarily suspending immigration  “in light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy” and the “need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens.”  The White House did not provide any immediate clarification, including when an executive order

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guidance posted on April 13, 2020, provides nonimmigrant visa holders and Visa Waiver visitors who find themselves unable to timely depart the United States, with options to remain in the United States lawfully.  Our post on the COVID-19 Response Blog, “Multiple Courses to Seek Additional Time to Remain in

Employers who employ international talent, including graduates of US university programs, have been preparing for the annual H-1B “cap subject” petition filing process since early this calendar year.  H-1B petitions for specialty occupation workers who are graduating from university programs, moving to the United States for the first time, or transitioning from a different visa category to the H-1B, are subject to an annual quota of 65,000, with an additional pool of 20,000 reserved for graduates of US advanced degree (master’s or higher) programs.

This year, USCIS launched an Electronic Registration Process for the first time, requiring employers to pre-register their H-1B candidates and pay a $10 per-candidate registration fee. The registration period opened on March 1, and will close at noon ET on March 20, 2020. By this point in the process, with only two working days before the close of the period, employers need to verify and check that their H-1B registrations all reflect the status of “submitted” in the government database.
Continue Reading As March 20 Fast Approaches, Where Do Your H-1B Cap Cases Stand?

On Wednesday evening, March 11, 2020, President Trump announced a ban on travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days, a sweeping new measure that will take effect on at midnight on Friday, March 13, 2020.  Travel from the United Kingdom will be exempt from the ban, and there will be exceptions for Americans who have undergone health screenings.  Currently, Americans entering from banned countries, such as China and Iran, are required to enter through designated airports, so they may undergo health screenings and, if needed, quarantine procedures.
Continue Reading President Trump Announces 30-day Suspension of Travel from Europe Due to Coronavirus

A federal judge ruled that US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) improperly denied an H-1B petition by attempting to impose a subspecialty requirement that is not warranted by the governing statute, regulation, or legislative history. US Magistrate Judge L. Patrick Auld rejected USCIS’s assertion that the offered position in the case did not qualify as an H-1B “specialty occupation”  because it did not require a degree in a specific subspecialty and could be filled by workers with degrees in more than one discipline, such as different types of engineering degrees.
Continue Reading USCIS Dealt a Blow by Federal Judge Rejection of Its Narrow H-1B Degree Interpretation

According to media reports, President Trump, speaking to reporters ahead of a meeting with health researchers on March 2, 2020, indicated the United States will consider extension of travel restrictions beyond the People’s Republic of China and Iran.  The president said the administration has been “very stringent,” but is now looking at “other countries that have been badly affected.”  He cited Italy, Japan, and South Korea as “hot spots” under close review. 
Continue Reading US Travel Ban May Expand to “Hot Spots” Abroad

As of February 24, 2020, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is free to impose the regulation it unveiled in August 2019, which gives its officers significantly expanded authority to deny visas and green card applications from immigrants and prospective immigrants whom the government determines rely, or could rely, on certain public benefits like food stamps and government housing programs.  A narrowly divided Supreme Court lifted the nationwide injunction in January 2020, ruling 5-4 that the administration could begin enforcing the controversial policy, leaving lower courts to wrestle with multiple lingering legal actions challenging the rule.  On February 21, 2020, the Supreme Court lifted the last remaining injunction, which had applied to Illinois residents.

As a result, USCIS has reissued new versions of existing application and petition forms which include attestations regarding the redefined public charge policy.  USCIS has also issued a new form, “Declaration of Self-Sufficiency” (Form I-944), which requires comprehensive information about a beneficiary and accompanying family’s assets, resources, and financial status, including liabilities, debts, credit report and credit score, health insurance, and public benefits. Form I-944 also requires information about the beneficiary’s educational history and skill level.
Continue Reading The Top Issues For Global Employers as Nationwide “Public Charge” Rule Affects Millions of Visa and Green Card Applicants

Since January 30, 2020, when the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (“WHO”) declared the outbreak of the current novel coronavirus (now officially designated by WHO as “coronavirus disease 2019,” abbreviated as “COVID-19”), the total number of cases globally has now reached 80,980, and nearly 3,000 have died. While all but 55 of reported deaths are in China, more new cases were reported outside China than inside for the first time this week, on February 25, 2020. The first case in Latin America was detected in Brazil; Germany is declaring an epidemic; and the United States is bracing for an outbreak, with the president tapping Vice President Pence to coordinate the US response.

Among the issues employers need to address is managing the myriad travel restrictions stemming from host governments as multiple countries and localities seek to prevent further spread of the virus. Mayer Brown’s COVID-19 Global Travel Restrictions by Country, a Global People Solution™ travel tool, provides a summary of the latest country reports Mayer Brown has received regarding travel restrictions.
Continue Reading Travel Disruption Due to the Coronavirus – What Employers Need to Know

The administration announced expansion of the controversial travel ban to include six more countries, following an almost year-long review by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”).  Restrictions on entering the United States will apply to certain travelers and migrants from Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, as well as Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Sudan, and Tanzania, ,