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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On August 3, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order (“EO” or the “Order”) directing the heads of all agencies that enter into contracts to review the impact of contractors and their subcontractors employing H-1B visa holders on the wages and employment opportunities of US workers. Specifically, the EO directs all federal agencies to review

Some 70% of the 20,000 employees of US Citizenship & Immigration Services, the agency within Homeland Security that adjudicates visa-related benefits for all foreign workers, could face furloughs starting as early as August 3, 2020, unless Congress provides $1.2 billion in emergency funding. This budget shortfall was caused by a dramatic decrease in the number

In a media release issued on July 6, 2020, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) announced a rollback of the protections it afforded to foreign students in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. The July 6 release announced that foreign students will no longer be eligible for F-1 visas or to remain in the United States to participate in online-only courses of study. Coming only six weeks before the start of the fall semester, the guidance has raised serious concerns for premier US universities, for which foreign students provide one of the greatest sources of revenue, already leading Harvard and MIT to file suit challenging the sudden reversal in posture only six weeks before the start of the fall semester. Other major universities, accompanied by business groups and a number of state attorneys general, are considering challenges to the new policy.

The policy change is expected to affect an estimated more than 1 million student visa holders in the United States, as well as others presently outside the United States who have been admitted for the fall semester.  Students currently in the United States and planning to attend schools that have elected to offer online-only classes in the fall 2020 semester “must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school offering in-person instruction to remain in lawful status” per the release.


Continue Reading New ICE Directive Threatens Status of More Than One Million Foreign Students and Prompts Immediate Lawsuit

The Government of India has not yet eased its ban on international flights or consular processing services.  The latest announcement from the Government confirms:

  • All scheduled international commercial passenger services will remain closed until July 15, 2020, with exceptions for select routes for which international flights may be permitted made on a case-by-case basis.
  • All

The UK government has implemented a new form of compliance audit for Tier 2 sponsors conducted by UKVI as a telephone interview.   The new process will supplement but not replace the established activity of full compliance audits that are carried out by the Sponsor Compliance Network at sponsor premises.

Starting on June 15, the

President Trump signed a proclamation on June 22, 2020, suspending four visa categories of substantial importance to US companies – H-1B, L-1, H-2B, and certain J-1 visas – for the rest of the calendar year, and laid the groundwork for regulatory changes to transform when and how employers can sponsor foreign workers to work in the United States. The executive order does not affect visa holders already in the United States who do not travel abroad, or those who are abroad but have already obtained a visa or other travel document. Additionally, the order extends the provisions of the President’s April 22, 2020, “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak,” which suspended for 60 days the issuance of new immigrant visas to applicants who are outside the United States.

The order also includes a mandate for subsequent rulemaking to address a wide-ranging series of measures including imposition of new recruitment and compliance obligations on employers, development of a revised regulatory scheme for allocation of and eligibility qualification for H-1B visas, and provision of enhanced investigative and exclusionary authority for consular and port officials.

The June 22, 2020, proclamation immediately extends the immigrant visa suspension, while the entry restrictions for H-1B, L-1, H-2B, and J-1 visas will take effect on June 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. EDT. Both provisions are effective until December 31, 2020.
Continue Reading Trump Order Suspends Major Visa Categories, Including H-1B and L-1, Through the End of the Calendar Year, With Rulemaking Restrictions to Follow

Today, the Supreme Court—in a 5-4 decision—invalidated the Trump Administration’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program, which provides protection against deportation and work authorization for 700,000 undocumented individuals who were brought to America as children. Mayer Brown submitted an amicus brief—which the Court cited—on behalf of 143 trade associations and businesses

President Trump is expected to issue an executive order in the next several days either eliminating, or significantly limiting, the availability of non-immigrant visas in categories of substantial importance to US companies (H-1B visas for specialty occupation workers, L visas for intra-company assignees, and other related categories), as well as eliminating or substantially curtailing the

On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak,” to pause issuance of new immigrant visas to applicants who are outside the United States for 60 days.  As reported on this blog, although the

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