Mayer Brown’s Global Mobility and Migration practice recently hosted the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in honoring Charles “Charlie” Oppenheim for his dedicated public service over the past 43 years at the Department of State. Charlie is a legend in the field: he served as Chief of the Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division from 1998 to 2021, when he retired. In this role, Charlie was responsible for determining each month the number of people who could be granted U.S. legal permanent residence (green cards) in each family- and employment-based category. This meant calculating the maximum number of green cards that could be allocated to each country worldwide without exceeding the numerical limits based upon the statutory quotas and preference system set by Congress. To provide additional insights into the process and his predictions, Charlie broadcasted “Chats with Charlie” with the Consular Affairs Press Office every month. He also regularly provided analysis regarding reform proposals to White House and Congressional representatives.

Continue Reading Mayer Brown Honors Charlie Oppenheim

On October 5, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a widely anticipated ruling upholding a district court’s determination that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is unlawful. The decision has no immediate impact on current DACA recipients or their employers, as the three-judge panel stayed its decision pending further review by the district court. In particular, the district court must review a new DACA regulation published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that is set to go into effect on October 31, 2022. The Biden Administration had crafted this new regulation to address the procedural concerns raised by the district court in its earlier ruling against the DACA program.

On October 14, 2022, the district court judge held a status hearing and ruled that the current version of the federal policy can continue, at least temporarily, with the limitations that are presently in place. The judge confirmed that the injunction preventing the government from adjudicating first-time requests for DACA applies to the new regulation. Thus, the new regulation will not take effect on October 31, 2022, for initial applications. The judge ordered attorneys for the federal government to provide more information on the new rule.

Continue Reading DACA Developments: Vital Information for Employers and Employees

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries in the Asia Pacific region have imposed some of the world’s most stringent restrictions on international travel. As countries around the world have begun to eliminate COVID-related entry requirements on international travelers, the Asia Pacific region has been slower to return to pre-pandemic travel norms. However, that trend has now begun to change, as countries across the region have loosened or dropped their vaccination and testing requirements, quarantine procedures, and health screening protocols. Visa-free travel has also resumed for several countries, representing a significant relaxation of COVID-era restrictions.

Continue Reading Asia Pacific Countries Join Global Trend in Reducing COVID Entry Requirements

By the end of August, there were reports indicating that some Indian consulates and the local registration authorities in India started requiring foreign nationals seeking or holding Employment (E) visas to provide proof that their salaries were being paid or were paid in India. Most recently, it seems like the Indian government reversed this requirement. Although no formal announcement was made either as to the payroll localization requirement or the most recent reversal, the move is a welcome change for global employers, many of which choose to maintain foreign assignees on their home country’s payroll.

Continue Reading India Reverses Payroll Localization Requirement for Employment Visa Holders

Effective October 1, 2022, Singapore will only require certain applicants for work pass renewals to be fully vaccinated. Specifically, only Work Permit and S Pass holders employed in the construction, marine shipyard, or process sectors, or those staying in dormitories, will be required to be fully vaccinated to apply for renewal passes. All applicants for new passes must continue to be fully vaccinated. The announcement from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is expected to ease the renewal process for many MOM pass holders.

Continue Reading Singapore Updates COVID Vaccination Requirements for Work Passes

*This blog was originally posted on September 9, 2022. It has been updated with additional information on September 26, 2022.

Effective September 29, 2022, Taiwan will fully reinstate visa-exempt travel authorization for all previously eligible foreign nationals. The move represents one of Taiwan’s most significant steps toward normalizing international travel procedures and reflects a growing trend toward relaxing entry restrictions tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. While COVID-related entry requirements remain relatively strict in East Asia compared to the rest of the world, countries including Singapore, Japan, and South Korea have begun rolling back obstacles to international travel.  

Continue Reading Taiwan to Fully Restore Visa-Free Entry

On August 24, 2022, Singapore’s Ministry of Health announced a relaxation of the country’s COVID-related entry restrictions for international travelers. Specifically, as of August 29, travelers who are not fully vaccinated are no longer required to complete a seven-day home isolation period after arrival or complete post-arrival PCR testing. Singapore’s announcement is part of a recent rollback of COVID-19 entry requirements by various countries in East Asia, including Japan and South Korea.  

Continue Reading Singapore Relaxes COVID-19 Entry Requirements

As countries around the world have begun to loosen or even eliminate entry requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan has maintained comparatively stringent restrictions on entry by foreign nationals. However, the Japanese government is increasingly easing these restrictions, allowing larger numbers of foreign nationals to enter the country through several different visa pathways. While major restrictions remain in place, foreign nationals seeking to enter Japan now have greater opportunity to do so than at any point in the last two years.

Continue Reading Japan Begins Easing COVID Entry Restrictions for Foreign Nationals

Australia’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) is experiencing longer-than-usual processing times for key employment-based visa categories, according to data released by the government. Specifically, expanded processing times have been recorded for the Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage visa and the Subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa. The expanded processing times come amid recent changes to Australia’s permanent residency pathways and the relaxation of COVID-related restrictions on entry by foreign nationals. 

Continue Reading Expanded Government Processing Times for Australian Visas

Employers are responsible for verifying the identity and employment authorization of newly hired employees. The Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) is critical to any employer’s onboarding process for new hires, but ongoing Form I-9 maintenance is equally important with respect to existing employees who need to renew their work authorization documents with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Some employers have faced challenges in this regard following DHS’s recent announcement of a Temporary Final Rule increasing the automatic extension period for employment authorization for certain individuals from 180 to 540 days. The rule was intended to provide additional security to both employees and employers while their renewal applications are being adjudicated by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). However, the rule also raises significant considerations for employers seeking to maintain proper Form I-9 compliance and avoid liability for past errors.

Continue Reading Critical Form I-9 Compliance Risks as DHS Changes Work Authorization Rules