The U.S. Department of State (DOS) recently extended the allowable duration for Japanese language and culture specialists under the J-1 visa classification from one year to three years. The initiative aims to enhance cultural exchanges and strengthen educational ties between Japan and the United States.[1]Continue Reading A Longer Welcome: US Extends Stay for Japanese Specialists to Three Years

In a significant development, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is taking steps to prevent certain applicants from experiencing a lapse in employment authorization while their renewal requests remain pending. The agency is temporarily increasing the automatic extension period from a maximum of 180 days to 540 days from the expiration date stated on the work permit.[1] The agency estimates that the update will safeguard more than $29 billion in employee earnings while saving US employers more than $5 billion in labor turnover costs.

A large population will benefit from the automatic extensions, including individuals with pending adjustment of status applications (green card applications); certain spouses of E, H, and L nonimmigrants; asylum seekers with pending applications; as well as many others.[2] The rule is expected to reduce gaps in these individuals’ employment authorization and thereby protect employers’ continuity of operations and financial stability by avoiding labor turnover and replacement costs.Continue Reading More Time on the Clock: DHS Extends Work Authorization Amid Processing Delays

On April 1, 2024, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) implemented new costs for many common immigration filings, resulting in a fee increase of 100% to 200% for certain visa categories including those utilized by US employers. In this Legal Update, we examine some of these new fees, the impact of the fee increase on

The online registration period for the Diversity Visa Program concludes on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, at 12:00 PM EST.

The U.S. Diversity Visa program (DV program, also known as the “green card lottery” or “the visa lottery”) is a unique immigration initiative that has been in place since the 1990’s. This program is designed to diversify the immigrant population of the United States by providing an opportunity for individuals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S. to obtain a visa and pursue the American Dream.

To participate in the Diversity Visa Lottery, individuals must meet specific eligibility criteria. They must be from a qualifying country, which typically excludes countries with high rates of immigration to the U.S. For the first time, individuals born in the United Kingdom and its dependent territories are eligible. Applicants must also have at least a high school education or two years of work experience in a qualifying occupation and undergo a security background check by the U.S. government. Continue Reading The American Dream Through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program

The US Supreme Court has declined to consider a lawsuit that sought to eliminate a work authorization program widely utilized by foreign graduates of US universities. The Supreme Court’s denial of a writ of certiorari ensures that foreign graduates may continue working through the Department of Homeland Security’s Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, eliminating a

In a significant move aimed at streamlining and providing additional flexibilities to the employment verification process, the Department of Homeland Security announced a final rule granting certain employers the authority to utilize an optional alternative when examining Form I-9 documentation. The announcement follows the agency’s proposed rulemaking in August 2022 designed to explore alternative means

To retain the best global talent, many employers leverage the annual H-1B visa lottery to secure work authorization for new employees. The nature of a lottery, however, leads some employers to search for ways to improve their chances of securing that “winning ticket”—and a pathway to retaining key talent in the United States. Recently, the

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