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

Note: Updated to reflect the Department of Homeland Security’s notice on 9/15/2022 regarding the next phase of premium processing for petitioners who have a pending Form I-140, Immigrant Petition, under the EB-1 and EB-2 classifications.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expanding the availability of premium processing for certain pending, employment-based (EB) immigrant petitions, according to its recent alert. The changes specifically affect:

  • EB-1 multinational executives and managers; and
  • EB-2 professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking a national interest waiver (NIW).

This is the third phase of the previously announced plan to expand premium processing. The agency aims to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the immigration system.

Continue Reading Need a Decision Faster? DHS Expands Premium Processing for Certain Employment-Based Petitions

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

The “Ukraine Crisis: Ten Key Questions” Q+A series focuses on the fast-evolving crisis in Ukraine with each episode concentrating on specific points of discussion. In this episode, Amy Jacks (Restructuring partner, London) asks Liz Stern (Global Head of Mobility and Managing Partner, Washington DC) ten key questions on mobility.

It provides you with a quick

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept premium processing requests on a rolling basis for certain immigrant petitions (Form I-140) for multinational executives/managers and for members of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking a national interest waiver. Immigrant petitions (Form I-140) are filed by employers sponsoring employees and individuals for US permanent residency (the US green card).  This is the first implementation phase of the previously announced premium processing expansion.

Employers will be able to request premium processing (expedited adjudication based on a government filing fee) in a staggered approach for the newly-included categories, but note that this benefit applies only to cases filed on or before a specific date in 2021.

Premium Processing May Be Requested Beginning On: Case Type Filed On or Before
June 1, 2022 EB-1C Multinational Managers/Executives January 1, 2021
July 1, 2022 EB-1C Multinational Managers/Executives March 1, 2021
July 1, 2022 EB-2 National Interest Waivers June 1, 2021


Continue Reading Long Awaited Expansion of Expedited Processing: EB-1 and EB-2 Employment Cases

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new rule which permits certain noncitizen applicants to continue working without disruption while their requests for employment authorization are pending adjudication. Qualified individuals must have a pending Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) and meet other criteria (timely filed, same employment category, received a Form I-797C notice) to continue working for up to 540 days from the expiration date stated on their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs or Forms I-766).

Continue Reading DHS Extends Work Permits for Approximately 18 Months, Immediately Affecting 87,000 Applicants

The conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of infrastructure. Since the Ukraine-Russia military crisis escalated two months ago, over 5.2 million Ukrainians have left their homeland as they seek safety and protection in neighboring countries and abroad.

With no visible end in sight to the military operation, the United States government has announced a new, first-of-its-kind humanitarian parole program called “Uniting for Ukraine (U4U).”

Continue Reading Landmark US Humanitarian Parole Program: “Uniting For Ukraine”

Over the past two months, approximately 5 million Ukrainians have departed their homeland due to the escalating military conflict with Russia. Poland has received the majority of these individuals—taking in more than 2.8 million people according to the latest estimate from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Provisions to Welcome Ukrainians
To support the country’s humanitarian response, the Polish government adopted a series of amendments to the country’s immigration laws, including changes directly related to the influx of Ukrainians. The changes are expected to provide increased flexibility for Ukrainian nationals in terms of residence permits, work authorization and access to public benefits. In addition, the Polish government set up a dedicated website for Ukrainian citizens that provides detailed help on a range of issues—from how to obtain a national identification number (known as a PESEL), access support services such as legal aid and medical care, and obtain a three-year temporary residence permit to how to navigate traffic rules, participate in cultural activities, and change the language of the keyboard on a smartphone.

Continue Reading Poland Expands Support for Ukrainians

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced several new measures including expanding premium processing to additional form types, providing relief to individuals waiting for work permits and setting agency-wide backlog reduction goals. USCIS, a fee-based organization, faced an unprecedented budgetary shortfall and backlog of cases to be processed in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic and resource constraints. According to data published by the agency, there are approximately 9 million forms pending adjudication.

Expanding Premium Processing

As part of the these efforts, USCIS published a final rule that expands premium processing (expedited adjudication for a fee). The final rule is expected to take effect at the end of May 2022, and USCIS will begin implementation – through a phased approach – as soon thereafter as feasible.

Continue Reading US Immigration Agency Announces Measures to Expedite Services and Decrease Pending Caseload