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Today, on “Immigration Day,” the Biden administration issued a series of executive orders relating to its major immigration policy priorities, including: (1) revising the “public charge rule,” (2) rebuilding faith in the legal immigration system, (3) implementing a humane migration and asylum system, and (4) creating a task force to reunite migrant children who were separated from their families under the Trump administration. In remarks made at the signing ceremony, President Biden stated that he is “not making new law” but unraveling prior administration policies. 
Continue Reading On “Immigration Day,” Biden Signs Orders to Reverse Prior Administration Policies

H-1B Wage Rule Delayed

Yesterday, the DOL announced that, consistent with the Biden administration’s regulatory freeze, it will delay the application of a last-minute Trump Administration order meant to revise the computation of prevailing wages employers are required to pay H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 visa holders. The new effective date of the regulation is May 14, 2021. In the interim, the DOL will open a 15-day comment period starting on February 1st, with a subsequent 60-day review period.

If it goes into effect, the Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States rule would have a significant impact on sectors that rely on foreign workers, including the tech industry. While the Biden administration has signaled its intent to reverse the Trump administration’s H-1B policies, it is not clear that this regulation will be withdrawn. The Biden administration has expressed an interest to reform the temporary visa system so that “they are aligned with the labor market and not used to undermine wages.”
Continue Reading H-1B Wage Rule Delayed, Secretary Blinken Confirmed at State, and DHS Nominee Mayorkas Reportedly to be Filibustered

In a proclamation issued Monday, President Biden banned travelers from entering the United States if they recently spent time in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, the Schengen Area, or South Africa. Citing its goal of curbing the spread and health impact of COVID-19, particularly novel strains of the virus arising in Brazil, South Africa, and the UK, the new administration is requiring travelers to spend 14 days in a third country before transiting to the United States.  The travel restrictions take effect today, January 26, 2021.
Continue Reading Continuing Restrictions Placed on the UK, Ireland, Europe, and Brazil, Biden Administration Adds Ban on Travel from South Africa

Nearly half of the executive orders signed by President Biden on his first day in office reverse the immigration policies of the Trump administration.  The Biden administration’s actions included reversing the ban on visa issuance and travel from Muslim-majority countries, placing an immediate pause on funding construction of a wall along the country’s southern border, and requiring testing negative for COVID-19 to enter the United States.  The new administration’s swift action underscores the priority placed on immigration policy, as forecasted here.  We outline each executive order signed, with plans to further address the executive actions most critical to employers and businesses.  
Continue Reading President Biden’s First Executive Orders Focus on Reversing Trump Administration Policies

On his first day in office, President Biden is taking a series of actions to realize his vision for US immigration policy.  Fulfilling one of his major campaign promises, President Biden has introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill, “The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021” (the “Act”).  The Act seeks to establish “a new system to responsibly manage and secure our border, keep our families and communities safe, and better manage migration across the Hemisphere.”  We provide a summary of the bill’s proposals here.
Continue Reading President Biden’s Day One Immigration Priorities

In likely its last “midnight rule,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to publish a more limited version of its Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Final Rule (the “Final Rule”). With the twin goals of aligning the H-1B regulations with the Immigration and Nationality Act and improving the integrity of the H-1B program, the Final Rule targets employers who assign H-1B workers to third-party worksites, requiring those employers to establish a valid “employer-employee” relationship.
Continue Reading Trump Administration Poised to Publish a More Limited H-1B Rule Before Inauguration Day

On December 31, 2020, the Trump Administration issued Presidential Proclamation on Suspension of Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants Who Continue to Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market, continuing restrictions on certain work visa and green card issuance through the end of March 2021.  Citing improved but still persistent unemployment figures caused by COVID-19, the new Proclamation extended two prior executive actions that have limited employers’ ability to sponsor foreign workers for residency and work in the United States:

  • Presidential Proclamation 10014, which suspended the issuance of new immigrant visas to applicants who were outside the United States as of April 24, 2020, and
  • Presidential Proclamation 10052, which, as reported here, suspended new H-1B, L-1, H-2B, and certain J-1 visa issuance for individuals who were outside the United States as of June 23, 2020; were not in possession of a nonimmigrant visa on that date; and have no other authorization to travel to the United States, such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole authorization. The Department of State (DOS) has confirmed that the ban does not prohibit visa applications and travel into the United States by H-1B and L-1 nonimmigrants who are resuming “ongoing employment in the United States in the same position with the same employer and visa classification.”


Continue Reading Trump Administration Extends Bans on Issuing Certain Work Visas and Green Cards Until March 31, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has extended a temporary policy allowing employers to conduct remote reviews of I-9 supporting documentation until December 31, 2020. The extension provides employers ongoing flexibility with regards to I-9 verification processes in light of the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although

This afternoon, the US District Court for the Northern District of California set aside two rules issued by the Trump administration pertaining to employer sponsorship of H-1B workers, both of which bypassed notice-and-comment rulemaking as required by the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”):

  • The Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens

Executive Summary

The Trump Administration has introduced long-anticipated changes to the H-1B visa program for highly-skilled foreign workers, aimed at tightening eligibility for STEM talent working at major US employers, including by imposing a rigid requirement that any job offered to an H-1B worker require a single specific degree in a subspecialty, and that each