March 31, 2021 marked the sunset on a presidential proclamation that suspended four visa categories of substantial importance to US employers: H-1B, L-1, H-2B, and certain J-1 visas.  In effect since June 24, 2020 and initially scheduled to expire on December 31, 2020, Presidential Proclamation 10052 was extended by former president Trump through March 31, 2021 and left to expire by President Biden.  President Biden’s approach to let the nonimmigrant visa ban run its course is different than his action to rescind Presidential Proclamation 10014, which suspended the issuance of new immigrant visas to applicants outside the United States.
Continue Reading H-1B and L-1 Visas, Among Others, Now Available With the Expiration of Presidential Proclamation 10052

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

As anticipated and indicated in our “heat map” of immigration actions during the first 100 days in office, the Biden administration has withdrawn a rule proposed by the Trump administration that would have eliminated work authorization for the H-4 spouses of certain H-1B visa holders.  The decision to withdraw the rule will allow the H-4 dependent spouse of an H-1B nonimmigrant who:

  • Is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  • Has been granted an extension of their H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act (AC21)

to continue to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).  Under AC21 § 106, an H-1B nonimmigrant can receive H-1B status beyond the six-year maximum, in one-year increments, if 365 days or more have passed since either an application for Alien Labor Certification (Form ETA 750A-B or ETA 9089) or a petition for immigrant worker (Form I-140) has been filed on the nonimmigrant’s behalf. 
Continue Reading H-4 Dependent Spouses Breathing a Little Easier

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

As reported in our prior alert, the Department of Labor (DOL) has issued its final rule Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States.  Published today in the Federal Register, the Final Rule is effective March 15, 2021.  The rule increases wages employers are required to pay H-1B workers by the percentiles we previously reported for the four wage levels utilized by the DOL—35th percentile for Level 1, followed by 53rd, 72nd and 90th percentiles. 
Continue Reading Trump Administration Publishes H-1B DOL Wage Rule

On the cusp of the January 20, 2021 US presidential inauguration, the Trump administration has a few remaining days to take action on immigration priorities that have been key to the president’s platform. By presidential proclamation, the current administration extended a travel ban just a few short hours before the ban’s original expiration on December