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

In this Law360 article, Mayer Brown Partner Carl Risch comments on the H-1B visa renewal pilot program introduced by the US Department of State.  “According to Mayer Brown partner Carl Risch, who was assistant secretary of state for consular affairs from 2017-2020, renewals became an issue once the COVID-19 pandemic led to processing backlogs

On July 18, 2023, Canada’s newly announced program offering open work permits to holders of U.S. H-1B visas closed after it reached the maximum number of applicants – less than two days after its launch. Under the Canadian government’s “Tech Talent Strategy,” ten thousand open work permits have been made available to foreign nationals who hold H-1B specialty occupation visas from the United States. The program is intended to improve the mobility of high-tech talent in North America by expanding the options for H-1B holders facing long waits for U.S. permanent residency (i.e., green cards). While the popularity of Canada’s program was widely expected, the speed with which the 10,000-permit limit was reached underscores the high demand for labor mobility in North America among employers and employees alike.Continue Reading Canada’s Work Permit Program for U.S. H-1B Visa Holders Maxes Out in 48 Hours, as U.S. Conducts Second H-1B Lottery

On June 27, 2023, the Canadian government announced a new “Tech Talent Strategy” aimed at increasing the country’s attractiveness to global talent. Central to the government’s strategy is a program that offers three-year open work permits to foreign nationals who hold H-1B specialty occupation visas in the United States. Spouses of US H-1B visa holders would also be eligible for work authorization in Canada, and children would be eligible for study permits. The Tech Talent Strategy also includes provisions that promote Canada as a destination for digital nomads, improve the allocation of visas to startup companies, and streamline work permit processes. The open work permit program for H-1B visa holders is set to go into effect on July 16, 2023.Continue Reading Canada Offers Open Work Permits to US H-1B Visa Holders as Part of “Tech Talent Strategy”

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

On Monday, March 27, 2023, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had received a sufficient number of H-1B registrations through its electronic registration system to reach the annual cap for FY 2024. The announcement includes registrations for both the 65,000 regular cap as well as the 20,000 slots allotted for the U.S. advanced degree exemption (or “master’s cap”). H-1B cap-subject petitions for FY 2024 may be submitted based on valid, selected registrations beginning April 1, 2023. While USCIS has not announced plans for additional selections, valid registrations remain eligible for selection if the number of petitions actually submitted does not allow the agency to reach the annual cap. Continue Reading USCIS Completes Initial H-1B Registration Selection Process for FY 2024

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated the website information for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status in January 2022 to include information related to green card availability and a process referred to as a “transfer of underlying basis.”

Each year, approximately 140,000 US employment-based immigrant visas (green cards) are made

On December 23, 2021, the Department of State announced that consular officers are now authorized to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain temporary work visa applicants who have petitions approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  This authorization will expire on December 31, 2022.  Interviews may be waived for temporary workers applying for the following visa types:  H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q.  As the authorization requires a USCIS-approved petition, it does not appear to apply to individual visa applications submitted pursuant to approved “L” blankets.  In order to qualify, an applicant must meet the following requirements:
Continue Reading State Department Will Waive Interviews for Many Temporary Work Visa Applicants

On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it received a sufficient number of H-1B registrations through its new electronic registration system needed to reach the annual cap, which includes registrations for both the 65,000 regular cap, as well as the 20,000 allotted US advanced degree exemption (or “master’s cap”).

USCIS states in its announcement that the lottery selection process is complete and that the Agency has notified all prospective petitioners if their registrations have been selected, meaning employers are eligible to file a FY2022 H-1B cap-subject petition on behalf of the employees for whom selection notices have been assigned.Continue Reading USCIS Announces H-1B FY2022 Lottery Selection Complete, Selected Petitioners Notified

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