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

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

Ukraine At A Glance Since 02/24/2022

3.8 Million – Number of People Fleeing Ukraine

6.5 Million – Number of People Displaced Internally in Ukraine

On March 24, 2022, the White House announced a new set of initiatives designed to address the humanitarian and economic impacts of the Ukraine-Russia crisis. According to a White House statement, the U.S. government will expand its refugee resettlement capabilities and other immigration pathways in order to facilitate the entry of up to 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing the conflict. The U.S. government will also provide more than $1 billion in new funding toward humanitarian assistance for those affected by the crisis, with a focus on securing food, water, shelter, medical supplies, and other vital forms of assistance. In addition, the White House announced that $320 million would be allocated toward democracy and human rights funding for Ukraine and neighboring countries.

Continue Reading Ukraine: White House Announces New Humanitarian Measures

Federal law requires that employers attest to verifying each employee’s identity and authorization to legally work in the United States. By regulation, employees must present original, unexpired documents from the U.S. government’s published lists of acceptable documentation, which are classified as List A (Documents that Establish Both Identity and Employment Authorization), List B (Documents that Establish Identity) and List C (Documents that Establish Employment Authorization).

Continue Reading Change to Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification: List B (Documents that Establish Identity)

On March 17, 2022, the Canadian government announced that the country will end its pre-entry COVID-19 testing requirement for all fully vaccinated* travelers arriving via land, air, or water, beginning on April 1, 2022.

Canada’s Minister of Health, Jean Yves-Duclos, noted as part of the announcement that “as vaccination levels and healthcare system capacity

Note:  Originally published on March 4, 2022.  The number of people departing Ukraine has been updated from over 1.2 million to over 2 million.

Over two million people have departed Ukraine for neighboring European countries since the Russia-Ukraine military conflict escalated on February 24, 2022, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) data portal. A spokesperson for the UNHCR reported that as many as 4 million Ukrainians—nearly 10 percent of the country’s population—are expected to flee to other countries if the fighting continues.

Continue Reading Ukraine: Two Weeks Into the War with Russia, Over Two Million Displaced

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

The U.S. government administers an annual Diversity Immigrant Visa Program that, historically, offers one of the most expeditious paths to legal permanent residency and the American dream. Registration is currently open through November 9, 2021. The application is submitted electronically and registration is open to candidates around the globe, including to foreign workers in the United States who seek a “fast-track” to permanent residency.

Continue Reading Registration for U.S. Diversity Visa Program Open Until November 9

On October 8, 2021, President Biden officially set an annual ceiling of 125,000 for refugee admissions to the United States during Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. This number represents the maximum number of refugees that may be admitted to the United States through September 30, 2022. The President set the annual refugee ceiling after consulting with members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.

Continue Reading White House Raises the Cap on Refugee Admissions to 125,000