White House Immigration

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

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indicated in our “heat map” of immigration actions during the first 100 days in office, the Biden administration has withdrawn a rule proposed by the Trump administration that would have eliminated work authorization for the H-4 spouses of certain H-1B visa holders.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

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

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

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

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

The White House has announced issuance of two new rules, both of which will take effect immediately upon publication in the Federal Register:

  1.  The Department of Homeland Security’s H-1B rule,  “Strengthening the H-1B Non-immigrant Visa Classification Program,” which has been on the DHS regulatory agenda for many years, including its first appearance in Fall 2017

COVID-19 developments, including the White House ban on green card applications made at US consulates abroad, economic changes, and reduced cross-border travel, reduced the volume of applications for immigrant visas in recent months, creating excess supply in employment-based (EB) immigrant quotas.

As a result, the US Department of State (DOS) adjusted the EB quotas to allow certain individuals who previously faced lengthy waits of up to multiple years to file for adjustment of status (AOS) to US permanent residency in the month of October 2020.


Continue Reading Executive Summary: The Gate to US Permanent Residency Opens in October 2020

On August 3, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order (“EO” or the “Order”) directing the heads of all agencies that enter into contracts to review the impact of contractors and their subcontractors employing H-1B visa holders on the wages and employment opportunities of US workers. Specifically, the EO directs all federal agencies to review