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WEEKLY IMMIGRATION UPDATE 3.09.2021

19:33 09 March in News Updates
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WEEKLY IMMIGRATION UPDATE – March 9, 2021

HEADLINES


1.  Dept. of State Issues New Guidance on Exceptions for Travelers From Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland – Presidential Proclamation (PP) 10143 issued on January 25, 2021 bars the admission into the United States of individuals (other than U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and certain other classes of foreign nationals) who were physically present in the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa during the 14 days prior to seeking admission to the United States.

The Department of State has rescinded the previous guidance for exceptions to the PP 10143 travel ban in the national interest (NIEs) for travelers from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland.    Prior exceptions included “certain technical experts and specialists, senior-level managers and executives, treaty traders and investors, professional athletes, and their dependents.”

The Department also created a new national interest exception covering “certain travelers seeking to provide vital support for critical infrastructure.  Travelers in these categories, as well as certain academics, students, and journalists, may qualify for national interest exceptions to PP 10143 related to the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.

2.  USCIS Releases Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes in H-1B Registration – USCIS released tips to avoid common mistakes when filing an H-1B electronic registration. The agency said the top two user errors were creating the wrong type of account and entering the same beneficiary more than once.

3.  E-Verify Updates SSA Tentative Non-confirmation Process – Employees who receive the SSA TNC with a citizenship mismatch now have the option to call the Department of Homeland Security to resolve their cases instead of visiting an SSA field office.

4.  ICE Announces New Case Review Process – ICE announced the “ICE Case Review (ICR)” process for individuals who believe their case does not align with ICE’s enforcement, detention, and removal priorities.

5.  OFLC Issues FAQ Guidance for Employers Affected by Texas and Oklahoma Severe Storms – The guidance includes information on how to contact OFLC; communications related to prevailing wage determinations, temporary visa programs, and the PERM program; deadlines/timeframe flexibility; worksite location moves and short-term placements due to storm-related circumstances; and other issues.

 

DETAILS

 

1. Dept. of State Issues New Guidance on Exceptions for Travelers From Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland

On March 2, 2021, the Department of State rescinded the previous national interest determination regarding categories of travelers eligible for exceptions under Presidential Proclamation (PP) 10143, issued on January 25, 2021. That proclamation barred the admission into the United States of individuals (other than U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and certain other classes of foreign nationals) who were physically present in the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa during the 14 days prior to seeking admission to the United States. Affected categories of exceptions included “certain technical experts and specialists, senior-level managers and executives, treaty traders and investors, professional athletes, and their dependents.”

The Department also made a new national interest determination covering “certain travelers seeking to provide vital support for critical infrastructure. Travelers in these categories, as well as certain academics, students, and journalists, may qualify for national interest exceptions (NIEs) to PP 10143 related to the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.

The Department said that no previously issued visas or NIEs will be revoked due to the new policy, and that qualified travelers who are applying for or have valid visas or ESTA authorization may travel to the United States even while PP 10143 remains in effect. The Department also continues to grant NIEs for qualified travelers seeking to enter the United States for purposes related to humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security.

2.  USCIS Releases Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes in H-1B Registration

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released tips to avoid common mistakes when filing an H-1B electronic registration. The agency said the top two user errors were creating the wrong type of account and entering the same beneficiary more than once.

USCIS noted that a prospective petitioner may only have one registration submitted per beneficiary per fiscal year. Once the initial registration period has closed, if the prospective petitioner has more than one registration submitted for the same beneficiary, USCIS will remove all registrations submitted for that beneficiary by that prospective petitioner. “This does not prevent other prospective petitioners or their representatives from submitting registrations for that same beneficiary, but they too need to ensure that each prospective petitioner only has one registration submitted for the beneficiary,” USCIS noted.

The agency said that those who submitted more than one registration for the same person while the initial registration period is still open can delete the extra submission(s) from their account until there is only one registration for the beneficiary. USCIS does not refund the $10 fee for a deleted duplicate registration.

If more than one registration was submitted by the same prospective petitioner for the same person and the initial registration period has closed, there is no way to correct this error.

The initial registration period closes after noon ET on March 25, 2021.

3.  E-Verify Updates SSA Tentative Non-confirmation Process

On March 4, 2021, E-Verify updated the Social Security Administration (SSA) Tentative Non-confirmation (TNC) process. Employees who receive the SSA TNC with a citizenship mismatch now have the option to call the Department of Homeland Security to resolve their cases instead of visiting an SSA field office.

4.  ICE Announces New Case Review Process

On March 5, 2021, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the “ICE Case Review (ICR)” process for individuals who believe their case does not align with ICE’s enforcement, detention, and removal priorities.

Those requesting a detention case review can contact their local Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) field office for initial consideration. Cases of those detained in ICE custody or pending imminent removal will be prioritized, ICE said.

5.  OFLC Issues FAQ Guidance for Employers Affected by Texas and Oklahoma Severe Storms

On March 4, 2021, the Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) released frequently asked questions on how its office is handling communications with employers affected by the Texas and Oklahoma severe winter storms.

The guidance includes information on how to contact OFLC; communications related to prevailing wage determinations, temporary visa programs, and the PERM program; deadlines/timeframe flexibility; worksite location moves and short-term placements due to storm-related circumstances; and other issues.

 


I-94/E-VERIFY WEBINARS

Immigrant and employee rights webinars. The Department of Justice’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), of the Civil Rights Division, is offering a number of free webinars for workers, employers, and advocates. For more information, see https://www.justice.gov/crt/webinars.

E-Verify webinar schedule. E-Verify has released its calendar of webinars at https://www.e-verify.gov/calendar-field_date_and_time/month.

AGENCY PROCESSING TIMES

USCIS case processing times: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/

US Department of Labor:   https://flag.dol.gov/processingtimes

Department of State Visa Bulletin: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin.html

COVID-19 RESOURCES

COVID-19 resources. The response of the U.S. immigration agencies to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is constantly evolving, making it difficult to report relevant information that is not rendered immediately obsolete. The list of online resources below is intended to serve as a quick reference to the most current available agency information.

General Information

Coronavirus.gov: Primary federal site for general coronavirus information

USA.gov/coronavirus: Catalog of U.S. government’s response to coronavirus

CDC.gov/coronavirus: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information

American Immigration Lawyers Association:  (links to practice alerts on this site are restricted to members)

NAFSA

Immigration Agency Information

Department of Homeland Security: DHS.gov/coronavirus

–        https://www.dhs.gov/coronavirus-news-updates

–        https://www.dhs.gov/news/2020/03/17/fact-sheet-dhs-notice-arrival-restrictions-china-iran-and-certain-countries-europe

USCIS: USCIS.gov/coronavirus

ICE:

–        Overview and FAQs: https://www.ice.gov/coronavirus

–       Requirements for ICE Detention Facilities: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/coronavirus/eroCOVID19response

ReqsCleanFacilities.pdf

CBP:

–        Updates and Announcements:   https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/coronavirus

–        Accessing I-94 Information: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home

Department of Labor:

–        OFLC Announcements (COVID-19 announcements included here): https://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/

–        COVID-19 FAQs:

Round 1 (Mar. 20, 2020): https://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/pdf/DOL-OFLC_COVID-19_FAQs_Round%201_03.20.2020.pdf

Round 2 (Apr. 1, 2020): https://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/pdf/DOL-OFLC_COVID-19_FAQs_Round%202_04.01.2020.pdf

Round 3 (Apr. 9, 2020): https://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/pdf/DOL-OFLC_COVID-19_FAQs_Round%203.pdf

State Department: https://www.state.gov/coronavirus/

Travel advisories: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html

Country-specific information: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html

J-1 exchange visitor information: https://j1visa.state.gov/covid-19/

Justice Department

Executive Office for Immigration Review: https://www.justice.gov/eoir/eoir-operational-status-during-coronavirus-pandemic

AGENCY TWITTER ACCOUNTS

EOIR: @DOJ_EOIR

ICE: @ICEgov

Study in the States: @StudyinStates

USCIS: @USCIS

I-9 AND E-VERIFY WEBINARS

USCIS and Immigrant and employee rights webinars. The Department of Justice’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section, Civil Rights Division,has joined with USCIS to present webinars on employee rights during the E-Verify and Form I-9 employment eligibility verification processes.  For more information or to register, see: https://www.justice.gov/crt/webinars.

E-Verify webinar schedule:  https://www.e-verify.gov/calendar-field_date_and_time/month/202004.

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This newsletter was prepared in collaboration with ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, comprised of twenty U.S. immigration lawyers who head some of the top immigration practices in the country.   Larrabee Albi Coker LLP is an active member of ABIL.

Legal Disclaimer:   This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only and does not substitute for legal advice based on the circumstances of a specific matter.

 

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