Overview

As of mid-March 2020, countries are responding in various ways to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Concerning immigration and movement of people around the world, these responses generally fall into a few categories, including travel warnings, travel restrictions, health screenings and quarantines, and extensions of immigration status for impacted individuals.

This article addresses the impact of the outbreak on international travel, with specific information from several countries. In a separate article, we addressed how the outbreak affects immigration workplace compliance. All of our COVID-19 articles will be updated as new information becomes available.

Continue Reading COVID-19: How Does the Outbreak Affect International Travel?

Employers face many urgent issues in responding to the US outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID‑19.  The disease has forced employers to develop and implement workplace safety, mitigation, and business continuity plans.  These may include allowing employees to work from home or from alternate unaffected worksites, as well as outsourcing I-9 document reviews to agents in remote locations. Economic slowdowns have occurred in some sectors due to the global pandemic, requiring some companies to consider or implement temporary employee furloughs or even reductions in force.

Continue Reading COVID-19: How Does the Outbreak Affect Immigration Workplace Compliance?

The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process, or if already pending, when the final step can be adjudicated.

Below is a summary of the March Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month.

China: EB-1 advances ten days to June 1, 2017; EB-2 jumps ahead one month to August 15, 2015; and EB-3 advances nearly three months to March 22, 2016

India: EB-1 leaps forward two months to March 1, 2015; EB-2 continues to creep forward, advancing three days to May 22, 2009; and EB-3 once again advances one week to January 15, 2009

All Other Countries (including the Philippines): EB-1 advances three months to March 1, 2019; EB-2 remains current; and EB-3 retrogress three years to January 1, 2017

NOTE 1:      The March Visa Bulletin includes a note that EB-3 All Other Countries is expected to remain backlogged for “the foreseeable future.”

NOTE 2:      USCIS has not yet announced if it will accept I-485 applications in February based on the Department of State’s Dates for Filing chart.

Reacting to the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan City in Central China, the Trump Administration has issued a proclamation prohibiting anyone from entering the United States who has been physically present anywhere in China within 14 days of seeking US entry.  The prohibition has no fixed end date, but is to be reviewed every 15 days by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The prohibition does not apply to US citizens or lawful permanent residents, their spouses, or their minor children.  If the citizen or permanent resident is a child under age 21, the prohibition does not apply to the child’s parents, guardians, or minor siblings.  It also does not apply to anyone who is traveling on a diplomatic or crewmember visa or to a handful of additional, unusual situations.

Continue Reading White House Prohibits Entry of Certain China Travelers Due to Novel Coronavirus Fears

On January 31, 2020, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation amending Presidential Proclamation 9723, commonly called the “Travel Ban.”  This new proclamation imposes travel restrictions on certain nationals of countries the administration has determined to have inadequate identity-management practices, national security and public safety information practices, and otherwise pose a national security or public-safety risk.

Continue Reading Travel Ban Expanded to Include Nigeria, Eritrea, Tanzania, Sudan, Myanmar, and Kyrgyzstan

The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process, or if already pending, when the final step can be adjudicated.

Below is a summary of the February Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month.

China: EB-1 stalls at May 22, 2017; EB-2 advances two weeks to July 15, 2015; and EB-3 leaps ahead one month to January 1, 2016

India: EB-1 remains stalled at January 1, 2015; EB-2 creeps forward one day to May 19, 2009; and EB-3 advances one week to January 8, 2009

Philippines: EB-1 moves forward two months to December 1, 2018; EB-2 remains current; and EB-3 jumps forward two and a half months to June 1, 2018

All Other Countries: EB-1 advances two months to December 1, 2018; EB-2 and EB-3 remain current

NOTE:  USCIS has not yet announced if it will accept I-485 applications in February based on the Department of State’s Dates for Filing chart.

On January 13, 2020, the Trump administration filed an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court to lift a nationwide temporary injunction on the DHS “public charge” rule that was upheld by the Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit) last week.  The public charge rule, published in August 2019, expands the grounds on which the government can deny immigration benefits to various applicants seeking permanent residence (green card) status or work authorization to include those who have received certain public benefits, such as Medicaid, CHIP, and SNAP (see article, “DHS Reinterprets Public Charge”).  The rule gives the government broad discretion to deny an applicant if “at any time”, the applicant would “likely” become a public charge.  A medical condition alone could be enough for an immigration officer to exercise discretion to deny the application.

Continue Reading Trump Files Emergency Appeal with SCOTUS to Lift Public Charge Injunction

In 2019, the large policy and enforcement shifts signposted in 2017 and 2018 continued to play out with stricter immigration enforcement across the board. While we don’t expect to see seismic shifts in the coming year, there are a few issues to watch for in 2020.

(1) H-1B “Specialty Occupation” Definition Change Likely to Stall in Court

USCIS has indicated it will be announcing an official change to the definition of “specialty occupation.” While we have already seen a detrimental shift in the H-1B adjudication process, this would be an official regulatory change. We expect that any attempt to re-interpret the H-1B statute as narrowly as possible will face a lengthy court battle.

Continue Reading The Year Ahead: 10 Things to Watch for in US Immigration

The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process, or if already pending, when the final step can be adjudicated.

Below is a summary of the January Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month.

China: EB-1 moves ahead just one week to May 22, 2017; EB-2 creeps forward eight days to July 1, 2015; and EB-3 advances one month to December 1, 2015

India: EB-1 remains stalled at January 1, 2015; EB-2 crawls ahead three days to May 18, 2009; and EB-3 remains stalled at January 1, 2009

Philippines: EB-1 advances two and a half months to October 1, 2018; EB-2 remains current; and EB-3 advances two weeks to March 15, 2018

All Other Countries: EB-1 jumps ahead two and a half months to October 1, 2018; EB-2 and EB-3 remain current

 

NOTE:         USCIS has not yet announced if it will accept I-485 applications in January based on the Department of State’s Dates for Filing chart.

When traveling abroad for business, there are many things to remember – meeting schedules, presentation materials, business cards, dress clothes, etc. While immigration requirements can get lost in the shuffle, immigration documents should be on any business traveler’s pre-trip checklist. Forgetting required documentation can result in experiences that range from slightly inconvenient to potentially disastrous, including:

  • Missed flights;
  • Refusal of entry;
  • Long periods waiting in secondary inspection; and/or
  • Canceled trips.

Continue Reading The Business Traveler’s Checklist