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DHS, CDC: New Travel Restrictions for Southern, Northern Borders

DHS and CDC have announced a new travel restriction at the Southern and Northern borders due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. According to the announcement, DHS will do what it can (including repatriation flights) to prevent the introduction of “affected individuals” into “congregate settings” at land ports of entries (POEs) or Border Patrol Stations at or near the Mexican and Canadian borders.

Temporary E-Verify Policies Announced for Delays Due to COVID-19

E-Verify has modified its policies temporarily due to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to ease the burden on employers and employees.

As April 1 H1-B Application Deadline Looms, Remember Changes to Rules and Lottery Process

When the USCIS begins accepting applications for H-1B visas on April 1, it will do so under new rules that bring significant changes to the H-1B lottery process. Specifically, changes to the order in which the H-1B lottery selection is conducted will mean workers eligible for the “advanced degree” exemption in the H-1B lottery will have a greater likelihood of selection. Although USCIS plans to implement a new electronic registration system that the rules implement for the H-1B application process, it will not do so for another year.

Department of Homeland Security: Temporary Flexibility for Employers’ I-9 Compliance

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that, because of the National Emergency due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, employers may temporarily inspect Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, Section 2 documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email, and so on) and obtain, inspect, and retain copies (rather than originals) of those documents until normal business operations resume.

COVID-19 and Immigration Updates: Form I-9 Guidance, Border Closures, and More

This article briefly summarizes the recent governmental guidance on Form I-9 requirements, travel, and visa processing and services, among other matters, in response to the national emergency caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. As this is a very fluid and rapidly changing situation, employers should monitor the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) websites and consult with their employment immigration counsel to ascertain whether the guidance has evolved, warranting a reassessment of business strategies.

USCIS Announces Expanded Premium Processing Suspension, Acceptance of Non-Original Signatures

Due to COVID-19, USCIS announced that as of March 20, 2020, it is immediately suspending premium processing service for all Form I-129 and I-140 petitions until further notice. USCIS also said that petitioners that have already filed a form requesting premium processing will receive refunds if their cases are not acted on within the 15 calendar-day period. This may well indicate the agency does not expect that it will be able to meet those deadlines – even for petitions filed prior to March 20th.

Immigration-Specific Coronavirus Resources Available

Efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) have had a significant impact on employers who provide immigration sponsorship (both temporary and permanent) for employees. But these impacts are also being felt more generally by all employers, in the context of Form I-9 compliance, government audits, and the immigration requirements applicable to all employers. We believe these impacts and challenges will continue for the foreseeable future as governments and businesses deal with this public health crisis.

DHS Issues Notice of Arrival Restrictions for Travelers Returning from Impacted Countries

On March 13, 2020, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf issued a Notice of Arrival Restrictions providing guidance on how American citizens, lawful permanent residents, and their immediate family members1 will be processed upon their return from certain European countries, China, and Iran.

Ban on Entry to US by Foreign Nationals Extended to U.K. and Ireland

On March 14, 2020, President Trump issued a Proclamation extending the travel ban on foreign nationals to the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), and the Republic of Ireland, effective midnight tonight, March 16, 2020. As discussed in our March 12, 2020 Alert, on March 11, 2020, the President issued a Proclamation prohibiting foreign nationals from entering the United States if they have been physically present in Europe within 14 days, because of the risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus. These two recent Proclamations echo the Proclamations issued in January and February restricting entry of foreign nationals coming from China and Iran, which remain in effect.

COVID-19 and Employer Responsibilities to Workers on Visas

As employers respond to workplace issues pertaining to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), it is important not to forget about foreign nationals working pursuant to temporary non-immigrant visas. Employers must avoid discriminatory policies and remember that there are additional rules and regulations that apply to employees on visas.
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