July 2020 Newsletter
1. Continuation of EB-1 Worldwide Backlog, Mainland China Moved Forward 1 Week; EB-2 Rest of the World (ROW) Continues to be “Current”, Mainland China Moved Forward 1 Week
The U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) most recently released Visa Bulletin for July 2020 shows a continuation of worldwide backlog for EB-1, and cutoff dates for issuance of an EB-1 immigrant visa for Mainland China born applicants moved forward 1 week to August 22, 2017.
On the other hand, the Visa Bulletin for July 2020 shows that EB-2 for Rest of the World (ROW) is “current”, and cutoff dates for issuance of an EB-2 immigrant visa for Mainland China born applicants moved forward 1 week to November 8, 2015.
Apart from all employment-based cases and F2A Spouses and Minor Children of Green Card Holders, USCIS will accept Mainland China born adjustment of status applications for all other family-based cases based on the “Dates for Filing” charts.
The July 2020 Visa Bulletin can be found here.
2. Frequently Asked Questions: Proclamation Suspending Entry into the U.S. for H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and Certain J-1 Visa Applicants
ALG attorneys have received some questions regarding the new Proclamation issued by President Trump on June 22, 2020. Below is a list of frequently asked questions and answers:
1. What does the June 22, 2020 Proclamation do?
On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued a Proclamation to extend a previous Proclamation issued on April 22, 2020 that suspended immigrant visas being issued by the U.S. Department of State. This Proclamation also suspended entry for certain employment-based nonimmigrant visa applicants to enter the United States.
2. When does the June 22, 2020 Proclamation take effect?
The provision to extend the suspension of immigrant visas issued by the U.S. Department of State was effective immediately on June 22, 2020. The provision to suspend U.S. entry of certain employment-based nonimmigrant visa applicants took effect on June 24, 2020 at 12:01am EST.
3. How long will the restrictions of the June 22, 2020 Proclamation stay in effect?
Both provisions in the Proclamation will expire on December 31, 2020 but could potentially be extended.
4. Who is affected by the entry ban?
The Proclamation temporarily suspends the entry to the U.S. for foreign nationals outside the U.S. who need to apply for a visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate abroad. The affected visa categories include: H-1B, H-2B, J-1 (to the extent of participating as an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program), and L-1.
The restriction also applies to any dependent family members who are accompanying or following to join. The affected visa categories include: H-4, J-2, and L-2.
5. Who is NOT affected by the entry ban?
Any alien who is in the U.S. as of June 23, 2020 holding H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, J-2, L-1 or L-2 status;
Any alien who already has a valid, unexpired H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, J-2, L-1 or L-2 visa stamp as of June 23, 2020;
Any alien who has a valid official travel document (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document);
Lawful permanent residents of the U.S.;
Any alien who is the spouse or child under 21 of a U.S. citizen;
Any alien applying for a visa to enter the U.S. pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;
Any alien whose entry is to provide temporary labor or services essential to the U.S. food supply chain; and
Any alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designee.
6. Can my employer continue to file H-1B or L-1 petitions with USCIS seeking to change, amend, or extend my status?
Yes. Employers can file petitions with USCIS, including change of employer, change of status, amendment, and extension petitions.
7. I am an H-1B or L-1 worker and already have a valid visa stamp in my passport. Can I continue to travel internationally?
Yes. As noted above, any H-1B or L-1 worker who already has a valid, unexpired visa stamp as of June 23, 2020 may continue to travel internationally. However, per CDC guidelines on the COIVD-19 pandemic, ALG attorneys advise you to avoid all nonessential international travel.
8. I am Canadian in H-1B or L-1 status. Will I be allowed to re-enter the U.S. if I travel internationally?
Yes. Canadian citizens are visa exempt and are not required to obtain a visa stamp at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for admission to the U.S. As usual, when re-entering the U.S. after international travel, you will need to present your approval notice and proof of continued employment.
9. I am an H-1B worker who has already submitted my green card application within the U.S. Does this Proclamation affect me?
No. The Proclamation extends a previous order that suspended immigrant visas being issued by the U.S. Department of State for consular processing applications abroad. This Proclamation does not affect you since you applied for a green card by filing an I-485 Adjustment of Status Application.
10. The Proclamation calls for additional measures, where the Secretaries of the Department of Labor and Homeland Security will issue regulations or take additional actions to ensure that EB-2 and EB-3 immigrant petitions, and H-1B nonimmigrant petitions and current H workers, do not limit opportunities for U.S. workers. What does this mean?
There will be stricter enforcement on worksite investigations on employers who have filed H visas to see if employers and their H employees have followed requirements related to the Labor Certification Application (LCA) requirements, including public postings, prevailing wage, work location, actual salary, hours, and job contents.
Processes and filings for PERMs, LCAs and I-140s will toughen, including the prevailing wage, job requirement, recruitment and salary. This is to ensure that hiring a permanent foreign worker will not adversely affect the U.S. labor.
ALG is closely monitoring the implementation of this proclamation and will continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available.
In case of emergency, please do not hesitate to contact us!
ALG SUCCESS STORIES
NIW Advanced Degree Petition Approved in 6 Months for E-Commerce Expert
Ms. N is an outstanding E-Commerce Expert, specifically in internet finance, service innovation mobile commerce and unmanned retail, who holds a Doctor of Management degree in Business Administration. Because of her research on, and contributions to, e-commerce development models that have significant impact on the economic growth and development of businesses and companies, and that improve people’s everyday lives through convenience and efficiency, Ms. N is recognized as an E-Commerce Expert. Given Ms. N’s outstanding research skills that are essential and important for the developments, trends and future predictions in the fast-growing e-commerce industry, which are widely beneficial to academic institutions and the economy as a whole, ALG filed and obtained NIW approval for her as a person whose admission to permanent residence and employment in the U.S. will be in the national interest of the nation.
To demonstrate: 1) Ms. N’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance; 2) Ms. N is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and 3) on balance, it would be beneficial to the U.S. to waive Ms. N’s job offer and labor certification requirements, ALG submitted evidence of her leading and critical roles as an e-commerce researcher and professor at various institutions; her scholarly research article publications that have over 200 citations; her original contributions that have original and significant influence to the field as shown through her research projects, presentations at national conferences and book publications; published materials about Ms. N and her achievements in major media; and the results of her work as an expert reviewer for e-commerce model enterprises and projects.
Without a request for additional evidence, USCIS approved this NIW petition within 6 months. Note: Premium Processing is not available for NIW petitions.
OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS & UPDATES
DHS Further Extends Restriction on US-Canada and US-Mexico Borders Until July 21, 2020
In order to limit the further spread of the coronavirus, on March 21, 2020, the U.S. reached agreements with both Canada and Mexico to limit all non-essential travel across borders. These joint initiatives were originally set to be in place for 30 days, subject to reevaluation and further extension in light of coronavirus pandemic developments. “Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.
DHS has previously extended these restrictions twice, and on June 16, 2020, DHS further extended these measures until July 21, 2020. These restrictions do not apply to entry through U.S. airports.
DHS’ alert can be found here.