Business Immigration in a Minute by Honigman LLP
- Starting on August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to travel to Canada without the need for quarantining in most circumstances, as recently announced by the Canadian government. All travelers, regardless of vaccination status, are still subject to certain COVID-19 testing, as detailed in the announcement. There are no changes to the travel restrictions and testing requirements for unvaccinated travelers. As of September 7, 2021, Canada will open its borders to fully vaccinated travelers from other countries who meet specific entry requirements, as outlined in the announcement.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection has extended border restrictions permitting only essential travel across the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico land borders through August 21, 2021. Essential travel includes travel by U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and foreign nationals traveling to work in the United States, among other purposes. These restrictions do not affect air travel to the United States.
- A Texas federal judge recently ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it was first enacted by former President Obama in 2012 because it exceeded the power that Congress delegated to the executive branch. As a result of the ruling, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) is no longer allowed to approve new applications for DACA. However, the ruling does not impact individuals who have already been approved for DACA or the ability of current DACA recipients to extend their DACA status and work authorization. The U.S. Department of Justice recently issued a bulletin directed at DACA recipients and employers to remind DACA recipients of their rights under the current DACA program and to remind employers about employment discrimination. Importantly, employers are reminded that they should generally not ask job applicants or employees for their specific citizenship or immigration status information and that employers must accept documentation that reasonably appears to be genuine and relates to the employee and cannot reject documents because of a future expiration date. The court decision does not change the rules for existing DACA recipients and is not a basis for employers to ask employees to show documentation for purposes of re-verifying their work authorization. Doing so may violate federal discrimination laws.
- USCIS updated its policy guidance to eliminate the need for individuals who have applied for a change of status (“COS”) to an F-1 student to apply to change or extend nonimmigrant status while their initial F-1 COS application is pending. Under the previous policy, applicants needed to maintain status up to 30 days before the program start date listed on their Form I-20, Certificate for Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. Consequently, this policy required applicants to file extensions, or an initial COS application and subsequent extensions, to ensure that they would not have a “gap” in status. Under the new guidance, USCIS will grant the COS to F-1 as effective on the day that USCIS approves the applicant’s F-1 COS application.
- Last Monday, the Department of State (“DOS”) hosted a live chat with Charlie Oppenheim, Chief of DOS’ Visa Control and Reporting Division, to address issues of general interest regarding the August Visa Bulletin and the end of the FY2021 year. Notable takeaways from this live chat were that Charlie expects the India EB-3 final action date for September 2021 to reach January 1, 2014. Additionally, Charlie estimates that there will be approximately 100,000 unused employment-based immigrant visas in FY2021 due to COVID-related processing delays. For more information regarding this live chat, please view the full video.
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