Business Immigration in a Minute by Honigman LLP
- On June 9, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) issued three important policy updates in its Policy Manual:
- Expedited Processing: USCIS provided additional guidance on when expedited processing may apply to certain petitions. This guidance includes severe financial loss to a company or person and confirms that a company may demonstrate it will suffer a severe financial loss by showing it is at risk of failing, losing a critical contract, or required to lay off other employees. A person who can show upcoming job loss may be able to establish severe financial loss. For example, the inability to travel for work that would result in job loss might warrant expedited treatment.
- RFEs and NOIDs: USCIS rescinded a 2018 memo that permitted agency officers to deny applications, petitions, or requests without first issuing a Request for Evidence (“RFE”) or Notice of Intent to Deny (“NOID”). The agency stated that it would revert to a June 2013 memo that directed officers to issue an RFE or NOID when additional information could establish eligibility for a benefit.
- EAD Validity: Very importantly, given USCIS adjudications backlog and lengthy processing times, USCIS will increase the validity period for new and renewed Employment Authorization Documents from one year to two years for certain adjustment of status applicants.
- U.S. embassies and consulates abroad continue to operate at a reduced capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, U.S. consulates in India and the United Kingdom have recently announced new or extended service limitations. In India, effective June 7, 2021, the U.S. Consulate in Mumbai is reopening Immigrant Visa Unit appointments for rescheduling of canceled appointments, SB-1 status and visa applications, Lawful Permanent Residents (“LPRs”) services, reissuance of expired visas and K applications. In the United Kingdom, the U.S. Embassy in London notified applicants that it has canceled routine visa appointments that were not previously approved for an expedited appointment from August 2021 to October 2021, including B-1 and B-2 visas.
- The American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Department of Labor (“DOL”) Liaison Committee recently communicated with the DOL to confirm that the implementation of the 2018 Standard Occupational Codes (“SOCs”) will be delayed until July 1, 2022. As in previous years, wages will change on July 1, 2021, but will reflect the 2010 SOCs in the online wage library through June 30, 2022.
- DOL updated its processing times for permanent labor certification (“PERM”) applications and prevailing wage requests. As of May 31, 2021, the DOL is adjudicating ETA 9089 PERM applications filed in or before December 2020 and processing PERM prevailing wage requests filed in or before December 2020.
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