Business Immigration in a Minute by Honigman LLP
- The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced the automatic extension of the Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) designation and all associated documentation, such as Employment Authorization Documents (“EADs”), for individuals from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan through December 31, 2022, provided that individuals continue to meet the requirements of TPS eligibility. DHS grants TPS when conditions in a country temporarily prevent its nationals from returning safely or prevent a country from being able to handle the return of its nationals adequately. As a reminder, if an employee is a TPS beneficiary and presents an expired EAD for purposes of I-9 compliance, employers must determine if the EAD has been automatically extended by DHS. If so, the employer must accept the expired EAD for Form I-9 purposes. Information confirming the automatic extension of TPS EADs and further information regarding completing Form I-9 for TPS recipients can be found here.
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) announced an extension of the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 compliance that were granted last year. Due to the continued precautions related to COVID-19, the Department of Homeland Security has extended this policy until December 31, 2021.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that its website now features a Lockbox Filing Location Updates page. USCIS periodically adjusts its filing locations among its lockbox facilities to balance its workload and ensure timely processing. This new page allows users to track all updates or changes to the lockbox filing locations in one place.
- The Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently updated its processing times for permanent labor certification (“PERM”) applications and prevailing wage requests. As of August 31, 2021, DOL is adjudicating ETA 9089 PERM applications filed in or before April 2021 and processing PERM prevailing wage requests filed in or before February 2021.
- The U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) recently announced an updated plan for U.S. embassies and consulates to triage immigrant visa applications and address the backlog in the processing of immigrant visas due to the COVID-19 shutdown and restrictions. DOS previously identified four priority tiers listing the main categories of immigrant visas: (1) Tier One: immediate relative intercountry adoption visas, age-out cases, certain Special Immigrant Visas, and emergency cases determined on a case-by-case basis; (2) Tier Two: immediate relative visas, fiancé(e) visas, and returning resident visas; (3) Tier Three: family preference immigrant visas and SE Special Immigrant Visas for certain employees of the U.S. government abroad; and (4) Tier Four: all other immigrant visas, including employment preference and diversity visas. DOS stated that it is scheduling appointments within all four priority tiers each month. Additionally, DOS noted that due to the U.S. increase in COVID-19 cases, U.S. embassies and consulates have been instructed to prioritize immigrant visa cases of certain healthcare professionals who will work at a facility engaged in pandemic response.
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