Contact Us Today

News & Resources

DHS Proposes Fixed Admission Periods for Individuals Entering in F, J, and I Categories

Posted September 28, 2020Articles

 

Background:

  • Currently, foreign nationals entering the U.S. in F, J, and I visa categories are admitted for the period of time that they are complying with the terms and conditions of their nonimmigrant category, or duration of status (i.e. D/S). These visa categories represent academic students, exchange visitors, and foreign information media, respectively.
  • Under duration of status entry, there is no fixed time period of admission for foreign nationals, in comparison to other visa entries (e.g. H-1B or L-1) which provide a fixed I-94 expiration date.
  • Lack of a fixed time period admission on F, J, and I entries has posed challenges to USCIS and CBP officers to determine whether a foreign national on this status has been maintaining their lawful status and not accruing unlawful presence in the U.S.

Proposed Changes:

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed to amend its regulations by changing the admission period of F, J, and I nonimmigrants from duration of status to a fixed period of admission.
  • Admitting the above categories for a fixed period of admission would require foreign nationals holding those visa categories to apply for extensions of status with USCIS or depart the U.S. and apply for admission at a Port of Entry with the CBP prior to a status expiration.
  • Under the proposed regulation, failure to maintain lawful presence in the U.S. by foreign nationals on F, J, or I visas would make them subject to accrual of unlawful presence should they fail to maintain their status or overstay their period of lawful admission in the U.S.
  • The proposal also seeks to the make the following changes to these programs:
    • Automatic extension of employment authorization for some F-1s: Pending a timely filed extension that remains pending beyond the F-1s authorized period of admission, F-1s would receive a 180-day automatic extension of STEM employment authorization. This would not be available to CPT or pre- or post-STEM OPT.
    • Extension of 240-day rule for Js and Is: Timely filed extensions for Js and Is that remain pending beyond the period of admission would receive automatic extension of employment authorization up to 240 days, while the extension remains pending.
    • Shorter grace periods for F-1s: Grace periods for F-1s following the completion of their program or practical training are proposed to be shortened from 60-day to 30 days.
    • Cap-Gap Extension: The proposal seeks to extend cap-gap work authorization and F-1 extensions of stay from October 1 to April 1 of the following year pending a timely filed H-1B cap petition. This would seek to limit disruptions in employment for H-1B petitions that have delayed adjudication.
    • Potential J-1 extension during H-1B cap adjudication: Pending delays in H-1B cap adjudication, the proposal would give the DHS the option of extending J-1 nonimmigrant status while the H-1B is pending.

Next Steps:

  • The DHS will accept comments on the proposed regulation change until October 26, 2020. After the comment period, DHS will review the feedback and pending any revisions, could prepare to issue a final rule publication in the Federal Register, which could take several months to complete.
  • Pending approval and finalization of the regulation, clients and foreign nationals should expect increased compliance responsibilities to ensure nonimmigrants in F, J, and I status are maintaining lawful presence in the US with timely filed extensions of status, as needed.

Meltzer Hellrung will continue to monitor the proposed regulation and provide updates when available. Please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney with any questions or contact our firm at: consultation@meltzerhellrung.com.

Read More

Update on PERM Processing Times and October Visa Bulletin

Posted September 25, 2020Kristen Kellar - Sr. Paralegal - Team LeadVisa Bulletin

 

PERM

The Department of Labor reports that PERM processing times are approximately five to six months. Cases that are currently being adjudicated have a Priority Date of April 2020.

Cases that are under Audit Review have a longer processing time of over 300 days. Cases currently being adjudicated in Audit Review have a Priority Date of November 2019.

You can check for updates to the current processing times on the Department of Labor website by clicking here.

 

October Visa Bulletin

The updated Visa Bulletin for October 2020 has been released. The new bulletin sees various advancements in the Final Action dates and Dates for Filing for employment-based cases. See the full bulletin here.

Individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with USCIS may use the “Dates for Filing Applications” for determining when they can file such applications.

 

Final Action Changes

All Chargeability (all countries except those otherwise listed):

  • EB3 and other workers is current

China:

  • EB1 advance to 01JUN18
  • EB2 advance to 01MAR16
  • EB3 advance to 01JUL17

EL Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras:

  • EB3 and other workers are current

India:

  • EB1 advance to 01JUN18
  • EB2 advance to 15SEP09
  • EB3 and other workers advance to 15JAN10

Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam:

  • EB3 and other workers are current

 

Dates for Filing Changes:

All Chargeability (all countries except those otherwise listed):

  • EB3 and other workers is current

China:

  • EB1 advance to 01SEP20
  • EB2 advance to 01OCT16
  • EB3 advance to 01JUN18

EL Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras:

  • EB3 and other workers are current

India:

  • EB1 advance to 01SEP20
  • EB2 advance to 15MAY11
  • EB3 and other workers advance to 01JAN15

Mexico and Philippines:

  • EB3 and other workers are current


Each month Meltzer Hellrung will reach out to clients who are eligible to apply for adjustment of status. If you have any questions about eligibility please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney.

 

Read More

New Regulation to Increase Minimum Wages for H-1B, H-1B1, E-3 and PERMS Under Review

Posted September 17, 2020Stephanie Wedel - Sr. AssociateArticles, Green Card, H-1B
The Department of Labor (DOL) has submitted a regulation to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that will change the wage levels and requirements in the H-1B, H-1B1, E-3 and PERM programs. DOL is intending to issue the regulation as an interim final rule so it can be implemented immediately. This fast-track plan prevents the public from providing feedback before the rule takes effect. The details of the regulation will remain confidential until the rule is released for publication.  The rule is expected to increase minimum wages as well as increased wage requirements for employers. Expectations OMB has up to 90 days to review the regulation, but this review can be completed sooner. Once review is completed, the regulation will be published to the Federal Register and is expected to take effect immediately after publication. We are closely monitoring the matter and will provide updates as they are made available. Please contact your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney or consultation@meltzerhellrung.com with any questions.

Read More

Extended Flexibility for Responses to USCIS Requests

Posted September 15, 2020Lana Lee - ParalegalArticles

On September 11, 2020, USCIS announced that it will further extend selected deadlines for responses to:

  • Requests for Evidence;
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
  • Notices of Intent to Deny;
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke;
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centers;
  • Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant;
  • Filing date requirements for Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA); and
  • Filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion.

What does this mean for cases?

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, USCIS will accept responses or requests listed above that are submitted or filed within 60 calendar days of the due date. The request, notice, or decision may have been issued anytime between March 1, 2020 and January 1, 2021.

If you have any questions about deadlines for any of the mentioned items, please contact your Meltzer Hellrung attorney or consultations@meltzerhellrung.com.

Read More

Preliminary Injunction on DHS Public Charge Rule Lifted

Posted September 14, 2020Cheryl Kilborn - Sr. AssociateGreen Card, H-1B

We recently reported that the federal district court for the Southern District of New York to the Second Circuit issued 2 nationwide injunctions related to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Public Charge Rule and the Department of State (DOS) Public Charge Rule and Health Insurance Proclamation.

Background

  • In early August, a federal appellate judge narrowed the nationwide injunction and held that for the time being, the DHS Public Charge Rule cannot be applied to residents of New York, Connecticut and Vermont.
  • On Friday, the appellate judge’s decision was reviewed by a three-judge panel, and the preliminary injunction was lifted. The injunction preventing implementation of DOS’s Public Charge Rules and the Health Insurance Proclamation are still in effect nationwide.

Next Steps

  • USCIS is now authorized to apply the Public Charge Rule to residents of all states. This includes for any period during which there is a declared national health emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • We expect that USCIS will soon announce that it will reject any Form I-485 for not including Form I-944 and Forms I-129 and I-539 where Part 6, or Parts 5, respectively, have been left blank.

Please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney with any questions or contact our firm at: consultation@meltzerhellrung.com.

Read More