With the new Biden Administration taking charge, this has been a very active month for US Immigration. GLF has provided updates and has been following several important matters, including:
1) H-1B Visa Ban until March 31, 2021;
2) Wage-based H-1B Selection process;
3) DOL Prevailing Wage Rule;
4) Text of a Final Rule on “Employer-Employee” relationship;
5) The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021.
We at GLF post regular updates on our Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter handles. Additionally, we also periodically send out GLF Newsletters when the subject matter is extensive and relevant for a detailed analysis. Presented below is a consolidated summary of updates posted on GLF’s Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter handles for January 2021. Below is the link to our Google posts.
TRUMP EXTENDS H-1B VISA BAN UNTIL MARCH 31, 2021
Trump’s Presidential Proclamation 10014 issued on April 22, 2020 (Suspension of Entry of Immigrants) and Proclamation 10052 issued on June 22, 2020 (Suspending Entry of Immigrants and Non-Immigrants), that were valid until December 31, 2020 have been now extended to March 31, 2021. Please note that the suspension in Proclamation 10052 specifically applies to H-1B, H-2B, and L-1 visas; J-1 visa applicants; and spouses or children of the above covered applicants applying for H-4, L-2, or J-2 visas. The pretext for the extension is that COVID-19 pandemic remains a threat and it continues to significantly disrupt American lives; and that the effects of COVID-19 on the United States labor market and on the health of American communities is a matter of ongoing national concern.
USCIS FINAL RULE CREATING WAGE BASED H-1B SELECTION PROCESS – 60-DAY DELAY IN IMPLEMENTATION BY BIDEN ADMINISTRATION
USCIS published a final rule that created a wage-based H-1B Selection Process. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain issued a Memorandum that directs Federal Agencies to Withdraw Rules that were not Published by January 20, 2021 and delay implementation by 60 days, all Rules that were published at the last minute.
DHS rule on selection of H-1B Registrations based on highest salary has a 60-day delay until March 21, 2021. GLF believes that this year’s (FY2022) H-1B Registration/Lottery should be unaffected as the last day to start H-1B Cap Selection process is March 18, 2021 and the Rule is being postponed to March 21, 2021.
DOL FINAL RULE ON PREVAILING WAGES –DELAY IN IMPLEMENTATION UNTIL MAY 14, 2021 BY BIDEN ADMINISTRATION
DOL issued a Final Rule on January 14, 2021, that adopts with changes, the Interim Final Rule published on October 8, 2020, regarding prevailing wage levels. The final rule takes effect March 15, 2021. The IFR had been struck down by a Federal Court, and the new Final Rule attempts to address the issues which lead to the IFR being struck down.
The new Final Rule revised the methodology in which DOL determined prevailing wage levels for the H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, and the PERM programs. The current four-tier wage structure remains; however, the Final Rule revises upward the wage calculation associated with each level. The change is being made under four-tier wage structure to better reflect the actual wages earned by US Workers when compared to the foreign workers.
DOL Prevailing Wage Rule has been delayed until May 14, 2021.
DHS RULE REQUIRING LCA FILING BY SECONDARY EMPLOYERS IS WITHDRAWN BY BIDEN ADMINISTRATION
DHS rule (‘Employer-Employee” Relationship Rule) requiring secondary employers (third party end-clients) to file LCA was Withdrawn as Trump Administration since the Trump Administration only issued the text of the Rule on January 15, 2021 but did NOT publish in the Federal Register before January 20, 2021.
PRESIDENT BIDEN SENDS IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL TO CONGRESS – THE U.S. CITIZENSHIP ACT OF 2021
President Biden has sent a comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill to Congress titled “The U.S Citizenship Act of 2021.” Key aspects of the proposed Legislation are as follows:
- Change the word “alien” to “noncitizen” in all the US Immigration Laws
- Pathways to Green card for Dreamers and TPS holders. From the date they receive their GC, a 3-year path to Citizenship
- 8-year pathway to Citizenship for other individuals who are not part of DACA
- DHS may waive the in-person requirement for those deported on or after January 20, 2017 who were previously present for 3 years prior to removal
- Reform Family Immigration system by removing lengthy wait times, increase per country cap, clear backlogs and recapture the unused visas
- Remove 3-year and 10-year bars
- Reform Employment Immigration, reduce lengthy wait times, eliminate per country caps, clear employment backlogs
- Increase Diversity Visas from 55,000 to 80,000
- Work authorization for H-4 visa holders and prevent age-out of H-4 children
- Easier path to green card for graduates of US Universities and STEM degrees.
It is far from clear if this Bill will eventually become the Law. It is nonetheless a significant piece of legislation that GLF will be watching closely.
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GLF will continue to follow further developments in this matter and we will provide updates through our Newsletter as and when they become available.
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