July was a very active month for US Immigration. GLF provided updates via Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram on numerous US Immigration matters including:
- Several State workforce agencies experienced technical problems
- USCIS expands premium processing for certain EB-1 And EB-2 I-140 applications
- State Department’s August 2022 Visa Bulletin Summary
- USCIS further extends deadline for RFE response by 60 days
- S. Supreme Court Rules that Biden administration has the Authority to end “Remain in Mexico” Policy
- USCIS races to issue 280,000 available Green Cards
- USCIS urges Employment-Based Adjustment applicants to promptly send medical forms when requested
- US. Citizens can no longer use expired passports for direct return to the U.S
We at GLPO post regular updates on our Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram 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, Twitter, handles for July 2022.
SEVERAL STATE WORKFORCE AGENCIES EXPERIENCED TECHNICAL PROBLEMS
On June 26, 2022, as many as 40 SWAs were impacted by a cyberattack including the SWA’s Job Order websites. It prevented agencies to place, post and receive job orders, including those required for Foreign Labor certification programs such as PERM, H-2B, H-2A.
PERM process requires Job Orders to be placed for 30 days within 30 and 180 days prior to the filing of ETA Form 9089. The start and end dates listed on the ETA Form 9089 serve as documentation of the posting. OFLC has clarified that as long as employers posted their Job Orders properly with the SWAs during the 30-day period and have met the regulatory requirement in good faith, despite the technical issues, they do not have to extend the time to cover any period. If an employer chooses to extend the Job Order posting period, the dates of the posting must still comply with the regulatory requirements, including the posting end date, which must not fall within 30 days of filing of ETA Form 9089.
GLF has been monitoring the situation and it appears that most of the SWAs have resumed regular services now.
USCIS EXPANDED PREMIUM PROCESSING FOR CERTAIN EB-1 AND EB-2 I-140 APPLICATIONS
USCIS expanded Premium Processing for certain Form I-140 Petitioners under the EB-1 and EB-2 classifications. It applies only to certain previously filed Form I-140 petitions under an E13 multinational executive and manager classification or E21 classification as a member of professions with advanced degrees.
USCIS will begin accepting Form I-907 applications with effect from August 1, 2022, for the following:
- E13 multinational executive and management petitions received on or before July 1, 2021.
- E21 NIW petitions received on or before August 1, 2021.
- USCIS has 45 days to decide when a case is filed for Premium Processing for one of these recently added Form I-140 categories.
- If the receiving date for the request is later than the dates mentioned above, USCIS will reject it for the Form I-140 categories.
- Current Premium Processing applications on new (original) Forms I-140 will not be approved by USCIS.
Petitioners must submit Form I-907, Petition for Premium Processing Service, if they so choose to request an upgrade to premium processing. An updated Form I-907 with May 31, 2022 expiration date was released by USCIS on May 24, 2022. USCIS will no longer accept the Form I-907’s earlier September 30, 2020, version as of July 1, 2022
STATE DEPARTMENT’S AUGUST 2022 VISA BULLETIN SUMMARY
State Department issued the August 2022 Visa Bulletin and here are the highlights:
- Adjustment of status for Family Sponsored filing and Employment Based filing use Dates for Filing chart and Final Action Dates Chart respectively.
- Final Action Dates for family sponsored preference cases for India have not changed. F-2A is current – meaning Final Action applies
- F2A numbers exempt from per-country limits are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than April 22, 2019. F2A numbers subject to per country limits are available to applicants chargeable to all countries except Mexico with priority dates on or after April 22, 2019.
- Dates for filing for family sponsored preference for F1 advanced through August 08, 2016, for F2B through January 1, 2017, and F3 through November 8, 2009.
- Final action dates for employment-based preference EB-2 category have not changed, EB-3 and other workers have advanced through February 15, 2012
- Dates for Filing dates chart for EB-2 have not changed, EB-3 and other workers have advanced through February 22, 2012.
- The Certain Religious Workers, I5 and R5 categories are all “Current”.
- The DV-2022 annual limit was reduced to 54,850.
- Diversity Visas (DV) category for most regions have been set to “Current” for August 2022 to maximize number use during the DV-2022 program year.
USCIS FURTHER EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR RFE RESPONSE BY 60 DAYS
Due to Covid-19 Pandemic, USCIS has further extended the flexibilities to its announcement issued on March 30, 2020, until July 25, 2022. It had allowed the applicants to respond to notices, requests and decisions issued between March 1, 2020, and January 15, 2022, beyond the pre-determined period. USCIS considered a response submitted within 60 calendar days of the due date before taking any further action if the issuance date specified on the request or notification was between March 1, 2020, and July 25, 2022,
The 60-day flexibility period extended to certain agency requests comprising of:
- Requests for Evidence
- Continuations to Request Evidence(N-14)
- Notices of Intent to Deny, Revoke and Rescind
- Notices of intent to Terminate regional centers, and
- Motions to Re-open N-400 pursuant to Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant.
- Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, or Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings.
According to the announcement made by USCIS on March 30, 2022, this was anticipated to be the final extension of the additional flexibility period. Therefore, making its expiry scheduled for July 25, 2022, of utmost importance for the applicants as well as the Attorneys.
U.S. SUPREME COURT RULED THAT BIDEN ADMINISTRATION HAS THE AUTHORITY TO END “REMAIN IN MEXICO” POLICY
The “Remain in Mexico” policy (or Migrant Protection Protocols -MPP) was implemented on January 25, 2019, by the Trump Administration to make asylum seekers wait in Mexico until their hearing dates come up in the US. In June 2021, the Biden Administration ended the “Remain in Mexico” policy.
On August 14, 2021, a Federal District court in Texas ruled that the Biden Administration’s decision to reverse the policy may have violated the Administrative Procedure Act which prevents arbitrary regulations and ordered a resumption of the “Remain in Mexico” policy. An appeals court later upheld this decision.
On June 30, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court in Biden v. Texas, confirmed that the Biden Administration has the authority to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy. In a 5-4 ruling, the Court ruled that “Remain in Mexico” policy did neither violate Administrative Procedure nor immigration law in rescinding the policy. The Supreme Court also court found that lower courts do not have the power to tell the government what tools or methods it can use to control immigration. The case will now go back down to lower courts for additional proceedings, and it remains to be seen if the Biden Administration will end the program immediately or wait for the lower court ruling.
USCIS RACES TO ISSUE 280,000 AVAILABLE GREEN CARDS
USCIS races to issue 280,000 Green cards this year before the end of Fiscal year on September 30, 2022, compared to 262,000 green cards issued in 2021. Due to pandemic, more than 66,000 employment-based green cards were unused last year resulting in a record surplus of employment-based green cards being made available this year.
USCIS is making an effort to issue all available visas before the fiscal year ends. USCIS has already moved some staff resources away from other immigration services to processing green cards instead. The agency also redistributed applications among field offices to spread workloads more evenly. USCIS has also waived certain interview requirements and urged applicants to prepare to submit medicals (I-693) as soon as they are requested. USCIS is also encouraging employment-based applicants to opt for interfiling.
USCIS URGES EMPLOYMENT-BASED ADJUSTMENT APPLICANTS TO PROMPTLY SEND MEDICAL FORMS WHEN REQUESTED
USCIS urged Employment based Adjustment of Status applicants to note the following:
- For new filing to include a valid I-693(Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record).
- A Form I-693 is valid for two years from the date that the civil surgeon signs the form
- For a pending I-485, applicants are advised not to send unsolicited Form I-693 as USCIS is directly contacting the applicants and requesting the same;
- For an approved I-485 with no valid I-693, applicants are advised to visit a civil surgeon and have a valid I-693 on hand.
- Once the valid I-693 is in hand, USCIS gets to use available Visas and adjudicate applications faster when the request is sent to applicants.
U.S. CITIZENS CAN NO LONGER USE EXPIRED PASSPORTS FOR DIRECT RETURN TO THE U.S
CBP had introduced a temporary measure allowing return travel to the United States on expired U.S. passport, whose passport expired on or after Jan. 1, 2020. This guidance was issued to lessen the travel difficulties created by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The temporary measure was originally set to encompass all such travel through June 30, 2022. The policy was terminated and the U.S. citizens will no longer be allowed to use their expired US passport for direct return to the US.
U.S. citizens with an expired U.S. passport are advised to contact their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply for passport renewal. For any queries regarding boarding of a flight can be raised before the appropriate Regional Carrier Liaison Group or other designated CBP official.
SIGN UP FOR GLF NEWSLETTER
At GLF, we will continue to follow further developments in the above discussed and other matters, while we provide updates through our Newsletter as and when they become available. GLF receives numerous emails and phone calls every day seeking comments on various proposed bills and media reports that are often inaccurate. It is our job to separate fact from fiction and advice clients on important and relevant updates. The best way to receive accurate information is through GLF Newsletters.
We encourage you (and your employees) to sign up for GLF Newsletter. If you have not already signed up to receive our Newsletters, please do so by visiting www.gokarelaw.com and signing up under the Newsletter Tab. All we need is your name and email address which takes very little time to sign up. You can also review all of our earlier GLF Newsletters on our website.