Categories News & Updates USCIS

USCIS Announces End of Enforcement of Public Charge Rule

USCIS has advised that it will immediately stop applying the Public Charge Final Rule to all pending applications and petitions. The previous public charge rule regarding inadmissilbity, in accordance with the 1999 Interim Field Guidance, remains in place.

USCIS will no longer apply public benefits conditions to applications or petitions for extension of non-immigrant status or change of non-immigrant status. USCIS will no longer consider an applicant’s receipt of Medicaid (except for long-term institutionalization at the government’s expense), public housing, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as part of the public charge inadmissibility determination.

In addition, USCIS has removed Form I-944 from its website. Information provided on Form I-944 with currently pending applications will not be considered by the officer adjudicating the case.

If you have any questions, please contact your Graham Adair attorney.

Categories Global News & Updates

SINGAPORE: Dependent Pass Holders Will Require Work Passes

On 3 March 2021, the Ministry of Manpower published changes that will require Dependent Pass (DP) holders to apply for work passes.

Currently, DP holders who are dependents under an employment pass may be eligible to apply for a letter of consent (LOC) to work in Singapore. The LOC is currently not subject to the criteria for work passes and can be applied for by the employer or appointed employment agent.

Starting 1 May 2021, DP holders will need to have a work pass (EP, S Pass, or work permit) instead of an LOC if they seek to work in Singapore.

The new regulations will apply to any DP holder that seeks employment after 1 May 2021. Any DP holder currently working under an LOC will be allowed to work until the LOC’s expiry. After the LOC expires, the respective employer will need to follow the proper steps to apply for a work pass for the DP holder. Employers hiring DP holders will need to comply with the relevant work pass criteria, such as qualifying salary, dependency ratio ceiling, and/or levies.

If you have any questions, please contact your Graham Adair attorney.

Categories Department of State News & Updates

Biden Administration Lifts Ban on Immigrant Visa Processing

Earlier this week, the Biden Administration lifted a ban that was put in place last year on the processing of immigrant visas (green cards) at U.S. consulates. While lifting this ban is good news for many who are awaiting the processing of their immigrant visa, we anticipate that there will still be delays in processing cases because of backlogs and reduced consular staffing caused by the pandemic.

The President has left in place the ban on nonimmigrant visas, such and H-1Bs and L-1s, that is set to expire on March 31, 2021. There are some exceptions to this ban, and it does appear that the ban will not be extended and will expire as scheduled

Looking forward, we anticipate that there will be continued delays in getting visas from U.S. consulates while current pandemic restrictions are in place. However, the lifting of the ban on immigrant visas is good news for those who have been precluded from applying over the past several months. If you have questions about travel or your visa application, please contact your attorney at Graham Adair.

Categories News & Updates USCIS

USCIS Announces the H-1B Lottery Registration Procedures for this Year

Today, USCIS announced the H-1B lottery registration window and process for the fiscal year (FY) 2022 H-1B lottery that will take place on or before March 31, 2021. Registration for the electronic lottery will be open from March 9 – March 25, 2021. Registration will open at noon Eastern time on the 9th and close at noon Eastern time on the 25th.

As in last year’s lottery, the registration fee is $10. USCIS has indicated that those selected in the lottery will be notified on or before March 31, 2021, and will be eligible to submit applications as early as April 1, 2021.

USCIS has also announced that the selection of H-1B cases in this year’s lottery will be completely random. A rule previously published that would have ranked cases for selection based on their prevailing wage level has been postponed until at least December 31, 2021. It is yet to be seen whether this rule will be modified or withdrawn before it goes into effect next year. For this year, the process will remain the same as in previous years.

If you have a case that you would like to get registered in the H-1B lottery, please reach out to your attorney at Graham Adair.

Categories Global News & Updates

CDC Order Requires Negative COVID-19 Test Prior to US Entry

Effective January 26, 2021, ALL air passengers traveling internationally to the United States, including US Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents, will require a negative COVID-19 viral test within three days prior to departure. Proof of the negative laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) will be required at the time of boarding. If the air passenger has recently recovered from COVID-19, they will be required to provide documentation from a doctor’s office confirming recovery. Any passenger failing to provide the necessary and accurate documentation will be denied boarding.

Important takeaways from the CDC order are the following:

  • Applies to all passengers traveling internationally to the United States regardless of citizenship that are age 2 and older;
  • Passengers must take a viral test within 3 days prior to departure and provide a hard or digital copy of negative COVID-19 laboratory test results;
  • The name listed on the laboratory test results must match the name on the passenger’s passport, must reflect a negative result, and must include the method of testing to ensure it is a viral test.

Currently, the CDC order does not apply to land ports of entry. The new measure is intended to slow the spread of the virus as vaccinations are made available to the public at large. The official CDC press release can be found here.

Globally, several countries have also started to require a negative COVID-19 viral test prior to boarding, including the United Kingdom and Canada, among others. We anticipate that several more countries will follow a similar trend.

Global travelers should check with Graham Adair and their airline prior to international travel.