Consular Officers Now Authorized to Waive Interviews for Certain Applicants!
The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, has authorized consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain temporary employment nonimmigrant visa applicants who have a petition approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The new authorization applies to temporary workers applying for H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q visas who meet certain conditions, including that they are applying for a visa in their country of nationality or residence, the Department of State (DOS) said. In addition, the Secretary extended previously approved policies to waive the visa interview for certain students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, and specialists (F, M, and academic J visa applicants) through the end of 2022. Embassies and consulates may still require an in-person interview on a case-by-case basis and depending on local conditions, the agency noted. Read more here.
Read below for more the other immigration news of the day.
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Here is the Immigration News You NEED to Know Now
UP-TO-DATE IMMIGRATION NEWS
State Dept. Expands Waivers of In-Person Interviews for Certain Temporary Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants – The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, has authorized consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain temporary employment nonimmigrant visa applicants who have a petition approved USCIS.
Restrictions on Travelers From Southern African Countries To Be Lifted December 31 – In addition to South Africa, the other countries include Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
For First Time, DHS to Supplement H-2B Cap With Additional Visas in First Half of Fiscal Year – The Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Labor (DOL) announced a forthcoming joint temporary final rule to make available an additional 20,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for FY 2022. These visas will be set aside for U.S. employers seeking to employ additional workers on or before March 31, 2022.
OFLC Reminds Employers That H-2B Filing Window Starts January 1 – The filing window opens on January 1, 2022, for employers of H-2B workers to submit Form ETA-9142B, Application for Temporary Employment Certification, with appendices, requesting work start dates of April 1, 2022, or later. OFLC warned that H-2B applications requesting an April 1, 2022, work start date will be denied if they are filed before January 1, 2022.
State Dept. Updates Guidance on F-1, M-1 Student Intent to Depart and Residence Abroad Requirements – The Department of State updated its Foreign Affairs Manual on intent to depart and residence abroad requirements for F-1 and M-1 students. The guidance may also be useful for J-1 exchange visitors and Afghan scholars.
DHS Withdraws H-1B Selection Final Rule – Following a related action by the Department of Labor in response to a court order, the DHS withdrew a rule that would have changed the way USCIS selects H-1B registrations submitted by prospective petitioners seeking to file an H-1B cap-subject petition by ranking and selecting registrations based generally on corresponding wage levels.
U.S. Passport Fees To Rise December 27 – The fee for a U.S. passport book will increase by $20 on December 27, 2021, the Department of State announced.
CBP Confirms Lifting of Temporary Travel Restrictions Between the United States and Canada, Mexico – U.S. Customs and Border Protection published notices on December 23, 2021, announcing the lifting on November 8, 2021, of temporary restrictions that applied to non-essential travel by fully vaccinated travelers with proof of COVID-19 vaccination status entering via land ports and ferry service along the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico.
For details on these news briefs,click here!
New Publications and Items of Interest
Training on Afghan arrival categories and documentation. The Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program will present a training on Thursday, December 2, 2021, 1-2 p.m. ET on the immigration documentation that each Afghan arrival category may have and how to use SAVE to verify newly arrived Afghans’ immigration status or parole. Topics will include an overview of Operation Allies Welcome; common Afghan arrival categories and codes; sample documentation; resources; and a question-and-answer session. Registration information “will be forthcoming.”https://www.uscis.gov/save
New E-Verify feature. A new E-Verify feature, myUploads, allows employees to upload required documents in JPEG, PNG, or PDF formats to help resolve Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs). Employees can access their my E-Verify accounts by logging into their USCIS online accounts and uploading the requested documents. They can still use fax or mail to submit documents if they prefer. The employer should provide the Further Action Notice (FAN) to the affected employee, discuss the TNC privately with the employee, and allow the employee to decide whether he or she will contest the TNC. The FAN includes the steps for using myUploads to help resolve a DHS TNC. Once uploaded, the employee must call the number on the FAN to resolve the case.https://myeverify.uscis.gov/
New SAVE features. Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) is enhancing its case search capabilities, including improved usability through a search bar and other features, and a more robust case search engine. SAVE will notify users by email at least three weeks before the go-live date for enhancements.https://save.uscis.gov/web/
- Coronavirus.gov: Primary federal site for general coronavirus information
- USA.gov/coronavirus: Catalog of U.S. government’s response to coronavirus
- CDC.gov/coronavirus: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information
- American Immigration Lawyers Association: https://www.aila.org/advo-
media/issues/all/covid-19 (links to practice alerts on this site are restricted to members)
- NAFSA: https://www.nafsa.org/
Immigration Agency Information
Department of Homeland Security:DHS.gov/coronavirus
03/17/fact-sheet-dhs-notice- arrival-restrictions-china- iran-and-certain-countries- europe
- Overview and FAQs: https://www.ice.gov/
- Requirements for ICE Detention Facilities: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/
- Updates and Announcements:https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/
- Accessing I-94 Information: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/
Department of Labor:
- Office of Foreign Labor Certification:
- OFLC Announcements (COVID-19 announcements included here): https://www.foreignlaborcert.
- COVID-19 FAQs:
- § Round 1 (Mar. 20, 2020): https://www.foreignlaborcert.
- § Round 2 (Apr. 1, 2020): https://www.foreignlaborcert.
- § Round 3 (Apr. 9, 2020): https://www.foreignlaborcert.
- Travel advisories: https://travel.state.gov/
content/travel/en/ traveladvisories/ea/covid-19- information.html
- Country-specific information: https://travel.state.gov/
content/travel/en/ traveladvisories/COVID-19- Country-Specific-Information. html
- J-1 exchange visitor information: https://j1visa.state.gov/
- Executive Office for Immigration Review: https://www.justice.gov/eoir/
Agency Twitter Accounts
- EOIR: @DOJ_EOIR
- ICE: @ICEgov
- Study in the States: @StudyinStates
- USCIS: @USCIS
Immigrant and employee rights webinars. The Department of Justice’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER), of the Civil Rights Division, is offering a number of free webinars for workers, employers, and advocates. For more information, see https://www.justice.gov/crt/
E-Verify webinar schedule. E-Verify has released its calendar of webinars at https://www.e-verify.gov/
For Details on these and other topics, click www.immigration.net!
Government Agency Links
Follow these links to access current processing times of the USCIS Service Centers and the Department of Labor, and the Department of State’s latest Visa Bulletin with the most recent cut-off dates for visa numbers:
USCIS Service Center processing times online: https://egov.uscis.gov/
Department of State Visa Bulletin:
Visa application wait times for any post:https://travel.state.gov/
Kuck Baxter Immigration — In The News
Charles Kuck traveled to Peru in November and while there was interviewed by national media. One of those interviews can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Charles Kuck’s opinion statement entitled “Action needed in Ga. and Congress on immigration relief” was published by the Atlanta Journal and Constitution https://www.ajc.
Charles Kuck was quoted in a press release on MadKudu Inc. v. USCIS, a case in which the parties reached a settlement agreement about the classification of market research analyst positions as H-1B specialty occupations. Mr. Kuck said, “It is unfortunate that the only way for USCIS to follow the law and do the right thing is to bring litigation. But, know this—we will be watching for USCIS compliance with this decision, and we will be prepared to pursue litigation for other interpretive violations of written law and regulation that the agency has permitted to occur.”
Charles Kuck was quoted by Bloomberg Law in “Chronic Green Card Backlog Gains Lawmakers’ Bipartisan Attention. Commenting on things U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) could do to reduce backlogs, Mr. Kuck said, “The idea that USCIS does not have the resources is not true. They don’t have the will.” https://bit.ly/3ARW2ii(registration required)
Charles Kuck was quoted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in “Kemp’s Immigration Policy Could Complicate Bid for Second Term.” Mr. Kuck said Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia was in search of a “shiny object” to distract from former President Trump’s ongoing attacks targeting the governor. “This is a reelection stunt. If he’s going to the border, he’s searching for a solution that does not exist,” Mr. Kuck said. https://bit.ly/3Bt9gDo
Charles Kuck, represented plaintiffs in a recent case, Kinsley v. Blinken, in which a U.S. district court judge issued a decision on October 5, 2021, prohibiting the use of travel bans as a reason not to process or issue visas. Mr. Kuck was quoted by the Times of India in “Good News for H-1B Visa Holders Stranded in India.” Mr. Kuck said, “We are grateful that Judge Boasberg saw through the cascade of baseless legal theories put forward by the Department of State to finally and affirmatively rule that it is a violation of federal law to refuse to issue visas solely because a President has proclaimed an entry ban under the Immigration and Nationality Act 212(f). We call on the Department of State to now do away with its ridiculous and legally unnecessary national interest exemption program and get back to the business of visa issuance around the world regardless of those entry bans.” https://bit.ly/30bBbKl
Charles Kuck was quoted by Atlanta Magazine in “Freedom University Wasn’t Meant to Last This Long.” He said the Board of Regents of Freedom University is “not answerable to the state legislature” and can change policies if it chooses, at least for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients. He blamed a lack of progress on “constant finger-pointing between the legislature and the regents. ” ‘It’s their fault. It’s their fault. It’s their fault.’ That’s what’s extraordinarily frustrating about this. Nobody wants to take responsibility for depriving these kids of an education.”https://www.atlantamagazine.
Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC published its US legal guide for Corporate Immigration. It can be found at https://iclg.com/practice-
Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC has an office in Adel, Georgia, near the Irwin, Folkston, and Stewart Detention Centers, which hold more than 6,000 detained immigrants. The new office is managed by our Partner Elizabeth Matherne, the former Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Irwin Detention Project.https://www.
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