America COMPETES Act Passes in House
On February 4, 2022, the House of Representatives passed the America COMPETES Act of 2022 (H.R. 4521). The bill would exempt international science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) PhD graduates from the green card numerical cap, create a new visa category for entrepreneurs, and provide temporary protected status for Hong Kong residents. A conference committee is expected to address significant differences between the House bill and the Senate’s U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (S. 2012), according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
In addition, the Biden administration introduced measures on January 21, 2022, to attract and retain STEM international talent.
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
International Entrepreneur Update: National Advocacy Groups Recommend Streamlining Parole Program; House Passes Bill To Create New Visa – There have been several recent developments of interest to international entrepreneurs.
USCIS Releases Form I-9 Guidance for H-2B Workers Seeking to Change Employers – The guidance is related to a joint temporary final rule issued January 28, 2022, by the Departments of Homeland Security and Labor.
FY 2023 H-1B Cap Initial Registration Period Opens March 1 – The initial registration period for the fiscal year 2023 H-1B cap will open at noon ET on March 1, 2022, and run through noon ET on March 18, 2022.
DHS, DOL Announce Availability of Additional H-2B Visas for First Half of Fiscal Year– The Departments of Homeland Security and Labor announced the availability of 20,000 additional H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for the first half of fiscal year (FY) 2022. The visas are for “U.S. employers that are facing irreparable harm without additional workers and [are] seeking to employ additional workers on or before March 31, 2022.” The additional H-2B visas became available to employers on January 28, 2022.
USCIS Updates Guidance on Expedite Requests – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services updated its Policy Manual to reflect new guidance, effective immediately, on how the agency determines whether a case warrants expedited treatment.
CBP Announces New COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for Non-U.S. Travelers Entering Via Land and Ferry From Canada, Mexico– The new restriction applies to non-U.S. individuals who are traveling for both essential and non-essential reasons. It does not apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or U.S. nationals.
CBP Expands ‘Simplified Arrival’ at International Airports in the South – Simplified Arrival uses facial biometrics to automate the manual document checks that are required for admission into the United States.
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 was quoted in an article with Law 360 entitled “State Dept.’s Sluggish Diversity Visa Progress Sparks Outcry” https://www.law360.com/
Charles Kuck was quoted in an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution entitled “Detained Migrants Bail Bonds are higher in Georgia” https://www.ajc.com/news/a-
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-Constitution https://
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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