Headlines

Summary

  1. EB-5 Program Expired June 30 After Efforts Fail in Senate; Reauthorization Still Possible Later

    Since the Senate has recessed until July, the EB-5 regional center program has expired. It remains to be seen whether Congress will reauthorize it later.

  2. USCIS Allows Resubmission of Certain FY 2021 H-1B Petitions Rejected or Closed Due to Start Date

    USCIS will accept resubmitted fiscal year 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were rejected or administratively closed solely because the requested start date was after October 1, 2020.

  3. Flexibilities Extended for Responding to Certain USCIS Requests

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS is extending to September 30, 2021, previously announced flexibilities to assist applicants, petitioners, and requestors responding to certain requests.

  4. CBP Continues Temporary Travel Restrictions From Canada, Mexico Into United States Via Land POEs and Ferries

    Temporary limits on nonessential travel of individuals from Canada or Mexico into the United States at land ports of entry along the border, including ferry service, will continue through July 21, 2021.

  5. Final Action Dates Advance in Visa Bulletin for July

    The Department of State's Visa Bulletin for July includes advances in final action dates for China and Vietnam. The bulletin also notes that because there has not yet been legislative action to extend the EB-5 program, final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories are listed as "Unavailable" for July.

  6. USCIS Reports on FY 2022 H-1B Cap Registration Process

    USCIS reported that the H-1B cap electronic registration process was "again well-received by users, who provided a high satisfaction score with the system for FY 2022 (4.87 out of 5)." USCIS received 308,613 H-1B registrations during the initial registration period and selected 87,500 registrations projected as needed to reach the FY 2022 numerical allocations.

  7. Vermont Service Center Address Changes

    As of June 25, 2021, the Vermont Service Center will no longer receive any incoming mail at the St. Albans, Vermont, facility, which is being decommissioned. Mail sent to the previous address will be forwarded for one year.

  8. USCIS Updates Policies to Improve Immigration Services: Expedited Processing, RFEs/NOIDs, EADs

    USCIS issued new policy updates to clarify the criteria and circumstances for expedited processing; improve guidance for requests for evidence and notices of intent to deny, and increase the validity period for initial and renewal work authorization documents for certain noncitizens with pending adjustment of status applications.

  9. USCIS Announces Lockbox Filing Flexibilities

    USCIS announced filing flexibilities to provide relief to certain applicants and petitioners affected by delays at a USCIS lockbox. These flexibilities only apply to benefit requests submitted to a USCIS lockbox and not to USCIS service centers or field offices.

  10. KLASKO NEWS

    The latest news at the firm including recent and upcoming events and publications.

1. EB-5 Program Expired June 30 After Efforts Fail in Senate; Reauthorization Still Possible Later

The EB-5 regional center program, under which foreign investors indirectly finance projects in the United States in exchange for green cards, expired on June 30, 2021. An effort to extend the program failed in the Senate on June 24, 2021, because Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) objected to unanimous consent.

Since the Senate has recessed until July, the EB-5 regional center program expired. It remains to be seen whether Congress will reauthorize it later. Invest in the USA (IIUSA), a trade association of EB-5 regional centers, said the outcome was “disappointing, but it is not the end of the road.” The organization noted that “investors have questions about their investments and their immigration status. IIUSA is not only working on Capitol Hill to protect the program, we are also working with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to get clarity on process and investor priorities during this time.”

Details:

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2. USCIS Allows Resubmission of Certain FY 2021 H-1B Petitions Rejected or Closed Due to Start Date

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on June 23, 2021, that it will accept resubmitted fiscal year (FY) 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were rejected or administratively closed solely because the requested start date was after October 1, 2020.

Those whose FY 2021 petitions were rejected or administratively closed solely because the petition was based on a registration submitted during the initial registration period, but the petitioner requested a start date after October 1, 2020, may resubmit that previously filed petition, with all applicable fees, at the address provided in the USCIS alert. Such petitions must be resubmitted before October 1, 2021, USCIS said. If properly resubmitted, the agency will consider the petition to have been filed on the original receipt date.

Details:

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3. Flexibilities Extended for Responding to Certain USCIS Requests

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is extending to September 30, 2021, the flexibilities it announced on March 30, 2020, to assist applicants, petitioners, and requestors responding to certain requests, including:

  • Requests for Evidence
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14)
  • Notices of Intent to Deny, Revoke, or Rescind
  • Notices of Intent to Terminate (regional centers)
  • Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant.

In addition, USCIS will consider a Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, or Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA), if (1) the form was filed up to 60 calendar days from the issuance of a decision USCIS made; and the agency made that decision from March 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021. USCIS said it will consider a response to the above requests and notices received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice before taking any action. Additionally, the agency will consider a Form N-336 or Form I-290B received up to 60 calendar days from the date of the decision before taking any action.

Details:

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4. CBP Continues Temporary Travel Restrictions From Canada, Mexico Into United States Via Land POEs and Ferries

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that temporary limits on nonessential travel of individuals from Canada or Mexico into the United States at land ports of entry along the border, including ferry service, will continue through July 21, 2021. The restrictions only allow processing for entry into the United States of those travelers engaged in “essential travel,” as defined in the notice.

Details:

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5. Final Action Dates Advance in Visa Bulletin for July

The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for July includes advances in final action dates for China (moving forward almost two months, to November 8, 2015), and Vietnam (leaping forward almost two years, to April 1, 2020).

The bulletin also notes that since there has not yet been legislative action to extend the EB-5 regional center program, final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories are listed as “Unavailable” for July. If Congress extends the regional center program for July, the final action dates would immediately become “Current” for July for all countries except China-mainland born I5 and R5, which would be subject to a November 8, 2015, final action date, and Vietnam I5 and R5, which would be subject to an April 1, 2020, final action date, the bulletin states.

Details:

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6. USCIS Reports on FY 2022 H-1B Cap Registration Process

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reported that the H-1B cap electronic registration process was “again well-received by users, who provided a high satisfaction score with the system for FY [fiscal year] 2022 (4.87 out of 5).” USCIS received 308,613 H-1B registrations during the initial registration period and selected 87,500 registrations projected as needed to reach the FY 2022 numerical allocations. More than 37,000 prospective petitioners submitted registrations. Roughly 48 percent of all registrations requested consideration under the advanced degree exemption, USCIS said.

USCIS noted that for FY 2021, the agency received 274,237 H-1B registrations and initially selected 106,100 registrations projected as needed to reach the FY 2021 numerical allocations. USCIS conducted a second selection in August 2020 of an additional 18,315 registrations due to low filing volume from the initial selection. This resulted in a total of 124,415 selected registrations for FY 2021, the agency said.

Details:

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7. Vermont Service Center Address Changes

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that as of June 25, 2021, the Vermont Service Center will no longer receive any incoming mail at the St. Albans, Vermont, facility, which is being decommissioned.

Mail sent to the previous address will be forwarded for one year, but any mail sent to the previous addresses after June 2022 may be returned to the sender by the U.S. Postal Service or the courier service used.

A chart in the USCIS alert lists the updated addresses. The alert states that senders should continue to use the St. Albans addresses in the chart under “Previous Address” through June 24, 2021.

Details:

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8. USCIS Updates Policies to Improve Immigration Services: Expedited Processing, RFEs/NOIDs, EADs

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued new policy updates to clarify the criteria and circumstances for expedited processing; improve guidance for requests for evidence (RFE) and notices of intent to deny (NOID), and increase the validity period for initial and renewal employment authorization documents (EADs) for certain noncitizens with pending adjustment of status applications.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said the agency is “taking action to eliminate policies that fail to promote access to the legal immigration system, and will continue to make improvements that help individuals navigate the path to citizenship, and that modernize our immigration system.” Acting USCIS Director Tracy Renaud said that USCIS is “committed to promoting policies and procedures that ensure we operate in a fair, efficient, and humane manner that reflects America’s heritage as a land of opportunity for those who seek it.”

Highlights of the updates include:

Expedited Processing

USCIS is providing enhanced guidance to clarify when expedited processing of a benefit request may be warranted. The new guidance also permits nonprofit organizations whose request is “in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States” to request that a benefit be considered for expedited processing regardless of whether premium processing is available for that benefit.

Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs)

USCIS is returning to the adjudicative principles of a June 2013 memo and is rescinding a July 2018 memo that allowed agency officers to deny certain immigration benefit requests instead of first issuing an RFE or NOID. The updated policy will give benefit requestors “an opportunity to correct innocent mistakes and unintentional omissions.”

Employment Authorization Documents (EADs)

The one-year validity period on both initial and renewal EADs is increased to two years for certain adjustment-of-status applicants. This is expected “to reduce the number of employment authorization requests USCIS receives and allow the agency to shift limited resources to other priority areas.”

Details:

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9. USCIS Announces Lockbox Filing Flexibilities

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced filing flexibilities to provide relief to certain applicants and petitioners affected by delays at a USCIS lockbox. These flexibilities only apply to benefit requests submitted to a USCIS lockbox and not to USCIS service centers or field offices, the agency said.

The following temporary flexibilities are effective until August 9, 2021:

  • If an applicant/petitioner submitted a benefit request to a USCIS lockbox between October 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021, and that request was rejected during that timeframe solely due to a filing fee payment that expired while the benefit request was awaiting processing, the applicant/petitioner may resubmit the request with a new fee payment. If USCIS concurs that it rejected the benefit request because of the delay, USCIS will deem the request to have been received on the initial filing date it was first received and waive the $30 dishonored check fee.
  • USCIS will allow applicants/petitioners to submit documentation with a benefit request resubmission demonstrating that because of the time that elapsed between when a benefit request was originally submitted to a USCIS lockbox and when USCIS rejected it, an applicant, co-applicant, beneficiary, or derivative has reached an age that makes them no longer eligible to file for the benefit requested. If USCIS agrees that the delayed rejection caused the person to be ineligible due to age, USCIS will accept the request and deem it to have been received on the date the initial benefit request was received. This flexibility does not apply to Form N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322.

Applicants and petitioners can contact USCIS to verify that previously filed benefit requests were not rejected in error. If USCIS concurs, it may allow applicants and petitioners to resubmit an erroneously rejected benefit request and deem the benefit request to have been received on the date the initial benefit request was first received at a USCIS lockbox, the agency said.

Details:

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10. KLASKO NEWS

FIRM NEWS

Statutes of Liberty: An Immigration Podcast
EB-1 attorney Allie Dempsey and EB-1 team editor Steve Miller, with EB-1 practice partner Anu Nair, discuss the EB-1 visa qualifying criteria and how they might craft a hypothetical EB-1 petition for Beth Harmon. Listen here to Episode 26: EB-1 Visa in Pop Culture: Beth Harmon from the Queen’s Gambit.


IN THE NEWS

Anu Nair
Silicon India featured Anu Nair in their June magazine edition as a top immigration attorney.

William A. Stock  |  Elise A. Fialkowski  |  Andrew J. Zeltner
Bill, Elise, and Drew’s podcast Episode 25: The International Entrepreneur Rule is Back! was featured on Technical.ly.

William A. Stock
Bill was quoted in this Forbes article discussing what to expect next as Trump’s H-1B wage rule was overturned in Federal Court.


RECENT SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

H. Ronald Klasko
Ron spoke at the 2021 AILA Annual Conference on Immigration Law virtual event. He led a discussion on a panel entitled Litigation: More Critical Now Than Ever Before for Business Immigration Practitioners on June 9th.

Elise A. Fialkowski
Elise spoke at the 2021 AILA Annual Conference on Immigration Law virtual event. She led a discussion on a panel entitled Oh, Where Are the Good Old Times? Trying to Be an L-1 Intracompany Transferee on June 12th.

Andrew J. Zeltner
On June 14th, Drew spoke in a 2021 Tax Law virtual event in a program entitled The Intersection of Tax & Immigration Law.

H. Ronald Klasko
On June 17th, Ron spoke at the Investment Migration Council’s annual forum. He provided updates to attendees on the difference in immigration policies from the Trump administration and Biden’s.

William A. Stock | Michele G. Madera
On June 21st, Bill and Michele presented to the University of Texas and the University of Alabama on employment issues for foreign nationals in the U.S. on temporary, employment-based visas.

H. Ronald Klasko
Ron spoke on a last-minute webinar on June 28, 2021, with EB-5 Affiliate Network founders on what to expect as the EB-5 regional program expired on June 30.


UPCOMING SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

H. Ronald Klasko
Ron Klasko will be speaking in this LCR Capital Partner webinar on the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program via Regional Center and how the latest developments will impact the program.

H. Ronald Klasko
Ron Klasko will be speaking in this AILA’s Education Department’s webinar on a panel entitled Handling Backlogs and Cases “Stuck” at the Consulates.


ICYMI: RECENT BLOG POSTS AND ALERTS

July 2021 Visa Bulletin
In this blog, read a summary of USCIS’s update on quota movement and which chart to use for employment and family-based categories.

Statutes of Liberty: An Immigration Podcast
EB-1 attorney Allie Dempsey and EB-1 team editor Steve Miller, with EB-1 practice partner Anu Nair, discuss the EB-1 visa qualifying criteria and how they might craft a hypothetical EB-1 petition for Beth Harmon. Listen here to Episode 26: EB-1 Visa in Pop Culture: Beth Harmon from the Queen’s Gambit.

COVID-19 Continuing to Impact Lawful Permanent Residents
Karuna Simbeck covers travel restrictions and the impact on U.S Lawful Permanent Residents in this article.

Statutes of Liberty: An Immigration Podcast
Attorneys Bill Stock, Elise Fialkowski, and Drew Zeltner discuss the International Entrepreneur Rule and give insights on how best international entrepreneurs can leverage the program. Listen here to Episode 25: The International Entrepreneur Rule is Back!

Client Alert: Department of State Expands Criteria for National Interest Exceptions for Travelers from COVID-Restricted Countries
In this client alert, Natalia Gouz covers how the US Department of State expanded the National Interest Exception criteria for individuals subject to proclamations restricting travel to the United States.


FIRM FEATURE

Last month we highlighted Immigrant Heritage Month and Pride Month on our Instagram. View our account here

 

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This newsletter was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Klasko Immigration Law Partners is an active member.

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