FY2022 H-1B Cap Season Updates
On March 30, 2021, USCIS announced that it has received enough electronic registrations to reach the FY2022 H-1B cap, including the master’s cap. USCIS has completed the random selection process and notified prospective petitioners. FY2022 cap petitions may be filed starting April 1. Selected registrations are given 90 days to submit their petitions.
Registrations that were not selected may still have a second chance, as USCIS may have unused selections available later in the year. This would happen if previously selected registrations fail to submit an H-1B petition in a timely manner. Special care should be taken to ensure that the H-1B original filings do not encounter any problems at adjudication.
Contact the experienced attorneys at Monty & Ramirez LLP at 281-493-5529 to handle these filings on behalf of your company.
Nonimmigrant Visa Bans for Certain H-1B, H-2B, J, and L Nonimmigrants Lifted
Presidential Proclamation 10052, which temporarily suspended the entry of certain H-1B, H-2B, J (for certain categories within the Exchange Visitor Program), and L nonimmigrants, expired on March 31, 2021. Visa applicants who have not yet been interviewed or scheduled for an interview will have their applications prioritized and processed in accordance with existing Visa Services Operating Status Update guidance. Visa applicants who were previously refused visas due to the restrictions of Presidential Proclamation 10052 may reapply by submitting a new application including a new fee.
However, please note that geographic restrictions still exist on the entry of individuals physically present, within the 14-day period prior to their attempted entry into the United States, in the People’s Republic of China, Islamic Republic of Iran, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Federative Republic of Brazil, or Republic of South Africa. National Interest Exceptions, discussed below, are available for certain travelers.
Contact the experienced attorneys at Monty & Ramirez LLP at 281-493-5529 to assist with these requests.
Update on Non Immigrant Visa Processing Status
The COVID-19 global pandemic continues to impact consular post operations and with many health-related bans still in place, will likely continue to impact posts’ ability to process both immigrant and nonimmigrant cases.
U.S. Embassies and Consulates that process nonimmigrant visa applications are prioritizing travelers with urgent needs, foreign diplomats, mission-critical categories of travelers (such as those coming to assist with the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and workers who are essential to the food supply), followed by students, exchange visitors, and certain temporary employment visas.
Travelers with urgent and/or emergency travel needs are able to submit expedite requests. Contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Monty & Ramirez to assist with these requests.
National Interest Exceptions ("NIE") for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland
On March 2, 2021, the Department of State Secretary rescinded the previous national interest determination regarding categories of travelers eligible for exceptions under Presidential Proclamation 10143 as related to the Schengen Area, U.K., and Ireland. The previous NIE categories covered certain technical experts and specialists, senior-level managers and executives, treaty traders and investors, professional athletes, and their dependents. These travelers are no longer automatically eligible for consideration for an NIE for travel to the U.S. unless they qualify under another NIE category. The secretary also made a new national interest determination covering certain travelers seeking to provide vital support for critical infrastructure.
Contact the experience immigration attorneys at Monty & Ramirez to assist with these requests.
DHS Extends Flexibility in Requirements Related to Form I-9 Compliance
On March 31, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it has extended the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic by an additional 60 days, until May 31, 2021. This provision only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely.
Contact your experienced attorneys at Monty & Ramirez LLP for more information on how to obtain, remotely inspect, and retain copies of the identity and employment eligibility documents to complete Section 2 of Form I-9.
H-4 and L-2 Delays
The 2019 implementation of a new biometrics requirement for some employment-based and nonimmigrant dependents has resulted in massive delays while these cases are being processed with USCIS.
Dependents should bear in mind that H-4 and L-2 status-holders may travel outside the U.S. while the extension of stay applications are pending as long as the H-1B/L-1 principal has a valid I-94. However, if a change of status application is pending, the dependents may not travel internationally.
Contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Monty & Ramirez to assist with these requests.
April 2021 Visa Bulletin
The April 2021 Visa Bulletin has been released. The cut-off dates for employment-based applicants for Adjustment of Status and/or Consular Processing are below: