November 2019
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How to document TPS Automatic Extension for 6 Countries .

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a Federal Register notice extending the validity of TPS-related documentation for beneficiaries under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan through January 4, 2021.

The notice automatically extends the validity of Employment Authorization Documents; Forms I-797, Notice of Action; and Forms I-94, Arrival/Departure Record. Employers, please note that for I-9 purposes, the automatic extension means that as long as the employee presents their Employment Authorization Document, you may list the January 04, 2021 date as the new validity date. An employer is required by law to ask employees to verify that they are still authorized to work.

Once proof is presented, the employer should correct the EAD expiration date in Section 2 of Form I-9. An employee may show the Federal Register notice to his or her employer to explain what to do for Form I-9 and to show that the EAD has been automatically extended through January 4, 2021. You may need to re-inspect the automatically extended EAD to check the Card Expires date and Category code if you did not keep a copy of your employee’s EAD initially. The last day of the automatic extension for your employee’s EAD is January 4, 2021. Before your employee starts work on January 5, 2021, it is your responsibility as an employer to re-verify employment authorization in Section 3 of Form I-9.

For Section 1, you should:

a. Check “An alien authorized to work until” and enter January 4, 2021, as the expiration date indicated in the chart; and

b. Enter the USCIS number or A-Number where indicated (the EAD or other document from DHS will have the USCIS number or A-Number printed on it; the USCIS number is the same as the A-Number without the A prefix).

For Section 2, the employer should:

a. Write in the document title;

b. Enter the issuing authority;

c. Enter either the employee's A-Number or USCIS number from Section 1 in the Document Number field on Form I-9; and

d. Write January 4, 2021, as the expiration date indicated in the chart.

Before the start of work on January 5, 2021, employers are required by law to re-verify the employee's employment authorization in Section 3 of Form I-9.

You can find more information here .

For more information, please contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Monty & Ramirez LLP at 281-493-5529 or via email at .

Updates on Public Charge DHS and DOS

Presidential Proclamation on Health Insurance

The White House issued a proclamation on October 4, 2019, titled “Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System.” The proclamation states that immigrant visa applicants will be denied entry to the United States unless they establish that they either have or can obtain approved health insurance within 30 days of admission or they will have enough resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs. The rule was set to begin on November 03, 2019. On November 02, 2019, U.S. District Judge Michael Simon granted a preliminary injunction that prevents the rule from going into effect.

However, we recommend employers to keep this information in mind in case it is implemented in the future. If an employee will not be provided healthcare from his or her employer, it could potentially affect an employee’s ability to be admitted into the country even after a petition has been approved. 

ICE Begins On-Site Inspections for STEM OPT Employment.  

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is increasing its enforcement of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Occupational Practical Training (STEM OPT) Program. There have been reports of ICE increasing oversight of the STEM OPT Program through site visits. While on-site visits have been in the books since 2016, ICE has recently begun to actively use this method of inspection. According to the rule Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Non-immigrant Students With STEM Degrees and Cap-Gap Relief for All Eligible F-1 Students , site-visits are intended to ensure that each employer is meeting program requirements, including compliance with their attestations and that they possess the ability and resources to provide structured and guided work-based learning experiences as outlined in students’ Training Plans/ Form I-983. Therefore, it is critical for employers to be fully familiarized with the training plans of their F-1 students and the statements made in Form I-983 to ensure compliance.

For more information, please contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Monty & Ramirez LLP at 281-493-5529 or via email at .

Important Updates for H-1B FY 2020-2021 Season 

As we follow-up with our previous coverage of H-1B updates, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a final rule that will require a $10 non-refundable fee for each H-1B registration submitted by petitioning employers, once it implements the electronic registration system.

The final rule is effective Dec. 9, 2019, and the fee will be required when registrations are submitted. Once USCIS develops an electronic registration tool for the H-1B cap filings, Petitioners will initially submit the H-1B beneficiary’s information via electronic registration. Petitioners with registrations selected by USCIS will then be invited to submit H-1B petitions during a designated filing period, which will be at least 90 days.

USCIS is scheduled to implement the registration process for the fiscal year 2021 H-1B cap selection process, pending completed testing of the system. The agency will announce the implementation time-frame and initial registration period in the Federal Register once a formal decision has been made, and USCIS will offer ample notice to the public in advance of implementing the registration requirement. Please note that the above new changes have not ultimately affected the H-1B eligibility requirements. 

For more information, please contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Monty & Ramirez LLP at 281-493-5529 or via email at .

USCIS Increases Premium Processing Fee

Beginning December 02, 2019, the premium processing fee will increase to $1,440 from the current fee of $1,410 for Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker, and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. Premium processing is an optional service currently authorized for certain petitioners filing Forms I-129 or I-140. The system allows petitioners to request 15-day processing of these forms if they pay an extra fee. The premium processing fee is paid in addition to the base filing fee and any other applicable fees. It cannot be waived.

All non-immigrant & immigrant employment-based petitions that are eligible for premium processing will be affected by this increase in fee.
For more information, please contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Monty & Ramirez LLP at 281-493-5529 or via email at .

Regulatory Changes to EB-5 Program

The EB-5 program will see changes starting November 21, 2019.

New developments under the final rule include:

·         Raising minimum investment amounts:  As of the effective date of the final rule, the standard minimum investment level will increase from $1 million to $1.8 million . The rule also keeps the 50% minimum investment differential between a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) and a non-TEA, thereby increasing the minimum investment amount in a TEA from $500,000 to $900,000. The final rule also provides that the minimum investment amounts will automatically adjust for inflation every five years.

·         TEA designation reforms:  The final rule outlines changes to the EB-5 program to address gerrymandering of high-unemployment areas (which means deliberately manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency). Gerrymandering of such areas was typically accomplished by combining a series of census tracts to link a prosperous project location to a distressed community to obtain the qualifying average unemployment rate. As of the effective date of the final rule, DHS will eliminate a state’s ability to designate certain geographic and political subdivisions as high-unemployment areas; instead, DHS would make such designations directly based on revised requirements in the regulation limiting the composition of census tract-based TEAs. These revisions will help ensure TEA designations are done fairly and consistently, and more closely adhere to congressional intent to direct investment to areas most in need.

·         Clarifying USCIS procedures for removing conditions on permanent residence:  The rule revises regulations to make clear that certain derivative family members who are lawful permanent residents must independently file to remove conditions on their permanent residence. The requirement would not apply to those family members who were included in a principal investor’s petition to remove conditions. The rule improves the adjudication process for removing conditions by providing flexibility in interview locations and to adopt the current USCIS process for issuing Green Cards.

·       Allowing EB-5 petitioners to keep their priority date:  The final rule also offers greater flexibility to immigrant investors who have a previously approved EB-5 immigrant petition. When they need to file a new EB-5 petition, investors will be able to retain the priority date of the previously approved petition, subject to certain exceptions.

For more information, please contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Monty & Ramirez LLP at 281-493-5529 or via email at .

The December 2019 Visa Bulletin has arrived!

The Bulletin for November 2019 has been released by the Government. For more details, visit the Department of State at

For more information, please contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Monty & Ramirez LLP at 281-493-5529 or via email at .

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