Feb
11
California paid COVID sick leave returns
By Thomas Lee

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On February 9, 2022, Governor Newsom signed legislation extending COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave to California workers, which becomes effective February 19, 2022, 10 days after enactment. The legislation extends up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to full-time employees of companies with 26 or more employees. Employees who are eligible will receive up to 40 hours of paid time off if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, are subject to quarantine or isolation orders, or caring for a relative who tests positive for the virus. To qualify for an additional 40 hours of paid leave, employees must provide proof that they or their family member have been tested for COVID-19. Employees can al...


Feb
10
USCIS Updates Policy Guidance on VAWA Self-Petitions
By Thomas Lee

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is publishing policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual on eligibility, filing, and adjudication requirements addressing Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions to update practices and align USCIS policies with recent court decisions.




USCIS is updating its interpretation of the requirement for shared residence to occur during the qualifying spousal or parent-child relationship. Instead, the self-petitioner must demonstrate that they are residing or have resided with the abuser at any time in the past.


USCIS is also implementing nationwide the decisions in Da Silva v. Attorney General, 948 F.3d 629 (3rd Cir. 2020), and Arguijo v. United States...


Feb
01
Biden Administration Makes Visa Changes to Retain Foreign Students
By Thomas Lee

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The Biden administration is making a series of policy changes in order to make it easier for foreign students and professionals in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields to remain in the U.S.



The new policies are aimed to retain foreign students in the STEM fields to compete against other countries who have friendlier immigration systems. Although the changes are technical, officials state it is necessary for foreign STEM graduates to work and live in the U.S., rather than other countries.



The most notable change is the expansion of the number of disciplines that international students can study to qualify to work in the U.S. with their student visas. After graduating,...


Jan
31
EOIR Extends Certain Hearings Due to COVID-19
By Thomas Lee

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The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) started postponing non-detained and non-represented cases on January 10, 2022. Currently, the EOIR announced that non-detained and non-represented cases are further postponed till February 7, 2022, due to COVID-19. Hearings will continue via phone or online for detained cases and non-detained individuals who are represented.



Please note that the information provided on this website is for general information purposes only and is not to be construed nor relied upon as legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. For a free consultation with Attorney Thomas M. Lee, please contact us.


Jan
28
FY 2023 H-1B Cap Initial Registration Period Opens on March 1
By Thomas Lee

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on January 28, 2022, that the initial registration period for the fiscal year 2023 H-1B cap will open at noon Eastern time on March 1 and run through noon Eastern time on March 18, 2022. During this period, prospective petitioners and representatives will be able to complete and submit their registrations using our online H-1B registration system.


USCIS will assign a confirmation number to each registration submitted for the FY 2023 H-1B cap. This number is used solely to track registrations; you cannot use this number to track your case status in Case Status Online.


Prospective H-1B cap-subject petitioners or their representatives are requir...


Jan
24
USCIS Provides Clarifying Guidance on O-1 Nonimmigrants in STEM Fields
By Thomas Lee

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The USCIS updated guidance on how it evaluates requirements for O-1A eligibility petitions for extraordinary ability in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) fields and whether an O-1 beneficiary's prospective work is within their area of extraordinary ability or achievement.



O-1A classification is applicable for individuals of extraordinary ability in science, education, business, or athletics. Examples of satisfactory evidence for the O-1A criteria and how it evaluates the evidence is provided.



In addition, if a particular criterion is not suited with their occupation, evidence that is of comparable significance that establishes sustained acclaim and recognition may be provide...


Jan
21
Updated USCIS Guidance on National Interest Waivers
By Thomas Lee

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The USCIS updated guidance on adjudicating "National Interest Waivers" regarding the requirements for job offer and labor certification for certain advance degree professionals and individuals of exceptional ability, including those with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields and entrepreneurs.



Under President Biden's Executive Order 14012, the USCIS is outlining the importance of support letters from governmental and quasi-governmental entities and how it is applicable for STEM graduates and entrepreneurs.



Normally, when employer hires a noncitizen, they must obtain a permanent labor certification from the Department of Labor to prove that there are n...


Jan
14
USCIS Provides Clarifying Guidance on O-1 Nonimmigrants in Arts vs. Motion Picture and Television
By Thomas Lee

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On January 13, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced clarifying guidance on how they determine whether an O-1B beneficiary will be evaluated as a person of extraordinary ability in the arts or as a person of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry when a case has elements of both.


Individuals of extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry may be eligible for O-1B classification. The updated guidance will help officers and petitioners determine whether a beneficiary falls into the arts category or the motion picture and television category.



The update will help with cases that have el...


Jan
14
Supreme Court blocks nationwide vaccine and testing mandate for large businesses
By Thomas Lee

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The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers, dealing a blow to a key element of its plan to address the pandemic. However, the court approved a more modest mandate mandating vaccination of health care workers in facilities that receive federal money.


The emergency temporary standard, which was administered by OSHA, would have imposed penalties on U.S. employers with 100 or more employees who failed to ensure that all of their employees, with the exception of those who qualified for an exemption, were fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or tested for the virus each week. Employers would have been able to choose whet...


Jan
12
Immigration Help Available to Those Affected by Natural Disasters
By Thomas Lee

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The USCIS offers immigration services to those who have been affected by natural disasters or unforeseen circumstances. An example of such is the Marshall fire in Colorado.


Upon request, the following listed below is available on a case-by-case basis:


- For those in the U.S., changing a nonimmigrant status or extending a nonimmigrant stay. Delay in applying for extension or change before expiration of your authorized stay due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control may be excused;
- Re-parole for those previously granted parole by USCIS;
- Expedited processing for advance parole requests;
- For F-1 students, expedited adjudication of requests for off-campus employment authorization fo...