Immigration has been in a constant state of flux throughout the first half of 2020 as a result of Trump Administration policies and numerous Executive Orders and Proclamations. We have had many changes: H-1B CAP Registration, suspension of entry of those on immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, rescission of Neufeld and other Memos, and now the latest changes to SEVP rules for F-1 students.
GLF periodically posts short updates on our Google and LinkedIn pages. We also periodically send out GLF Newsletters when the subject matter is extensive and relevant for a detailed analysis. Presented below is a consolidated summary of updates posted on Google and LinkedIn for June 2020.
Below is the link to our Google posts.
CAN YOU WITHDRAW A SELECTED H-1B REGISTRATION?
Due to the current COVID-19 situation, some Petitioners are unwilling to file H-1B petitions for every H-1B registration selected. USCIS has suggested that employers retain documentation evidencing reason for non-filing and present to USCIS, if requested. As a more proactive approach, some attorneys are submitting letters to USCIS for registrations that were unused. There is nothing in the USCIS website mandating this approach. It is advisable to submit the letter only if USCIS questions. Also please note that there is no formal way to request USCIS to reassign the visa number to another H-1B registrant. USCIS has stated on the registration webpage that if the regular or master’s cap is not met, they may select additional cap cases for filing from pending Registrations.
HOW DO YOU GET CAP-GAP EXTENSION OF OPT FOR F-1 STUDENTS?
The selection of H-1B Registration is not sufficient for the cap-gap extension of OPT status for F-1 Students. An F-1 student who is the beneficiary of a timely filed H-1B petition seeking a change of status with a start date of October 1 can avail themselves of a cap-gap extension. At present Cap-Gap extension is now automatically granted by all universities as soon as their H-1B is receipted. A petition requesting consular processing does not qualify for cap-gap relief.
SUSPENSION ON H-1Bs FROM ENTERING USA UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 2020
President Trump issued a Proclamation suspending entry of immigrants as well as those on H-1Bs, H-2Bs, L-1, and J until December 31, 2020. It applies only to those who are outside the United States and who do not have valid visas already issued by the Consulate before June 24, 2020. So, if you are outside and already have a visa issued, you would be allowed to return. For those outside the US, who do not have a visa already issued, it is unlikely the visa will be issued this year. It also does not affect those who are in the United States, lawful permanent residents of US, any alien who is the spouse or child of a US citizen or any other exempted persons.
ADVICE TO GREEN CARD HOLDERS WHO ARE STUCK OUTSIDE US
Lawful Permanent Residents (“Green Card”) who are stuck outside the country (some up to a year) and who are unable to return back due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions are advised to travel back to the US as soon as the travel ban gets lifted and flights resume. DHS would be accommodative with respect to departure and arrival dates due to the lockdowns globally and travel restrictions. Lawful Permanent Residents should start registering with the US Embassy or Consulate for return flights as they will have priority as returning lawful permanent residents. DHS may setup “deferred inspection” to present evidence as to why they were absent and may use their discretion and case by case evaluation.
USCIS EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR RFE RESPONSE BY 60 MORE DAYS
Due to the current COVID-19 situation, USCIS has announced on July 1, 2020, a 60-day extension of due dates for RFEs issued between March 1 and September 11, 2020, both dates inclusive. So, you get another 60 days (beyond the due date listed) for your response, for RFEs issued March 1 to September 11.
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At GLF will continue to follow further developments in this and other matters and we will provide updates through our Newsletter as and when they become available. GLF receives numerous emails and phone calls every day asking for comment on various proposed bills and media reports that are often inaccurate. It is our job to separate fact from fiction and advice clients on important updates that are relevant. The best way to receive accurate information is through GLF Newsletters.
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