With employers across industries being impacted, recent changes to H1-B visa regulations by the Trump administration are likely to be reversed, said Liz Stern, head of Mayer Brown’s Global Mobility & Migration practice, in an October 26 HR Dive article.

Business groups—including the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation, and medical and dental organizations—and several universities recently sued the Trump administration over revised regulations over the H-1B visa, which allows highly skilled international workers into the country to work for US employers.

Two changes are at issue: a revision to the US Department of Labor’s regulations, which increases the wage scale for H-1B holders by 30 to 60 percent, and the US Department of Homeland Security releasing an interim final rule that limits degree requirements for H-1B holders to work in certain jobs and restricts the terms of contractors hired through the H-1B program from three years to one.

Liz noted that both departments bypassed the typical step of allowing time for public comment on proposed changes.

“Suddenly, you’ve got the Department of Labor saying H-1B workers must be paid [more], because our own system, which we’ve been using, is obviously wrong,” Liz said. “It just has a gaping hole as to the rationale behind any change in the rule, and it definitely doesn’t address the timing.”

Employers filing for renewal of their H-1B this year may feel the impact of these policies even more, and Liz gave an example that speaks directly to the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying switch to remote work. “If someone moved from one location to another, there’s a requirement for an amended filing almost inevitably. And in that moment, that amended filing for somebody who simply just moved because they were working virtually […] can trigger the need for filing and suddenly their salary must be a completely different level.”

The article goes on to state that these regulations have driven employers to look to other countries for expansion, delay visa filings and keep job openings unfilled for longer periods of time.

“I think there is absolutely no question that all of these industries are already, first of all, taking on the fight to prevent this from becoming a reality and yet, at the same time, anticipating that there’s some vulnerability,” Liz said.

For information on other regulatory developments related to the pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 Portal.

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Economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to an unprecedented global financial crisis with no end in sight. When it comes to stabilizing the financial system, the US president and his Democratic challenger have different approaches in mind.

A second Trump administration would continue to see a loosening in financial regulation, while the Biden campaign has pledged to build on the Dodd-Frank Act, reflecting the major policy differences between Democrats and Republicans, as discussed in an October 16 Wall Street Journal article (subscription required).

Mayer Brown Government & Global Trade partner Andrew Olmem (DC), a former National Economic Council deputy director under President Trump, said the Trump administration “will continue its focus on pragmatic, pro-growth regulatory reforms that enhance the resiliency of financial markets, encourage the use of fintech, and expand access to the financial system.”

Jacob Lew, Treasury secretary in the Obama administration, says that a Biden administration could “build on the achievements of Dodd-Frank to ensure that consumers have a voice, that regulators can spot and address outsize risks, and that our system is one in which everyone plays by the rules.”

The article goes on to analyze how the outcome of the upcoming presidential election could impact money-market mutual funds, bank regulation, consumer financial protection and securities regulation.

For information on other regulatory developments related to the pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 Portal.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

Dress suits now occupy a dark corner of the closet, while sweatpants and jeans are the daily clothing choices for those of us working from home. This seismic wardrobe shift is having a profound effect across the global supply chain, impacting everyone from sheep farmers to business attire chains. 

London-based Litigation & Dispute Resolution partner James Whitaker confesses to not having purchased any office wear in 2020 in an October 15 Reuters article. “I can tell you for a fact, walking around the City, there are very few suits on display,” he said.

While casual wear has been growing in popularity for years, the COVID-19 pandemic has turbocharged that change, as described in Reuters.

For information on other regulatory developments related to the pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 Portal.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

A Kansas liberal arts college dropped a proposed class action against a national insurer, which alleged that the carrier did not cover financial losses related to COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic, Benedictine College had shut down campus activities and dorms and refunded students over $1 million in room-and-board fees. 

As detailed in an October 15 Law360 article, Zurich American Insurance Co. successfully urged the Kansas federal court to drop the suit, stating “the school was trying to stretch its property policy…and the court should follow ‘the overwhelming majority’ of rulings across the country that have dismissed such claims.”

Zurich is represented by a Mayer Brown team including Washington-based partners Evan Tager and Archis Parasharami, Chicago-based partner Debra Bogo-Ernst, and Los Angeles-based partner Bronwyn Pollock and counsel Doug Smith.

For information on other regulatory developments related to the pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 Portal.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions 

related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

One of the top 10 issues affecting US immigration in the next 100 days will depend on the outcome of lawsuits challenging an overhaul of the eligibility, wage levels, and employment rules for the H-1B visa category, which governs the hiring of highly-skilled workers by US employers across industries. Today a leading group of business associations, including the US Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, Bay Area Council, and National Retail Federation, as well as number of educational institutions and associations, filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California against the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Labor (DOL) challenging the Strengthening the H-1B Program rule and the Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States rule. The suit was filed in the Northern District of California. US Chamber CEO Tom Donohue issued the following statement with regard to the lawsuit:

Continue Reading Game-Changing H-1B Rules Challenged by Business and Academia

Mayer Brown Employment & Benefits partners Duncan Abate and Hong Tran (both Hong Kong) predict few employers will move forward with mass employee COVID-19 testing. According to Duncan and Hong, once employers carry out individual risk assessments, many will likely avoid making testing a requirement, outside of those in the most at-risk industries.

In an October 13 HR Magazine article, Duncan and Hong lay out several important questions for employers to consider when deciding whether or not to implement COVID-19 testing for employees:

  • Do testing benefits outweigh the negatives?
  • If you decide to test, does the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO) permit you to do so?
  • What are implications of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (PDPO)?
  • What about the Contract of Employment?
  • Who pays for testing?

For information on other regulatory developments related to the pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 Portal.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

After a period of relative leniency in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, bank regulators in the coming months are expected to begin taking a tougher stance and imposing stiffer penalties for COVID-19-related money laundering activities.

In an October 7 article in S&P Global Market Intelligence, Paris-based counsel Joydeep Sengupta, a member of Mayer Brown’s Compliance, Regulatory & Investigations team, explains how in 2021, regulators are on track to focus on large-scale fraud cases related to contracts for medical supplies, masks and other pandemic-driven orders. He drew upon one particular case that turned regulators’ heads, in which fraudsters duplicated a Dutch face mask supplier’s website to process an €880,000 order for 10 million non-existent masks.

According to Joydeep, regulators may be “more lenient” when it comes to activities that took place during the onset of the pandemic, or what he calls a more “unpredictable” phase. But banks caught in scandals further along in the pandemic will face a “high risk of regulatory enforcement.”

For information on other regulatory developments related to the pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 Portal.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

Executive Summary

The Trump Administration has introduced long-anticipated changes to the H-1B visa program for highly-skilled foreign workers, aimed at tightening eligibility for STEM talent working at major US employers, including by imposing a rigid requirement that any job offered to an H-1B worker require a single specific degree in a subspecialty, and that each H-1B candidate have that specific degree to qualify.

The changes, some of which come under immediate effect and all of which will likely face legal challenges, would make it tougher for applicants to qualify for an H-1B visa and significantly more expensive for employers to sponsor them for H-1Bs or for green cards.

The changes also will create high barriers for vendor partners to provide talent to major customers, as both the expense of new wages and specific requirements for vendors to renew their H-1Bs annually (or more frequently if statements of work provide for shorter periods), raise their costs substantially.

Continue Reading Trump Administration Issues Two New Rules to Restrict H-1B Visas and Increase Expenses for Employers Sponsoring Highly-Skilled Workers for Visas and Green Cards

Mayer Brown is among several law firms that have adjusted summer associate recruitment plans as a result of the pandemic. In an October 6 Business Insider article, attorney recruitment manager Susanne Schaeffer said the firm has increased its participation in on campus interviews, which are largely taking place virtually. The firm is also getting creative with student outreach, utilizing a new online application system and meet-and-greet breakout rooms over Zoom.

Read the article on Business Insider.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.

The White House has announced issuance of two new rules, both of which will take effect immediately upon publication in the Federal Register:

  1.  The Department of Homeland Security’s H-1B rule,  “Strengthening the H-1B Non-immigrant Visa Classification Program,” which has been on the DHS regulatory agenda for many years, including its first appearance in Fall 2017 under the current administration.  It has since appeared in every other regulatory agenda since then, including Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, and Spring 2020, as summarized on Reginfo.gov.  The DHS announcement about the upcoming rule is included here.
  2. The Department of Labor’s rule increasing prevailing wage requirements for US employers, which apply to the Labor Condition Application filings that accompany H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 petitions (including amendments and extensions), and apply to PERM labor certifications.  Wage Level 1 will increase from the 17th percentile to the 45th percentile.  Wage Levels 2, 3, and 4 all are increasing substantially above the current 50th percentile for Wage Level 3.  Wage Wage Level 2 will increase to the 62nd percentile; Wage Level 3 to the 78th percentile; and Wage Level 4 to the 90th percentile.  Percentiles are calculated for the specific occupational classification and vary by location (typically the Metropolitan Statistical Area or “normal commuting distance” from the job location).

Continue reading on Mayer Brown’s Mobile Workforce blog.

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If you wish to receive periodic updates on this or other topics related to the pandemic, you can be added to our COVID-19 “Special Interest” mailing list by subscribing here. For any other legal questions related to this pandemic, please contact the Firm’s COVID-19 Core Response Team at FW-SIG-COVID-19-Core-Response-Team@mayerbrown.com.