Photo of Elizabeth (Liz) Espín Stern

Elizabeth Espín Stern, a partner in Mayer Brown's Washington DC office, leads the firm’s Global Mobility & Migration practice, which forms part of the Employment & Benefits group. She is a seasoned veteran, advising on US and global immigration, HR and mobility services. She is consistently ranked as a leading business immigration lawyer by Chambers GlobalChambers USAWho's Who LegalThe International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, and national and local publications. In addition, she has been named in Best Lawyers in AmericaSuper Lawyers and "Women in Law Awards 2014" by Lawyer Monthly and named one of National Law Journal’s “Outstanding Women Lawyers 2015.” She spearheads Mayer Brown's new global worksite management initiative. This "Global People Solution" offers multinational clients, in a variety of sectors including financial services, IT, defense, telecommunications and multimedia, a comprehensive compliance and risk management program in connection with their mobile workforce. Liz regularly speaks and writes about immigration policies and contributes to major news agencies and publications, including Law 360, Quartz.com, Global Business News and a host of global HR publications.

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Social-distancing rules are still the order of the day in most US cities, and sticking to daily routines is tough when we’re all stuck inside. This can be especially true for exercise (where’s the motivation to break a sweat when a comfy couch is always close by?).

While we may still be physically apart, Mayer

President Trump signed an executive order, the “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak,” to pause issuance of new immigrant visas to applicants who are outside the United States for 60 days.  The order, which takes effect at 11:59 pm Eastern daylight time on April 23, 2020, is limited in its current scope, as it only affects individuals who are outside the United States and do not have a valid visa.

As reported in our post yesterday, the order thus does not currently impact temporary workers, such as H-1B specialty occupation workers, L-1 intra-company executives and specialized knowledge transferees from overseas, treaty visa holders including NAFTA entrants, O-1 extraordinary ability aliens, and F-1 students. Nine categories of aliens also are exempt from the order’s suspension and limitations on entry:

  1. lawful permanent residents;
  2. health care workers, medical research personnel, and other workers deemed essential to combat the spread of COVID-19, and their accompanying spouse and children, seeking to enter on immigrant visas;
  3. EB-5 immigrant investor visa candidates;
  4. spouses of US citizens;
  5. children under 21, including prospective adoptees, of US citizens;
  6. individuals whose work is deemed to further law enforcement objectives;
  7. US military personnel and their spouse and children;
  8. certain holders of Special Immigrant Visas and their spouse and children; and
  9. individuals whose work is deemed to further national security interests.

In addition, the order allows applications for asylum, refugee status, withholding of deportation, or other relief under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to continue without limitation.
Continue Reading Trump Signs Executive Order Imposing 60-Day Pause on Green Card Issuance

President Donald Trump’s tweet late Monday night, April 20, 2020, that he would suspend immigration temporarily “[i]n light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens,” led to widespread speculation across the business community that the president was instituting a blanket ban on immigration.  As confirmed on Tuesday, April 21, by the president at a coronavirus press briefing, the executive order will be a far more limited measure with a much less dramatic impact.

The order, which the president indicated could be signed as early as tomorrow, April 22,  will “pause” permanent residency or “green card” visa issuance for 60 days, after which it will be revisited.  The order will not impact temporary workers, including H-1B specialty occupation workers, L-1 intra-company executives and specialized knowledge transferees from overseas, treaty visa holders including NAFTA entrants, O-1 extraordinary ability aliens, and F-1 student visa holders, who, among others, will continue to be able to obtain visas and admission into the United States. 
Continue Reading Trump Plan to Suspend Immigration Shifts to 60-Day Pause on Green Card Awards

In a tweet late Monday, April 20, 2020, President Trump said he will issue an executive order temporarily suspending immigration  “in light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy” and the “need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens.” The White House did not provide any immediate clarification, including when an executive order would be signed.

Presidents enjoy wide latitude when it comes to unilaterally setting immigration policy, including restrictions to entry of aliens or classes of aliens.  Section 212(f) of the Immigration & Nationality Act provides the president with the authority to “suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants,” or “impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate,” whenever the president finds that such entry would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States,” for “such period as he shall deem necessary.” 8 U.S.C.  §1182(f).
Continue Reading Trump Says He Will Temporarily Suspend Immigration Because of Coronavirus Pandemic

It was late December when the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in China. Since then, the disease has spread across the world in a global pandemic. In response, countries have instituted various measures in an effort to slow its spread. One common measure has been to order non-essential businesses to suspend operations. Another common measure has been to limit domestic and foreign travel. But as the economic toll increases and the pandemic begins to abate in certain regions, governments are starting to think about how they will restart their economies.

Yesterday, April 15, 2020, for example, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a plan to begin reopening the shuttered portions of Germany’s economy starting next week. The day before, US President Donald Trump signaled his desire to reopen American businesses by May 1 if not earlier.

Although the process of reopening businesses is still in its early stages even where the pandemic’s apex has apparently passed, this much is clear already: the process will be gradual, vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and confront business with myriad issues.


Continue Reading As Pandemic-Related Shut-Downs Continue, the United States, Like Countries Across Global Regions, Begins To Consider How To Restart Business

Mayer Brown announced that the firm has filed a lawsuit on behalf of 3M Company in federal court in California against Utah-based Rx2Live, LLC for an alleged deceptive price-gouging scheme directed at Fresno, California-based healthcare provider Community Medical Centers, Inc. (CMC).

The lawsuit asserts that Rx2Live falsely claimed that it could source millions of 3M

Many visitors and temporary workers are facing expiration of their authorized periods of stay in the United States at the same time they are being advised by employers, family, friends and health care providers to limit their exposure to crowded venues such as airports and airplanes.  In addition, some have been immobilized by government-imposed quarantines or travel restrictions. The following is a summary of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guidance posted on April 13, 2020, for nonimmigrant visa holders and Visa Waiver visitors who find themselves unable to timely depart the United States, and supplements Mayer Brown’s March 30 Legal Update “Guidance for Visa Holders and Visitors to Seek Additional Time in the United States Because of COVID-19 Travel Restrictions.”

Continue Reading Multiple Courses to Seek Additional Time to Remain in the United States During COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Over the past two weeks, US agencies with immigration regulatory authority have issued new guidelines to ease employer obligations while employees stay home during the COVID-19 national emergency.  In addition, accelerated filings review has been restricted. The announcements are summarized below.
Continue Reading COVID-19 Leads US Immigration Agencies to Ease Burdens for I-9 and E-Verify, Wet Signatures, In-Person Appointments, Responses, While Also Suspending Premium Processing

On Friday, March 20, 2020, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a virtual verification process that an employer may adopt as a temporary measure when onboarding employees who are located remotely during the COVID-19 national emergency. This temporary measure, which will be available to employers for a period of 60 days from the date of the notice (i.e., through May 19, 2020) or up to 3 business days of the termination of the national emergency, whichever comes first, supplements existing law that allows employers to onboard remote hires through the use of an authorized agent.
Continue Reading Remote Verification of New Hires Allowed for Employers to Meet I-9 Obligations During The COVID-19 National Emergency

As the novel Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) prompts such workplace responses as “work from home” arrangements, lockdowns and “skeleton crew” operations, among others, employers in countries that require right to work (RTW) validation are facing logistical challenges in onboarding new employees. Authorities in some countries permit the employer to designate a responsible adult to serve as the employer’s agent for purposes of an in-person review of RTW documentation submitted by the new employee. Others allow for the review of scanned documents to be followed by the standard in-person review when operations return to normal. Still others have created government-administered online portals for purposes of validating certain specified RTW documents.

The following is a sampling of practical approaches employers can adopt to fulfill RTW validation requirements remotely during the current pandemic.
Continue Reading Right To Work Validation While COVID-19 Encourages – or Mandates – Work From Home