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Grace Shie is a partner in Mayer Brown’s Washington DC office and a member of the Employment & Benefits group focusing on global mobility and immigration. She advises multinational companies on employee mobility and management of the work corps across the globe, including in major financial centers and emerging markets. Grace’s background includes five years in Hong Kong where she managed a top-ranked immigration practice covering Greater China and coordinated matters for clients in the Asia-Pacific region. Grace, who is fluent in Mandarin, continues to maintain a practice focus on inbound expatriate movement into China and Hong Kong, as part of Mayer Brown’s new global worksite initiative. In addition, she has a longstanding command of US immigration and manages global immigration matters across all worldwide regions.

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In February 2020, the Home Office of the UK government released a policy statement noting the details of a new era of immigration to launch in the wake of Brexit. The new system, which remains encapsulated in the February 2020 policy statement, is purported to fulfill the UK Government’s commitment to “take back control of

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

The Canadian government has now published guidance for travelers on the scope of the US-Canada border closure. Last month, the United States and Canada announced that the two countries would jointly and temporarily close the border, until April 20, 2020, to non-essential travel in an effort to limit the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The statement from the Prime Minister defined “non-essential” travel to include “travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature,” as described in our post from March 24, 2020.

Persons engaged in “essential services” are exempt from most of the restrictions.  While the new guidance provides a number of examples of “essential services,” it does not attempt, perhaps intentionally, to provide a single definition of the term. Nonetheless, the new detailed guidance should make determinations by border officials on the eligibility of travelers to enter Canada more predictable.
Continue Reading Update: Canada Clarifies Scope of Cross-Border Restrictions on Non-Essential Travel

The United Kingdom, like the United States, has formally announced an alternative, temporary method by which employers may conduct right to work (RTW) checks during the coronavirus pandemic, when employers have instituted telecommuting and work-from-home arrangements and thus are onboarding newly hired employees remotely.  Because it remains an offence in the United Kingdom to knowingly employ anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK, these temporary measures provide a practical means for an employer to conduct these checks and verify a worker’s right to work when employees are telecommuting during the COVID-19 period.

Continue Reading The United Kingdom, Like the United States, Formally Sanctions Video Checks of Right to Work, As COVID-19 Work From Home Arrangements Continue

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 Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the .US. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a Notification in the Federal Register providing the details of last week’s announcements by the United States and Canada of a bilateral decision to temporarily close the US-Canada land border to non-essential travel.  This measure is in addition to restrictions on air travel to Canada implemented on March 18, 2020.  The air travel restrictions include an exemption for flights arriving from The United States.
Continue Reading United States and Canada Close Land Border to Non-Essential Travel

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