On the cusp of the transition of power to President Biden, the Trump administration is pressing forward with three separate rulemakings restricting the H-1B visa program, which employers rely on to hire foreign workers for specialty professions, including in the pivotal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (“STEM”) fields. The new rules seek to substantially increase the price tag on engaging H-1B talent, narrow eligibility of foreign workers whose academic degrees are not singularly tied to their job role, restrict third-party worksite assignments, and tie the chances of being selected in what has become an annual lottery to those filling senior positions at higher wage levels.

H-1B visas are generally the only way highly educated foreign nationals, including international students, can become employment-based immigrants and contribute to research and development, scientific and technological advances, and new businesses. If the Trump administration rules are allowed to stand, employers will face significant operational challenges, as all H-1B filings – including amendments, extensions, and new cap-subject petitions – will be affected.

The Biden administration will have several tools at its disposal to circumvent the suite of H-1B rules, as well as any other rules issued during the lame duck period between the election and the inauguration – so-called “midnight rules.” These include:
Continue Reading Late-Breaking H-1B Rulemaking By Trump Administration Subject to “Midnight Rule” Rollback by New President

Over the weekend, countries across Europe announced travel bans on the United Kingdom, with the growing list of countries spanning all other regions of the globe.  The restrictions come in the wake of the discovery of a new (and possibly highly transmissible) COVID-19 strain in the United Kingdom, coupled with the UK prime minister’s Saturday announcement of the strictest domestic movement restrictions to-date, including a new Tier 4 “stay at home” level alert for parts of England (encompassing London).  Similar cases of the mutated virus have appeared in Australia, Denmark, and the Netherlands, while a new strain, different from that discovered in the United Kingdom, has been identified in South Africa.
Continue Reading Travel Bans Imposed On the UK Following Discovery of New Strain of COVID-19

Tonight I had the pleasure of participating in the Financial Times North American Innovative Lawyers Award, which were “live” online tonight, December 10, 2020.  Kudos to hosts Reena Sengupta, Managing Director of RSG Consulting, and Robert Grange and Robert Armstrong of the Financial Times, for running a flawless event.  The silver lining for not being together in New  York participating in the gala event was that we, the in house law departments and outside firms on the short list for awards, could invite our full corps.  In my case, I had the pleasure of inviting many colleagues, including the associates who worked throughout the past nine months to ensure we maintained fluid, seamless connectivity with our clients as they and we worked together to surmount the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue Reading Financial Times Awards Focus on Innovation During COVID-19 Pandemic

The US District Court for the Northern District of California has issued an order temporarily enjoining President Trump’s proclamation suspending the entry of certain temporary workers.  On June 22, 2020, President Trump signed Proclamation 10052, Section 2 of which suspended the entry of foreign nationals seeking admission in four visa categories of substantial importance to US companies—H-1B, L-1, H-2B, and certain J-1 visas—for the remainder of the calendar year and laid the groundwork for regulatory changes to transform when and how employers can sponsor foreign workers to work in the United States. For a full discussion of the Proclamation, please see our blog post, Trump Order Suspends Major Visa Categories, Including H-1B and L-1, Through the End of the Calendar Year, With Rulemaking Restrictions to Follow. The ban only applied to individuals in these categories who were outside the United States when the Proclamation took effect; were not in possession of a nonimmigrant visa on that date; and had no other authorization to travel to the United States, such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole authorization.

Continue Reading Federal Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction in Case Challenging Nonimmigrant Visa Ban

Mayer Brown partner Nicole Saharsky comments in the Bloomberg Law article “Zoom Courts Will Stick Around as Virus Forces Seismic Change,” which explores the future of virtual court proceedings post-pandemic.

“Ideally you want it to just be a conversation between you and the judge during oral arguments about your side of things and why your

In this Blogpost, James Ferguson recaps on a recent webinar he participated in on “Arbitrating COVID-19 Contract Disputes” with his colleagues from London, Singapore, Frankfurt and Rio de Janeiro.  The discussion included the key issues likely to arise in arbitrations of COVID-19 contract disputes under both common law and civil law principles.  The

Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts announced that the federal government has agreed to rescind, on a nationwide basis, a policy that could have required hundreds of thousands of immigrant students studying at U.S. institutions to leave the country and likely curtail their studies. In the litigation challenging this policy, Mayer Brown represented and filed an amici curiae brief on behalf of 19 businesses and business associations that collectively power the U.S. economy.

Continue Reading Trump Administration Abandons Plan That Would Have Required International Students Taking Fully Online Courses to Leave the Country

The establishment of the COVID-19 virus as a global pandemic halted international movement for travelers around the globe since March. Countries across regions enforced varying levels of restrictions on incoming travelers, particularly for non-essential travel, as host governments attempted to restrict additional sources of infection through extraordinary means. Now, an increasing number of countries and regions are working together to bridge the once necessary divide by developing networks of “air bridges” and “travel bubbles” to allow cross-border travel where the virus appears to be under control. “Air bridges,” “air corridors,” “travel bubbles,” or “travel corridors” are reciprocal agreements between any number of countries that allow for non-essential travel, generally without requiring a self-isolated quarantining period upon arrival and return.

Continue Reading Air Bridges and Travel Corridors: Regional Travel Agreements in the Face of COVID-19

In a world where we can no longer host in person events without following all of the latest government guidelines on social distancing, use of face masks and providing a bucket-load of hand sanitizer, online learning tools such as webinars, podcasts, blogs and vlogs, are having their time in the limelight. With this new era, comes new opportunity.

When lockdown began in the UK in March 2020, like many, Nicholas Robertson hunkered down at home and quickly got to grips with various online platforms to be able to continue working effectively. Already a seasoned podcaster and producer of Mayer Brown’s UK Employment Law Podcast, on 15 April 2020 Nick was invited by the Employment Lawyers Association (“ELA”) to host an interview with Judge Shona Simon and Judge Brian Doyle, where (in under an hour) they covered the impact of the pandemic on tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”), and the steps that were being taken to address the impact. To listen to this podcast, you can access it through the ELA website.


Continue Reading UK Employment Law Podcaster Nicholas Robertson Hosts Pandemic Related Broadcasts Produced by the Employment Lawyers Association and the Industrial Law Society

On Friday, 26 June 2020, the UK Government published the Third Direction, which is the legislative update for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. In particular, it implements the flexible working arrangements which are permitted from 1 July 2020 under the Furlough Scheme.

We have now reviewed this Direction in full and provide a summary of