Several countries around the globe have imposed COVID-19 testing as part of their pre-travel requirements.  In line with these measures, Australia has joined the list of countries requiring COVID-19 testing, with the Department of Home Affairs in Australia announcing new measures.  Commencing on January 22, 2021, anyone traveling or transiting through Australia must provide evidence

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

This afternoon, the US District Court for the Northern District of California set aside two rules issued by the Trump administration pertaining to employer sponsorship of H-1B workers, both of which bypassed notice-and-comment rulemaking as required by the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”):

  • The Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens

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

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

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

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

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

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

US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency within Homeland Security responsible for adjudicating applications and petitions seeking immigration and naturalization benefits, announced on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, that it will not engage in en masse staffing furloughs before the close of the fiscal year on September 30, 2020.  As previously reported on Mayer Brown’s Mobile Workforce blog, the agency had planned to furlough 13,000 USCIS staff, equal to 70% of its workforce, by August 31.

The planned furloughs were expected to dramatically reduce the agency’s ability to process immigration benefits, including visa petitions, green cards, citizenship, and other immigration benefits, with some predictions expecting the agency to come grinding to a halt.  While furloughs are off the table through at least September 30, the agency has signaled that users can expect significant delays, as the agency has had to engage in “aggressive spending measures” to offset the budgetary pressures that initially led it to identify a need for across-the-board furloughs.


Continue Reading USCIS Cancels En Masse Staffing Furloughs, Averting Near Total Shut-Down