Month: February 2021

by Adrianna Romero Adrianna Romero No Comments

It’s Official: Biden’s Immigration Reform Proposal is Introduced

On February 18, 2021, the U.S. Citizenship Act was formally introduced to Congress. The proposed bill calls for comprehensive reform to all areas of immigration law. President Biden declared on this first day in office that he intended to “restore humanity and American values to our immigration system”. The massive, 353-page bill, proposes innovative solutions to the current and outdated immigration framework that has failed to keep up with the country’s needs.

The bill provides for a pathway to permanent residency and eventually citizenship for those with DACA, TPS or H-2A status.

With the goal of stimulating economic and scientific development, the bill proposes many changes to employment-based immigration including:

  • Clearing visa backlogs by increasing per-country caps and exempting Ph.D. graduates working in STEM fields from the green card quota. 
  • Prioritizing the distribution of H-1B visas by wage offered by employers.
  • Work authorization for H-4 dependants.
  • Increasing penalties for employers who violate labor laws.
  • Extensions of F-1, H-1B, L-1, and O-1 status if the foreign national has a labor certification or I-140 immigrant visa petition pending for over a year.

While the bill is only in the early stages of the legislative process, it will certainly be subject to debate and revisions in an effort to garner bipartisan support.

by Caroline Lee Caroline Lee No Comments

Biden Administration Rescinds Presidential Proclamation 10014; Immigrant Visa Ban Revoked but Nonimmigrant Visa Ban Remains in Effect

On April 22, 2020, former President Trump signed Proclamation 10014 temporarily suspending the entry of certain immigrants into the United States in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 22, 2020, former President Trump signed Proclamation 10052 continuing Proclamation 10014 issued on April 22, 2020, and suspending the entry of certain nonimmigrants. On December 31, 2020, former President Trump issued a proclamation continuing Proclamations 10014 and 10052 until March 31, 2021.

On February 24, 2021, President Biden rescinded Presidential Proclamation 10014 which prohibited the entry of certain immigrants into the United States due to possible harm to economic interests due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With President Biden’s February 24, 2021 order, the immigrant visa ban has now been revoked. However, at this time Presidential Proclamation 10052 suspending the entry of nonimmigrant workers for the same reasons remains in place. With the rescission of Presidential Proclamation 10014, the Department of State provided instructions to visa applicants who were previously subject to the ban on entry due to PP 10014. The Department of State has also updated its guidance related to National Interest Exemptions (NIEs) for individuals subject to Presidential Proclamation 10052; eligibility requirements for NIEs appear to be unchanged, however.

The geographic COVID-19 related Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, and 10143, which suspend entry into the United States of foreign nationals who have been physically present in the People’s Republic of China, Islamic Republic of Iran, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa, in the 14-day period before seeking entry into the United States, remain in effect, with limited exceptions.

The attorneys at Curray York & Associates will continue to closely monitor potential changes to the COVID-19 related travel bans, and provide updates when possible. For specific questions, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

by CYA CYA No Comments

National Interest Exceptions for Students Traveling from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland

On February 10, 2021, the U.S. State Department announced that students traveling from the Schengen Area, U.K., and Ireland who currently possess a valid visa will no longer need to seek a National Interest Exception (NIE)  to travel to the United States. Instead, they will be automatically considered under a general NIE and will be able to travel to the United States without needing to contact a U.S. embassy or consulate prior to travel.

F-1 and M-1 students who do not possess a valid visa are still required to obtain a visa as they normally would. Students seeking to apply for a new F-1 or M-1 visa should check the status of visa services at the nearest embassy or consulate. If the applicants are found otherwise qualified for an F-1 or M-1 visa, they will automatically be considered for a NIE to travel.

Business travelers, investors, academics, J-1 students, journalists, and treaty traders are still being directed to contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling to apply for a national interest exception.

The attorneys at Curray York & Associates will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to this blog as we become aware of them.

by Lisa York Lisa York No Comments

Traveling to Canada? For Canadians Residing in the U.S., Returning Home to Canada is Becoming Increasingly Challenging

Canada has been vigilant in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is particularly exemplified by Canada’s most recent travel restrictions for those trying to cross the border into Canada via land or air.  Canadian citizens, Canadian permanent residents and persons registered as Indians under the Indian Act are subject to Canada’s preventative COVID-19 protocols. As such, planning a trip back to Canada from the United States will result in a series of regulated quarantine and testing measures.

Canada’s policies regarding what is required for entry into Canada is changing and evolving almost daily. Therefore, international travelers should check the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website regularly when planning to travel. As of today, Canadians returning home via air travel will be required to adhere to the following protocols:

  • All travelers must wear a non-medical mask or face covering when they arrive in Canada.
  • Before boarding the flight to Canada, travelers must submit a detailed quarantine plan to the Canadian government.
  • All air travelers must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test to the airline before boarding international flights to Canada. The test must be taken within 72 hours of the scheduled flight departure.
  • Upon arrival in Canada and before leaving the airport, travelers will be required to take another COVID-19 test.
  • Following the arrival test, travelers will need to stay in a pre-authorized hotel for 3 nights while they await the results of the COVID-19 test they received on arrival.      
    • Note that travelers must pay for their hotel, as well as all associated costs for food, cleaning and security (and potentially COVID testing)

All hotels will be located near one of the 4 Canadian airports currently accepting international flights:

  1. Vancouver International Airport
  2. Calgary International Airport
  3. Toronto Pearson International Airport
  4. Montreal-Trudeau International Airport
  • Once released from the hotel through a negative COVID-19 test, travelers must then still quarantine for 14 days and must take another COVID-19 test at the end of their 14-day quarantine period.
  • Travelers who have COVID-19 symptoms or who develop symptoms of COVID-19 during the hotel stay or quarantine period will be required to comply with mandatory isolation instructions.
  • Limited groups of people are exempt from these policies. See the CBSA website for more information on who is exempt.
  • There are very harsh monetary penalties for failure to comply with these preventative measures.

Similarly, Canadians seeking to enter Canada via land will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival at the border. Beginning on February 22, 2021, Canadians returning home will also be required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Canada as well as at the conclusion of their mandatory 14-day quarantine period. Travelers entering by land also must submit a detailed quarantine plan in advance of their arrival into Canada.

Given the increase of new COVID-19 variants and the limited number of available vaccines doses, Canada is putting into place some of the strictest travel and border restrictions in the world and is sending a strong message to their citizens and residents that now is not the time for international travel.

For more and updated information, see:; 

by Lisa York Lisa York No Comments

All Your Questions Answered about the 2021 H-1B Cap

The 2021 H-1B Cap season is just around the corner!  Join us on Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 2pm MT for a Zoom presentation on how the H-1B Cap process will work this year. 

Topics to be covered include:

  • Overview of H-1B basic requirements
  • Updates & changes to the 2021 H-1B Registration process
  • Timelines & filing Deadlines
  • LCAs, COVID & working remotely
  • Updates on proposed regulatory changes to the H-1B program

If you are able to join us, please RSVP to by 5pm on Wednesday, February 17, 2021.  Please share this invite with any HR professionals that you think might be interested in this presentation! 

by CYA CYA No Comments

President Biden’s Executive Orders – February 2, 2021

On February 2, 2021, President Joe Biden signed three executive orders that aim to rectify the consequences of some of the hardline regulations, policies, and guidance on immigration that were set in place by the Trump Administration.

1) Establishment of Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families
The first executive order revokes the Trump Administration executive order that sought to justify separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. President Biden condemned the Trump Administration’s use of the “Zero- Tolerance” policy, stating that the Biden Administration will “protect family unity and ensure that children entering the United States are not separated from their families, except in the most extreme circumstances where a separation is clearly necessary for the safety and well-being of the child or is required by law.” The order created an interagency family reunification task force to work to reconnect the hundreds of parents and children who were separated at the border under the “Zero-Tolerance” policy. The task force will work with U.S. government agencies, key stakeholders, and representatives of impacted families to recommend steps to reunify the families and to prevent family separation from occurring in the future.

2) Southern Border and the Asylum System
The White House also issued an executive order that aims to implement a comprehensive three-part plan for safe, lawful, and orderly migration across the southern border. The Administration will first address the underlying causes of migration by confronting instability, violence, and economic insecurity, then collaborate with regional partners to provide protection and opportunities to asylum seekers. The final goal is to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers have a legal pathway to the United States and to strengthen the United States’ asylum system and resettlement capacity. The order also directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to review the Migrant Protection Protocols (“Remain in Mexico”) program.

3) “Restore Faith in our Immigration System and Promote Integration of New Americans”
President Biden also signed an executive order that requires the Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a “top-to-bottom” review of recent regulations, policies, and guidance that have been enacted as barriers to our legal immigration system. The executive order aims to ultimately reverse or rescind actions that are inconsistent with the current administration’s policy objectives to “encourage full participation by immigrants, including refugees, in our civic life; that immigration processes and other benefits are delivered effectively and efficiently; and that the Federal Government eliminates sources of fear and other barriers that prevent immigrants from accessing government services available to them.” In addition to announcing goals to streamline the naturalization process, the policy directs an interagency review of the public charge grounds of inadmissibility and revoke’s the prior administration’s policy to enforce the “legal responsibilities of sponsors of aliens.” The order also re-establishes the Obama Administration’s “Task Force on New Americans” that is focused on better integrating immigrants and refugees into American life.

The attorneys at Curray York & Associates are closely following the changes to immigration law and policy under the Biden Administration and will provide updates as we become aware of them.