On July 19, 2021, Canada announced that starting on August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents will be allowed to visit Canada, as long as they have been vaccinated for at least 14 days. Canada also announced that it hopes to be able to welcome visitors from other countries starting on September 7, 2021 depending on conditions at that time.
Federal Judge in Texas Rules DACA Program Illegal
On Friday, July 16, 2021, U.S. Federal Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas ruled that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is illegal and barred new DACA requests not approved by July 16, 2021. The ruling bars future applications. It does not immediately cancel current permits for hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients. The Biden administration will appeal the decision and is urging Congress to enact legislation to protect DACA recipients. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will continue to accept the filing of both initial and renewal DACA requests, as well as accompanying requests for employment authorization. However, DHS is now prohibited from granting initial DACA requests and accompanying requests for employment authorization. DHS will continue to adjudicate DACA renewals and accompanying requests for employment authorization.
Staying on Top of Form I-9 Compliance during a Global Pandemic
The COVID pandemic has shaken up the traditional workforce. Delays in the issuance of USCIS receipt notices and other pandemic-related modifications to immigration law and policy have had an impact Form I-9 completion and have made this two-page form even more challenging to complete.
Form I-9 is used to verify the employment authorization and identity of individuals offered employment in the United States and is one of the shortest yet most complicated forms required by the U.S. government from U.S. employers. U.S. employers must properly complete the Form I-9 for each individual hired.
In response to more and more newly hired noncitizen employees presenting receipt notices as part of the I-9 verification process USCIS has provided updated guidance for employers completing Form I-9 when an employee presents a receipt notice. This updated guidance can be found here in the I-9 Central portal.
In another update, as previously reported in the Curray York and Associates blog, on May 25, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor jointly authorized the release of 22,000 additional H-2B visas to help businesses affected by COVID that will suffer irreparable harm if they cannot hire H-2B workers. As part of this increased allotment the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor also enabled portability for H-2B workers already located in the United States. The principle of portability allows H-2B workers who are already located in the United States to begin work immediately with a new employer after their H-2B petition is received by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services but before the petition is adjudicated. Under this flexible policy H-2B workers may immediately begin work for employers hardest hit by the COVID pandemic. Under the portability guidance the new employer may employ the H-2B worker for a period not to exceed 60 days beginning on May 25, 2021 or the employment start date, whichever is later. Or, the H-2B noncitizen worker is able to begin employment with a new employer for a period not to exceed 60 days beginning on the received date of their USCIS receipt notice. The employee’s employment authorization must be reverified in Section 3 by the end of the 60-day period.
These complex rules of portability create challenges for employers trying to complete Form I-9 upon hiring new workers. In this portability scenario, the H-2B employee’s unexpired Form I-94 along with his or her foreign passport qualify as a Form I-9 List A Document for Form I-9 verification purposes.
Each immigration status and class of employment authorization carries unique implications for Form I-9 completion. For advice regarding how to complete the Form I-9 in various and ever-changing hiring scenarios a Curray York and Associates attorney for a consultation.
National Interest Exemptions (NIEs) Now Valid for 12 Months
On July 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) posted updated guidance on its website regarding the validity of approved National Interest Exemptions (NIEs). Previously, an NIE was valid for only 30 days. Now, NIEs are granted for 12 months and NIEs issued in the last 12 months are being automatically extended for 12 months from the date of approval, and for multiple entries, as long as they are used for the purpose under which they were granted. National Interest Exemptions allow non-immigrants to travel to the U.S. from countries subject to the COVID travel ban in limited circumstances. The extension applies to NIEs for travelers subject to Presidential Proclamations 9984 (China), 9992 (Iran), 10143 (Schengen Area, U.K., Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa), and 10199 (India).
22,000 Additional H-2B Visas Available for the Fiscal Year 2021
H-2B visas are temporary employment-based visas available to non-agricultural employees. H-2B petitions are filed by employers who need seasonal or one-time help because they are unable to find U.S. workers who are able, wiling, or qualified to do temporary work.
Together the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security have authorized the addition of 22,000 H-2B visas to help businesses affected by COVID and will suffer irreparable harm if they cannot hire H-2B workers. 6,000 of those additional visas will be reserved for workers from the Northern Triangle (Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador).
This is a one-time increase in visa numbers that will expire in September 2021.
CYA Announces CCA “Almost Canada Day” Golf Tournament Raffle Winners!
It’s Canada Day! Today marks Canada’s 154th Anniversary! CYA is excited to announce the Trivia Game raffle winners from the CCA “Almost Canada Day” Golf Tournament that was held on June 21, 2021. Winners please contact Lisa.York@cyavisalaw.com for information about how to claim your prizes. Drum roll…the winners are:
Grand Prize: THE WINNER IS RAFFLE TICKET # 6970530 (Inniskillin Riesling Icewine 2017; 20th Anniversary CBC Books “Canada Reads” winner, Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead; & a Canada Tote Bag)
Wines from Around the World Prize: THE WINNERS ARE RAFFLE TICKET #s 6970636, 6970566, & 6970606 (Portable Wine Picnic Bag; 1 Bottle of “World” Red Wine; 1 Bottle of “World” White Wine)
Canada Book Bag: THE WINNERS ARE RAFFLE TICKET #s: 6970626, 6970664, 6970666 (Canada Theme Tote Bag, 1 Bottle of Maple Whiskey or Canadian Icewine, & 2 Books about Canada or by a Canadian author)
USMCA (Formerly known as “NAFTA”) Prizes: THE WINNERS ARE RAFFLE TICKET #s: 6970592, 6970586, 6970702, 6970594, 6970672, 6970656