Author: Lisa York

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President Biden Rescinds Trump’s Health Care Insurance Ban

Today, President Biden rescinded President Trump’s Health Care Insurance Ban which was issued on October 4, 2019, and suspended the entry of immigrants unless they could demonstrate they would be covered by approved health insurance within 30 days of entry or would be able to pay for “reasonably foreseeable medical costs.” The controversial entry-ban, had been on hold while its legality was litigated in federal court.

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USCIS Changes the Process for Rescheduling Biometrics Appointments

USCIS has announced that applicants, petitioners, requestors, and beneficiaries may now call the USCIS Contact Center (800-375-5283) to reschedule their biometric services appointments. Previously, applicants were required to submit written requests to reschedule biometrics appointments. Applicants must establish good cause for rescheduling and must call before the date and time of their original appointment to reschedule.

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USDOL Delays New Prevailing Wage Rule (Again)

On May 13, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) published a notice in the Federal Register further delaying the implementation of the agency’s final rule on the computation of prevailing wages for PERM labor certifications and Labor Condition Applications until November 14, 2022 (with a phased-in transition to the new computation system). The final “Wage Rule” was initially scheduled to go into effect in March 2021 (with an effective date of July 1, 2021, and a phased-in transition to the new wage computation system). The new “Wage Rule” would have significantly changed the way the USDOL calculates prevailing wages. In February 2021, the USDOL published a notice in the Federal Register delaying the implementation of the final rule. In March 2021, the USDOL published an additional two notices further delaying implementation of the rule. The USDOL is delaying implementation of the new “Wage Rule,” so that it can research how the rule will affect the U.S. economy, U.S. employers, and both U.S. and foreign workers. Our hope is that the USDOL will decide to withdraw the new “Wage Rule” after it completes its research.

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The UK Imposes Additional COVID-Related Travel Restrictions; Adds India to its Travel Ban List

Starting on April 23, 2021, the UK is imposing a travel ban on travelers arriving in the UK who have been in India within the past 10 days. There is an exemption for UK citizens and those who are UK residents, but they will still be required to pay for a mandatory 10-day stay in a designated quarantine hotel. India joins the following countries on the UK’s “Travel Ban List”: Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Guyana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, the Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, the UAE, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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Amid Growing COVID Concerns, Countries Restrict Travel from India

As of April 23, 2021, many countries have imposed COVID-related travel bans and restrictions on travelers who have been physically present in India. Canada has issued a 30-day ban on direct flights to Canada from India. The U.K. has banned travel to the U.K. for anyone (except UK citizens and those with UK residence) who have been physically present in India for the past 10 days. Australia is limiting direct flights from India to Australia. Many other countries such as the UAE, Japan, Singapore, Pakistan, and Oman have also imposed additional travel restrictions on travelers from India. While the U.S. has not yet imposed a travel ban or additional travel restrictions on travelers coming from India to the U.S., the CDC has placed India in the highest COVID risk category (Level 4) and is advising against travel to India. The CDC warns that even those who have been fully vaccinated risk contradicting COVID variants and spreading them while in India.

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The Biden Administration is Appointing New DHS Leadership

The Biden Administration has announced that it will appoint new DHS leadership including: (1) Ur Jaddou, USCIS Director; (2) Jon Meyer, DHS General Counsel; (3) Chris Magnus, CBP Commissioner; (4) Rob Silvers, DHS Under Secretary for Policy; (4) John Tien, DHS Deputy Secretary; and (5) Jen Easterly, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director. Click here for more information.

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It’s Time for the H-1B Lottery! The FY2022 H-1B Registration Period Begins Tomorrow.

The FY 2022 H-1B registration period begins tomorrow, Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 10am MT, and runs until Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 10am MT.  USCIS will notify the “winners” by March 31, 2021.  If your employee is “selected” to proceed with an H-1B (i.e. if you employee “wins the H-1B lottery”), then you must file your H-1B petition with USCIS between April 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021.

On March 5, 2021, USCIS provided tips on how to avoid the most common errors (creating the wrong type of USCIS online account and registering an employee more than once) in completing a registration for the H-1B cap. USCIS reminds employers to select “I am an H-1B Registrant” as the account type when setting up a registration account and provided guidance on how to avoid duplicate registrations for the same employee.  Click here for more information.

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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: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/services/covid/canadians-canadiens-eng.html; https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/services/covid/menu-eng.html 

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