Employment Immigration: Continued Changes From USCIS and the State Department With COVID-19, Travel Bans and Processing

Business immigration in the United States continues the roller coaster ride of the last six months. With the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. immigration has been subjected to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office and consulate closures, travel bans, a three-month suspension of premium processing, and rumors of USCIS furloughs. This short article will address some of the most recent updates.

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U.K. Government Releases Details on Post-Brexit Immigration System

On 13 July, the U.K. government released further details about the U.K.’s future immigration system, which will apply to EU and non-EU nationals from January 2021. Under normal circumstances, such a significant change would be top of mind for companies operating in the U.K., but it has slipped off the business world’s radar as leaders grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic challenges.

But the immigration system in the U.K is going to change, regardless of how prepared the business world is for the new system. The U.K. government has made clear that it is still committed to roll out this new system first thing next year.

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New Executive Order Requires Federal Agencies to Ensure That Contractors Do Not Use Foreign Labor to Displace American Workers

On August 3, 2020, President Donald Trump signed an executive order and released a related fact sheet in furtherance of the White House’s continued efforts to ensure that federal agencies focus on using United States labor in their federal contracts. This new executive order, which is arguably in furtherance of the previous Buy American Hire American executive orders, requires federal agencies to review their contracts and subcontracts from fiscal years 2018 and 2019 to assess whether their contractors used temporary foreign labor to perform the contracts in the United States or performed such contracts in foreign countries when the work had previously been performed in the United States. Federal agencies are then required to determine whether these temporary foreign labor hiring practices and/or offshoring practices negatively affected opportunities for United States workers. Within the next six months, agencies are required to submit reports to the Office of Management and Budget with their findings and to recommend, if necessary, any proposed corrective actions and the timelines to implement such actions.

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New USCIS Filing Fees Go Into Effect October 2, 2020

On August 3, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule updating filing fees for immigration and naturalization applications. The new fees will be required starting October 2, 2020. Especially notable for employment-based applications is that there will be different filing fees for H, L and O petitions, even though they are all filed using Form I-129.

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Summary of Executive Actions Impacting Business Immigration

Since April 2020, several executive actions have been issued, and subsequently amended, that have had a significant impact on business immigration.

This alert serves to inform clients of the updates to the ongoing U.S. visa system and travel restrictions in response to the global coronavirus pandemic. Since implementation of the restrictions, the Trump administration has issued additional guidance on certain exceptions for eligible persons to obtain a visa or enter the United States.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

Planning to Hire Foreign Nationals in the U.K. in 2021? Apply for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence

Recent U.K. government statements have confirmed what many have suspected for some time: the post-January 2021 immigration system will be predicated on a reworked version of the Tier 2 sponsorship route. In the first episode of our new Faegre Drinker Immigration Law Podcast, we take a close look at the Tier 2 sponsorship application process and explain why U.K. employers planning to hire foreign nationals in 2021 should apply for a Sponsor Licence before the immigration system changes take effect.

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