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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will resume premium processing for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, in phases over the month of June.

Here are the dates and types of cases for which Premium Processing can be requested.

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Immigrants have long enlisted in all branches of the U.S. military, beginning with the Revolutionary War. According to an article published by Migration Policy Institution (MPI), a leading institution in the field of migration policy and a source of authoritative research and analysis, the current number of veterans who were born outside the United States stands at approximately 530,000, representing 3 percent of all 18.6 million veterans nationwide. We would like to provide this article from MPI that provides information on the population of immigrant veterans in the United States.

Please contact immigrationinfo@cornerlaw.com if you have any questions.

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Immigrants make up significant shares of the U.S. workforce in a range of industries. As workers, business owners, taxpayers, and neighbors, immigrants are an integral part of the country’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

We would like to provide this fact sheet from the American Immigration Council (AIC) that highlights key facts about the current state of  U.S. immigration. AIC is a nonprofit organization and advocacy group that advocates for immigrants to the United States. Please find AIC official website here.

Please contact immigrationinfo@cornerlaw.com if you have any questions.

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On March 20, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced an extension of flexibility in rules related to Form I-9  Employment Eligibility Verification compliance due to COVID-19. The original guidance was set to expire on May 19. Due to the continued precautions related to COVID-19, DHS has extended this policy for an additional 30 days.

For more information on how to obtain, remotely inspect, and retain copies of the identity and employment eligibility documents to complete Section 2 of Form I-9, please see the original guidance. The original guidance including eligibility requirements can be found here.

This provision only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely.

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U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on May 6, 2020, that it recently migrated to Microsoft 365 and that, as of April 24, it is unable to receive and answer emails sent to e-verify@dhs.gov and i-9central@dhs.gov.

Per USCIS’s notice, if you sent an email to these addresses on or after April 24 and have not received a response within 48 hours, please resend your message to the email addresses below:

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In light of April 22nd  Executive Order that currently bans many individuals seeking to enter the U.S. as immigrants, we would like to provide this fact sheet from the American Immigration Council that distinguishes the difference between nonimmigrant and immigrant employment based visa classifications and outlines basic information about how the employment-based U.S. immigration system works.

Please contact immigrationinfo@cornerlaw.com if you have any questions about employment-based visa classifications in the U.S.

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Due to COVID-19 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a temporary policy regarding expired List B identity documents used to complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

Beginning on May 1, identity documents found in List B set to expire on or after March 1, 2020, and not otherwise extended by the issuing authority, may be treated the same as if the employee presented a valid receipt for an acceptable document for Form I-9 purposes.

Click Here  to view E-Verify’s complete informational flyer which includes additional instructions.

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According to the Administrative Procedure Act, a court may review a final agency action to determine whether it is “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A). On February 19, 2020, in the case of Barchart.com v. Koumans, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia exercised this power by reviewing USCIS’s decision to deny the H-1B visa petition for a “Market Analysis Representative.”

USCIS determined that Plaintiff, Barchart.com, failed to show why the position was a specialty occupation requiring a bachelor’s degree. This determination follows the Plaintiff filing an H-1B petition with USCIS, to hire a prospective employee, who held a bachelor’s degree in finance. The employer submitted a letter in support of the petition, detailing the position and the employee’s qualifications, during the initial filing. Additionally, in a Request for Evidence (RFE) Response, the employer submitted a declaration from Ethan Robinson, Senior Program Manager of the company, which detailed the job duties, the job’s significance to the company, and why a finance degree is necessary.

Through the power of 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A) the District Court decided to vacate and remand the agency’s decision because USCIS lacked to consider the evidence submitted in the RFE Response, mainly the Robinson Declaration. In 463 U.S. 29, 43 the court states, “Normally, an agency rule would be arbitrary and capricious if the agency has relied on factors which Congress has not intended it to consider, entirely failed to consider an important aspect of the problem, offered an explanation for its decision that runs counter to the evidence before the agency, or is so implausible that it could not be ascribed to a difference in view or the product of agency expertise.” In denying the Petition, USCIS faulted Barchart.com for failing to show the position required a bachelor’s degree or higher. However, nowhere in reaching this decision did USCIS consider the Robinson Declaration. According to 613 F.3d at 194 “[A]n agency’s refusal to consider evidence bearing on the issue before it constitutes arbitrary agency action within the meaning of [5 U.S.C.] § 706.” By failing to consider the Robinson Declaration, as evidence bearing on the issue, USCIS constituted arbitrary and capricious action resulting in the Court’s ruling to vacate and remand the H-1B denial.

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The visa bulletin is out at this link: March 2020 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based preferences must use the Dates of Filing chart. The employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 is current for all countries except China (October 1, 2017) and India (March 15, 2017); EB-2 is current for all countries except China (August 1, 2016) and India (July 1, 2009); EB-3 is January 1, 2019, for all countries except China (March 1, 2017) and India (February 1, 2010); EB-3 Other Worker is January 1, 2019, for all countries except China (August 1, 2008) and India (February 1, 2010). EB-4 is current for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (August 15, 2016); Religious Worker visas are current for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (August 15, 2016); EB-5 non-regional centers are current for all countries except China (December 15, 2015); EB-5 regional centers are current for all countries except China (December 15, 2015).

Family-based petitions are backlogged, however, the F2A category is current in the Final Action Dates. USCIS says that applicants in the F2A category may file using the Final Action Dates Chart for March 2020.

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On January 31, 2020 the Trump Administration expanded Presidential Proclamation 9645(commonly known as the Travel Ban 3.0) to suspend U.S. entry of nationals from the following countries: Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.

The extended ban suspends entry for immigrants of Burma and Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Nigeria (except special immigrants who have provided assistance to the U.S. government) and Diversity Visa immigrants of Sudan and Tanzania.

Presidential Proclamation 9645 was initially issued in September 2017 and suspended the entry of immigrants and nonimmigrants of Iran (except F and M students and J exchange visitors), immigrants and temporary tourist and business visitors of Libya and Yemen, immigrants and nonimmigrants of North Korea and Syria, and certain government officials and their family members of Venezuela. Chad was included in the initial ban but in April 2018, Proclamation 9723 removed the visa restrictions previously imposed on Chad.

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