July Immigration Updates

The immigration system is consistently in flux, and as of July 2022 there are many updates. Read our blog to learn more.

The USCIS has made critical changes to the immigration system that will go into effect over the next few months. Keep reading to learn more.

USCIS Extends COVID-19 Flexibility

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is extending certain COVID-19-related flexibilities through Oct. 23, 2022, to assist applicants, petitioners, and requestors. Under these flexibilities, USCIS considers a response received within 60 calendar days after the due date set forth in the following requests or notices before taking any action, if the request or notice was issued between March 1, 2020, and Oct. 23, 2022, inclusive:

  • Requests for Evidence;
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
  • Notices of Intent to Deny;
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke;
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind;
  • Notices of Intent to Terminate regional centers;
  • Notices of Intent to Withdraw Temporary Protected Status; and
  • Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant.

In addition, USCIS will consider a Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, or a Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA), if:

  • The form was filed up to 90 calendar days from the issuance of a decision that USCIS made; and
  • USCIS made that decision between Nov. 1, 2021, and Oct. 23, 2022, inclusive.

In an effort to take the lessons learned from USCIS's pandemic posture, the agency has been evaluating which flexibilities can and should be extended permanently. As a result of this evaluation, the reproduced signature flexibility announced in March, 2020, will become permanent policy on July 25, 2022.

Bipartisan Bill Would Lift Per-Country Visa Caps

Senators from North Dakota and Colorado introduced a bill aimed at allowing more people to enter the U.S. through employment-based visas, saying that U.S. employers should be able to hire workers based on merit rather than birthplace.

Sens. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., said in a joint statement that the Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment Act of 2022, or the EAGLE Act, would effectively create a skills-based immigration system that would ease workforce challenges and relieve immigration backlogs by phasing out the country's 7% cap on employment-based visas over a nine-year period.

Currently, foreign countries are each allowed to receive only up to 7% of the 140,000 total employment-based visas the U.S. gives per year - a number set out in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The senators said that while the visas seemingly start off as being merit-based, given that employing sponsors are required to show a need for foreign workers, visas are ultimately distributed based on the immigrants' place of birth.

Nearly 67,000 employment-based immigrant visas went unused in the last fiscal year, despite countries having qualified applicants, the senators said. Furthermore, roughly 95% of immigrants who are in the U.S. on temporary employment-based visas are still waiting for permanent work visas, they said.

The senators said many of these immigrants on temporary work visas wait years and even decades to get their permanent visas due to entry caps on their home countries.

The EAGLE Act also allows individuals who have been stuck in the immigrant visa backlog for two years to file for a green card application, but they would still have to wait until their visa becomes available, the senators said.

USCIS Reminds Employers That They Only Accept Unexpired I-9 List B Documents

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminded employers that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ended the temporary flexibility related to accepting expired List B documents for Form I-9 employment eligibility verification purposes. DHS explained that it adopted the temporary policy in response to the difficulties many individuals experienced with renewing documents during the COVID-19 pandemic, but document-issuing authorities have reopened and/or provided alternatives to in-person renewals. If a current employee presented an expired List B document between May 1, 2020, and April 30, 2022, employers must update their I-9 forms by July 31, 2022.

Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. will continue to stay updated.

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