FOR THE WEEK OF JAN. 3, 2023
- We are monitoring the seating of the 118th Congress, including the leadership and committee assignments, and will have a fuller update next week.
USCIS Proposes Fee Increase
- Increase would be first since 2016 (2020 fee increase was reversed)
- H-1B cap registration fee increase from $10 to $210; H-1B filing fee would increase from $460 to $780
- L-1 filing fee would increase from $460 to $1,385; O-1 filing fee would increase from $460 to $1055; TN filing fee would increase from $460 to $1,015
- Premium processing fee is unchanged, but processing time would change from 15 calendar to 15 business days.
- Immigrant investor petition fees would increase from $3,675 to $11,160
U.S. Embassy and Consulates in China Closed
- As of Dec. 15, 2022, all routine visa services at the U.S. embassy and consulates in China are temporarily suspended because of operational effects resulting from an uptick in COVID infections.
State Dept Extends Visa Interview Waivers until December 2023
- Consular officers are authorized to waive in-person interviews for certain visa applicants, including F, H-1, H-4, J, L, and O visas.
Negative COVID Test Required for All Travelers from China
As of Jan. 5, 2023, all travelers (over the age of two) flying from China to the U.S. must have completed a COVID test no more than 2 days before their flight.
FOR THE WEEK OF JAN. 9, 2023
- After a week of votes for Speaker, Kevin McCarthy has won the position. We still await key Committee appointments. We know that Jim Jordan (R-OH) will be the new Judiciary Committee Chair.
- It does appear immigration is a top concern of both House and Senate Judiciary Committee Members. A bi-partisan group of senators including Sens. Sinema, Tillis, Cornyn, Kelly, Coons and Lankford are heading to the border to discuss immigration reform efforts this week.
- We hope the discussions on border reform, asylum reform and legal immigration reform will be top of the list in the 118th Congress and that 2023 will be the year of true legislated immigration reform.
DHS Extends and Redesignates Yemen for TPS
- TPS is extended for current Yemeni TPS holders from March 4, 2023 until Sept. 3, 2024
- Yemeni nationals who have been residing in the U.S. since December 29, 2022 may apply for TPS for the first time
U.S. Expands Venezuelan Parole Program to Haiti, Cuba and Nicaragua
- As of January 5, 2023, nationals from Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua and their immediate family members are eligible to request travel authorization and temporary parole into the U.S. for up to two years.
- Parolees must have a supporter in the U.S. who files a Form I-134, which USCIS vets and approves
- This program will have a 30,000 per month cap on all four countries (Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela).
FOR THE WEEK OF JAN. 18, 2023
- We are expecting legislative action on a border and asylum bill from the House Judiciary Committee. It appears any legal immigration reform might be added by the Senate.
USCIS Expands Premium Processing for Certain I-140 Petitions
- Beginning Jan. 30, 2023, USCIS will accept premium processing requests for all pending and initial multinational manager and national interest waiver I-140 filings.
- USCIS says it will accept premium processing requests in March 2023 for pending OPT applications and in April 2023 for initial OPT applications.
DHS Extends and Redesignates Somalia TPS
- DHS extended TPS for Somalia for an additional 18 months, from March 18, 2023 to Sept. 17, 2024
- Somali nationals residing in the U.S. as of Jan. 11, 2023, are permitted to apply for TPS
DHS Formalizes Process to Grant Deferred Action to Victims and Witnesses of Workplace Violations
- DHS plans to provide protections for workers who cooperate in investigating alleged workplace violations and exploitation.
- This announcement establishes steps to grant temporary legal status and work authorization through deferred action, parole and other available relief to noncitizens who are witnesses to, or victims of, abusive and exploitive labor practices.
- This protection will be available to vulnerable workers who are working with an employer who is already under investigation.
- This is part of the Administration’s effort to target “bad actor” or unscrupulous employers that allegedly exploit undocumented workers.
FOR THE WEEK OF JAN. 24, 2023
USCIS to Process H-4 and L-2 Extensions and Work Permits Along with Primary Applicants
- Beginning Jan. 25, 2023, USCIS says it will once again process dependent extensions and work permit applications concurrently with H-1B and L-1 extensions as long as they are filed together
- USCIS agreed to bundling petitions and applications as part of an agreement to settle a class action lawsuit challenging H-4 and L-2 adjudication delays
State Department Launches Welcome Corps
- Welcome Corps allows private individuals, businesses and other organizations to sponsor refugees to come to the U.S.
- This program could greatly increase the transition of refugees into the U.S. through sponsorship of private entities.
- This in addition to the new Humanitarian Parole programs for up to 30,000 individuals per month from Nicaragua, Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela, could help with worker shortages in the U.S.
USCIS Extends Green Card Validity for Conditional Permanent Residents with Pending I-751s or I-829s
- USCIS is automatically extending green cards for 48 months beyond the card’s expiration date for individuals with pending I-751 or I-829 petitions
- The receipt notices for I-751 and I-829 can be used in conjunction with the expired green card as evidence of continued status and ability to travel
- This change is effective Jan. 11, 2023, for I-829 applicants and Jan. 25, 2023, for I-751 applicants
- USCIS says it will issue new receipt notices to all pending I-829 and I-751 applicants who previously received receipt notices with an extensions shorter than 48 months
FOR THE WEEK OF JAN. 30, 2023
Biden Administration Announces COVID-19 National and Public Health Emergencies Will End in May 2023
- The Administration announced it was extending the national and public health emergencies beyond their current respective deadlines of March 1, 2023 and April 11, 2023 until May 11, 2023.
- USCIS tied its Form I-9 and RFE flexibility provisions to the COVID-19 national emergency. Our team will monitor how the end of the national emergency will affect USCIS and the State Department.
USCIS Begins Issuing Redesigned Green Cards and EADs
- Starting Jan. 30, 2023, USCIS will issue redesigned green cards and EADs
- USCIS issues new cards with enhanced security feature every three to five years to combat fraud
- Existing cards remain valid and USCIS will continue to produce cards with the previous design until its current supply is depleted.
DHS Extends and Redesignates Haiti for TPS
- TPS for Haitians has been extended from Feb. 4, 2023, to Aug. 3, 2024
- Redesignation allows Haitian nationals who have been continuously residing in the U.S. since Nov. 6, 2022 may apply for TPS for the first time