Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months.
USCIS No Longer Accepts Single Combined Payments on Certain Forms Filed With H-1B or H-1B1 Petitions
For all H-1B and H-1B1 petitions received on or after April 1, 2022, USCIS will no longer accept a single, combined fee payment for certain forms.
Registrations were submitted by more than 37,000 prospective petitioners. Roughly 48 percent of all registrations requested consideration under the advanced degree exemption.
Russia-based student visa applicants (F and M categories), academic exchange visitors (student, professor, research scholar, short-term scholar, and specialist J visa categories), and participants in U.S. government-funded exchange visitor programs may apply at Mission Kazakhstan and the U.S. embassies in Belgrade and Yerevan.
The Department of State's Visa Bulletin for March 2022 includes several updates on expiring or retrogressing employment-based visa categories.
According to DHS, the proposed rule would provide "fair and humane treatment" for noncitizens requesting admission to the United States or applying for lawful permanent residence from within the United States.
DHS Announces National Interest Exception for 'Noncitizen Nonimmigrants' Traveling From Ukraine With a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident
In light of the current situation in Ukraine, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced a national interest exception (NIE) to permit the entry until March 1, 2022, of certain noncitizen nonimmigrants traveling from Ukraine with U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
The indictment alleges that the two executives submitted approximately 85 fraudulent H-1B visa applications and laundered $1 million in fraud proceeds.
The new mission statement, with its emphasis on welcoming and respect, reflects USCIS's restoration of the agency's focus on services.
USCIS said that increasing the maximum validity period for several categories "will help ease processing backlogs by reducing the frequency and number of times these applicants must renew their EADs and will help prevent gaps in employment authorization and documentation."
The latest news at the firm including recent and upcoming events and publications.
1. Temporary Protected Status Designated for Ukraine
On March 3, 2022, Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. “Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked attack on Ukraine has resulted in an ongoing war, senseless violence, and Ukrainians forced to seek refuge in other countries,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “In these extraordinary times, we will continue to offer our support and protection to Ukrainian nationals in the United States.”
TPS designation for a country may be authorized when country conditions meet one or more of the following statutory bases for designation: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. DHS has based Ukraine’s TPS designation on both the ongoing armed conflict with Russia and the resulting extraordinary and temporary conditions in Ukraine that preclude a safe return of Ukrainian nationals to Ukraine. Following this designation, Ukraine joins a list of 12 other countries whose nationals are currently eligible for TPS.
To be eligible for TPS under this designation, Ukrainian nationals must have continuously resided in the United States since March 1, 2022. TPS designation will not be available to Ukrainians who travel to the U.S. and arrive after March 1, 2022.
Ukrainians interested in pursuing TPS must register for protection during a defined registration period, pay all associated fees, and establish eligibility for TPS. TPS may be issued regardless of present immigration status in the United States, and all applicants must undergo security and background checks. The TPS designation for Ukraine will take effect upon a forthcoming publication in the Federal Register, which will establish the registration period and provide instructions for individuals to apply for TPS and an associated Employment Authorization Document (EAD).[Back to Top]
2. USCIS No Longer Accepts Single Combined Payments on Certain Forms Filed With H-1B or H-1B1 Petitions
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on February 25, 2022, that for all H-1B and H-1B1 petitions received on or after April 1, 2022, USCIS will no longer accept a single, combined fee payment when Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status; Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; or Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition, is filed together with an H-1B or H-1B1 petition (Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker). Each of these forms received by USCIS on or after April 1 must have its own fee payment instrument or USCIS will reject the entire package. Only the fee for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, may be combined with the fee for a concurrently filed Form I-129 requesting H-1B classification, USCIS said.
USCIS explained that it is transitioning to electronic processing of immigration benefit requests. As the agency completes this transition, it will be using multiple systems to receipt and process various types of immigration benefit requests. Because H-1B and H-1B1 petitions and related applications are not all processed in the same system, USCIS said it requires a separate payment instrument for each of these forms.
- USCIS alert, https://twitter.com/uscis (scroll down to February 25, 2022).
3. USCIS Releases Statistics on H-1B Cap Registrations, Cracks Down on Multiples
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently released statistics on the H-1B cap registration process. Registrations were submitted by more than 37,000 prospective petitioners. Roughly 48 percent of all registrations requested consideration under the advanced degree exemption.
The initial projected number of registrations required to meet the numerical limitations for FY 2022 was lower than the initial projected number of registrations required for FY 2021. A reason for this may be that USCIS is cracking down on multiple registrations on behalf of the same beneficiary. USCIS said that if it finds that a company worked with another entity to submit multiple registrations for the same beneficiary, which would violate the required employer attestation, USCIS will find that registration to be not properly submitted and may deny or revoke the petition.
USCIS also noted:
- For FY 2021, USCIS received 274,237 H-1B registrations and initially selected 106,100 registrations projected as needed to reach the FY 2021 numerical allocations. USCIS conducted a second selection in August 2020 of an additional 18,315 registrations due to low filing volume from the initial selection. This resulted in a total of 124,415 selected registrations.
- For FY 2022, USCIS received 308,613 H-1B registrations and initially selected 87,500 registrations projected as needed to reach the FY 2022 numerical allocations. On July 29, 2021, USCIS announced that it conducted a second selection of an additional 27,717 registrations. This resulted in a total of 115,217 selected registrations. The petition filing period based on registrations selected on July 28 began on August 2 and closed on November 3. On November 19, 2021, USCIS announced that it conducted a third selection of an additional 16,753 registrations. This resulted in a total of 131,970 selected registrations. The petition filing period based on registrations selected on November 19 began on November 22, 2021, and closed on February 23, 2022.
USCIS said that those with selected registrations will have their myUSCIS accounts updated to include a selection notice, which includes details about when and where to file.
- H-1B Electronic Registration Process, USCIS, updated Feb. 23, 2022, https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-and-fashion-models/h-1b-electronic-registration-process
4. USCIS Urges Eligible Applicants to Switch Employment-Based Categories
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is encouraging eligible applicants to consider requesting to transfer the underlying basis of their adjustment of status applications to the first (priority workers) or second (noncitizens in professions with advanced degrees or with exceptional ability) employment-based preference categories. USCIS said this is because of the availability of an exceptionally high number of employment-based immigrant visas in these green card categories during fiscal year (FY) 2022.
USCIS explained that the overall employment-based annual limit for fiscal year 2022 is approximately twice as high as usual because it includes all unused family-sponsored visa numbers from FY 2021, which was approximately 140,000.
In addition, USCIS noted, under the relevant statute, any visas not required in the fifth employment-based preference category are made available in the first employment-based preference category, and any visas not required in the first employment-based preference category are made available in the second employment-based preference category.
These visas cannot be made available to applicants in the third employment-based preference category because, given the significant number of noncitizens awaiting visas in the second employment-based preference category, these visas must be used for the second preference category., USCIS said.
- USCIS alert, Feb. 18, 2022, https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-urges-eligible-applicants-to-switch-employment-based-categories
- Green Card for Employment-Based Immigrants (scroll down to “Transfer of Underlying Basis”), https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-eligibility/green-card-for-employment-based-immigrants
5. Visa Bulletin for March Includes Updates on Employment-Based Expirations and Retrogressions
The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for March 2022 includes the following updates:
- Final action dates for the employment-based fifth preference I5 and R5 regional center visa categories are “Unavailable” for March. If legislative action extends this category for March, the final action dates would immediately become “Current” for March for all countries except China-mainland-born I5 and R5, which would be subject to a November 22, 2015, final action date.
- Final action dates have retrogressed for the employment-based fourth and Certain Religious Workers (SR) categories for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to hold worldwide number use within the maximum allowed under the FY 2022 annual limits.
- The non-minister special immigrant program expired on February 18, 2022. No SR visas may be issued overseas or final action taken on adjustment of status cases in that category.
- The SR category is “Unavailable” for all countries for March. If legislative action extends the category, it will become “Current” effective immediately for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which are subject to a May 1, 2017, final action date, and Mexico, which is subject to an April 1, 2020, final action date.
- Visa Bulletin for March 2022, Dept. of State, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2022/visa-bulletin-for-march-2022.html
6. DHS To Propose 'Fair and Humane' Public Charge Rule
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on February 17, 2022, that it will issue a proposed rule soon that would regulate how DHS applies the public charge ground of inadmissibility. The proposed rule would provide “fair and humane treatment” for noncitizens requesting admission to the United States or applying for lawful permanent residence from within the United States, DHS said. According to reports, the proposed rule is expected to be published on February 24, 2022.
DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said, “Under this proposed rule, we will return to the historical understanding of the term ‘public charge’ and individuals will not be penalized for choosing to access the health benefits and other supplemental government services available to them.”
Under the proposed rule, DHS proposes to define “likely at any time to become a public charge” as “likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence.” Consistent with longstanding agency practice, DHS proposes to consider the following public benefits when making a public charge inadmissibility determination:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
- Cash assistance for income maintenance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program;
- State, Tribal, territorial, and local cash assistance for income maintenance; and
- Long-term institutionalization at government expense.
DHS proposes that it will not consider non-cash benefits such as food and nutrition assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Children’s Health Insurance Program, most Medicaid benefits (except for long-term institutionalization at government expense), housing benefits, and transportation vouchers. DHS would also not consider disaster assistance received under the Stafford Act; pandemic assistance; benefits received via a tax credit or deduction; or Social Security, government pensions, or other earned benefits.
By law, many categories of noncitizens are exempt from the public charge ground of inadmissibility and would not be subject to the proposed rule, DHS noted. Some exempt categories include refugees, asylees, noncitizens applying for or re-registering for temporary protected status (TPS), special immigration juveniles, T and U nonimmigrants, and self-petitioners under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
- Copy of public charge proposed rule, Feb. 17, 2022, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/2022-02/22_0217_nprm-public-charge_0.pdf
- “Rulemaking on Public Charge Determinations,” NAFSA: Association of International Educators, Feb. 18, 2022, https://www.nafsa.org/regulatory-information/rulemaking-public-charge-determinations
7. DHS Announces National Interest Exception for 'Noncitizen Nonimmigrants' Traveling From Ukraine With a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident
In light of the current situation in Ukraine, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced a national interest exception (NIE) to permit the entry until March 1, 2022, of noncitizen nonimmigrants who (1) are traveling with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; (2) were physically present in Ukraine as of February 10, 2022; and (3) possess valid travel documents allowing them to travel to the United States.
Such individuals can enter the United States without showing proof of COVID-19 vaccination. They will need to arrange for a COVID-19 test within three to five days of arrival and self-quarantine for seven days, among other requirements.
- Mayorkas statement, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/2022-02/22_0215_S1_national-interest-exemption_0.pdf
8. Two California Executives Charged With Fraud in Obtaining Dozens of H-1B Specialty Occupation Visas
The U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of California announced that two executives of Perfect VIPs, Inc., which was incorporated in 2010 as a computer chip design product and services company, were indicted on charges of visa fraud and conspiracy to commit visa fraud. One of the executives was also charged with money laundering. The indictment alleges that they submitted approximately 85 fraudulent H-1B visa applications and laundered $1 million in fraud proceeds.
Once the applications were approved, instead of employing the workers, the two executives created a pool of H-1B workers and placed them at employment positions with other employers, not with PerfectVIPs, the indictment alleges. “This practice provided PerfectVIPs an unfair and illegal advantage over employment-staffing firms,” the U.S. attorney’s office stated. During the period of their conspiracy, the indictment alleges, the other employers paid fees of nearly $7 million to PerfectVIPs to cover the cost of the H-1B workers’ wages and salaries as well as a profit markup for PerfectVIPs.
The company is headquartered in San Jose, California. The executives live in Saratoga and Santa Clara.
- Media release, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, Feb. 11, 2022, https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndca/pr/two-south-bay-executives-charged-fraud-obtaining-specialty-occupation-visas
9. United States Once Again 'Welcomes' Immigrants: USCIS Announces New Mission Statement
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new mission statement after asking its employees to “submit words that they felt best illustrated the agency’s work.” The new mission statement reflects that feedback, along with Biden administration priorities and Director Ur Jaddou’s “vision for an inclusive and accessible agency,” USCIS said in a news release on February 9, 2022. The agency has 19,000 employees and contractors working at more than 200 offices worldwide.
The new mission statement says, “USCIS upholds America’s promise as a nation of welcome and possibility with fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve.” The USCIS mission statement web page also lists and describes the agency’s “core values,” including integrity, respect, innovation, and vigilance.
The new mission statement, with its emphasis on welcoming and respect, reflects USCIS’s restoration of the agency’s focus on services. The revision is a shift away from the previous administration’s changes emphasizing security and dropping the phrase, “America’s promise as a nation of immigrants.”
In a statement announcing the new mission statement, Director Jaddou said, “At its core, USCIS is about delivering decisions to families, businesses, workers, and those seeking refuge in our country on their applications, petitions, requests, and appeals. This new mission statement reflects the inclusive character of both our country and this agency.”
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) “applauded” the new mission statement. Benjamin Johnson, AILA Executive Director, said the new statement “hopefully signals a return to a welcoming, service-driven USCIS that faithfully administers its statutory purpose with integrity.”
- USCIS Mission and Core Values, Feb. 9, 2022, https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/mission-and-core-values
- USCIS news release, Feb. 9, 2022, https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/news-releases/uscis-announces-new-agency-mission-statement
- AILA statement, Feb. 9, 2022, https://www.aila.org/advo-media/press-releases/2022/uscis-needs-to-give-meaning-to-the-words
10. USCIS Updates Guidance, Changes Maximum Validity Period for EADs for Certain Applicants
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published updated policy guidance, effective February 7, 2022, that changes the maximum validity period that may be granted for employment authorization documents (EADs) issued to certain applicants and provides general guidance on adjudicating Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
USCIS is now generally granting new and renewed EADs valid for two years to applicants in the following categories:
- Admitted as a refugee (a)(3)
- Granted asylum (a)(5)
- Granted withholding of deportation or removal (a)(10)
- Violence Against Women Act self-petitioner (c)(31)
Additionally, USCIS is generally granting new and renewed EADs, up to the end of the parole or deferred action period, to applicants in the following categories:
- Paroled into the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit (c)(11)
- Granted deferred action (non-DACA) (c)(14)
USCIS said that increasing the maximum validity period for these categories “will help ease processing backlogs by reducing the frequency and number of times these applicants must renew their EADs and will help prevent gaps in employment authorization and documentation.”
New and renewed EADs issued for affected categories on or after February 7, 2022, will reflect the updated validity periods. EADs issued before February 7, 2022, are not affected. USCIS said it will continue to issue replacement EADs with the same validity date as the original EAD.
- USCIS alert, Feb. 7, 2022, https://bit.ly/3uTjrjY
11. KLASKO NEWS
Klasko Immigration Law Partner is pleased to announce Karuna C. Simbeck and Andrew J. Zeltner have been promoted to Partner in the firm. Congratulations, Karuna and Andrew!
IN THE NEWS
Andrew J. Zeltner
Drew Zeltner is featured in the People in the News section of The Legal Intelligencer for being elected and appointed Partner at Klasko Immigration Law Partners.
Karuna C. Simbeck
Karuna Simbeck is featured in the People in the News section of The Legal Intelligencer for being elected and appointed Partner at Klasko Immigration Law Partners.
Michele G. Madera
In the Philadelphia Business Journal, Michele Madera is listed as a mentor in the 2022 Bizwomen Mentoring Monday alongside other high-achieving women leaders.
Karuna C. Simbeck
Karuna Simbeck was spotlighted in the People on the Move section of the Philadelphia Business Journal for her promotion to Partner at Klasko Immigration Law Partners.
Andrew J. Zeltner
Drew Zeltner was spotlighted in the People on the Move section of the Philadelphia Business Journal for his promotion to Partner at Klasko Immigration Law Partners.
RECENT SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
Michele G. Madera
On February 28th, Michele Madera joined the annual Bizwomen Mentoring Monday virtual event as a Mentor.
UPCOMING SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
Elise A. Fialkowski
On March 30th, Elise Fialkowski will be leading a discussion in the 2022 AILA Border Issues Virtual Conference on a panel entitled Visiting The United States For Work Or Pleasure: What Are The Rules, And How Can I Effectively Counsel My Clients?
Myriam Jaidi will be presenting to Temple University on visa and permanent residence options for international students and exchange visitors.
ICYMI: RECENT BLOG POSTS AND ALERTS
PRESS RELEASE: Karuna Chandani Simbeck Elected to Partnership at Klasko Immigration Law Partners
We are pleased to announce Karuna Chandani Simbeck has been promoted to partner in the firm.
PRESS RELEASE: Andrew J. Zeltner Elected to Partnership at Klasko Immigration Law Partners
We are pleased to announce Andrew J. Zeltner has been promoted to partner in the firm.
March 2022 Visa Bulletin
In this blog, read a summary of USCIS’s update on quota movement and which chart to use for employment and family-based categories.
FIRM NEWS: Ron Klasko on Global Investment Voice Podcast
Ron Klasko recently joined the Global Investment Voice podcast to discuss the chaotic year in the EB-5 industry.
H-1B Visa: Attracting Global Talent
In this article, Karuna Simbeck provides an overview of the H-1B visa processes from past to present.
Last Month the firm celebrated Black History Month on our Instagram. Follow our account to see what we have planned this month at @klaskoimmigrationlaw.
This newsletter was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Klasko Immigration Law Partners is an active member.[Back to Top]