On April 27, 2021, USCIS instructed officers to defer to prior approvals in immigration benefit petitions involving the same parties and facts. Considering prior approvals will help to restore predictability and fairness to adjudications, benefiting employer sponsors and foreign national applicants. The policy will also help USCIS to better allocate resources, improve operational efficiency, and eliminate backlogs as it moves to streamline adjudication of benefit application
The Department of State released a FAQ on the immigrant visa backlog noting that the immigrant visa interview backlog has developed “due to limitations in staffing and other COVID-related operational constraints.” The FAQ includes information on what DOS is doing to reduce processing times, reapplication procedures for individuals who were refused an immigrant visa due to restricting Presidential Proclamations, K visas, diversity visas, employment visas, and more. The FAQ is
Canada’s Public Safety minister Bill Blair announced that Canada has extended travel restrictions until May 21, 2021 for travelers of all countries, including the U.S. Only certain people are exempt from the travel restrictions. Those include Canadian citizens, permanent residents, as well as their family members, some temporary foreign workers, and international students attending a school that has a COVID-19 response plan, are also allowed into Canada.
If you are an U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), and you have been absent from the U.S. for more than 180 days, that may result in the presumption that you have abandoned permanent residence. Evidence of continued ties with the U.S. and timely attempts to return to the country may be required or this may result in loss of your LPR status. Permanent resident travelers should also consider admission requirements and procedures as most countries have implemented travel restri
On April 14, 2021, Immigration Minister, Marco Mendicino, announced a pathway to permanent residence for over 90,000 essential workers and international graduates who are actively contributing to Canada’s economy during the pandemic. The program, in effect from May 6, is intended for workers with at least one year of work experience in health care or dozens of other sectors deemed essential - from grocery store cashiers and shelf stockers, to truck drivers and farm workers -
The U.S. State Department has expanded the list of individuals who are eligible for a National Interest Exception (NIE) to enter the U.S. while COVID-19 travel restrictions remain in effect. Under the new policy, those traveling on immigrant and fiancé(e) visas, as well as certain exchange visitors and pilots and aircrew are now approved for NIEs. The travel bans restrict travel for foreign nationals who have been physically present in Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, the Scheng
On March 29, U.S. senators introduced a bipartisan legislation to address the nation’s shortage of doctors and nurses. The Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act (S. 1024) would recapture 25,000 unused immigrant visas for nurses and 15,000 unused immigrant visas for doctors that Congress has previously authorized and allocate those visas to doctors and nurses to help in the fight against COVID-19.
Presidential Proclamation (PP) 10052 suspending entry to the U.S. of certain nonimmigrants in J, H and L status expired March 31, 2021. The Biden Administration has declined to extend the ban. PP 10052 was initially implemented by the Trump Administration in June 2020 with the stated rationale of protecting U.S. workers from the economic downtown stemming from the pandemic. Please note, the regional COVID-related travel bans stemming from PP 10143 remain in place for the
On March 18, 2021, U.S. Senators introduced the “EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2021,” a bill that would reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program, set to expire at the end of June, through 2026. The bill also includes measures to address fraud and national security concerns. It also would require the Department of Homeland Security to perform regular audits of and site visits to regional centers.