The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting the legal immigration system of countries around the world. Since government offices are closed, services such as in-person interviews and biometric appointments will be delayed. This means that decisions made by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and other immigration agencies will be on hold.

Maintenance of status is another complication. Many workers and business visitors are finding that their nonimmigrant visas can’t be extended. This means that works must be terminated from employment. If they are out of status or unlawfully present, they’ll violate immigration laws. Business visitors have to file extensions for an additional 30-days because of an inability to travel.

What This Means for Employers?

While the government grapples with its next steps, employers have to continue making requests for employment-based immigration benefits. They must also develop strategies for ongoing immigration compliance. Current regulations allow for interim employment authorization. This is the grace-period that is granted while an extension or a renewal request is pending. This interim can be up to 240 days to extend status, and 180 days for any adjustment of status. However, there is no way of knowing if this time will be sufficient.

Please do not hesitate to contact one of our attorneys with any questions and concerns on how to maintain existing immigration compliance for your business at this time.

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