Please see below for updates and changes from SSA, DHS, ICE and CBP!
Good news! The Social Security Administration (SSA) has ended the practice of sending employers “no-match” letters, called Employer Correction Request Notices. SSA said it will instead work to make it better, easier and more convenient for employers to report and correct wages electronically. The letters, which inform employers when W-2 information doesn’t match SSA’s records, were discontinued in 2012 but resurrected in March 2019. Advocates had asked the agency to eliminate the letters, which they said caused problems such as workers losing their jobs due to mistakes in the database.
In light of increased labor demands, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a supplemental increase of 22,000 visas this fiscal year for the H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker program. DHS said the additional visas will be made available in the “coming months” via a temporary final rule. Six thousand of these visas will be reserved for nationals of the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, DHS said. The additional visas will only be made available to employers that attest that, if they do not receive workers under the cap increase, they are likely to suffer irreparable harm, DHS. Additionally, the temporary final rule will allow employers to immediately hire H-2B workers who are already present in the United States without waiting for approval of a new petition. The supplemental increase does not affect the H-2B program in future fiscal years.
Will the agencies become more friendly? Under orders of the Biden administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued memoranda to their employees to stop using certain terms and replace them with others.
- “alien”—use “noncitizen” or “migrant”
- “alienage—use “noncitizenship”
- “illegal alien”—use “undocumented noncitizen,” “undocumented individual,” or “migrant”
- “unaccompanied alien children”—use “noncitizen unaccompanied children”
- “assimilation”— use “integration” or “civic integration”
- “immigrant assimilation”— use “immigrant integration”
Venezuelan and Syrian students will find some relief soon. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has suspended certain regulatory requirements for F-1 nonimmigrant students whose country of citizenship is Venezuela or Syria. DHS said it took this action for Venezuelan students who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the current humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, and for Syrian students who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the civil unrest in Syria since March 2011. DHS said that affected Venezuelan and Syrian lawful F-1 nonimmigrant students may request employment authorization, work an increased number of hours while school is in session, and reduce their course loads while continuing to maintain F-1 status. These provisions will remain effective for Venezuelan students until September 9, 2022, and for Syrian students until September 30, 2022.