Immigration Update

Jul 25, 2022 | Immigration Updates

In this edition, find updates on the USCIS’s latest guidance on I-9 compliance, immigration-related proposals the House of Representatives is considering, updated guidance for Afghans and Iraqis seeking special immigrant classification, and more!

I-9 Compliance: Employers Must Update Previously Accepted Expired List B Documents by July 31, 2022

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds employers that the temporary flexibility related to accepting expired List B documents for Form I-9 employment eligibility verification purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic ended on May 1, 2022. Additionally, if a current employee presented an expired List B document between May 1, 2020, and April 30, 2022 when the flexibility was in place, employers must update their I-9 forms by July 31, 2022.

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House Updates: STEM Measure Fails, ‘Documented Dreamers’ Advances

Several immigration-related proposals were among more than a thousand amendments proposed for the House of Representatives’ Rules Committee to consider as additions to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 7900):

  • A measure to streamline the path to a green card for immigrants with doctorates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields failed as the Rules Committee deemed it “out of order” for consideration as an amendment to the defense bill. According to reports, other efforts to find a way to advance it also stalled in negotiations.
  • However, a proposal to admit experts in science and technology for national security-related reasons will receive a vote on the House floor. The proposal appears to be limited to 10 experts per year to be selected by the Department of Defense.
  • Also advancing to the House floor is a measure to ensure that “documented Dreamers,” who are dependents of foreign workers or applicants for permanent residence (green cards), won’t age out of legal status when they turn 21.
  • Another amendment that advanced would exempt Afghan students from having to show nonimmigrant intent when they apply for student visas to the United States.

Details:

  • “Immigration Measure for STEM Workers Adrift After Defense Flop,” Bloomberg Law, July 13, 2022, https://bit.ly/3PddJAR

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USCIS Updates Guidance for Afghans and Iraqis Seeking Special Immigrant Classification

USCIS updated guidance regarding Afghan and Iraqi nationals seeking special immigrant classification. Effective immediately, the new guidance:

  • Explains that noncitizens seeking an Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) on or after July 20, 2022, must file Form DS-157, Petition for Special Immigrant Classification for Afghan SIV Applicants, with the Department of State when they are applying for Chief of Mission approval. In some circumstances, noncitizens must still file a petition with USCIS to pursue an Afghan SIV;
  • Updates eligibility criteria to reflect that the employment requirement for an Afghan SIV is now one year and clarifies what type of employment with the International Security Assistance Force qualifies;
  • Updates eligibility criteria for surviving spouses and children of deceased principal noncitizens to expand the scope of who may apply for Afghan and Iraqi SIVs;
  • In cases where a visa is not immediately available, removes the date limitation to convert an approved petition for an Afghan or Iraqi translator or interpreter to an approved petition for an Iraqi or Afghan employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government; and
  • Clarifies statutory requirements that a noncitizen seeking an Afghan or Iraqi SIV must establish that they provided faithful and valuable service to the U.S. government by submitting a positive recommendation or evaluation from their supervisor.

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DHS Extends Timeframe for Ukrainian Parolees To Comply With Medical Screening and Attestation

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended the timeframe beneficiaries paroled into the United States under the “Uniting for Ukraine” program have to attest to their compliance with medical screening for tuberculosis and additional vaccinations, if required. Beneficiaries paroled into the United States under Uniting for Ukraine must complete their medical attestations within 90 days of arrival in the United States. Previously, such beneficiaries had to complete the medical screening and attestation within 14 days of arrival.

The attestation is a condition of parole and must be completed in the beneficiary’s USCIS online account. Beneficiaries are responsible for arranging their vaccinations and medical screening for tuberculosis, including an Interferon-Gamma Release Assay (IGRA) blood test, DHS said.

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New EB-5 Immigrant Investor Forms Released

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has revised Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, to accommodate the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, which made significant changes to the filing and eligibility requirements for investors under the EB-5 program. The form is now split into two versions:

  • Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Standalone Investor, is to be used by “standalone immigrant investors who are not seeking to pool their investment with additional investors seeking EB-5 classification.” It closely resembles the prior edition of Form I-526.
  • Form I-526E, Immigrant Petition by Regional Center Investor, is to be used by “immigrant investors who are seeking to pool their investment with one or more additional investors seeking EB-5 classification under the new regional center program.”

Form I-526E “reflect[s] elements of the new regional center program, including the ability to incorporate evidence by reference from a regional center’s Form I-956F,” USCIS said.

As of July 12, 2022, Forms I-526 and I-526E must be submitted in compliance with new program requirements, USCIS said. The filing fee is $3,675 for each form. Those who file Form I-526E on or after October 1, 2022, will need to pay an additional $1,000, required by the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022. This additional amount does not apply to an amendment request. A separate biometric services fee of $85 is also required for each petitioner submitting an initial I-526E petition. The biometric services fee is not required for petitioners filing the I-526 to amend a previously filed petition.

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