DHS EXTENDS I-9 FLEXIBILITY THROUGH JULY 2023 AND SAYS EMPLOYERS SHOULD CONTINUE USING CURRENT I-9 FORM EVEN AFTER ITS EXPIRATION DATE OF OCTOBER 31, 2022 UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization for both citizens and noncitizens who are hired to work in the United States. The Department requires that the employee provide the employer with documents evidencing their identity as well as their right to work in the country. The employer is expected to examine these documents in-person. However, due to COVID-19 and the growing number of employees who do not consistently report to a physical work location or who work entirely remotely, DHS has authorized a temporary exemption from the I-9 in-person verification requirement. This exemption is currently only valid through July 31, 2023, though DHS has announced that it is considering permanently adopting this more flexible verification process.
USCIS AND DHS RELEASE DETAILED STATISTICS FOR QUARTERLY EB1, EB2 AND EB3 APPROVALS
In response to public and stakeholder requests, DHS, USCIS, and the Office of Performance and Quality have partnered together to provide easier access to quarterly reporting on Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. Several trends can be noted from this data. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of petitions for these categories come from Indian nationals. Of the total 49,313 Professionals with Advanced Degrees (E21) petitions received during the fiscal year, 35,395 were for individuals born in India. China trails far behind in second place with 6,089 petitions filed. Similar patterns are seen with Multi-national Executive or Manager (E13) petitions, with 3,796 out of 8,130 coming from India.
US DEPARTMENT OF STATE RELEASES NOVEMBER 2022 VISA BULLETIN
The Department of State has released its November 2022 Visa Bulletin. EB-1 priority dates remain current while the dates for Indian Nationals on EB-2 and EB-3 remain the same as the October Bulletin (May 1, 2012 and July 1, 2012, respectively). The “Final Action Dates” and the “Dates for Filing Applications” for both EB-4 Special Immigrant and EB-5 Investors visa categories remain the same as the previous bulletin for all countries.
BIDEN ISSUES REFUGEE ADMISSION DETERMINATION FOR FY2023
Earlier this week President Biden authorized the admission of up to 125,000 refugees to the United States during Fiscal Year 2023. This is a dramatic increase from the number of admissions approved by the Trump administration. Biden cites humanitarian concerns as well as national interest as two of the main reasons for this increase. Allotments are generally region-specific and can vary based on global immigration trends as well as political and economic stability within regions. For FY2023, the area with the highest number of allotted admissions reserved for refugees is Africa, with a numerical cap set at 40,000. South Asia received the second highest number of refugee admission allotments with 35,000. However, an increase in the number of authorized admissions does not necessarily mean an increase in admitted refugees. This past year, the Biden administration resettled only 25,000 refugees, a meager 20% of the total permitted admissions.
NEW YORK MAYOR ERIC ADAMS DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY OVER RAPIDLY RISING NUMBER OF MIGRANTS
In the last six months, more than 17,000 immigrants have arrived in New York City. While the city routinely receives a significant number of migrants, Mayor Adams says that since September an average of five to six buses have been arriving in the city every day. This increase is due in part to the politically-motivated decisions of several Republican governors to send arriving migrants to historically Democratic cities, targeting mainly cities that hold themselves out as ‘Sanctuary Cities,” a term which has been used to identify municipal jurisdictions that focus their deportation efforts on Asylum seekers currently comprise about 20% of the shelter population in the city and are estimated to cost the state $1bn this fiscal year.
DOL AND DHS ANNOUNCE CREATION OF H-2B WORKER PROTECTION TASKFORCE AND ADD THOUSANDS OF H-2B TEMPORARY NONAGRICULTURAL WORKER VISAS FOR FY2023
The new Taskforce will focus on three main objectives, addressing the fundamental vulnerabilities of H-2B workers, threats to the program's integrity, and the incorrect use of the program as a means to avoid hiring U.S. workers. The departments will consider a variety of policy options to achieve these goals and will then issue a notice of proposed regulations. The departments have also added 64,716 visas on top of the 66,000 cap. Of the additional visas, 20,000 will be reserved for workers from Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The remaining 44,716 supplemental visas will be allocated to returning workers who have already received H-2B visas during one of the last three fiscal years.
DHS ANNOUNCES NEW MIGRATION ENFORCEMENT PROCESS FOR VENEZUELANS
In an attempt to combat the recent rise in illegal immigration from Venezuela, Mexico and the United States have announced a joint action to create a more orderly and safe process for people fleeing humanitarian and economic crisis in light of this year's 400% increase in Venezuelans crossing the southern border without authorization. Effective immediately, migrants who enter without authorization will be returned to Mexico and those who follow the new protocol will be issued visas and fly by air to an interior port of entry. For individuals to qualify they must have a supporter in the U.S. who can provide financial stability, complete a biometric and biographic screening, and have received all required vaccinations.
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION BOASTS THE ARREST OF 5,000 IN FEWER THAN 6 MONTHS UNDER THE NEW “COUNTER HUMAN SMUGGLER CAMPAIGN”
The tragic death of nearly 60 migrants from Mexico and nearby Central American countries sparked outrage and highlighted the need for government intervention and transnational cooperation to combat the rising numbers of human smuggling. The program was launched in April and in the first six months has successfully arrested over 5,000 smugglers and has produced over a 500% increase in human smuggling network disruptions. DHS notes that these highly organized and complex smuggling webs are multi-billion-dollar operations that require a variety of tactics to dismantle. The Counter Human Smuggler campaign focuses primarily on disrupting the territory, activities, financial assets, and ability to travel and conduct commerce of known smugglers and has committed over $60 million and added over 1,300 personnel to the taskforce.