Share this article
Employers seeking alternative visa paths for H-1B candidates who were not selected in the cap lottery are having to consider a number of additional factors in light of the COVID-19 national emergency.
Travel restrictions and consulate closures will cause significant delays for applicants outside the United States. Currently COVID-19 travel restrictions apply to 30 countries, including China, Iran, Ireland, Schengen Area countries, and the United Kingdom. The proclamation signed by President Trump Wednesday restricts only applicants outside the U.S. who are applying for immigrant visas (i.e., permanent residency), and does not apply to those applying at U.S. consulates for temporary work visas, such as H, L, J, O, E and other visa categories classified as “nonimmigrant.”
Nevertheless, routine visa processing remains suspended at most U.S. consulates worldwide at this time. After consular operations resume, companies should anticipate ongoing delays in visa processing because of large backlogs that have developed during the closures and the likelihood that it will take time for consulates to restaff with personnel returning to their posts.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) continues to process applications at Service Centers, but field offices and application support centers, where interviews and biometrics appointments are conducted, remain closed until at least May 3. While USCIS has introduced some temporary measures, it has declined to offer broad relief such as automatic extensions of status or postponement of filing deadlines. A lawsuit has been filed asking a court to order USCIS to suspend all deadlines and allow foreign nationals to maintain their status during the national emergency.
Employers should keep these considerations in mind when exploring alternative routes such as the following categories.
BAL Analysis: Employers should allow for significant delays and prioritize any cases that establish “essential” work in light of COVID-19 restrictions. Companies should consult with their BAL attorney for best strategies in the current environment.
This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2020 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact email@example.com.
As previously announced, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will increase premium processing fees on Feb. 26. Under a rule published in...
The State Department’s H-1B domestic visa renewal pilot program’s final application slots open Feb. 26 for qualifying applicants. Key Points:...
President Biden moves to allow certain Palestinians to stay in the U.S. Premium processing fees are about to go up.
The Home Office announced a new visa extension that allows Ukrainians arriving after the Russian invasion to apply for an