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April 2021 Newsletter
H-1B Entry Ban Ends and Public Charge Rule Rescinded

 


The Sostrin Immigration Lawyers, LLP monthly newsletter provides our clients with immigration news, announcements, helpful links, and information regarding changes in immigration law, procedures, and regulations.

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We hope everyone has had a wonderful beginning to the Spring season. Congratulations to the H-1B lottery applicants who were selected in this year’s lottery, which was conducted this week. Cap-subject H-1B petitions may be filed by employers for the selected applicants beginning April 1.
 
March 31 marked the final day of the suspension of entry by individuals in several nonimmigrant visa categories, including H-1B specialty occupation workers and L-1 intracompany transferees. With the end of this suspension, eligible visa applicants will be able to get a visa at consulates abroad to enter the United States without applying for a waiver of the entry ban. However, strict regional travel restrictions remain in place and many consulates and embassies remain closed or backlogged.
 
Finally, USCIS vacated the controversial Public Charge rule on March 9 (see details below) and has released new editions of several immigration forms that had been impacted by the now vacated rule. Starting on April 19, 2021, USCIS will only accept the new edition of Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Resident, and Form I-539, Application to Extend Nonimmigrant Status, while starting July 1, 2021, USCIS will only accept the new edition of Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker.  As these cutoff dates approach, forms may need to be redrafted and re-signed to ensure that a petition or application can be processed by USCIS.
 
Sostrin Immigration remains dedicated to assisting our clients with their immigration needs. As always, please reach out to the attorney and case manager you have been working with if you have any questions or concerns about your case.

Restrictive 2019 Public Charge Rule No Longer In Effect

On March 9, 2021, Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), announced that that U.S. Government would no longer be defending the 2019 public charge rule in court. This rule expanded public charge determinations to disqualify individuals who had been beneficiaries of various government programs from receiving immigration benefits. The Justice Department also dismissed its pending appeals in the Supreme Court and Seventh Circuit related to the rule. Since then, the government appeals related to the rule have been dismissed in the courts and the public charge rule is no longer be in effect.

On March 10, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated the “Public Charge” section of its website and stated that on or after March 9, 2021, applicants and petitioners should not provide information required by the 2019 Public Charge rule. Applicants for adjustment of status should no longer submit Form I-944, Declaration of Self Sufficiency, and applicants and petitioners should not answer questions related to public benefits on Form I-129 or Form I-539. If this information has already been provided, USCIS states that it will not consider it.

With the 2019 Public Charge rule no longer applied, DHS is reverting to the 1999 Interim Field Guidance, which was in place prior to the 2019 Public Charge rule. Under this guidance, CBS News reports that officials are instructed “to only deem immigrants public charges if they were receiving government cash benefits or long-term institutionalized care.” CBS News also reported that, as under the previous administration, receipt of vaccinations or medical treatment for COVID-19 would not be considered in public charge determinations.

The controversial public charge rule was introduced by the Trump administration in 2019, and was criticized by immigration advocates as a “wealth test” that effectively made legal immigration pathways more inaccessible for poor immigrants.  A nationwide injunction prevented DHS from enforcing it until a Supreme Court decision in January 2020. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began implementing the rule in February 2020.  During his first two weeks in office, President Biden signed an executive order that called for a review of the legal immigration system, including the public charge rule, which was then vacated by his administration after review.

IMMIGRATION
NEWS & UPDATES 

 
USCIS Extends Flexibility for Responding to Agency Requests
March 24, 2021

House passes immigration bills with path to citizenship for "Dreamers" and farmworkers
March 19, 2021

Secretary Mayorkas Designates Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status for 18 Months
March 8, 2021


New Department of State Guidance for Visa Eligibility for individuals in U.K. and Europe 
March 3, 2021
FIRM NEWS &
UPCOMING EVENTS

 
We are excited to welcome Legal Assistant Ariana Alemi to the firm!

On April 16, Partner Alex Dgebuadze is speaking to Karma Automotive on  "Current Immigration Policies and Common Visa Strategies."

On April 27, Partner Rita Sostrin is speaking at the AILA Rome District Chapter Spring Conference on the panel, "The Impact of COVID on Practicing Immigration Law."  Rita is also the Chair for this conference.

Missed a past newsletter? You can find an archive of our previous newsletters on our website! 
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
FURTHER INFORMATION ON COVID-19
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are both monitoring and providing regular updates about the current coronavirus outbreak.

For more information, guidance, and updates, please visit the CDC and WHO websites. 
VISA BULLETIN
 
The State Department issues a monthly visa bulletin summarizing the availability of immigrant numbers, indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center. 

To see April's monthly visa bulletin, please Click Here.
USCIS PROCESSING TIMES 
 
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") provides estimates of how long each office is taking to process different types of cases. USCIS updates this page every month (around the 15th of each month). Please note that these dates may change without notice.

For Processing Time information, please Click Here.
HELPFUL LINKS
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Copyright © 2021 Sostrin Immigration Lawyers, LLP. All rights reserved.
 
Contact Us:
Sostrin Immigration Lawyers, LLP
21700 Oxnard Street, Suite 860
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
T: 818.435.3500
E: info@sostrinimmigration.com
www.sostrin.com
 
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