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Monthly U.S. immigration law news roundup: Land borders with Canada, Mexico remain closed; Study shows employers are ‘seeking more immigrant talent’

Welcome to the Garfinkel Immigration news roundup, where every month we will summarize and provide links to the latest stories impacting U.S. immigration.

Below is the June 2021 edition of the Garfinkel Immigration news roundup:

USCIS issues policy updates intended to ‘improve immigration services’

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released updated guidance in mid-June aimed at eliminating “policies that fail to promote access to the legal immigration system.”

“These policy measures are consistent with the Biden-Harris administration’s priorities to eliminate unnecessary barriers to our nation’s legal immigration system and reduce burdens on noncitizens who may be eligible for immigration benefits,” acting USCIS Director Tracy Renaud said in a statement.

The new policies impact expedited processing; Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs); as well as Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for certain noncitizens.

Read the full story here.

Latest updates regarding USCIS’ new ‘Bona Fide Determination’ process; Supreme Court’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) decision

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) implemented a policy in mid-June that “will give victims of crime in the United States access to employment authorization sooner.” Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling which has the potential to impact many individuals who are in the United States under Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

Important details and information about both can be found here.

U.S extends travel restrictions at Canada, Mexico land borders through July 21

The United States land borders with both Canada and Mexico have been closed for “nonessential travel” since March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those measures have been extended multiple times since they were initially put in place, most recently earlier this month until at least July 21, 2021.

Find out more about the land border closures via Reuters.

Facing shortage of high-skilled workers, employers are seeking more immigrant talent, study finds

Employers are seeking more “high-skilled” immigrant workers as they struggle “to meet demand for computer-related jobs,” according to a new study conducted by New American Economy (NAE) and analyzed by CNBC.

“Employers in the U.S. posted 1.36 million job openings for computer-related roles in 2020, according to NAE’s analysis,” the CNBC story reads. “Yet there were only 177,000 unemployed workers in computer and math occupations last year, NAE found, using Labor Department data.”

Read the full story from CNBC here.

2021 might be a decisive year for H-1B visas

Forbes senior contributor Stuart Anderson recently detailed upcoming crucial decisions by the Biden administration regarding regulations that could significantly impact the H-1B visa program.

The H-1B nonimmigrant visa category is available for U.S. companies to fill a “specialty occupation” with a qualified foreign national. A specialty occupation is one that generally requires a bachelor’s degree or higher, or its equivalent, as a minimum entry-level credential.

“The Trump administration was hostile to high-skilled immigration, but the Biden administration may enact the most enduring policy changes to H-1B visas,” Anderson writes. “And the changes might not be positive for employers. A series of decisions loom on regulations that would affect who can receive H-1B petitions, how much employers must pay H-1B professionals and much more.”

A legislatively established statutory cap limits approvals of new H-1B petitions in a fiscal year to 85,000, with 20,000 of that total reserved for foreign nationals who have obtained an advanced degree or higher from a U.S. college or university.

Read the full Forbes story here.

International student-athletes face an NIL conundrum, and no one seems to have an answer

In this story, ESPN writers David M. Hale and Dan Murphy explore the impact that name, image and likeness (NIL) laws could potentially have on international NCAA student athletes.

“The new laws, of which at least a half-dozen are set to take effect in July, provide a framework for domestic college athletes to make money from things like endorsements, autographs or hosting camps,” the authors write. “However, international student-athletes, which account for about 12% of Division I athletes, according to the NCAA’s latest report, remain in a legal no man’s land, thanks to a caveat within the visa program that prevents anyone on an F (or student) visa from earning a substantial income while studying in the U.S.”

The authors add:

“Multiple congressional aides working for politicians who have been deeply involved in the debate over federal college sports legislation said the issue with international student visas has not yet been a part of that conversation. One said an amendment could be added to whatever federal bill emerges from the menu of options in front of Congress at the moment. Hoping to create guidelines on the national level, federal legislators have made progress toward a cohesive agreement in recent weeks but have yet to agree to bring a bill forward for a vote. State legislators also say that they weren’t focused on the issue while crafting their bills.”

Read the full ESPN story here.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm at 704-442-8000 or via email with any questions.

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