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Monthly U.S. immigration law news roundup: H-1B visa lottery information, TPS extended to Cameroonians and more

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 April 2022 edition of the Garfinkel Immigration news roundup:

Spousal employment authorization for L and E dependents: Frequently asked questions

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released updated guidance in recent months for E and L spousal work permit authorization.

These updated policies are a ramification of the settlement reached in mid-November in Shergill, et al. v. Mayorkas, which resulted in spouses of E and L visa holders being authorized to work incident to status.

The settlement and resulting updated policies should help thousands of individuals whose case adjudications have been delayed because of backlogs at USCIS, which stem from the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors.

Does my spouse need to file for an employment authorization document (EAD)?

L-2 and E (E-1, E-2 and E-3) dependent spouses no longer require an EAD to work. USCIS now considers employment authorization to be part of their L-2 and E (E-1, E-2 and E-3) status (other dependents will not have employment authorization).

Starting January 31, 2022, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began issuing new I-94s at U.S. Ports of Entry for L and E dependent spouses with the new admission codes “L-2S” and “E-1S/E-2S/E-3S.” USCIS also began issuing I-797 approval notices with these new designations in the “Notice Type” box as well as on the I-94 attached at the bottom, as applicable. These I-94s with the new “S” designations serve as immediate proof of work authorization and are considered a List C document for I-9 purposes.

On April 1, 2022, USCIS also began issuing notices to E and L spouses who previously filed a Form I-539 with USCIS, which confirm and serve as proof of spousal work authorization when presented to an employer with an unexpired I-94. USCIS has instructed E and L spouses to e-mail if they previously filed a Form I-539 but did not receive a notice by April 30, 2022.

A Form I-94 without the new spousal designation is NOT, alone, sufficient evidence of employment authorization in which case, a valid EAD (or in some cases a pending EAD Receipt Notice) is required for work authorization or the USCIS notice confirming work authorization.

Read the full Q&A here.

Biden administration protects Cameroonians in the U.S. from deportation, offers work permits

The Biden administration extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Cameroonians earlier this month.

“The United States recognizes the ongoing armed conflict in Cameroon, and we will provide temporary protection to those in need,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement released in mid-April. “Cameroonian nationals currently residing in the U.S. who cannot safely return due to the extreme violence perpetrated by government forces and armed separatists, and a rise in attacks led by Boko Haram, will be able to remain and work in the United States until conditions in their home country improve.”

Cameroonians will only be eligible for TPS if they were residing in the United States before April 14, 2022. The move could impact about 10,000 Cameroonians, according to a story published by CBS News.

Read the full CBS News story here.

Tech’s immigration headache isn’t going away

This story from Axios details employers’ struggles obtaining green cards for their employees because of immigration backlogs.

“Tech giants are worried their employees will miss out on thousands of potential green cards this year as the U.S. continues to struggle with an immigration backlog,” the story reads. “In a tight labor market, industry leaders say they can’t afford to lose talented high-skilled workers frustrated with long delays in granting permanent legal status.”

The story continues: “There are about 280,000 employment-based green cards available this year, but immigration officials are on track to waste about 100,000 of them, based on processing times in the first quarter, Cato Institute research fellow David Bier told Axios.”

Read the full story here.

The H-1B visa lottery and ‘America’s bad immigration law’

In this piece, Forbes Senior Contributor Stuart Anderson explains the United States’ H-1B lottery and argues that changes should be made to the system.

“U.S. immigration law has become so inadequate that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will reject up to 82% of the H-1B registrations for high-skilled foreign nationals submitted in the most recent H-1B lottery, according to the latest government data,” Anderson writes. “In contrast, there is no numerical limit on high-skilled temporary visas in Canada under the Global Skills Strategy, and many high-skill temporary visa applicants are approved within two weeks.”

The story continues: “The facts show the H-1B visa category is vital for retaining and bringing talent to the United States. Critics have attempted to devalue H-1B professionals as people and diminish their talent by arguing companies hire H-1B visa holders because they are ‘cheap labor’ or that U.S. law gives an incentive to hire foreign-born individuals. As the data … show(s), the reality is far different.”

Read the full article from Forbes here.

Biden administration expands Temporary Protected Status eligibility for Ukrainians in U.S.

The Biden administration has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) eligibility for Ukrainians living in the United States.

Originally, TPS was only available to Ukrainians residing in the country as of March 1, 2022. However, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced in mid-April that the eligibility date was being pushed to April 11.

More than 59,000 Ukrainians could be eligible for TPS following the expanded eligibility, according to an article published by CBS News.

“The cut-off date change could make thousands of additional Ukrainians who have managed to reach the U.S. following the Russian invasion, including those who have been allowed to enter the U.S. through the Mexican border on humanitarian grounds, eligible for TPS,” the CBS News article reads.

Find out more 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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