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USCIS Drastically Raises Filing Fees

It has been announced that on October 2, 2020, the final version of the fee rule proposed initially by USCIS in November 2019 will finally go into effect. The Trump administration will be using this rule to raise processing fees borne by businesses, new citizens, and international students in need of work authorization. Once effective, the rule will raise fees by 20% on average. This will surely bring financial pressure upon an enormous number of applicants. The table above lists the change in fees for some visas. Go to the link above to view the full chart provided by USCIS. H-1B and L-1 Visas:  L visa petition...

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Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rules Enjoined

On July 29, federal judge George B. Daniels of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan suspended immigration rules on public charge implemented by the Department of Homeland Security(DHS) and Department of State. The rules became effective on February 24, 2020. The purpose of such rules was to redefine the test for the "public charge" ground of inadmissibility. Changes Made by the Rules Before the rules being implemented, a green-card applicant would only be deemed a public charge if he or she was likely to become primarily dependent on the U.S. government through the receipt of cash assistance or benefits for long-term institutionalization. No other types of benefits...

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ICE Bans New International Students Again

July 24th, ICE announced that all international students newly enrolling in their school would not be allowed entry if all of their classes will be taught entirely online. Schools have been asked not to issue I-20 to new students who will take only online classes and are currently outside of the United States. This means such students, without valid I-20's, will not be able to apply for student visas. If the school can provide certification that the student is taking at least one in-person class and not just online courses, they may enter on a valid visa. This rule does not apply to students that are...

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ICE Rule Targeting F-1&M-1 Students Rescinded

On July 6th, the ICE announced a rule that turned away all international students whose curriculum will take place entirely online in the fall semester. This rule has caused many international students to worry about their status and whether they will remain in the country. Many universities have also expressed their disagreement with ICE’s policymaking. Harvard University and MIT filed a lawsuit against the administration two days after the rule was released. Judge Allison Burroughs announced at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, after the schools had reached an agreement with ICE and its parent agency, the Department...

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ICE New Rule Bars International Students

[vc_row triangle_shape="no"][vc_column][vc_column_text]Since the COVID-19 outbreak in March, most educational institutions in the United States have shifted their instruction styles from conventional in-person lectures to online sessions. This new teaching style has been implemented throughout the spring and summer semesters to facilitate social distancing. As a new school year approaches, many schools have made announcements regarding how instructions will take place for the 2020-2021 school year. Some decided to return to conventional physical lectures. Some chose to carry out all instructions digitally through conference software. Some have taken a hybrid approach—making some courses online and some in-person. On July 6th, the ICE introduced...

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USCIS Suffering from Budget Shortfall

2020 has been an unprecedentedly difficult year for business owners as the COVID-19 outbreak brings economic hardships upon many businesses worldwide. From prestigious and long-existing companies such as Hertz and J. Crew to small businesses like your local bakeries, countless business owners reluctantly filed for bankruptcy as they were no longer able to keep their businesses in operation. Large corporations' collapses are nothing as shocking as they used to be since it is no secret that the global economy is suffering from this pandemic. However, the recent statement from Josep Edlow, Deputy Director for Policy at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,...

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New Proclamation Extends Existing Immigration Ban

President Trump has issued a Proclamation on June 22nd, 2020, extending and expanding existing restrictions on certain work visas. The proclamation is based on an older one issued this April, barring those legally migrating to the U.S. from entering the country. Today's order extends the period of validity of the former one to the end of 2020 while adding new visa categories onto the restriction list. This order takes effect on June 24th. The proclamation affects L-1 visas for intracompany transfers; H-1Bs for workers in specialty occupations, and the H-4 visas issued to their spouses; H-2Bs for temporary non-agricultural workers; and most J-1 visas for exchange visitors. This proclamation, like the former, only...

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­Trump May Issue Ban of Entry on These Statuses

On Tuesday, June 9th, an article released by Kuck Baxter Immigration discussed a possible potential proclamation that would cause detrimental consequences to a wide range of non-immigrant visa holders.  If issued, this proclamation would suspend the entry of certain non-immigrant workers for as long as 180 days. It is advised that visa holders of potentially affected categories (L-1, H-1B, H-2B, J-1) not travel abroad if currently in the U.S. and return immediately if abroad. This proclamation is predicted to be issued as early as this Thursday, but more likely on Friday afternoon.  The policies established by this proclamation, if implemented, would respectively:...

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Trump’s Ban on Chinese Students

On May 29th, Donald Trump issued an executive order, announcing that in order to preserve sensitive technologies and intellectual property, Chinese students and researches of certain backgrounds will be denied entry into the United States.  The order became effective starting 12:00 p.m. eastern standard time on June 1, 2020. Affected by this order are Chinese citizens seeking to enter the United States with an F or J visa to study or conduct research.  Students who currently are, or have in the past had: received funding from, employed by, studied at, conducted research at/for any entities in the PRC that support or implement the "military-civil...

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OPT — Trump’s Next Target?

[vc_row triangle_shape="no"][vc_column][vc_column_text] After Trump implemented his 60-day ban on immigration of specific categories, Optional Practical Training for international students may become the next administration target. Optional Practical Training is a program where international students are given 12 months to work in the United States (24 months for STEM-related jobs). Students usually utilize this program to stay in the country after graduation.  Chad Wolf, Acting Homeland Security Secretary, mentioned this possibility during a radio interview on April 27, 2020. He reminded the audience about how some programs have been "potentially abused in the past" and expressed the Department's concern about Chinese students who...

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