Apr 01 2021

Weekly Immigration Update: March 26–April 1, 2021

Azerbaijan, Canada, India, Ireland, Peru, Singapore, United States

In immigration news this week:

  • Worldwide: Jurisdictions around the world continue to adapt their coronavirus-related travel restrictions and quarantine measures, and many have implemented extension policies and other concessions. Visit Fragomen’s COVID-19 website for the latest immigration updates.
  • United States: The Trump-era presidential proclamation suspending the issuance of certain H-1B, H-2B, L-1 and J-1 nonimmigrant visas has expired. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is extending until May 31, 2021 its remote I-9 document inspection policy due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.  ICE is also expanding I-9 accommodations for employees onboarded remotely on or after April 1, 2021.  Following the FY 2022 H-1B cap selection process, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has begun accepting H-1B cap petitions on behalf of selected beneficiaries, and will continue to do so through June 30.
  • Ireland: Due to COVID-19, the Irish government is again automatically renewing immigration permissions, including Irish Residence Permit (IRP) cards, passport stamps and previously extended permissions. 

These items and other news from Azerbaijan, Canada, India, Peru, and Singapore follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.


Important updates in immigration this week

United States, April 1, 2021

ICE Extends Interim COVID-19 Protections for Form I-9 Compliance Through May 31, Expands Accommodations for New Hires On or After April 1

  • Due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is extending its remote I-9 document inspection policy through May 31, 2021.
  • Eligible employers will continue to be permitted to review I-9 identity and employment authorization documents remotely until the interim policy expires or until three days after the COVID-19 emergency is over, whichever comes first. Employees onboarded remotely on or after April 1, 2021, must have their documents inspected in person once they begin working non-remotely on a “regular, consistent, or predictable basis.”

To view entire article, click here.

United States, April 1, 2021

Travel Tips for Foreign Students on OPT or Planning a Change of Status to H-1B

  • If you are an F-1 student who has applied for or is working on optional practical training (OPT) or who will be the beneficiary of a petition to change status to H-1B in this year's H-1B cap filing season, make sure you understand the risks and requirements of international travel.
  • Several critical new factors will impact travel this year, including COVID-19 policies worldwide, U.S. regional COVID-19 travel bans, and reduced operations at U.S. consulates.
  • Traveling abroad while awaiting a change of status to H-1B could affect your F-1 status, your ability to change status and your ability to reenter the United States.

To view entire article, click here.

United States, March 31, 2021

H/L/J Nonimmigrant Proclamation Set to Expire, But Travel Challenges Will Remain

  • Former President Trump’s ban on issuance of certain H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and J-1 nonimmigrant visas is expected to expire tonight.
  • As of April 1, there will be no visa classification-based nonimmigrant travel bans in effect. However, several regional COVID-19 public health bans remain in place and may impede visa issuance and travel for many.
  • In addition, reduced operations and backlogs at U.S. consulates abroad may significantly delay scheduling of H, L and J visa appointments.

To view entire article, click here.

United States, March 30, 2021

USCIS Completes FY 2022 H-1B Cap Selection Process

  • The annual quota of 85,000 new H-1B cap registrations was met in the initial registration period for employment in FY 2022.
  • USCIS has completed the regular and advanced-degree selection lotteries, and has notified employers of selection results. Employers will need to log into their H-1B cap registration accounts to learn which beneficiaries were selected.

To view entire article, click here.

Ireland, March 26, 2021

Blanket Extension of Immigration Permissions Until September 20, 2021

  • Due to processing delays and closures arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to ensure that foreign nationals do not have a lapse in status, the Irish government is automatically renewing immigration permissions (including Irish Residence Permit cards, passport stamps and previously extended permissions).
  • Foreign nationals whose permission is due to expire between April 21, 2021 and September 20, 2021, will now have their permission extended until September 20, 2021.

To view entire article, click here.


Other weekly news briefs

Azerbaijan: New Submission Process for Quota Reports – Companies submitting their quota reports for their future foreign workforce must now upload the quota reports to the State Migration Services via their website by using ASAN signature. This requirement applies to the quota report due on May 1, 2021 and to all future annual quota reports. Previously, quota reports were submitted via email on a special form approved by the State Migration Services. If a company has already submitted their quota report for this year, they must resubmit the report following the new requirements.

Canada: Quebec Immigrant Investor Program Remains on Hold – Quebec’s Minister of Immigration announced that the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program will remain on hold as the government continues to review the program. The program has been on hold for almost a year and a half and the latest extension will allow the program to remain on hold until March 31, 2023, although it is likely that the program will resume prior to this date. The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program remains the only business immigration program in Canada which does not require the applicant’s active involvement in the management of a Canadian business.

IndiaDeadline for Re-Issuance of OCI Cards Extended Further – The deadline for individuals holding Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Cards to have their new cards re-issued with new passport numbers has been extended further to December 31, 2021, from a previous deadline of June 30, 2021. According to an existing regulation, OCI cards must be re-issued each time a cardholder, who is 20 years of age or younger, obtains a new passport, and it also must be re-issued at least once after the cardholder obtains a passport after the age of 50. While travelers were previously allowed in practice to carry their old and new passports without having the OCI card re-issued, under the current regulation, they will now be allowed to enter India with the new passport and OCI card, even if it reflects the old passport number. This scenario will occur for those who are in the process of having their OCI cards re-issued or for those who are exempt from the re-issuance rule if they are between 21 and 50 years of age.

Peru: New Decree to Change Processing Times and Requirements for Certain Immigration Applications – The Peruvian government has published a new decree which will include numerous changes to immigration regulations. There will be a mandated 30-business day government processing time for all initial in-country and consular immigration applications, down from three months (although in practice, the government processing time is approximately four and a half months, due to a continued backlog). Additionally, foreign nationals will be able to submit simple translations of any documents not issued in Spanish, whereas currently all documents must be translated by a more costly official translator. All Mercosur Visa applicants will be required to submit their apostilled or legalized birth certificate to prove their citizenship in an eligible Mercosur country, whereas currently they are only required to submit their passport. Additionally, dependents of Resident Worker Visa holders will be able to apply for a dependent visa through a consular process in addition to their current option of entering as tourists and applying through an in-country process. Moreover, processing times for the issuance of Permits to Sign Documents and Exit and Re-Entry Permits for foreign nationals applying for visas in country will increase to five and seven business days, respectively, instead of the current same-day process. It is unclear when the changes will be implemented as the decree will take effect only after publication of the new Administrative Procedures Text (TUPA), the date of which is still unknown. Fragomen will send an alert when further details are published and the changes are implemented.   

Singapore: Reminder to Update Value Turnover in EPOL Account – As a reminder, employers must update the ‘Value of Turnover’ in their Employment Pass Online (EPOL) account as part of the company’s obligations to the government each year. Employers must update each EPOL account if they have multiple legal entities in Singapore. Authorized EPOL users can update the information through the MOM’s EP Online system through the ‘Change Particulars’ section by clicking on the ‘Company Details’ option.


This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.