What the Coronavirus Shutdown Means for Migrant Workers

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What the Coronavirus Shutdown Means for Migrant Workers

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Faced with uncertain delays and day-to-day changes in the situation, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have widened, and companies that rely on migrant workers have been desperately communicating with the legal team in recent weeks.

Hall Estill’s Denver-based lawyer, Diane Hernandez, says one university she works with expects Chinese researchers to arrive on March 1 and lead a large summer project. I told you. His H-1B visa was approved in December, but could not be obtained at the US consulate in China due to a coronavirus-related travel ban due to the approaching start date. Currently, the researcher, his family, and the university are all on hold, waiting for what happens.

“There may be issues that need to be addressed when he finally enters the country. Specifically, on the day of entry, there is some margin from U.S. immigrants, I missed the moon, “says Hernandez. Over the past few weeks, we have sent a lot of panic emails from clients.

Employment visa processing speed, and
Immigrant gains were generally already slowing down under Trump
Management with additional documents and other additional requirements
Evidence that was not typical decades ago.

“Even before COVID-19, many of our partners in the business community were worried about USCIS processing of work-related immigration visas. Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, It states:

Currently, pandemic response is expected to be further delayed, and employers and employees are facing tough decisions.

“There are all kinds of impacts. Susan Cohen of Mintz Law Firm said that some companies have been able to do their jobs and handle staff in the best way because of the economic downturn. “On the other side, on the other side, some businesses are still desperate for people, and key employers are maintaining a great deal of effort and money, so visas have been approved. But I can’t go here, and sometimes I’m talking about executives and top managers. ”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Office offices for interviews, biometric appointments, and other activities are temporarily closed, but agency services that handle H-1B lottery procedures, visa arbitration, and more The center is still in operation.

“If they fire workers, accuse workers, or close service centers, they make a ruling that has a significant impact,” says Hernandez.

Employers, students and other visas
Applications are moving forward, they will not be issued to consulates
It will be released again and the travel ban will be lifted.

“It may not be a big deal for a large company, but for small startups with fewer than 10 employees, the absence of one team member can be really harmful. The uncertainty is really severe, “says Jennifer Burke, a San Francisco-based lawyer.

Rules vary depending on visa category
Wide. For example, Furloughed H-1B employees
As long as they have a contract, they are not working. Dismissal of visa holder
Usually there are 60 days to adjust status, such as securing another job
Or, before graduating from school,
Country.

From technology companies to medical services
And the pandemic of food production, COVID-19, is expected to be a widespread burden
Of industries that rely on migrant labor.

“One of the recent major concerns is due to agricultural concerns using the H2A program,” says Noorani. “Growers are worried about the labor supply as the harvest season approaches and the State Department is not interviewing.”

This year, USCIS has implemented the latest H-1B lottery system. This will extend the final application deadline for April 1 until June 30. Meanwhile, USCIS recently suspended premium processing. Otherwise, the decision may take several months.

“The new June deadline may offer more time, but it could be negative for employers who can’t afford premium treatment, aren’t given options, or can’t afford it. Maybe, “says Hernandez. “It will probably push approval past the start of the new visa period on October 1st. For example, a person changing from a student to H-1B may run out of status before the new visa is approved. Yes, you have to leave the country and come back. That’s the whole domino effect. “

USCIS has approved some applications.
Includes March 20 announcement to accept signed copy of I-9 work
Approval form up to normal work site instead of original document
The operation will resume.

“I’m telling my client to take it every day because things are changing so fast. The best way is to document everything and track what it’s doing and why “Says Hernandez. “ The government understands how harmful termination of processing visas can be harmful not only to small entrepreneurs, but also to large companies that use large numbers of H-1B workers, such as Microsoft. I think that there.”

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