News & Insights

2021: A Year in Review

Staying on top of the ever-shifting sands of Immigration is no easy task. While 2021 did not see the kind of drastic changes which we saw in the previous 4 years under the Trump administration, there were still significant changes, nonetheless. For the immigration community, most of these changes were much more favorable, especially for employers and employees filing H-1Bs and green cards.

Biden started to roll back Trump era policies very early on, including revoking Trump’s “Buy American Hire American,” Executive Order, which Trump had used to justify all his restrictive immigration policies.

Some key changes over the last year, under the current administration, include the following:

  • Preventing Trump’s new H-1B lottery rule, which would have changed the H-1B lottery from random selection to one based on wage levels.
  • Revoking the Computer Programmer memo to allow Employers to file H-1Bs for entry-level computer programmer positions.
  • Revoking Trump’s new civic test for Naturalization applicants.
  • Putting an end to the notorious Public Charge Rule, which attempted to target low-skilled and low-income immigrants.
  • Suspending biometrics for H-4, L-2, E-2 and E-3 applicants.
  • Adjudicating cases more favorably for Day 1 CPT applicants.
  • Withdrawing DHS’ duration of status rule which would have allowed CBP to admit students for a fixed period.
  • No longer requiring international students to bridge the gap when filing for a change of status to F-1.
  • Requiring green card applicants to be fully vaccinated before obtaining I-693 medical exam.
  • Reducing the denial and RFE rates.
  • Lifting travel bans to instead require international travelers to provide proof of vaccination.
  • Allowing H-4 and L-2 applicants to qualify for a 180-day automatic extension and providing employment authorization incident to status for L-2 and E-2 dependents.

Despite a lot of positive changes, processing times continue to increase due to the ongoing pandemic, staff shortages etc. The lack of prompt adjudications is continuing to separate families, reduce applicants’ ability to work and is something which the Biden Administration must address immediately going into 2022.

If you have any immigration-related questions, please contact PLG Partner Chris Prescott at cprescott@patellegal.com.

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