As you may be aware, the Governor of California issued a statewide “Stay at Home” order yesterday. In light of the current COVID-19 situation, we want to reassure everyone that we have implemented internal processes in order to keep up with our clients’ needs. My firm has fully embraced the latest Internet technologies since 1999. While our physical office space remains accessible during this special time, we are also accustomed to running an efficient virtual law practice.
Today marked the closing of FY-2021 Cap H-1b Registration period. We had to work well into the evenings, but with the full cooperation of our clients, all registrations have been successfully submitted by Thursday, March 19.
USCIS to accept reproduced signatures
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that, effective March 21, 2020, it will begin accepting all benefit forms with reproduced signatures. This temporary measure was put in place amid the coronavirus pandemic. In the context of cap-subject H-1B petitions, which will commence on April 1, 2020, this means forms that normally must be submitted with an original, or “wet,” signature, such as form I-129, can be filed with scanned, photocopied, or similarly reproduced signatures.
Premium Processing suspended for all H-1Bs and I-140s
Not surprisingly, USCIS is temporarily suspending the availability of premium processing service for all form I-129 and form I-140 petitions, effective today. Cases for which the I-907 request has already been accepted will continue to be premium processed, but USCIS will reject any new I-907 request.
DOL to permit extensions to deadlines in connection with PERM
DOL will make accommodations related to deadlines for employers to respond to the notice of audit documentation, submit recruitment reports, business verification and sponsorship documentation, supervised recruitment, and any other request for information containing due date deadlines. If the specific deadline falls within the period from March 13, 2020 through May 12, 2020, the employer’s response or submission of information or documentation will be considered timely if received by March 12, 2020.
Separately, under 20 CFR 656.17(e), employers are required to begin their recruitment efforts no more than 180 days before filing an Application for Permanent Labor Certification (Form ETA9089), and to complete most recruitment measures at least 30 days before filing. Due to service disruptions and other business operations temporarily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, some employers may be prevented from completing these requirements within the 180-day time frame. Therefore, DOL will accept recruitment completed within 60 days after the regulatory deadlines have passed to provide employers with sufficient time to complete the mandatory recruitment and file their PERM application; provided that the employer initiated its recruitment within the 180 days preceding the President’s emergency declaration on March 13, 2020. Delayed recruitment conducted in conjunction with the filing of an application for permanent labor certification must have started on or after September 15, 2019, and the filing must occur by May 12, 2020.
We hope that you and your families are safe! We are operating fully, and will continue to do so to the best of our ability. Please feel free to email your inquiry. Attorney Wang will personally reply, typically within 24-48 hours.