A Chronological List of Selected Immigration Updates
In our country and our world today, questions about citizenship and immigration are hotly contested. But at Yale, we share none of this uncertainty about the critical importance of immigrant and international students and scholars. The work of the university—education and research—requires the free movement of people and ideas across national borders. On behalf of this university, I advocate for policies that will allow us to welcome students and scholars from around the world to our campus.
- President Peter Salovey
Yale College Opening Assembly Address
August 25, 2018
Major Changes Proposed in Immigration
There are numerous actions the federal government has taken in recent months that could change the landscape of immigration policies affecting international students and scholars on campuses across the country. It is important to note that there is also a lot of uncertainty on whether some of these actions will survive the rule making process to become regulation, and there have been a flurry of law suits against the proposals that could delay implementation or withdraw the proposals entirely. Below are a few of the key points of these complex immigration policies with links to more details.
Premium Processing and USCIS Application Fee Increases
- The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is apparently in a budget crisis
- Congress approved increasing the H-1B Premium Processing expedited fee from $1,440 to $2,500
- The new fee became effective October 19th
- OISS is contacting departments that will need to get new checks cut
- Soon we will see Premium Processing available for other application types, not just H-1B
- Other application fees will be increasing later in the year
New H-1B Prevailing Wage Rule Effecting Researchers and Faculty
- Increases minimum salary rates using Department of Labor data by 39-49%
- For any new H-1B, or H-1B extensions only
- Became effective immediately on October 8th
- Is being challenged by law suits
- OISS is working on H-1B cases needing immediate attention and reaching out to departments
- OISS has already secured an alternative salary data (would not have to use increased salary data)
- A second proposed H-1B rule has also been introduced by DHS, stay tuned
- FORBES article
Proposed Removal of Duration of Status Rule
- Removes the ability of schools to extend F and J status directly.
- Limits how long F and J visa holders can be entered into the U.S.
- Adds a long and expensive immigration extension (by mail) process
- American Council on Education talking points
- Yale is preparing a formal comment letter to oppose this rule
COVID-19 Related Immigration Changes
Please note that there have been many changes in immigration policy since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic Spring 2020. These changes have been posted on the OISS COVID-19 page.
Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak
On June 22, President Trump signed a Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Marker Following the Coronavirus Outbreak. The Proclamation takes effect on June 24, 2020 at 12:01am and will remain in effect through December 31, 2020 (and may be continued or modified as necessary.)
The Proclamation “suspends the entry into the United States” of individuals who do not yet have a valid visa stamp and who are seeking entry in the following non-immigrant classifications:
- H-1B or H-2B visas and any accompanying dependents
- Certain J visas (and any accompanying dependents), including those participating in intern trainee teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel programs. It does NOT include J-1 students, researcher scholars, professors or ECFMG alien physician categories.
- L- visas and any accompanying dependents
The Proclamation does not include:
- H-1B employees currently in the U.S. (Consult with OISS if you have international travel plans)
- H-1 B employees outside the U.S. with a valid H-1B visa stamp
- H-1B employees seeking to obtain a new H-1B visa who are involved in COVID-19 research or in the provision of medical care for COVID-19 patients. However, the process to request and be approved for an exemption has yet to be tested.
F-1 Students and F-1 OPT
The proclamation does not include new restrictions for international students or international students on OPT.
U.S. Permanent Resident Status
- The June 22nd proclamation extends to December 31, 2020 the expiration date of the April 20, 2020 proclamation which suspended entry of certain new immigrants who do not already have an approved immigrant visa.
- Current U.S. permanent residents (green card holders) are not affected by the proclamation. In addition, the current proclamation does not impact a green card application in process.
The proclamation asks government agencies “to take substantial measures” to ensure that those who have already been admitted, or are seeking admission, on an EB-2 immigrant visa, EB-3 immigrant visa, or H-1B nonimmigrant visa do not limit opportunity for U.S. workers.
On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation that suspends entry for 60 days of certain new immigrants (green card applicants) who do not already have an approved immigrant visa. The proclamation does not currently impact applicants for adjustment of status to permanent residence, or nonimmigrants (such as students, exchange visitors, H-1B workers, visitors for business or pleasure, etc.). However the proclamation continues to say “Within 30 days of the effective date of this proclamation, the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall review nonimmigrant programs and shall recommend to me other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers.” OISS continues to monitor proposed immigration changes and will report to the Yale community any factual changes as they occur. NAFSA: Association of International Educators has a good summary of the new policy as well as details about exemptions for some immigrants.
Travel Ban 4.0
On January 31, 2020, the Whitehouse issued a new Presidential Proclamation (“Presidential Proclamation 9983”.) Since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban in 2018 it cleared the way for the Whitehouse to update the travel ban by adding or removing countries from the list according to how they respond to U.S. security concerns. To keep up to date with the latest list of effected countries please refer to the U.S. State Department web site, or the NAFSA: Association of International Educators website.
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Public Charge
On January 30th the Supreme Court upheld a new United States Customs and Immigration Services rule known as “public charge.” Public charge is an evaluation of whether an international visitor is likely to need help from the U.S. or state government while they remain in the United States. In other words, the U.S. wants to see that an F-1 student or J-1 scholar is not likely to need money or assistance. The new regulation will go into effect on February 24, 2020 and may effect how international students and scholars apply to change or extend their visa status.
District Court Puts "unlawful presence" on Hold Temporarily
Over the past year OISS offered a series of information sessions regarding a new and confusing policy effecting F and J visa holders known as “unlawful presence.” The policy was challenged in the courts, and Yale and other schools went on record expressing concerns about the policy's effect on international students and scholars. On May 9th 2019 YaleNews announced that the U.S. District Court has put a temporary hold on the policy.