Over a month into the new year, the government has continued addressing the many challenges that the employment-based immigration system faces. In addition to considerable processing backlogs and the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent changes have continued to pose difficulties for employers. Here are some of the most significant changes the U.S. government has announced.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently posted a proposed rule that would incite considerable cost increases when applying for many employment-based immigration benefits. The USCIS explained that this would compensate for the agency’s budget shortfalls, partially caused by its expanded humanitarian programs. Some key fee increases include:
This proposed rule is open for public comment until March 6, 2023.
In many jurisdictions, pay transparency laws require employers to disclose the pay and benefits of a position on job advertisements and postings. Jurisdictions with such laws include, but are not limited to, California, New York State, and Washington.
These laws will significantly impact the permanent employment certification (PERM) process. Under PERM regulations, employers have no obligation to disclose pay rates in most recruitment materials outside of the notice of filing on the employer’s worksite.
However, this obligation may change due to the new transparency requirements. In many cases, employers may find themselves required to include a pay rate in all materials. As such, advertising rates different from a prevailing wage determination could lead to costly new recruitment efforts.
The U.S. Department of State has announced that it extended a policy concerning consular officers. This extension will allow the consular officers to continue waiving in-person interviews for several nonimmigrant visa categories through December 31, 2023. The officers will make these determinations case by case to reduce appointment wait times and processing backlogs. In addition, doing so will free up resources otherwise spent on in-person interviews.
These developments are only a few of the most significant to arise in recent days. Even now, the regulatory landscape is constantly shifting. Nowhere is this more true than in the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9). One of the best ways to remain current with regulatory changes and ensure continued compliance is to invest in an electronic I-9 management system. This tool can provide step-by-step guidance, reminders when action is required, and convenient storage of forms and documentation.
When it comes to your work, automation makes eligibility verification quick and seamless. Get a head start today with I-9 Compliance.