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US allows 60-day grace time for H1B visa holders, green card applicants due to Covid-19

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on May 02, 2020

USCIS said it has reached the congressionally-mandated 65,000 H-1B cap for the fiscal year 2021.

In a relief to immigrants, the United States on Friday said that it will allow a grace period of 60 days to people holding an H-1B visa along with green card applicants, who have been served notices to submit various documents.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has made these flexibilities in light of the Covid-19 pandemic which has infected over a million people in the US.

“In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is extending the flexibilities it announced on March 30 to assist applicants and petitioners who are responding to certain Requests for Evidence; Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14); Notices of Intent to Deny; Notices of Intent to Revoke; Notices of Intent to Rescind and Notices of Intent to Terminate regional investment centres; and Filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion,” USCIS said.

The USCIS has said that the grace period will be applied to the documents if the issuance date listed on the request, notice or decision is between March 1 and July 1, 2020.

People who have been requested to respond to these requests will be given a 60-day grace period before any action is taken against them.

“USCIS will consider a response to the above requests and notices received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice before taking action,” it said. It further said that it was taking several measures to protect the workforce and community in the US and to minimise the “immigration consequences for those seeking immigration benefits during this time.”

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa. It allows US based companies to employ foreign workers within occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The H1-B benefits thousands of employees from India and China.While the green card is the proof of the authorities have granted permanent residence in the country to an immigrant.

According to the current law, the US can issue a maximum of 1,40,000 employment-based green cards every year. Each country is capped at seven per cent. The immigration body can issue a maximum of 65,000 H-1B work visas each year to foreign workers. It can issue an additional 20,000 H-1B visas to those foreign workers who are highly skilled and have obtained a masters or higher degrees from an American educational institution.

This relation comes just a few days after the US President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the US amid Covid-19.

On April 20, President Donald Trump had tweeted that he planned a temporary ban on all immigration to protect American jobs; the following day he announced an executive order blocking most people coming from outside the US from receiving green cards for 60 days.

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Published on May 02, 2020
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