In this newsletter, we report on recent U.S. immigration-related developments, including the February 29 presidential proclamation concerning restrictions on entry to the United States if an individual has come from Iran, a similar proclamation issued January 31 concerning the People’s Republic of China, and the government’s extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Yemen, with a brief mention of TPS developments for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan.
In this GMS Flash Alert, we report on recent U.S. immigration-related developments, including the February 29 presidential proclamation concerning restrictions on entry to the United States if an individual has come from Iran and the government’s extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Yemen.
Employers with foreign national employees – and educational institutions with students, faculty, and researchers – traveling from Iran and the People’s Republic of China into the United States, should stay abreast of developments in the United States that could restrict the entry of such individuals (as well as the entry of their dependents and family members). Any change in the legal position of these individuals could have consequences not only for their ability to enter or re-enter the United States, but also their continued employment or studies in the United States if they are among the categories of individuals covered under the proclamation. There could be delays and relocation issues coming up.
The travel restrictions include foreign nationals who hold valid U.S. nonimmigrant visas.
Employers of Yemini TPS beneficiaries should also be appraised of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) extension of Yemen for TPS designation that may impact their employees requiring extension of work authorization.
On February 29, 2020, President Trump signed a new presidential proclamation imposing additional travel restrictions affecting certain foreign nationals who have been present in Iran within 14 days of seeking admission to the United States.1 These new travel restrictions took effect on March 2, 2020, 5:00pm EST and continue to remain in effect.
This follows the presidential proclamation of January 31, 2020, on the “Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus and Other Appropriate Measures To Address This Risk,” which concerns certain individuals entering the United States from the People’s Republic of China.2
While a large number of foreign nationals seeking admission to the United States who were present in Iran and China within 14 days of their attempted entry will be prohibited from entering, the proclamation has also outlined a number of exemptions. The following groups of foreign nationals are exempt from the travel restrictions:
Note, foreign nationals that fall under the exempted groups listed above may still be subject to quarantine measures as set out by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services upon arrival to the United States.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended the designation of Yemen for TPS for 18 months, from March 4, 2020 through September 3, 2021.3 This extension will allow currently eligible beneficiaries to retain TPS benefits including eligibility for work authorization to September 3, 2021, so long as they otherwise continue to meet eligibility requirements.
This follows the November 2019 extension of the validity of TPS-related documentation for beneficiaries under the TPS designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan through January 4, 2021.4 The Federal Register notice published by DHS automatically extended the validity of Employment Authorization Documents; Forms I-797, Notice of Action; and Forms I-94, Arrival/Departure Record (collectively, TPS-related documentation) for TPS beneficiaries from the aforementioned countries.
When conditions in a given country temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately, DHS may designate such foreign country for TPS. Typically, with respect to countries where there is ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster has occurred, or there are other extraordinary and temporary conditions, the DHS may designate such a country for TPS. Under this program, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant TPS, including permission to work lawfully, to eligible nationals of TPS-designated countries who are already in the United States.
Effective March, 2, 2020, current Yemeni TPS beneficiaries have 60 days, or until May 1, 2020, to request an 18-month extension of status and work authorization.
Given lengthy processing times for TPS re-registration applications, beneficiaries with timely-filed TPS re-registration and work authorization applications will have the validity of the work authorization cards (EADs) automatically extended for 180 days, through August 30, 2020.
For more information on the TPS re-registration process related to Yemen, please visit: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status/temporary-protected-status-designated-country-yemen.
1 An announcement of this policy.
2 See Presidential Proclamation 9984. This proclamation means that entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the People's Republic of China, excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited subject to certain conditions and exceptions noted in the proclamation.
3 See the announcement on the USCIS website.
4 See that announcement on the USCIS website.
Due to the rapid development of the novel coronavirus situation, many companies have initiated business continuity planning to protect their staff and mitigate the impact on their business operations. In light of the concerns around international assignees – including business travelers – in affected areas, the KPMG People Services team in the People’s Republic of China has developed a booklet (“Coronavirus: Protect Your Staff and Your Business” (February 2020)) highlighting the key considerations for these issues from high level tax, legal, and immigration perspectives.
* Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not provide any immigration services or legal services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Canada.
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