The COVID-19 crisis has hit the global workforce extremely hard, with unemployment soaring, bans on immigration may seem like the right thing to do especially in sectors that have been hit the hardest. However, according to labor market experts, the US will be in dire need of immigrant workers after the global crisis.
According to experts, several studies have warned that the U.S. economy will require more immigrant labor to keep expanding, as many American workers drop out of the labor market due to age, automation, and other factors, especially now as the country starts to rebuild itself after the COVID-19 crisis. The last thing the country needs is an immigration policy that will make revival more difficult.
This is probably why President Donald Trump’s order to temporarily suspend immigration is much narrower than expected and it does not directly affect the foreign workforce. Infact, temporary farmworkers, medical professionals, and workers in the technology sector will continue to be allowed in. The main provision is a 60-day ban on new green cards for foreign nationals living outside the U.S.
USCIS to grant 60 days Grace Period for foreign nationals
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Friday released a formal statement stating that the 60-day grace period for responding to its requests will include–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 centers; and filing date requirements for Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion. “We 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 in a statement.
The grace period of 60 days to H-1B visa holders and Green Card applicants, who have been served notices for submission of various documents, taking into account the massive novel coronavirus outbreak in America, will help ensure that foreign nationals who are waiting for their visas or whose visas are expiring have enough time to file their petitions.
The O-1 Visa Vs. The H-1B
Similarly, foreign experts and founders wanting to move to the U.S. on an O-1 Visa will find that the immigration laws have not changed and they can still prepare their O-1 Visa petition and file for it after June 4 as USCIS will be resuming most of its services. As the O1- Visa is for people who are experts in their line of work, it is usually thought to be a better choice than the H-1B visa. However, for those still mulling over which visa to apply for, here are some advantages of the O-1 Visa over the H-1B:
- The O-1 visa does not have an annual cap so there is no restriction on the number of visas issued. On the other hand, the H-1B is limited to a certain number issued each year and there have often been far more applicants than available visas. As such, the Government has held a lottery over the last several years, and applications that were not selected in the lottery were returned.
- The O-1 visa is renewable indefinitely where the H-1B has a set term of generally 6 years.
- The O-1 visa does not have a minimum salary requirement (For an H-1B visa, the employer must pay at least the prevailing wage).
- The terms of employment can be much more flexible than H-1B – small changes in the work performed or employment location can impact the H-1B petition and require the employer to file an amended petition, whereas this is not always the case for an O-1 petition.
- The H-1B visa has several compliance requirements that do not exist with O-1 visas.
- The O-1 visa does not have a minimum education requirement, such as a college degree. That being said, the bar for O-1 visas is quite high.
- The filing fees for the O-1 visa are less than H-1B visa fees.
- H-1B visas have come under significant scrutiny and have increasingly high RFE and denial rates.
- You can apply for an O-1 visa at any time during the year whereas most H-1B petitions have a strict application period starting in April.
For more information on how you can apply for the O-1 Visa contact us