Immigration and Travel Restrictions – Biden Administration

Regulatory Freeze

The Biden Administration has issued a “regulatory freeze” until the new administration is able to review and approve recent Trump administration rules. A memo issued on the administration’s first day in office by White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain asks federal agencies to not propose or issue any new regulation or policy before approval.

Additionally, rulemakings that have been sent to the Federal Register but are not yet published must be withdrawn immediately. Any such regulation must now be reviewed and approved by a Biden Administration appointee. This will likely affect the recently announced Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulation redefining the H-1B employer-employee relationship and imposing petition requirements on secondary employers of H-1B workers.

The regulatory freeze also applies to rules that have been published in the Federal Register but have not yet taken effect. The memo calls for the effective dates to be delayed 60 days “for the purpose of reviewing any questions of fact, law and policy the rules may raise.” The memo also asks agencies to consider reopening a comment period for 30 days. This will affect the recent DHS H-1B cap allocation final rule and the Department of Labor (DOL) prevailing wage final rule.

Travel Restrictions

The Biden Administration today reinstated the COVID-19 travel restrictions on most non-US. Travelers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders. South Africa has also now been added to the list of countries. This prohibition suspends entry to nearly all foreign nationals who have been in any of the countries on the list at any point during the 14 days before their scheduled travel to the U.S.

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