Effects of COVID-19 in the Immigration Process
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States suffered various setbacks with regard to the immigration process. At the on-set of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. enacted a travel ban on international visitors for over 30 countries. In addition to the travel bans, we experienced a backlog in immigration processing due to the closing of government agency offices. Once reintegrated back into the office setting, the backlog led to extended processing times for both the labor certification process and USCIS processes.
BDV’s Success through the COVID-19 Pandemic & Major Changes in Immigration Policy
After 19 months, in November the U.S. lifted pandemic travel restrictions that barred many immigrants, noncitizens, and nonimmigrants alike from traveling to the United States. As well, despite the setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic, employer partners and clients of BDV Solutions have seen an increase in greed card approvals, less Requests for Evidence (RFEs), less NOIDs (Notice of an Intent to Deny), and less in-person interviews. The success that BDV Solutions has experienced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic makes us hopeful and excited for what this next year brings now that the travel ban has been lifted.
Furthermore, we have seen a major change in a huge aspect of immigration, which is the Public Charge Final Rule. As of March 9, 2021, USCIS stopped applying the Public Charge Final Rule to all pending applications and petitions. This change will allow BDV Solutions to assist a larger group of immigrants looking to go through the EB-3 process and we are excited to be able to see huge strides in immigration.
Medical Updates for Immigrants
As of October 1, 2021, USCIS requires that any applicant for lawful permanent residence and other categories that require the immigration medical examination must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, USCIS provides a blanket waiver of the COVID-19 vaccine require for the following applicants: • Applicant is below a certain age and should not receive the vaccine; • Applicant cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition; or • Vaccines are not routinely available or are in limited supply where the civil surgeon practices.
Despite the many changes that have been through the COVID-19 pandemic, BDV Solutions continues to see an increase in success in green card approvals and we look forward to greater success in this next year with the positive changes that have begun to emerge.