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27 May

May 2021 Federal HR Updates

Posted at

1:25pm

in

Biometric Requirements Suspended on Certain Visa Applications

Update Applicable to:
All employers utilizing the following visas:

  • H-4
  • L-2
  • E-1
  • E-2
  • E-3

What happened?
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will allow adjudications for the visa categories listed above to proceed based on biographic information and related background checks, without capturing fingerprints and a photograph. This suspension will apply through May 17, 2023, subject to affirmative extension or revocation of the suspension period by the USCIS director.

What are the details?
This temporary suspension will apply to applicants filing Form I-539 requesting the following:

  • Extension of stay in or change of status to H-4 nonimmigrant status;
  • Extension of stay in or change of status to L-2 nonimmigrant status;
  • Extension of stay in or change of status to E-1 nonimmigrant status;
  • Extension of stay in or change of status to E-2 nonimmigrant status (including E-2C (E-2 CNMI Investor)); or
  • Extension of stay in or change of status to E-3 nonimmigrant status (including those selecting E-3D).

This suspension will apply only to the above categories of Form I-539 applications that are either:

  • Pending as of May 17, 2021, and have not yet received a biometric services appointment notice; or
  • New applications are postmarked or submitted electronically on or after May 17, 2021.

However, The USCIS retains discretion on a case-by-case basis to require biometrics for applicants who meet the criteria above, and any applicant may be scheduled for an application support center (ASC) appointment to submit biometrics.

Form I-539 applicants who have already received a biometric services appointment notice should still attend their scheduled appointment.

The official announcement may be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers will likely not need to take any action but may wish to inform their employees who are impacted by this visa change.

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OSHA Changes Position on Recordability of Adverse Vaccine Reaction

Update Applicable to:
All employers.

What happened?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a new FAQ in which they have backtracked on their previous stances regarding the recordability of adverse reactions in employees who have had the COVID-19 vaccine administered.

What are the details?
Previously, OSHA had stated that employers should record adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine, if they required employees to have them to work, as work-related injuries. However, in their most recent FAQ, OSHA has instead taken the stance that employers should not record any instance of adverse reactions as work-related injuries, even if the vaccine was required by the employer. 

The FAQ can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers may choose to no longer record adverse vaccine reactions in their OSHA recordkeeping log, in accordance to OSHA guidance. 

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