Effective 1 October 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun implementing its 28 June 2018 memorandum, prioritising the removal of foreign nationals from the United States on the basis of public safety, in compliance with Executive Order 13768.
The new policy expands the issuance of Notice to Appear (NTA) documents, the beginning of formal deportation proceedings, to foreign nationals who are denied a visa extension or change of status or whose visa expires during an application.
However, USCIS has confirmed that the new policy will not be implemented with respect to employment-based or humanitarian petitions at this time. However, USCIS may issue further guidance extending the new policy to employment-based applications in the future.
An NTA instructs an individual to appear before an immigration judge to commence the removal process.
Previously, NTAs were typically issued only when a foreign national was a national security concern or when an NTA was required by statute or regulation. Foreign nationals whose visa benefits were denied were instead advised voluntarily to leave the country.
If foreign nationals leave the United States voluntarily after receiving an NTA without appearing before the immigration judge, their case may be adjudicated in absentia, which may limit their ability to apply for visas in the future.
Employers of foreign nationals in the US are advised to carefully audit the visa statuses of their foreign national employees.
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