COVID-19 Response Blog

The White House decreed on Monday, January 18, that the entry bans on most of the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Brazil would end as early as January 26, just six days after Mr. Biden takes office, citing the decision last week by the administration to require international travelers to present either the results of a negative recent coronavirus test or evidence that they had already recovered from the disease.  President-elect Biden rejected the…
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (“the Act”) contains a range of policy reforms and requirements that will impact companies doing business with the Government and the supply chain. Many of these measures will be refined through rulemaking. Among other provisions, the Act: Modifies the threshold for the Berry Amendment, which restricts acquisition of certain materials to domestic sources. Imposes safeguards to prevent China from acquiring defense-sensitive intellectual property, technology, and data.…
As reported in our prior alert, the Department of Labor (DOL) has issued its final rule Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States.  Published today in the Federal Register, the Final Rule is effective March 15, 2021.  The rule increases wages employers are required to pay H-1B workers by the percentiles we previously reported for the four wage levels utilized by the DOL—35th percentile for…
Japan has been facing an unprecedented rise in the number of COVID-19 cases into 2021.  The Japanese government has now been forced to broaden its January 8, 2021 implemented national emergency measures.  The state of emergency has expanded beyond Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures to seven additional prefectures, including Osaka and its surrounding prefectures.  The state of emergency is set to expire on February 7, 2021 and may be extended in the future.  The nonresident foreign entry…
On the cusp of the transition of power to President Biden, the Trump administration is pressing forward with three separate rulemakings restricting the H-1B visa program, which employers rely on to hire foreign workers for specialty professions, including in the pivotal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (“STEM”) fields. The new rules seek to substantially increase the price tag on engaging H-1B talent, narrow eligibility of foreign workers whose academic degrees are not singularly tied to…
The end of 2020 witnessed an alarming spread of multiple COVID-19 variants, including strains that first emerged in the United Kingdom and South Africa. Record high COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations were reported at similarly alarming rates, leading governments to take drastic action. In our December 22, 2020 blog, we reported on the travel restrictions imposed across multiple countries and regions across the globe, a trend that has continued at a rapid pace as governments…
On December 31, 2020, the Trump Administration issued Presidential Proclamation on Suspension of Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants Who Continue to Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market, continuing restrictions on certain work visa and green card issuance through the end of March 2021.  Citing improved but still persistent unemployment figures caused by COVID-19, the new Proclamation extended two prior executive actions that have limited employers’ ability to sponsor foreign workers for…
The Japanese government announced this weekend that it will be suspending foreign entry into Japan (with certain exceptions) from December 28, 2020 until the end of January 2021.  The blanket ban is a precaution against a new and potentially more contagious coronavirus variant that has spread across Britain. The Foreign Ministry of Japan indicated in a statement on Saturday, December 26 that for the time being, the ban will be maintained through January 31, 2021. …
Law firms have been among the countless workplaces faced with adapting to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic. The transition to videoconferences and virtual collaboration has impacted the lawyer experience, and Liz Stern, head of Mayer Brown’s Global Mobility & Migration practice, emphasized the importance of maintaining communication—both with clients and employees—in a December 22 Legaltech News article (subscription required). “It’s very important to create new communication vehicles, whether it’s a digital tool or a…
Over the weekend, countries across Europe announced travel bans on the United Kingdom, with the growing list of countries spanning all other regions of the globe.  The restrictions come in the wake of the discovery of a new (and possibly highly transmissible) COVID-19 strain in the United Kingdom, coupled with the UK prime minister’s Saturday announcement of the strictest domestic movement restrictions to-date, including a new Tier 4 “stay at home” level alert for parts…