UPDATE, May 02, 2016
USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions
USCIS announced on May 2, 2016, that it has completed data entry of all fiscal year 2017 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected in our computer-generated random process. USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected. Due to the high volume of filings, USCIS is unable to provide a definite time frame for returning these petitions. USCIS asks petitioners not to inquire about the status of submitted cap-subject petitions until they receive a receipt notice or an unselected petition is returned. USCIS will issue an announcement once all the unselected petitions have been returned.
Additionally, USCIS is transferring some Form I-129 H-1B cap subject petitions from the Vermont Service Center to the California Service Center to balance the distribution of cap cases. If your case is transferred, you will receive notification in the mail. After receiving the notification, please send all future correspondence to the center processing your petition. If you are filing a Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, to upgrade your Form I-129 H-1B petition to premium processing, send the completed Form I-907 with the appropriate fee to the center processing your petition. Continue reading
On March 11, 2016, Department of Homeland Security published its final rule governing STEM OPT, which will take effect May 10, 2016. This new rule allows for a qualifying F-1 student with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) degree, who has already been granted 12 months of practical training, to apply for a 24 month extension.
The final rule will replace the existing 2008 interim final rule and amends the current regulations regarding OPT for F-1 students who have completed a STEM degree. The final rule lengthens the STEM OPT extension from the current 17 month period to 24 months! The final rule also includes the following enhancements and protections: Continue reading
My colleague, Paloma Feghali, and I would like to discuss PERM processing during this time of year, where submission of prevailing wage applications will result in a 90 day validity period of the wage determination. If you do not plan carefully, you are looking at a smaller window of time to submit PERM applications. Continue reading
On April 1st, 2016, USCIS will begin accepting new H-1B petitions subject to the cap for Fiscal Year 2017. If you plan to hire a professional, foreign worker, you should begin preparation for the H-1B visa process now. Based on last year’s numbers where USCIS received nearly 233,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, the cap will most certainly be reached in the first week of April 2016. If you miss the opportunity to file a new H-1B petition this year, you will not have the opportunity to file until April 1st, 2017. Continue reading
The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) issued a decision on January 08, 2016 that effectively blamed the DOL for the employer’s typographical error. As you may remember from one of my previous posts, typos are no laughing matter when it comes to PERM – Tips to Improve Your Chance at an Approved PERM Labor Certification. Although there are many BALCA cases that have upheld denials for innocent typos on ETA Form 9089 (AKA PERM Form), in this instance, fundamental fairness called for reversal of denial. Continue reading
On January 23, 2016, the U.S. Distrcit Court for the Distrcit of Columbia granted Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) motion for limited relief from the Court’s August 12, 2015 order. The Court has ordered that the vacatur of the 17-month STEM OPT extension be further extended to May 10, 2016. Continue reading
2015 was an eventful year in employment based immigration. So here is a look back at a few things, some better than others, that occurred: Continue reading
***First off, please think about signing this White House Petition to restore the original visa bulletin, every bit helps! https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/uscis-and-dos-changed-priority-dates-categories-all-sudden-and-causing-financial-and-mental-loss ***
The Department of State (DOS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have some explaining to do. For the thousands of upset and disappointed individuals out there who were negatively impacted by the abrupt change in the October 2015 visa bulletin, just know that there are people and organizations out there fighting for you!
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) announced on September 28th that the organization submitted a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, and Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz expressing disappointment in the September 25, 2015 changes to the October Visa Bulletin and asking that the dates published in the September 9, 2015 Visa Bulletin be restored. Continue reading
An October 2015 revised visa bulletin has unfortunately been released and will supersede the originally published October 2015 bulletin that contained Dates for Filing AOS Applications. The Department of State explains, “Following consultations with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Dates for Filing Applications for some categories in the Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based preferences have been adjusted to better reflect a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. The Dates for Filing Applications sections (sections 4.B. and 5.B.) which have been adjusted have been identified in Bold type.” (Please see link below)
For instance, prior to this revised bulletin, the cut-off Filing date for EB-2 India was July 01, 2011. Now, under the newly revised visa bulletin, the cut-off date for EB-2 India is July 01, 2009.
These are the employment based Filing date changes:
||Sept 09, 2015 bulletin
|NEWLY REVISED BULLETIN (Sept 25, 2015)
||1 year, 5 months
Again, DHS will rely on this revised bulletin, rather than the bulletin published on September 9, 2015, when considering whether an individual is eligible to file an application for adjustment of status.
Now that the new Visa Bulletin is out for October 01, 2015, you may be wondering what the next steps will be if you have an approved I-140 and your Priority Date (PD) falls before the filing cut-off date.
First off, you will need a letter of support from the employer who sponsored your green card process. This should not pose a problem if you are currently working for that employer.
If you are not working for the sponsoring employer, you will still need a letter of support. You will need to be sure that the employer who sponsored you still intends to offer you the job listed on your PERM Labor Certification and that you intend to work for that employer after your green card is received. If this is the case, you will be able to file the I-485 application along with the EAD and Advance Parole applications if your PD falls before the filing cut-off date. Continue reading