October Visa Bulletin and Update from Charlie Oppenheim

The Department of State has released the October Visa Bulletin and Charlie Oppenheim, the person in charge of the Visa Bulletin has also updated us on what may happen in the near future with visa numbers.

First, in terms of the Visa Bulletin, what is probably most important to people is the EB-1 and EB-2 priority date cut-offs.  For October, the EB-1 cutoff for worldwide (and yes, it is NOT current) is April 1, 2017.  For India and China it is June 1, 2016.  According to Charlie, these dates will most likely not change until January 2019.

For EB-2 numbers, Worldwide did come back to Current.  However India and China remain backlogged.  India is at March 26, 2009 and China is at April 1, 2015.  Worldwide EB-3 is also current again, with India at January 1, 2009, China at June 1, 2015 and the Philippines at June 1, 2017.  Right now Charlie is predicting that Worldwide numbers will remain Current for the foreseeable future.  India and China will both move forward slowly, and India EB-3 may surpass India EB-3 at some point this year.

For Family based immigrant visas, according to Charlie, Mexico and China may move forward more rapidly than in the past as there has been less demand from those countries.  India, however, has seen increased demand and may not move forward as rapidly, if at all.  For specific categories and their priority dates, please call us.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a Blog. Thank you.

May Visa Bulletin and Update from Charlie Oppenheim

UnknownRecently Charlie Oppenheim once again spoke with AILA and updated us on immigrant visa usage numbers.  This update also encompasses the updates in the May Visa Bulletin so there will be no separate post about that.  Below are the highlights of that update.

 

Employment Based Categories

In the April Bulletin Charlie moved forward several employment based categories quite a bit.  This was done to spur filings and usage of immigrant visas.  However, due to the longer timeframes now for adjudicating such cases, it will be months before the usage starts to affect visa numbers.  Therefore, for most categories, including EB-1 for China and India, EB-2 India, and EB-3 for China and the Philippines, the dates will hold steady in May.  Several other categories will see some forward movement:

EB-2 China will move forward 1 month to September 1, 2014

EB-2 India will move forward 3 months to May 8, 2008

EB-3 Other Workers – China will move forward about 1 month to May 1, 2007

EB-3 Other Workers – India will move forward about 3 month to May 1, 2008

For the future, it is likely that most employment-based final action dates will hold at their May dates for the month of June with some changes possible in July. What occurs is entirely dependent on demand that may materialize, and continuing consultations with USCIS. The wildcard this year that could cause unanticipated fluctuations in the final action dates is the pace of USCIS field office processing of I-485s.

Specifically looking at EB-1 China and India:  It is now too early to know whether the high worldwide EB-1 demand seen over the past few months is the result of a processing glut or sustained demand. Because of this, it is likely that EB-1 China and India will hold for at least another month, but Charlie is closely watching  demand to determine whether any advancements may be possible.

Lastly, Charlie is hopeful that the advancements made in April to EB-2 China will be sufficient to exhaust the visa numbers in this category, however he continues to monitor China EB-3 downgrades and is likely to hold the final action dates in these categories for at least another month. Despite this, there still remains the possibility of some advancement later this fiscal year if the anticipated demand does not materialize.

Family Based Categories

Below are the Dates for Filing (not the final action dates)  for family based categories:

Family-
Sponsored 
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
F1 08JAN12 08JAN12 08JAN12 15JUL98 08OCT07
F2A 22SEP17 22SEP17 22SEP17 22SEP17 22SEP17
F2B 08SEP11 08SEP11 08SEP11 22MAY97 08SEP07
F3 08SEP06 08SEP06 08SEP06 22SEP98 22JUL95
F4 01APR05 01APR05 01DEC04 08MAY98 15OCT95

As we have pointed out before, unlike employment based applications, most family-based preference petitions are processed through the National Visa Center and U.S. consulates abroad, which accept applications based on the “filing date” rather than the final action date. As a result, Charlie has excellent visibility into demand in these categories, enabling a slow and steady progression of the final action dates with much less volatility than is seen in the employment-based preference categories.

Final action dates advance modestly in May for all family-based preference categories, except F-1 China, India and Worldwide, which hold at the April dates. There is no retrogression in any of the family-based preference categories in May.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

USCIS Reaches FY 2019 H-1B Visa Cap And Finishes Count

imagesUSCIS announced on April 11 that they had received enough applications to fill the FY 2019 H-1B Cap.  Just today they announced that they had completed the counting nad selection process.  We should begin to receive receipts first, then returned applications that were not selected.  Here is the text of the press release from USCIS:

On April 11, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process to select enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally-mandated cap and the U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap, for fiscal year (FY) 2019.

USCIS received 190,098 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 2, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS announced on April 6, that it had received enough H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 and the master’s cap of 20,000. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees unless the petition is a prohibited multiple filing.

USCIS conducted the selection process for the master’s cap first. All unselected master’s cap petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 cap.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed for current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted towards the FY 2019 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

 

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

 

USCIS Suspending Premium Processing for Cap Subject H-1B applications

images-1Yesterday, USCIS announced that they would be suspending premium processing for 2019 Cap-subject applications until September 10, 2018.  This means you can only file cap-subject applications via regular processing.  Those applications that are cap-exempt, including those filed by universities and those for extensions of H-1B status, can continue to use premium processing.  Below is a section of the press release from USCIS:

Starting April 2, 2018, USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 cap. We will temporarily suspend premium processing for all FY 2019 cap-subject petitions, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. This suspension is expected to last until Sept. 10, 2018. During this time, we will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B petitions that are not subject to the FY 2019 cap. We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions or making any other premium processing updates.
During this temporary suspension, we will reject any Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, filed with an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition. If a petitioner submits one combined check for the fees for Form I-907 and Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, we will reject both forms. When we resume premium processing, petitioners may file a Form I-907 for FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petitions that remain pending.

Please call our office with any questions you may have.  And, please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

EB-1 for China and India Backlogged come April 1

Charlie Oppenheimer and the Department of State have determined that, because of increased usage of the EB-1 immigration visas that, come April 1 they will have to backlog this category for both India and China. Both have been backlogged to January 1, 2012 (a date for which there will be no demand). This action was taken to make sure that worldwide usage for this category stays within the numbers allowed.

Charlie did say that, if worldwide usage declines over the coming months he may be able to move these dates forward at some point this fiscal year. While the category will move forward, and may even come current, at the beginning of the next fiscal year (October 1, 2018), it is most likely that both India and China will continue to use their allotted share of EB-1 visas each year and there may end up being a more consistent backlog as there is for the EB-2 and EB-3 categories for India and China.

We will update you as soon as we receive any additional information.

Update on H-4 EAD’s

UnknownIt appears that USCIS is preparing to release a new rule by June, 2018 to remove the provision that allows certain H-4 spouses of H-1B visa holders to apply for work authorization.  If you have been following this issue, you know that the new administration has been looking at revoking these rules since it came into power.  It appears now that they are getting ready to act.  According to the administration, allowing such people work authorization is taking away potential jobs from US Citizens.  In further of this view, USCIS just released a report on the H-4 EAD process, including statistics on the number of cases, etc.  According to this report, there are over 104,000 people taking advantage of this law.

While we cannot be certain that the new rule will actually be published (or when it will be published) until it is actually published, it appears that it is now in sight, and will be implemented by the end of this year.  If you are currently using such an EAD, it would be beneficial to discuss other options with your attorney.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

Updates: Signatures and Credit Card Acceptance at USCIS

3EB2E8ED-35F7-451D-B3AF-96539B02C187USCIS Now Accepting Credit Cards for Most Filings

USCIS has issued a new form G-1450 that will allow people to pay for form filing fees via credit card directly with USCIS.  This form is available for all applications filed at lockbox facilities.  It cannot be used for filings at local offices.  You should read all the information at the USCIS website here to make sure that you complete the form correctly according to what applications you are filing.

Please do call us with any questions about this new policy.

USCIS No Longer Accepting Power of Attorney for Signatures

USCIS has always required original signatures on all forms.  However, USCIS did accept the signature of someone other than the applicant if there was a duly authorized power of attorney.  This is the case no longer.  USCIS will no longer accept such arrangements.  Now the applicant must sign all forms being filed with USCIS.  Parents are still allowed to sign for minors, however.  USCIS also made clear that any deficiency in the signature (whether for an employer, employee, applicant, etc.) could also result in a rejection or denial of the application.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.