USCIS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants

February 25, 2015 Leave a comment

On February 24, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that effective May 26, 2015, certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants (principal beneficiaries) will be eligible to apply for employment authorization to work in the United States. Even though USCIS currently allows spouses of L and E visa holders to work in the U.S., the rule was not extended to spouses of H-1B visa holders until yesterday’s announcement. It is a welcome news to thousands of families who are in the U.S. in H-1B/H-4 visa status.

The rule comes with certain conditions though. In other words, it is not a blanket eligibility to all H-4 spouses. Only those H-4 spouses that meet the following criteria will be eligible to apply for employment authorization:

Criteria:
Employment authorization-eligible individuals include certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who:

1. Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140 petition; or

2. Have been granted H-1B status based upon:
a) the filing of a labor certification application (365 days or more have elapsed since filing); or
b) the filing of Form I-140 (365 days have elapsed since filing).

Thus, the eligibility to file employment authorization application is offered only to H-4 spouses whose H-1B principal beneficiaries have an ongoing permanent residence (green card) process as described above. As such, the new rule will not apply to H-4 spouses whose H-1B principal beneficiaries do not have any ongoing green card process. It will not also apply to H-4 spouses whose principal beneficiaries have an ongoing green card process but do not otherwise meet the criteria described above.

Process to obtain Employment Authorization:
• Filing of Form I-765 with USCIS.
• Filing fee: $380.00
• Processing time: Approximately 60-90 days.

If you need assistance in filing an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) application, please contact our office.

EB-2 and EB-3 Forward Movement for India in March 2015- A Welcome News!

February 9, 2015 Leave a comment

March 2015 Visa Bulletin was released by the State Dept. today.  Good news for employment-based green card applicants from India in that EB-3 visa category moved forward by about 8 days to January 2004.  There is a big jump forward for EB-2 from September 2005 (in February) to January 2007 (in March).  We hope that the immigrant visa numbers continue to move forward in the months to come.  We will keep you updated with the latest news.

March 2015 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based Immigrant Visa Numbers

February 9, 2015 Leave a comment
Employment- Based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA – mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01SEP10 01JAN07 C C
3rd 01JUN14 22OCT11 01JAN04 01JUN14 01JUN14
Other Workers 01JUN14 15AUG05 01JAN04 01JUN14 01JUN14
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th
Targeted
Employment
Areas/
Regional Centers
and Pilot Programs
C C C C C

H-1B Cap Filings Begin Wednesday, April 1, 2015

January 15, 2015 Leave a comment

April 1 is nearing.  Even though H-1B filings begin the first business day, which is Wednesday, April 1, 2015, the H-1B individuals will not be able to arrive in the United States until late 2015 (Sep/Oct) or early 2016 to work for employers (given the delays at Consulates).  Here are some thoughts:

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 is when we could begin shipping H-1B cases to USCIS with an employment start date of October 1, 2015.

Just as last year, the Labor Condition Application (“LCA”) which is required as part of filing of an H-1B petition, is actually taking up to 7 days to be certified. Thus, if you would like to file an H-1B petition on or shortly after April 1, 2015, consider leaving several weeks of buffer time between document transmittal to our office, preparation, LCA processing delays, etc.  Moreover, things that are beyond our control such as US government shutdown or such similar event, which resulted in LCA website being down for about a month in 2013 could happen again.

It is imperative to note that the regular H-1B quota is 58,200, not 65,000.  This is because 6,800 out of 65,000 are allotted for Chile and Singapore. In addition, there will be 20,000 H-1B available for potential employees who have earned a U.S. masters or a higher degree.

We strongly advise that employers discuss with us at the earliest convenience about the upcoming H-1B cap filings.  

February 2015 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based Immigrant Visa Numbers

January 14, 2015 Leave a comment
Employment- Based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA – mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C
2nd C 15MAR10 01SEP05 C C
3rd 01JAN14 01SEP11 22DEC03 01JAN14 01JAN14
Other Workers 01JAN14 15AUG05 22DEC03 01JAN14 01JAN14
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th
Targeted
Employment
Areas/
Regional Centers
and Pilot Programs
C C C C C

EB-2 and EB-3 China Predictions for the Upcoming Months

January 14, 2015 Leave a comment

In a recent meeting, Charles (“Charlie”) Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State predicted the following for EB-2 and EB-3 China:

In February 2015, the priority date for EB-3 China will be more than 17 months ahead of EB-2 China, creating an environment ripe for EB-3 “downgrades.” Charlie currently predicts that EB-2 China will advance by another 3 to 6 weeks in the coming months, while EB-3 China will experience rapid forward movement.

When asked how far he expects EB-3 to advance, Charlie indicated that the date could possibly get into 2012 or even earlier. At this time, Charlie does not foresee EB-3 China catching up to the worldwide EB-3 cut-off date as it did last year, because he expects that a sharp increase in EB-3 China demand will prompt corrective action before the date advances that far. However, Charlie did not rule out that possibility, given the lack of visibility regarding pending EB-3 downgrade petitions until a visa number is requested.

 

EB-2 India Predictions for the Upcoming Months

January 14, 2015 Leave a comment

In a recent meeting, Charles (“Charlie”) Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State predicted the following for EB-2 India:

EB-2 India. EB-2 India is expected to advance at a minimum, 4 to 6 months in the coming months and more significant advances should be expected through May. During FY 2013, EB-2 India advanced to June 2008, and then retrogressed almost four years during the first quarter of FY 2014. EB-2 India did not advance again until the summer months, eventually reaching May 2009 in September before retrogressing again in November. Although the decision has been made to start advancing the cut-off date at this time, it is possible EB-2 India may only advance into the summer of 2009 by September. Charlie anticipates that as a result of greater/earlier demand for EB-2 numbers due to EB-3 India applicants “upgrading,” there will be less “end of year” movement than in past years.

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