In a recent meeting on April 16, 2015, Charles (“Charlie”) Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State predicted the following:
EB-2 India. After advancing 16 months in March 2015, and eight months in April, EB-2 India will advance another 7+ months in May, to April 15, 2008. It is reasonable to expect that this category will not continue to advance at this pace beyond July, and should expect it to slow or stop in August and/or September.
|Employment- Based||All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed||CHINA – mainland born||INDIA||MEXICO||PHILIPPINES|
|Certain Religious Workers||C||C||C||C||C|
and Pilot Programs
According to the data obtained from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services by National Foundation for American Policy, following are the rates of L-1 visa denials:
|Fiscal Year||L-1B Denial Rates|
|Country of Origin||Total||Denials||Denial Rate|
Source: USCIS; National Foundation for American Policy.
In a recent meeting on March 13, 2015, 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:
EB-2 India. After advancing 16 months in March 2015, EB-2 India will advance another eight months in April, to September 1, 2007. It is reasonable to expect EB-2 India to continue to advance at a steady pace for another couple of months before slowing or holding toward the end of the fiscal year.
EB-3 India. Mr. Oppenheim states that at this time, there is nothing which can be done to improve the India EB-3 cut-off date situation unless there is a legislative change. The amount of pre-adjudicated India EB-3 demand versus the annual limit prevents more than a one or two week monthly movement of this cut-off date. For example, at this time, more than 9,100 India EB-3 applicants with priority dates earlier than January 1, 2005 (alone) have already been reported to the Visa Office and the FY2015 annual limit is approximately 2,875.
China EB-2 to EB-3 Downgrade Phenomenon (at least for FY2015). In April 2015, the EB-3 China cut-off date (currently October 22, 2011) will retrogress more than nine months to January 1, 2011. As a result, EB-3 China will return to its more “natural” position and will be three months earlier than EB-2 China (April 1, 2011). This will effectively end the EB-3 downgrade phenomenon.
For months, the cut-off date for EB-3 China has been later than EB-2 China due to insufficient EB-3 demand. As a result, EB-2 China beneficiaries filed EB-3 I-140 petitions in an attempt to take advantage of the earlier EB-3 cut-off date. This surge in demand required a correction to EB-3 China, resulting more than nine months of retrogression.
In November 2014, Mr. Oppenheim predicted that a correction would be required as early as February 2015. EB-3 China beneficiaries were fortunate that this phenomenon lasted two months longer than anticipated. EB-3 China beneficiaries with priority dates between April 1, 2011 and October 22, 2011 file them before the end of this month when the window will close. It is reasonable to expect that filing now will not result in final action on their case in the foreseeable future.
Mr. Oppenheim continues to monitor EB-2 China, which will advance seven months to April 1, 2011 in April. He notes that additional forward movement in May remains possible if sufficient demand for EB-2 China does not materialize at the beginning of April. As was the case in EB-3 China, some corrective action may be required later in the year should there be excessive demand based on the movement of the EB-2 cut-off date.
|mployment- Based||All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed||CHINA – mainland born||INDIA||MEXICO||PHILIPPINES|
|Certain Religious Workers||C||C||C||C||C|
and Pilot Programs
USCIS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants
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:
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.
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.