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October 2019 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based Visa Numbers – Eligibility to File Adjustment of Status Applications

September 26, 2019 Leave a comment

For Employment-Based Preference Filings:
You must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for October 2019.

Employment-
based
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIA
MEXICO 
PHILIPPINES 
1st
01JUL19
01SEP17
01JUL19
15MAR17
01JUL19
01JUL19
2nd
C
01AUG16
C
01JUL09
C
C
3rd
C
01MAR17
C
01FEB10
C
C
Other Workers
C
01AUG08
C
01FEB10
C
C
4th
C
C
15AUG16
C
C
C
Certain Religious Workers
C
C
15AUG16
C
C
C
5th Non-Regional Center
(C5 and T5)
C
01JAN15
C
C
C
C
5th Regional Center
(I5 and R5)
C
01JAN15
C
C
C
C
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August 2019 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based Visa Numbers – Eligibility to File Adjustment of Status Applications

July 17, 2019 Leave a comment

For Employment-Based Preference Filings:
You must use the Final Action Dates chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for August 2019.

Employment- Based
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
INDIA
MEXICO
PHILIP
PINES
VIETNAM
1st
01JUL16
01JUL16
01JUL16
01JAN15
01JUL16
01JUL16
01JUL16
2nd
01JAN17
01JAN17
01JAN17
02MAY09
01JAN17
01JAN17
01JAN17
3rd
01JUL16
01JUL16
01JUL16
01JAN06
01JUL16
01JUL16
01JUL16
Other Workers
01JUL16
22NOV07
01JUL16
01JAN06
01JUL16
01JUL16
01JUL16
4th
C
C
01JUL16
C
01JUL16
C
C
Certain Religious Workers
C
C
01JUL16
C
01JUL16
C
C
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C
15OCT14
C
15OCT14
C
C
15OCT14

Federal Judge Issues Injunction Preventing Enforcement of USCIS’ F,J,M Unlawful Presence Policy

May 14, 2019 Leave a comment

As part of the lawsuit filed by Guilford College and other against Dept of Homeland Security (DHS), a Federal Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued a nationwide preliminary injunction on May 3, 2019 preventing the DHS from enforcing the USCIS’ August 8, 2018 policy memo that sought to change how days of unlawful presence are counted following a violation of F, M, or J nonimmigrant status.

The lawsuit filed late last year by Guilford College was supported by several other educational institutions that filed amicus curiae brief (friend of the court) with the Court.  The May 3, 2019 injunction states the following:

The Court finds that, under the circumstances of this case, the equities and public interest factors weigh in favor of granting injunctive relief. An injunction will prevent the harms outlined above for Plaintiffs, along with similarly situated individuals and institutions across the country. The record does not reflect any countervailing harm to the government in maintaining the status quo by returning, for the duration of this lawsuit, to a policy that it voluntarily followed for over twenty years. “

The May 2019 injunction order by the Court may be found here

Court Order May 2019

The preliminary injunction is a welcome news to thousands of foreign nationals that are currently in the U.S. in F, J, or M status.  We will post any updates on this matter as they become available.

USCIS Clarification on Advance Parole & International Travel

March 2, 2019 Leave a comment

In light of the numerous denials of Advance Parole applications due to international travel by applicants even in possession of a valid Advance Parole, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently amended its policy.

Under the revised policy, which came into effect in February 2019, if an applicant files Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, to request an Advance Parole document and departs the United States without possession of an Advance Parole document that is valid for the entire time the applicant is abroad, his or her Form I-131 will be considered abandoned.  At times, an individual may have an approved Advance Parole document while a second one is pending. Individuals may travel on the approved Advance Parole document, provided the document is valid for the entire duration of their time abroad.  The pending Form I-131 will not be considered abandoned in this situation.

H-1B Cap Filings-Electronic Registration; Reversal of Cap Count

January 30, 2019 Leave a comment

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently proposed a few changes to the H-1B visa program.  Most notably, introduction of electronic registration requirement for employers in order to file the H-1B cap petitions and the reversal of how cap numbers are counted/allocated.  The proposed regulation which went through a comments period prior to being sent to OMB for review (Office of Management and Budget) has been approved by OMB yesterday.  The USCIS has just released the final regulation today. 

Summary of Changes:

Mandatory Electronic Registration Requirement (but fortunately not for this year):

  • USCIS is introducing the electronic registration requirement for employers in order to file H-1B cap-subject petitions on behalf of foreign workers.  The good news is that USCISis suspending the electronic registration requirement for the upcoming FY 2020 (i.e. April 1, 2019 filings) H-1B cap season so as to allow itself to undertake user testing of the electronic registration system and to ensure the system and process are fully functional forFY 2021 (April 1, 2020) H-1B season.  What this means for employers is for this year, the process of filing H-1B cap cases remains the same with no electronic registration requirement, etc. 
  • Once the electronic registration takes effect sometime next year, employers who seek to file H-1B cap petitions will need to electronically register as a first step during a designated electronic registration period, unless the registration requirement is temporarily suspended.
  • USCIS will announce the start date of the initial registration period on its website for each fiscal year at least 30 days in advance of the opening of the registration period. The registration period will last a minimum of 14 calendar days and will start at least 14 calendar days before the earliest date on which H-1B cap-subject petitions may be filed for a particular fiscal year.
  • An H-1B employer (or agent/attorney) must electronically submit a separate registration to file a petition for each foreign worker it seeks to register, and each beneficiary must be named.  Cannot register a petition without the Beneficiary’s full legal name. 
  • An employer cannot submit more than one registration for each foreign worker for the given fiscal year. In other words, no duplicate filings and if an employer is found to have been involved in duplicate registrations, all registrations pertaining to that employer for that foreign worker will be invalidated.
  • If/when a visa lottery takes place, USCIS will notify via a written notice to the employers whose petitions have been selected to file an H-1B petitions for the named foreign workers in the notice within a given filing period indicated on the notice.  Such employers must submit the petition and support documents, which is at the minimum 90 days per the final regulation.

Reversal of Cap Count Coming this year itself:

Current Process:

The current process of counting cap-subject cases in the instance where H-1B filings hit the cap in the first five business days is that-

  • First Step:  The Advanced degree (US Master’s cap) exemption foreign workers (US Master’s of higher) are selected in 20,000 cap; and
  • Second Step: Once the Master’s cap cases have been counted, the regular H-1B cap (65,000) cases are selected including any US advanced degree-holder petitions that did not get selected in the US Master’s cap.

Upcoming Change in Process for April 1, 2019:

The proposed change which became part of the final rule starting the upcoming FY 2020 cap season (starting April 1, 2019) will essentially reverse the selection order: 

  • First Step: It will count all foreign workers towards the number projected as needed to reach the regular H-1B cap first.
  • Second Step: Once a sufficient number of applicants have been selected for the regular H-1B cap, USCIS would then select foreign workers towards the 20,000 US Master’s cap. 

The USCIS predicts that changing the order in which they cases are counted will likely increase (up to 16%) the number of beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s or higher degree.

February 2019 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based Visa Numbers – Eligibility to File Adjustment of Status Applications

January 18, 2019 Leave a comment

For Employment-Based Preference Filings:
You must use the Final Action Dates chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for February 2019.

Employment- Based
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
El SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIA
MEXICO
PHILIPPINES
VIETNAM
1st
01DEC17
08FEB17
01DEC17
08FEB17
01DEC17
01DEC17
01DEC17
2nd
C
01OCT15
C
06APR09
C
C
C
3rd
C
01JUL15
C
22APR09
C
01AUG17
C
Other Workers
C
01AUG07
C
22APR09
C
01AUG17
C
4th
C
C
01MAR16
C
01SEP17
C
C
Certain Religious Workers
U
U
U
U
U
U
U
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C
01SEP14
C
C
C
C
15JUN16
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
U
U
U
U
U
U
U

December 2018 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based Visa Numbers – Eligibility to File Adjustment of Status Applications

November 14, 2018 Leave a comment
Employment- Based
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
El SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIA
MEXICO
PHILIPPINES
1st
01JUN18
01OCT17
01JUN18
01OCT17
01JUN18
01JUN18
2nd
C
08SEP15
C
22MAY09
C
C
3rd
C
01DEC15
C
01JAN10
C
01AUG17
Other Workers
C
01JUN08
C
01JAN10
C
01AUG17
4th
C
C
01MAY16
C
C
C
Certain Religious Workers
C
C
01MAY16
C
C
C
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C
01OCT14
C
C
C
C
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
C
01OCT14
C
C
C
C
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