Friday, November 30, 2012

I-485 Receipts May Contain Incorrect Priority Date

In permanent resident (green card) cases, each eligible family member seeking to adjust status to permanent residence in the United States must submit an I-485. In employment-based (EB) cases, the employer generally must file a PERM labor certification as well as an I-140 employer petition for the sponsored principal worker. After this, if permissible, the sponsored worker and any dependents (spouse and/or child/ren), is eligible to file an I-485 based on the principal's case. The spouse and child/ren receive the same priority date and same EB category as the sponsored worker (sometimes referred to as the principal or primary beneficiary).


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House Passed STEM Jobs Act as Anticipated, 245:139 Majority

Rejecting Rep. Zoe Lofgren's motion to refer the bill to the House Judiciary, the House floor passed this bill. Surprisingly, some Democrats joined the Republicans in passing this bill. However, the chance for this bill in the Democratic Senate is grim. Besides, should this bill pass both Houses, the President may veto this bill.

It could have been interesting if the Senate would have passed it with amendment deleting the part eliminating diversity immigration lottery program and toss it back to the House. However, even this hypothetical scenario after will not work since the Lame Duck Congress will shut down after

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Updated: Visa bulletin prediction for 2013

This post has been updated in January 2013. Please click on the link below:

http://topimmigrationnews.blogspot.com/2013/01/updated-visa-bulletin-prediction-for.html

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

USCIS EB-I-485 & I-140 Processing Statistics at the End of September 2012

Note: This post has been updated: http://topimmigrationnews.blogspot.com/2012/12/uscis-eb-i-485-i-140-processing.html

USCIS I-140 Processing Statistics at the End of September 2012:

   TSC NSC National
Pending 9,050 7,622 16,716
Customer action waiting 1,889 2,390 4,279
Completed 5,625 2,181 7,808
New receipts 3,920 2,990 6,910


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U.S. Mission in India "Expands" Interview Waiver Program for Indian Nationals

  • American Consulates expands the initial interview waiver program which was initiated in India in March 2012 to the following cases:
    • Children applying before their 14th birthday traveling on any visa class
    • Students returning to attend the same school and same program
    • H-1B worker visas
    • L-1A or Individual L-1B worker visas
  • The renewal application must be within the same classification as the previous visa. If the previous visa is annotated with the words “clearance received,” that applicant is not eligible for a waiver of a personal interview.

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USCIS Expanded e-Request Services, Including 'Status Request' Online Rather Than 800-Number

  • USCIS has expanded the services offered by its e-Request system. This Web-based tool allows customers to inquire about applications and petitions submitted to USCIS. Effective today, the agency made the following enhancements to e-Request:
    • Create a service request for all forms to either inquire about the status of your application or petition if it is outside of the normal processing time OR notify USCIS about an administrative error in a notice or document the agency sent you.
    • For Forms I-90 and N-400 only, you can inquire about an Application Support Center appointment notice or other notice you were expecting to receive.
    • Accessibility to individuals with disabilities (section 508 compliant).
  • To submit an e-Request, please visit the USCIS e-Request home page and have your receipt number available. For details of the e-Request Services, please click here.


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Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) Processing Times Update as of 11/05/2012

  • Analyst Review (Clean Case): 09/05/2012
  • Audit Cases: 04/30/2012
  • Reconsideration Request Cases: 10/15/2012 Reader may visit the OFLC site.
  • Government Error Reconsideration Cases: Current

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USCIS Updates DACA FAQs, Filing Tips, and Guidance for Employers


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Rise of DACA Applications by DREAMers

  • Before the election, a large number of potential DACA DREAMer population were initially hesitant to come out of the closet to apply for the DACA benefits when it was announced on June 15, 2012 because of Romney's initial stance of self-deportation and refusal to accomodate the President's initiative to give a relief, albeit limited in scope, to these DREAMers. As the election day was inching away, he changed his stance and announced his position on DACA applicants that he would not deport those DREAMers who had been granted DACA approvals. This helped some of the DREAMers come out of the closet and applied for the DACA benefit right before the election day. This is reflected in the new DACA statistics which was released by the USCIS on 11/16/2012. However, the turnout was only about 20% of the estimate total potential pool of DREAMer population of 1.7 million and majority of the DREAMers were hesitant to come forward before the election because Romney did not make a commitment to extend the DACA benefits which had been granted to those who had come out of the closet. Since DACA benefit was good only for two years, there still remained a serious fear factor, should Romney be elected, that they could still be deported after two years of DACA approval.

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

USCIS DACA Processing Update as of 11/15/2012

  • The following show total receipts and approvals as of 11/15/2012. This update also shows the applicants by country:
    • Total Received: 308,935
    • Approvals: 53,273 

  • The following is the trend:

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USCIS Updates EB-485 Inventory Data (as of 10/04/2012)

USCIS recently updated the EB-485 inventory data. This data is very important for the employment-based immigrants to figure out where their individual cases are located and how many EB-485 cases are pending ahead of the individuals. You can do this because inventory statistics go by the priority date rather than filing date.

Hence, you will have to go to the category of country, type of preference (EB-1 or EB-2 or EB-3), and your priority date. And then add up all the numbers before your priority date cases, which will tell you how many cases are ahead of you. This information will help you to figure out roughly how far you are away from the visa cut-off date in the monthly visa bulletin. Once your number becomes current, then you go to the USCIS monthly processing times report which reports by the receipt date rather than priority date to learn how long it will take for the Service Center to approve your case. 


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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Visa Bulletin Prediction for 2013 by USCIS

USCIS released their prediction for visa bulletin in 2013. Please see details below:

VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS 

FAMILY-sponsored categories (monthly)

Worldwide dates:
F1: three or four weeks
F2A: four to six weeks
F2B: three to five weeks
F3: one or two weeks
F4:   one or two weeks

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (monthly)


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Sunday, November 11, 2012

USCIS Statistics at the End of September 2012

USCIS Statistics at the End of September 2012 of New Receipts and Pending Immigration Applications

Link: http://www.uscis.gov/USCIS/Resources/Reports%20and%20Studies/N-400%20and%20Application%20for%20Benefits/2012/APPLICATIONS%20FOR%20IMMIGRATION%20BENEFITS_Sep2012.pdf


USCIS Statistics at the End of September 2012 of New Receipts and Pending N-400 Naturalization Applications

Link: http://www.uscis.gov/USCIS/Resources/Reports%20and%20Studies/N-400%20and%20Application%20for%20Benefits/2012/N-400%20NATURALIZATION%20BENEFITS_Sep%202012.pdf

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OFLC Extends Special Relief for Sandy Hurricane Victims Relating to the Labor Certification Process

The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has released announcement and Q&A for relief available for those who suffered from the Sandy Hurricane and faces problems and delays in labor certification process. 

Link: http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/pdf/Sandy_Extension_FAQ11-8-2012.pdf

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Two senators restart talks on U.S. immigration reform plan

Two U.S. senators launched a fresh move to put together a bipartisan immigration reform plan on Sunday, restarting talks on a proposal that includes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country.

Since President Barack Obama was re-elected last week with overwhelming support from Hispanic voters, many Republicans have expressed a new willingness to work with Democrats to pass immigration reform after years of legislative inaction.

Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Democratic Senator Charles Schumer said he and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham have agreed to resume talks on immigration reform that broke off two years ago." And I think we have a darned good chance using this blueprint to get something done this year. The Republican Party has learned that being ... anti-immigrant doesn't work for them politically. And they know it," Schumer said.

Obama in 2010 called the proposal backed by Graham and Schumer a "promising framework," but it made no headway.

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State Deparment Latest Message for FY 2013 DV Lottery Registrants

  • DV 2013 Program: Entrants from DV 2013 (those who submitted entries during the registration period between October 4, 2011 and November 5, 2011) are requested to check the status of their entry now using their confirmation number through Entrant Status Check (ESC) on the E-DV website, if they have not already. Checking ESC promptly is important for selectees, to provide ample time for next steps in the Diversity Visa application process. ESC continues to be available to entrants through September 30, 2013.
  • Review more about Entrant Status Check and Selectee Notification below.

Link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1322.html 

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December Visa bulletin has been released

December Visa bulletin has been released (valid from Dec 1 to Dec 31). Please see below for more details.

Family Based: 

Family-Sponsored All Charge-ability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 01DEC05 01DEC05 01DEC05 01JUL93 08OCT97
F2A 22AUG10 22AUG10 22AUG10 01AUG10 22AUG10
F2B 15NOV04 15NOV04 15NOV04 01NOV92 22MAR02
F3 08JUN02 08JUN02 08JUN02 01MAR93 01AUG92
F4 01APR01 01APR01 01APR01 22JUL96 22MAR89

Employment Based:

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Hannity, Boehner push GOP on immigration reform

Well, that was fast.

Just two days after President Barack Obama sailed to re-election over Mitt Romney, boosted by more than 70 percent of the Latino vote, some Republicans are striking a new tone on illegal immigration.

Conservative Fox News and radio host Sean Hannity said Thursday that his views on immigration have "evolved."
 
Meanwhile, in an interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer, House Speaker John Boehner said he is "confident" the two parties can agree to a deal on immigration.
 

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Anticipated Surge of DACA Applications and USCIS Resources

Yesterday's Presidential election result is a huge relief for DACA Dreamers. There appear to be a large number of DACA Dreamers who had been hesitant to come foward to apply for DACA benefits because of uncertainty of the result of the election. 

Now, since the President Obama is reelected, the uncertainty for those DREAMers who have applied for the DACA benefits and who have yet to come forward and apply for DACA benefits has disappeared. 

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USCIS updates its relief criteria for those affected by hurricane sandy

Where appropriate, USCIS may exercise its discretion to allow for delays in filing resulting from the hurricane. This may include, for example:
  • Assistance to those who have not appeared for an interview or submitted required forms of evidence. You may show how the disrupting event affected your connection to USCIS and your ability to appear or submit documents as required; and
  • Assistance to those who have not been able to respond to Requests For Evidence (RFEs) or Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID). USCIS will extend the deadline for individuals to respond to RFEs or NOIDs by 30 days. This will apply to all RFEs and NOIDs with a deadline of October 26 through November 26, 2012. During this time, USCIS will not issue denials based on abandonment of an application or petition.


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Congress Election Results and Direction of Immigration Reform

Next Congress and the White House will practically see no changes: The second term President Obama in the White House, the Democratic majority Senate in the upper chamber of the federal legislature, and the Republican majority House in the lower chamber of the legislature. 

Unlike the first term, however, the President is likely to push very aggressively comprehensive immigration reform for two reasons: Firstly, this is a sort of mandate imposed on him in this election. Secondly, he will have nothing to lose from being aggressive because this is the last term he can run for the White House. 

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What does Obama's relection mean for immigration

Barack Obama has won the election! What does this mean to the future of innovation and the technology industry? Based on Obama’s record and statements released during the campaign, here’s what technologists can look forward to:
  • Strong support for high-skilled immigration reform: The Startup 2.0 Act is most likely the first opportunity for reform, and probably won’t happen until next year. Specifically, the Startup 2.0 Act would increase work visa availability for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) graduates from American universities. Second, it would create an entrepreneurship visa for foreign workers who create jobs in the U.S. (right now, foreign workers have to be sponsored by another company, which makes it difficult to be a founder). Finally, it eliminates country-specific caps on visas. Pressure from Democrats to include immigration reforms for Mexico and other low-represented nations will be a challenge, however.
  • Open Government Reform: Obama’s political appointees, Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, and Chief Information Officer, Steven VanRoekel, will continue to open the vaults of government data for use by the private sector (much like Reagan did for navigation consumer tech, when he released the Global Positioning System data)
  • Continued support for government investment in clean technology, and the technology industry, through the Small Business Administration, which gives millions to investors for early stage companies and those outside the typical startup zones (i.e. California and New York).
  • Strong support for STEM Education. Obama will continue to support the federal government as having an important role in preparing the next generation innovators.

Recommended Reading: 

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Friday, November 2, 2012

USCIS Reminds the Immigrants of Potential Relief Available for Those Immigrants Who Are Affected by Sandy Hurricane

USCIS reminds customers affected by Hurricane Sandy of certain U.S. immigration benefits or relief that may be available to them.

USCIS understands that a natural disaster can affect an individual's ability to maintain lawful immigration status or obtain certain other immigration benefits. Eligible individuals may request or apply for temporary relief measures, including:
  • " A change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even when the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;
  • " Extension or re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS;
  • " Expedited adjudication of off-campus employment authorization applications for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
  • " Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications; and

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USCIS Updates Processing Time

 USCIS Updates Processing Time Report with Posting Date of 11/01/2012 and Processing Time Determination Cut-Off Date of 09/30/2012

 The cut-off date for processing times determination has moved forward one month in the November 1, 2012 posting.
  • H-1B Processing: (Target Time - 2 Months)
    • CSC: 2 months, except Change of Status from Other Nonimmigrant Status - About 4 months
    • VSC: Backlog since 05/07/2012 in all types of H-1B petitions.
  • EB-485 Processing: (Target Time - 4 Months)
    • NSC 4 months
    • TSC: Backlog since March 2012
  • I-140 Processing: (Target Time - 4 Months)
    • NSC: 4 months for EB-1 and Schedule A, Backlog for EB-2 since 05/16/2012 and EB-2 (NIW) since 05/12/2012. EB-3 is backloged since 04/16/2012
    • TSC: 4 months for all classifications. 


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USCIS Releases New I-140 Form

USCIS Releases New I-140 Form (October 1, 2012 Version). Current I-140 Form Not Acceptable Effective January 1, 2013

See the new version I-140 form and instructions below:

Link: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=f74e3fad247ba310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=e7801c2c9be44210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD

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Using the EAD as an Option for Employment

This post has been updated. Please click the link below:

http://topimmigrationnews.blogspot.com/2013/01/using-ead-as-option-for-employment-part.html

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