Thursday, January 31, 2013

List Of Various Government Agencies Websites

(1) Department of Homeland Security (DHS):
(2) Department Of Justice:

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Likely Release Timeline Of Proposed Rule of H-4 Spouse EAD

Under the rule-making Executive Order, the OMB of the White House has from 30 days to 90 days to complete their review. There are some exceptions including any rules that involve emergency or serious economic impact, which can be compled within 30 days. Another rule is the OMB's authority to extend the maximum 90-day review mandate.

 In 2012, for obvious reasons, a host of visa and immigration related rules of the DHS, DOS, and DOL kept extended over and over beyond 90 days and some beyond 180 days. The reason why this proposed rule review may be completed in March 2013 is the bi-annual rule making agenda that set the target date at March 2013, implying that this proposed rule review schedule may follow the 90-day review schedule of the OMB and USCIS. 

The proposed rule was submitted by the USCIS to the OMB on 12/10/2012. We will see whether there will be any chance that the proposed rule review will be completed rather earlier under the 60-day review schedule.  


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Start Up Visa Act of 2013, S. 189, Entrepreneur Immigration Bill Reintroduced in the Senate

Republican Senator Mark Udall of Colorado reintroduced S.189 yesterday, co-sponsored by Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, to establish an employment-based immigrant visa for alien entrepreneurs who have received significant capital from investors to establish a business in the United States. Sen. Jeff Flake is also playing a role in the Senate for CIR. 

This piecemeal immigration bill is likely considered in the CIR. As we reported earlier, Republicans may introduce a number of piecemeal immigration reform bills in both the Senate and the House. These piecemeal bills have slim or no chance to be passed in both Houses unless it is considered within the context of the CIR until the CIR legislation is resolved this year.

According to the sponsor, this bill will allow immigrant entrepreneurs and foreign graduates of U.S. universities to appeal for a two-year visa on the condition that they secure financing from a qualified U.S. investor and can demonstrate the ability to create jobs in America. 


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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

USCIS EB-I-485 & I-140 Processing Statistics As Of 11/30/2012

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

 TSC NSC National
Pending 9,079 9,859 18,981
Customer action waiting 1,747 2,378 4,125
Completed 4,946 2,555 7,502
New receipts 4,180 3,159 7,343


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Immigration Innovation Act of 2013, S.169

Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah officially introduced this bill in the Senate to authorize additional visas for well-educated aliens to live and work in the United States. This piecemeal bill covers nonimmigrant as well as immigrant visa reforms to attract and retain foreign brains. There are currently eleven (11) co-sponsors for this bill as follows:

  • Sen Blumenthal, Richard [CT]
  • Sen Coons, Christopher A. [DE]
  • Sen. Flake, Jeff [AZ]
  • Sen Heller, Dean [NV]
  • Sen Hoeven, John [ND]
  • Sen Klobuchar, Amy [MN]
  • Sen Nelson, Bill [FL]
  • Sen Rubio, Marco [FL]
  • Sen Schatz, Brian [HI]
  • Sen Shaheen, Jeanne [NH]
  • Sen Warner, Mark R. [VA]

 Here is the sponsor's summary of the bill:


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FAQ: Renewal for EAD/AP

Q. How long does it take to renew EAD/AP card?

A. It takes between 3-5 weeks for renewal after all documents are sent.

Q. How long does it take to get receipt once document are submitted?

A. It takes around 5 to 7 business days to get renewal receipt after all documents are sent.

Q. How long is EAD/AP card renewed for?

A. The EAD/AP card is valid for either 1 year or 2 years.

Q. How early can I renew the EAD/AP card?

A. Applicants for EAD and AP extensions can request to renew the EAD and/or AP up to 120 days prior to the expiration dates of the EAD and/or AP. Adjudications in these cases can take up to 90 days, and delays are possible.

It is important to be mindful of the renewal timing and to track this date carefully. EADs are only valid for the listed duration. Even if one files the I-765 form before the EAD expiration date, the work authorization does not continue beyond the expiration date, unless the renewal I-765 is approved. It is recommended, therefore, that renewals be filed at the earliest allowable time.

The same concept applies to the AP. One is allowed to travel using AP until the date before the AP expires. In order to travel outside of the United States after expiration of the AP, one must have a renewed AP approved prior to departure. It is essential, therefore, to file the request for renewal in a timely fashion.

Q. When does the validity of  the new EAD/AP card start?

A. The renewed EAD/AP card is typically valid from the date it was renewed. Example: If your card expires in January and you renew it in October, your new card will be valid from October.

Q. Would the combo card for primary and dependent applicants be renewed at the same time?

A. Typically yes. But many times the dependents combo card is approved (renewed) 1-2 weeks after the primary applicants have been approved (renewed).

Q. Where can I find tracking number for the new EAD/AP card?

A. The tracking number for the new card can be found in the USCIS Case Status website.

Q. What documents are needed to renew EAD/AP?

A. Please see details below:

Tip 1: To get email notification at each step of the process, also send in Form G1145
Tip 2: Documents, forms and fees required can change anytime (for 2013, some forms will change on March 1). Always see the latest I-765 and I-131 instruction page for list of documents, forms and fees.

For EAD renewal: 

1. Fill out and sign form I-765. Link
2. Two RECENT passport color photos with A-Number written on the back of them
3. I 765 Approval Notice and Receipts 
4. Photocopy of 485 receipt (i-797) 
5. Form G1145 for (email/sms) notification during the application process (optional)
6. Photocopy of Current EAD/AP combo card (front and back)
7. Bar codes page attached to the previous EAD/AP approval (optional)
8. Copy of Marriage Certificate for dependent only (optional)
9. Front and back copy of I-94 (this is not required for people with pending I485).

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

FAQ: Traveling on EAD and AP

Q. What documents do I need to enter US on EAD/AP?
A. You will need only your passport and EAD/AP combo card. Some people also carry  (but not necessary) I-485 receipt, I-797 approval form (H1B) and letter of employment from your employer.

Q. What is the typical scenario at the airport when entering US?
A. Here is a TYPICAL scenario (experiences may vary):

Once the flight lands, head over to the immigration line. Since you have EAD/AP, select the "non-immigration" line. People with GC/US Citizen can select the "US Citizen" line. Once you are with an immigration officer, give them your EAD/AP combo card and your passport. They will scan your fingers, take your photo and may ask few questions (such as where you are working, how long was your vacation, what was the purpose of your vacation, etc). Once that is complete, you will be directed to a secondary inspection area.


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Collection Of Top Immigration News Stories

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

http://topimmigrationnews.blogspot.com/2013/03/collection-of-top-immigration-news.html

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Friday, January 25, 2013

New bill to raise H1 cap up to 300,000 and no cap on green card for STEM applicants.

This post has been updated. Please click here: http://topimmigrationnews.blogspot.com/2013/01/immigration-innovation-act-of-2013-s169.html

A bipartisan group of Senators is planning to introduce a bill that not only hikes the H-1B cap, but allows it to rise automatically with demand to a maximum of 300,000 visas annually.

This 20-page bill, called the Immigration Innovation Act of 2013 or the "I-Squared Act of 2013," is being developed by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.).

Presently, the U.S. has an H-1B visa cap of 65,000. There are another 20,000 H-1B visas set aside for advanced degree gradates of U.S. universities, for 85,000 in total. Under the new bill, the base H-1B cap would increase from 65,000 to 115,000. But the cap would be allowed to rise automatically with demand, according to a draft of the legislation.

Once the H-1B visa cap reaches 115,000, the automatic increases takes over. The cap may increase by 20,000 visas if the cap is reached within 45 days of the start of the annual application period, April 1. That increase will also carry over to the following fiscal year.


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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions: USCIS Visa Bulletin - Part 2

If you missed part 1, please click here:  http://topimmigrationnews.blogspot.com/2013/01/frequently-asked-questions-uscis-visa.html

Who should be aware of the priority date and who may not? 

Those aliens who are subject to the annual immigrant visa quota should pay close attention to their priority dates. In other words, the priority dates affect those applicants who belong to one of the four categories of preference in family-based immigrant petitions, and theoretically all of the employment-based applicants.

However, practically speaking, the visa numbers for the first preference in employment-based immigrant petition (EB-1, aliens with extraordinary ability, outstanding researchers, and multinational executives), the fourth preference (EB-4, certain special immigrants), the fifth preference (EB-5 investors) and the religious workers in employment-based immigrant petition are usually “current” all the time. 


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Frequently Asked Questions: USCIS Visa Bulletin - Part 1

What is a Priority Date? 

A priority date is the date that an alien initially filed his/her case to immigrate to the United States by applying for an immigrant visa. For family-based applicants, this is the date the USCIS first received the immigrant petition (Form I-130) filed on the alien's behalf. For employment-based applicants, this is the date PERM (an application for labor certification) is received by the DOL, or the date an immigrant preference petition (Form I-140) was filed, if no labor certification is required. 

What is a cut-off date? 

Since certain aliens are subject to the restrictions of the annual immigrant visa quota and the quota is periodically full for some categories, the State Department publishes a monthly waiting list based on applicants’ priority dates to regulate who is eligible to apply for adjustment of status to permanent resident (Form I-485) or Consular Processing. On the list, the State Department provides a date for each category of preferences for both family-based and employment-based immigrant applications. This date is known as cut-off date. The State Department determines the cut-off dates by viewing the priority date of the first applicant who could not file for adjustment of status due to the previous month’s dates and quota.

What is the significance of the priority dates and the cut-off dates?


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Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act Introduced in the Senate by Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Harry Reid.

Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada introduced S.1 to reform America's broken immigration system with following 15 co-sponsors:
Sen Richard Blumenthal [CT] , Sen Boxer, Barbara [CA] - 1/22/2013 Sen Brown, Sherrod [OH] - 1/22/2013 
Sen Coons, Chris A. [DE] - 1/22/20=13 Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] - 1/22/2013 Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA] - 1/22/2013 
Sen Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [NY] - 1/22/2013 Sen Heinrich, Martin [NM] - 1/22/2013 Sen Hirono, Mazie K. [HI] - 1/22/2013 
Sen Klobuchar, Amy [MN] - 1/22/2013 Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] - 1/22/2013 Sen Levin, Carl [MI] - 1/22/2013 
Sen Menendez, Robert [NJ] - 1/22/2013 Sen Schatz, Brian [HI] - 1/22/2013 Sen Schumer, Charles E. [NY] - 1/22/2013.

Text is as follows:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.: This Act may be cited as the ``Immigration Reform that Works for America's Future Act''.

SEC. 2. SENSE OF THE SENATE: It is the sense of the Senate that Congress should--

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

USCIS Updates DACA Processing Statistics as of 01/17/2013

  • The following show total receipts and approvals as of 01/17/2013. This update also shows the applicants by country.
    • Total Received: 407,899
    • Approvals: 154,404
  • The following is the trend. Total applications show a slow-down. 

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Demand Data For February 2013 Visa Bulletin

For March 2013 Demand Data, please click here:http://topimmigrationnews.blogspot.com/2013/02/march-2013-demand-data.html

For March 2013 Visa Bulletin Prediction, please click here: http://topimmigrationnews.blogspot.com/2013/02/march-2013-visa-bulletin.html

EB Demand Data For February 2013 Visa Bulletin was released few days back. Please see details below:




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Monday, January 14, 2013

Prediction: March 2013 Visa Bulletin

Update: This post is few months old. For latest USCIS Visa Bulletin and predictions, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/02/uscis-visa-bulletin.html

Please see below prediction for March 2013 Visa Bulletin (for both Family Based and Employment Based):

Quick Summary:
  • EB1, EB4, EB 5: Current
  • EB2 Rest Of World: Current
    EB2 China: 5 weeks
    EB2 India: 0 week to 1 week. EB2 India is predicted to move to 2007-2008 around July-August time frame based on demand data and expected spill over (except EB5?)
  • EB3: 1 week to 6 weeks
  • F1 to F4: 1 week to 6 weeks

Family Based:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 07FEB06 07FEB06 07FEB06 22JUL93 22MAY98
F2A 22NOV10 22NOV10 22NOV10 08NOV10 22NOV10
F2B 15FEB05 15FEB05 15FEB05 07JAN93 15JUN02
F3 22JUL02 22JUL02 22JUL02 15MAR93 07SEP92
F4 22APR01 22APR01 22APR01 07AUG96 22JUN89

Employment Based:

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

How Are USCIS Processing Times Determined and What do They Mean?

It is very likely that anyone who has had a case filed and pending with USCIS has used the online status check and has also checked the “normal” processing times for the type of a case they have had filed. Many of our readers are well aware of these two resources and we encourage following the information posted on the website.

Recent Issues with Inaccurate Processing Times Reports

Over the past few months, we have seen an increasing number of cases for which the processing times reports do not reflect accurate case status. In other words, the processing times reports have been inaccurate, in some cases, substantially so. For example, when USCIS processing times indicated that H-1B cases are processed within 3 months, we have seen a number of cases which had been pending well above this time period.

USCIS has addressed some of these concerns and have taken steps to correct the way the processing times are gathered and reported to ensure higher quality data. Recent internal investigations by USCIS have revealed that some of the processing times are simply being reported incorrectly. For example, the Texas Service Center had inadvertently been processing cases out of their receipt order, thereby deviating from their standard first-in/first-out policy. We are assured that this deviation has been corrected.

How Are Processing Times Determined?


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FY12 Busiest Year So Far for ICE Audits

Fiscal year 2012 (FY12) was the busiest year on record for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audits of employers' employment eligibility verification (I-9 forms). Beyond just the number of investigations, fines and even arrests also grew dramatically during the past three fiscal years for violations related to the requirements for employers to verify employment eligibility of their employees.

 

Dramatic Increase in Audits Since 2009

 

Company owners, human resource and compliance managers should not expect a drop in I-9 audits, even with the completion of the 2012 general elections. The Associated Press reported that since the end of the George W. Bush presidency, ICE audits of company I-9 forms have risen dramatically. In fiscal year (FY) 2007, ICE conducted only 250 audits. In FY12, ICE I-9 audits had risen to more than 3,000.

 

Fines and Arrests Increased Since 2009

 

During this same period from 2009 until 2012, fines for I-9 violations grew from $1 million to $13 million. The number of company owners, executives and managers arrested during ICE investigations increased to 238.


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Secure Mail Initiative (SMI) From USCIS (For EAD, AP, GC, etc)

Secure Mail Initiative (SMI) is the improved USCIS customer service to use Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation to deliver certain immigration documents in a safe, secure and timely manner to the immigration customers. Priority mail assures not only quicker delivery of important original documents including green card, EAD card, and travel document, but also allow the USCIS tracking of delivery of such documents to the customers. 

USCIS first piloted the initiative in July 2008, delivering all re-entry permits and refugee travel documents using USPS Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation. USCIS has also used SMI processes since July 2009 for re-mailing all permanent residence cards, as well as employment authorization and travel documents returned by the USPS to USCIS as undeliverable. Now, the USCIS has just expanded this service not only for redelivery of returned cards but also newly issued green cards, EAD cards, and Travel Document to the customer.  


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USCIS Customer Service Center Adds Saturday Hours

Beginning Jan. 12, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) National Customer Service Center (NCSC) will expand its live, toll-free telephone assistance service to include Saturday hours.

Customer service representatives at NCSC will now take calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., local time. Customers will be able to call the toll-free number on Saturdays to receive nationwide assistance for immigration services and benefits offered by USCIS.  


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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

February 2013 Visa Bulletin

February 2013 Visa bulletin has been released (valid from Feb 1 to Feb 28). Please see below for more details.

Family Based:

Family-Sponsored All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
F1 15JAN06 15JAN06 15JAN06 15JUL93 08MAR98
F2A 22OCT10 22OCT10 22OCT10 08OCT10 22OCT10
F2B 15JAN05 15JAN05 15JAN05 15DEC92 15MAY02
F3 08JUL02 08JUL02 08JUL02 08MAR93 22AUG92
F4 15APR01 15APR01 15APR01 01AUG96 01JUN89



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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

USCIS Launches E-Verify Employers Search Tool

USCIS recently announced the launch of the E-Verify Employers Search Tool. This tool, which is available free of charge on USCIS's E-Verify website, is a user-friendly interface that allows individuals to search for and view profiles of employers currently enrolled in and actively using the E-Verify program.

 

Purpose and Scope of the E-Verify Search Tool


The E-Verify employers search tool is meant to replace the lists of E-Verify employers and federal contractors that appear on the E-Verify website. Previously, an extensive and often time-consuming review of these lists was required to determine whether an employer was enrolled in the E-Verify program. The new search tool simplifies the process and allows individuals to search for employers using one or all of the search parameters available, including employer name, state, and/or zip code.

 


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Common Employment Violations

Employers of foreign workers also need to concern themselves with general employment practices that apply to all U.S. employers. Some of the common pitfalls that come to our attention are described here for the benefit of our readers.

Salaries Must be Paid at Regular Intervals Set by Law

 

The payment of wages to employees is regulated in many respects. The frequency of payments to employees is controlled by state law. This is not an arbitrary matter that can be set by the employer based upon cash flow or other considerations. The maximum period of time that an employer is allowed to wait to pay salary for any employee is once per month. However, not all states allow monthly payments, even for professional level workers. The DOL has a chart summarizing the state law requirements. As can be seen, many states require payment of wages at least semi-monthly. More information on specific requirements and other details is available through the various state labor offices. This information is usually listed under wage and hour.

 

Independent Contractor Status Regulated by IRS

 

Some employers give their employees the choice to work either as regular employees, with payment of salary reflected on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form W-2 each year, or as independent contractors, with IRS Form 1099 issued at the end of the year. Generally, the pay for contract workers (using the 1099) is higher, but no company benefits are provided. Employers need to be aware that they cannot necessarily just pick and choose how to categorize employees for tax and payment purposes. This matter is regulated by law. H1B workers must be employees and cannot be independent contractors. Certain employers may see benefits to using the 1099 and contractors, reflected in savings on Social Security and Medicare taxes. However, the IRS has set definitions and requirements that determine how a worker is to be categorized. More information is available on the IRS WebSite.


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Further Analysis Of EAD For H4 Visa Holder - Part 1

If you missed the original article (EAD For H4 Visa Holder), please click here: http://topimmigrationnews.blogspot.com/2013/01/updated-ead-for-h4-visa-holders-part-1.html

The full text of this proposed rule will not be available until the proposed rule is published in the federal register and seeks comments on the proposal. However, one sentence summary of this proposal gives a chance to peak into the scope of this proposal. The sentence is: "extending the availability of employment authorization to H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B nonimmigrants who have begun the process of seeking lawful permanent resident status through employment and have extended their authorized period of admission or "stay" in the U.S. under section 104(c) or 106(a).

This summary indicates that the eligible H-4 spouse must meet two requirements: Firstly H-1B principal alien must have started either labor certification process or labor certification waiver I-140 petition process. Secondly, in order to be qualified for this H-4 EAD benefits, one of two things must have happened before the H-4 spouse can apply for EAD.


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Further Analysis Of EAD For H4 Visa Holder - Part 2

If you missed part 1, please click here: http://topimmigrationnews.blogspot.com/2013/01/further-analysis-of-ead-for-h4-visa.html
 
These H-1Bs can apply for H-1B extension in three-year increments using Section 104(c) of AC 21 Act rather than seeking H-1B extension within their H-1B six-year limit. Of course, the three-year increment H-1B extension under Section 104(c) of AC 21 is available only when their priority date is not current at the time they file for such extension of H-1B status under AC 21.

This may mean that the rule may not restrict the benefit only to those H-4 spouse whose H-1B husband or wife has already extended H-1B based on Section 104(c) of AC 21. Rather, the benefit of H-4 spouse EAD should be made available inasmuch as the H-1B principal alien obtained I-140 approval but is unable to file I-485 application, or if the H-1B has already filed I-485, the H-1B is unable to obtain I-485 approval because of the regression of his or her visa cut-date. 

Such change will expand the EAD eligible H-4 spouses whose H-1B wife or husband has obtained I-140 approval but extended H-1B status using regular H-1B six-year limit rule rather than AC 21 Section 104(c) rule. The H-4 spouses of H-1B principal aliens who are still in the labor certification process or have just completed labor certification may not encounter such problem because they are using so-called 7th-year H-1B extension under Section 106 of AC 21 based on their record of filing labor certification before their H-1B reached the fifth-year in the six-year limit. 


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USCIS Considering More Fixes To Ease Requirements For Various Categories

As we reported earlier, the USCIS plans to initiate certain actions to achieve the retention of highly skilled foreign workers thourgh certtain H-4 spouse EAD opportunities, H-1B1 rule changes for Chile and Singapol nonimmigrant employment, E-3 nonimmigrant rule for Australians, and loosing up of the current tight standards for qualification requirement for EB-1 Outstanding Professors and Researchers. These initiatives are considered priority matters for the USCIS for FY 2013. 

As readers are aware, the USCIS has already presented its proposed rule to the OMB for employment authorization for certain H-4 spouses. It is hoped that other initiatives be also presented to the OMB in the near future.  

As for the EB-1 Outstanding Professor and Researcher, the USCIS intends to ease the petitioner's recruitment of these highly skilled foreign workers by expanding the range of evidence that may be added  to support the petitions to harmonize with evidentiary requirements with other comparable employment-based immigrant classifications. This is indeed a very good news for R&D industry and higher learning institutions. 


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Immigration Benefits Applications Processing Statistics at the End of November 2012

It shows continuous rise of new receipts and pending cases. EAD applications showed noticeable increase. 

It is not clear whether DACA cases are included or affected the situation. In November alone, it received new EAD applications of 106,616 I-765! 

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Civil Surgeon Certified I-693 Validity is Extended Only Until 09/30/2013 and Not One Year!

According to the USCIS policy memorandum dated 12/20/2012, current medical examination results which have been certified by the civil surgeons on I-693 will be automatically extended until September 30, 2013 beyond one-year vaility under the rule.  

Please note that it has been the agency's tradition to extend "one full year" beginning from January 1 of the year to January 1 of the next year through such policy memorandum which has been released each year, but for the unknown reasons, the USCIS is extending only up to 09/30/2013, nine (9) months only this year. 


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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Using the EAD As An Option For Employment - Part 2

If you missed part 1, please click here:  http://topimmigrationnews.blogspot.com/2013/01/using-ead-as-option-for-employment-part.html

 

Considerations in Using the EAD

 

Put simply, generally, it is safer to maintain a nonimmigrant status rather than relying solely on the I-485 and EAD. However, there are valid reasons that many decide to take the calculated risk. For some, there is no choice, as the employer will not extend the H1B status after the person has the EAD. Still others may have faced layoffs and other job issues, and have had to move to a new employer using the EAD.

For many, it is a choice and a balancing of risks. Once the I-485 has been pending for 180 days, applicants often start to consider job changes under the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21). All employers in the United States must accept EAD holders; employers are not required to sponsor H1Bs or other nonimmigrant categories. So, the universe of potential employers increases once one has an EAD.


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Using the EAD As An Option For Employment - Part 1

Many people seem to be wondering whether they should work based on their employment authorization documents (EADs). This dilemma is likely tied to the large number of individuals who were able to file adjustment of status applications (I-485s) in late 2011 or early 2012.

For these individuals, the option of employment using an EAD is a recent development.

Background: Cutoff Date Retrogression and Fluctuation


There was rapid advancement of the EB2 India and China cutoff dates from December 2011 through April 2012. Thereafter, for most such applicants, visa numbers have been unavailable due to a phenomenon known as retrogression.

As of this writing, the cutoff date for EB2 India has retrogressed - or moved backwards - to a cutoff date of September 1, 2004, valid during the months of October and November 2012. EB2 China has less extreme retrogression, with a cutoff date of September 1, 2007 during the month of November 2012.


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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Updated: Visa Bulletin Prediction For 2013 - Part 2

If you missed part 1, please click here: http://topimmigrationnews.blogspot.com/2013/01/updated-visa-bulletin-prediction-for.html

Impact of EB3-to-EB2 "Upgrade" Filings on EB2 PD Movement


One of the difficulties faced by the DOS in making predictions of the forward movement of priority dates (PDs) is a lack of transparency in the cases commonly referred to as EB3-to-EB2 upgrades. There are many such requests, but the DOS cannot see those cases and include them in their demand figures when they are filed. The DOS is only alerted to these cases when the USCIS completes a case adjudication and requests a visa number from the DOS.

Each month, the DOS reports receiving thousands of these requests connected to upgraded cases. Since EB3 is oversubscribed, regardless of country of chargeability, many of these cases are filed by those in EB3 ROW.

The reason this is important is that excess visa numbers in EB2 ROW are made available to EB2 India and China. This is another important factor that determines movement in EB2 India and China. The increase in cases shifting from EB3 to EB2 ROW increases demand in that category. The result is fewer excess numbers that can be shifted out of EB2 ROW to EB2 India and China.

Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5) Retrogression Likely for China


The next category is the employment-based, fifth preference (EB5). The categories are discussed out of sequential order, as the use of EB5 numbers directly affects the expectations for EB2 India and China, similar to EB1.

The request for EB5 numbers hit an all-time high in FY12. Much of this demand comes from Chinese investors, increasing demand for EB5 visa numbers from those chargeable to mainland China by more than 150 percent. The demand from other countries showed a 40 percent increase in FY12, continuing a trend that began in 2007 and expected to continue in FY13.

The growing demand in EB5 from those chargeable to China means that the DOS anticipates having to set an EB5 China cutoff date sometime in the second half of FY13. This is necessary to preserve enough numbers for those chargeable to other countries.

Unused EB5 numbers shift up to EB1 to avoid any waste. As explained, excess in EB1 shifts and rolls to EB2 for oversubscribed countries, like India and China. In earlier years, EB5 was underutilized. This created an excess that ultimately benefited EB2 India and China. In FY12, there was no EB5 excess. This trend is expected to continue in FY13.

Update: Feb 11, 2013: According to latest visa bulletin, there is no reason to believe that it will be necessary to establish a China Employment Fifth preference category cut-off date during FY 2013, since demand over first six months of FY-2013 has now averaged out to a manageable level.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3)


The EB3 ROW category is projected to move three to four weeks per month. The same is true of EB3 Mexico. China is expected to move as much as six weeks per month in this category. India continues to be extremely backlogged. The predictions for EB3 India are only one to two weeks of advancement per month. The EB3 "other worker" category should follow the trends of the general EB3 category.

As explained, the DOS sees huge numbers of EB3 upgrade cases. Out of the thousands of such cases each month, several hundred are coming from the EB3 India category.

Conclusion


Movement of cutoff dates is complex, with many of the categories interconnected due to the rules for movement of excess numbers from one employment-based category to another. The DOS faces difficulties attempting to predict demand for visa numbers, due to a lack of transparency between the DOS and the USCIS, despite various improvements that have been implemented over the years.


You can also checkout CILAW's note here: http://www.cilawgroup.com/news/2012/10/24/visa-bulletin-predictions-and-updates-from-charles-oppenheim-october-24-2012/

Source: http://www.murthy.com/2012/11/02/priority-date-predictions-for-fy13

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Updated: Visa Bulletin Prediction For 2013


Important: If you haven't read it, please see the Visa Bulletin Prediction For 2013 By USCIS:

Jan - Mar 2013: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2012/11/visa-bulletin-prediction-for-2013-by.html
Apr - Jun 2013: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/02/uscis-visa-bulletin-prediction-for-2013_11.html
July - Oct 2013: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/06/uscis-prediction-for-august-to-october.html

Several attorneys (Murthy, CILaw, etc) attended the meeting with Charles Oppenheim, the Chief of the DOS Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division on October 24, 2012 in Washington DC. An outline follows, which shares Mr. Oppenheim's expectations and analysis for all employment-based (EB) categories for FY13.

 

Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1) Likely to Remain Current for All


The DOS expects that the EB1 category will remain current for all of FY13 regardless of the country of chargeability. The usage of EB1 numbers is important with respect to predictions of movement in EB2 for India and China. Unused EB1 numbers are made available to oversubscribed countries in EB2. Thus, the volume of usage of EB1 numbers is a primary factor in the movement of the EB2 India and China cutoff dates.

In FY11, demand for EB1 numbers dropped by more than 25,000. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) expected a similar pattern in FY12, and advised the DOS accordingly. This led the DOS to expect 12,000 to 15,000 excess EB1 numbers, which the DOS factored in when they advanced the EB2 India and China cutoff dates rapidly in FY12. The excess numbers did not materialize, due to an upswing in EB1 demand in FY12. This is important in FY13, as the DOS expects the high demand for EB1 to continue in FY13. This impacts the amount of excess numbers that will be available to shift into EB2 during FY13.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2): All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed


The EB2 category for All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed or Rest of the World (ROW) is expected to remain current for the remainder of FY13. The DOS is seeing a noticeable number of EB2 worldwide cases with priority dates in 2010 and 2011, in addition to more recent cases. There is a significant trend toward "upgrading" through EB3-to-EB2 cases within the EB2 ROW category.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2): India


The DOS has received more than 20,000 EB2 India cases from USCIS that are awaiting issuance of visa numbers. Under the current system, once the USCIS reviews a case and finds it appropriate for approval, the USCIS makes an automated request to the DOS for a visa number. If no number is available, the request is held by the DOS, awaiting action once a visa number for the particular case and priority date becomes available. These cases are referred to as preadjudicated.

DOS does not anticipate being able to advance the EB2 India cutoff date any time soon. However, there is an expectation that there will be some forward movement during FY13. The estimate given as a best case scenario is that, by the end of FY13, EB2 India's cutoff date will advance to a new cutoff date, set at some point in early 2008.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2): China


The cutoff dates for EB2 China are expected to advance a few weeks each month during FY13. There is a potential for somewhat greater advancement in this category. No estimate was given for a cutoff date expected to be reached by the end of the FY13 for China.

 

Excess Visa Numbers Estimated for EB2 India and China


Overall, the expectations are that EB2 India and China will benefit from some excess visa numbers shifting from EB1 and EB2 ROW. However, the volume of such excess is expected to be even less in FY13 than it was in FY12. In FY12, EB2 India and China each received approximately 19,000 visa numbers. The vast majority of these were due to shifting excess numbers into EB2 India and China.

At this time, the DOS estimates that a total of 13,000 visa numbers will be available to EB2 India and China in FY13. This is subject to change - either up or down - depending upon the usage in the other categories, as explained here.


Continue reading Part 2: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/01/updated-visa-bulletin-prediction-for_3.html

 

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Comprehensive EB I-485 and FB Visa Bulletin Cut Off Dates


Please see below the visa bulletin cutoff date from 1992 to 2012. You can also refer to the USCIS Archived Visa Bulletins page for cut-off dates established during the current fiscal year.

Family Preference:


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Updated: EAD for H4 Visa Holders - Part 3

If you missed Part 1, please click here: http://topimmigrationnews.blogspot.com/2013/01/updated-ead-for-h4-visa-holders-part-1.html

Rule-Making Timeline:

For this initiative to be implemented, the USCIS must complete the two steps of ruling making process. The first step is completion of "Proposed Rule" process, and the second step is completion of "Interim Final or Final Rule" process after completion of the Proposed Rule making process. Proposed Rule is not binding and only interim or final rule is binding. Both Proposed Rule and Final Rule must be submitted to the OMB of the White House for clearance before they can be published in the federal register. 

Proposed Rule must incorporate a period from 30 days to 60 days for comments from the public once the OMB approves publishing of the Proposed Rule in the federal register. Both Proposed Rule and Interim or Final Rule requires from 30 days to 90 days for the OMB to complete their review and approval, unless an emergency or economic issues are involved. The H-4 spouse EAD proposed rule is presented not as an emergency or economic issue rule and will be subject to the regular time of 30-90 days review period.


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Updated: EAD for H4 Visa Holders - Part 2

Please click here to see Part 1 of this post: http://topimmigrationnews.blogspot.com/2013/01/updated-ead-for-h4-visa-holders-part-1.html

Eligible H-4 Spouses:  

Not every H-4 spouse will be covered considering the core intent of the proposed rule. The H-4 spouses who will be covered by this initiative will be those 

(1) whose H-1B husband or wife has already commenced permanent residence process after prolonged period of stay in the U.S. in a H-1B status and eligible for 7th year H-1B extension beyond the H-1B six-year limit under section 106 of the AC 21 or 

(2) whose H-1B husband or wife has filed and obtained I-140 petition either through or without labor certification process but unable to file I-485 applications because of the immigrant visa number backlog for the category in the Visa Bulletin and eligible for H-1B extension in three-year increments indefinitely pending their priority current in the Visa Bulletin or 


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Updated: EAD for H4 Visa Holders - Part 1

Purpose of the Initiatives:  

As an incentive to retain skilled foreign professionals that the country needed to sustain the economic edge in the international competition, the USCIS planned an administrative fix to authorize the employment for the spouses of H-1B professionals. This plan is supposed to give benefits to the H-1B families as well as the country. From the perspectives of H-1B temporary foreign workers, this issue involves a number of issues for the family as well as the spouses. Typical H-1B foreign professionals are mostly in the twenties and some in thirties in ages. Most importantly, most of their spouses are college graduates who have their own professional careers. 

The forced full-time house wife statuses have created a serious problems, including the boredom of the forced unemployed spouses, not to mention a forced compromise of their own careers for not being able to continue their careers through employment. Unemployment leads them to face failure in updating their skills and knowledge and in the long run, they will have to lose their opportunity to continue their careers. This adds the mental and emotional stress for the professional spouses, not to mention a forced isolation in a foreign land without close relatives, friends, and neighbors. In the worst cases, this has been creating a marital problem. Because of such problems, some of the H-1B high-tech professional foreign workers had to return to their home countries to salvage their families as well as the spouse's careers.


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