November Visa Bulletin

The Department of State (DOS) has released the November Visa Bulletin There were no surprises in either chart and no major movement in the Final Action Date chart. Both EB2 and EB3 for PRC moved forward a month. India EB2 moved ahead a little over a month but, India EB3 remained at the same date. The Philippines EB3 had the largest jump as it moved forward 6 weeks. All categories that were current in October remained current in November. The Dates for Filing Chart remained the same. Whether the USCIS will honor the Dates for Filing chart in November has yet to be announced.

By |October 19th, 2017|Green Cards|0 Comments|

White House Attacks Legal Immigration

Earlier this week the White House released it’s Immigration Principles and Policies, making it very clear that it intended to reduce legal immigration, eliminate employer sponsorship of visas and green cards, and drastically change the current immigration system. The WH has previously announced support for the RAISE Act which is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The system proposed by the WH eliminates wage protections for US workers and eliminates the labor market test designed to only allow legal immigration where there is a proven labor shortage. The short-sightedness of the WH approach is mind-boggling but, of course, the assumption being made is that the WH understands the ramifications of its principles and policies and we all know the old saying about assumptions.

Skills Gap

As the White House prepares to unveil its immigration policy and its call for a significant reduction in legal immigration, it is nice to be reminded of the role which legal immigration aids in bridging the skills gap experienced by U.S. employers.

Premium Processing returns for all H-1b petitions

Today, the USCIS has announced that the Premium Processing option is once again available for all H-1b petitions. The filing fee remains $1225.00. If you have a pending H-1b petition and would like to have your case converted to premium processing, please contact your assigned attorney or paralegal who can assist.

L-1b Site Visits

L-1b site visits are nothing new however, a number of sources are now reporting that L-1b site visits are occurring as part of the adjudicatory process of a petition seeking an extension or an amendment. The Service is essentially conducting an evidentiary fact finding mission prior to issuing a decision. The problem with this approach is that there is no context, no safeguards, and no assurances that negative information will be disclosed to the petitioner thereby providing an opportunity for rebuttal or challenge. The concept of due process and a fair review of the evidence in light of existing law seems to be too often a forgotten concept in immigration adjudications. When asked for comment, a USCIS representative stated, “We may do investigations at any point, And going further into detail could compromise our tactics in maintaining the integrity of our immigration system.” So much for transparency and fairness.

USCIS Disappoints I-485 filers

The USCIS has announced that it will not honor the Department of State “Dates for Filing” chart contained in the October Visa Bulletin. Instead, they will utilize the “Final Action Date” chart and only accept 485 filings that have a priority date that is current using said chart.

By |September 20th, 2017|Green Cards|0 Comments|

30-60 day fraud rule changed

Earlier this month, the Department of State issued new rules regarding misrepresentations upon entry and changed the former 30-60 day rule to a clear 90 day rule. The new rule states in part, “if an alien violates or engages in conduct inconsistent with his or her nonimmigrant status within 90 days of entry, as described in subparagraph (2)(b) below, you may presume that the applicant’s representations about engaging in only status-compliant activity were willful misrepresentations of his or her intention in seeking a visa or entry.”
The concept in question, most typically, applies to a situation where a person enters on a non-immigrant visa but, then chooses to file an immigrant petition i.e. permanent residency. There are however, other circumstances where the rule may apply, such as entering on a B visa and then seeking a change of status to an employment category. We do not believe that the rule extends to situations where a person enters on an H-1b for one employer and then files for a transfer petition to another employer. Due to the fact-sensitive nature of the application of the rule and the significant consequences from a finding of misrepresentation, it is recommended that you seek counsel before making any change within 90 days of an admission.

Premium Processing resumes for H-1b cap cases

Today, the USCIS announced that premium processing will resume immediately for all H-1b FY 2018 cap cases. If you have a pending cap case with HLG and want to upgrade to premium processing, please contact your HLG attorney or paralegal.

October Visa Bulletin

The Department of State (DOS) has recently released the October Visa Bulletin. This is a critical bulletin as it is the first bulletin for the new fiscal year and provides a glimpse into expectation of priority date movement for the entire fiscal year. In spite of speculation to the contrary, the bulletin includes both the final action and dates for filing charts. We expect the USCIS to announce within the next 2 weeks which chart they will use for October I-485 filings. As expected, the temporary retrogression experienced in a number of categories in August and September were resolved and returned to current and/or positive advancement.

By |September 13th, 2017|Green Cards|0 Comments|

I-485 Interviews for Employment Based Cases

Yesterday, the USCIS announced that it would begin to require in-person interviews as part of the I-485 process for persons being sponsored by an employer. For over ten (10) years these interviews have generally been waived unless there were issues such as criminal, unauthorized employment, periods of out of status, etc. Under the new policy, interviews will be required in all cases. For an agency that is already short of manpower and money, this change will likely result in delays of many years. Not to be too cynical but, this appears to have no purpose but, to be another attack on legal immigration and create another chilling effect.