The Senate has released the text of the proposed CIR bill. It is a mere 844 pages long but, in general I would say 4 things: 1. Forget everything you read in prior summaries 2. The business community will like most of it and can live with all of it 3. International workers will like it but, not love it and 4. It is a long way from being signed into law. We will provide a summary of key sections as soon as we are able to read and digest it.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) today released an outline of the Senate CIR proposal. The actual text of the bill has not yet been released but, is expected to be released this week. The outline shows significant changes to the employment based permanent residency system including measures that will help to reduce retrogression. The proposal also includes significant restrictions on employers deemed to be dependent upon H-1b workers and also added a labor market test to all H-1b filings. After the text of the bill is released, we will provide a summary.
In a change that has been planned for a long time and delayed several times, it appears that the process which will eliminate the issuance of I-94 cards at most ports of entry will finally go into effect as of April 30, 2013 and be phased in over the following month. CBP has published a very helpful fact sheet describing this change.
The USCIS has reported that they received approximately 124,000 H-1b cap petitions for what is approximately 85,000 slots. In effect, this means that almost 30% of petitions filed will be returned to U.S. Employers. Employers should expect to receive receipts and/or rejections over the next few weeks.
On Friday, the USCIS announced that it had received enough H-1b cap petitions in the first 5 days of filing to exceed both the Master’s cap and the regular cap thereby creating the need for a lottery. It will likely be several weeks before anxious employers and potential H-1b beneficiaries find out if they have been chosen for processing. Although the cap being hit this early should spur Congressional action, early word out of Washington is that the Senate gang of 8 is considering significant restrictions on the H-1b program. No reason to let economic realities get in the way of politics.
Playing the role of contrarian, ILW.com, a well-respected leader in immigration news, predicts that an H-1b lottery will not be held this year. Not sure if ILW was able to arrange a friendly bet with the USCIS over this or not but, if so, I sure hope Sam and staff get to eat cake !
With the H-1b cap opening on Monday, April 1st, is it critical that your case arrives on Monday ? What if the overnight delivery driver fails to pick up at your office on Sat., should you panic ? The answer is that an H-1b cap case filed on Monday is treated the same as one filed on Friday. Several years ago, the USCIS issued a new regulation found at 8 CFR §214.2(h)(8)(ii)(B). It reads, in part: “If the final receipt date is any of the first five business days on which petitions subject to the applicable numerical limit may be received (i.e., if the numerical limit is reached on any one of the first five business days that filings can be made), USCIS will randomly apply all of the numbers among the petitions received on any of those five business days, conducting the random selection among the petitions subject to the exemption under section 214(g)(5)(C) of the Act first.” In this case, Monday is the same as Friday ! Enjoy cap season !
The DHS recently released a report which provided statistics on the characteristics of persons who obtained permanent resident status in FY2012. these statistics highlight the need for the reform of our legal immigration quota system. Only 4% of persons who became permanent residents had advanced degrees and only 12% came under the employment based categories EB1, EB2, or EB3.
Both IT and health care staffing companies have traditionally been major users of H-1b visas. Due to the recent prediction by the USCIS of the H-1b quota for FY 2014 likely being reached in the first week of filing, many staffing companies are concerned that the artificial restrictions being placed on hiring of the best candidates possible will harm their growth in 2013. Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), a leading professional association for companies employing or using contingent workers, recently published on this topic. One of our partners, Mike Hammond was quoted in the article.