Rough week for H-1b visas

The week started with a 60 minutes news segment and now a Bloomberg article. Many expect the increased and widespread negative publicity to accelerate the consideration of legislation to make sweeping changes to the H-1b visa. Senator Grassley wasted no time in jumping on the opportunity to push his proposed bill. However, as we have seen with healthcare, a campaign slogan does not always equate to legislation being passed.

April Visa Bulletin

The Department of State (DOS) has released the April Visa Bulletin. There were no changes to the dates of filing chart but, since there is no expectation that the USCIS will utilize this chart, it has effectively become moot. The final action date chart showed nice gains for All Other EB3, China EB3 and Philippines EB3 but, India EB2 and EB3 were virtually unmoved. Retrogression relief remains badly needed but, positive legislation seems but, a dream under this Administration.

Muslim Ban Take 2 !

On Monday, President Trump issued a new travel ban on persons from six (6) predominately Muslim countries. Absent from this new list was Iraq. The new EO makes clear that US citizens, LPR (green card) holders and those with existing visas are not subject to the ban. Most legal scholars believe this EO has a better chance of withstanding that pesky Constitution.

Premium processing for H-1b petitions suspended

The USCIS has announced that effective April 3, 2017, that the Premium processing service will be suspended for an indefinite period of time, possibly up to 6 months. Previous suspensions of this service upgrade have impacted H-1b cap/lottery cases but, not all cases so this suspension has a broader effect. Current processing times on H-1b cases filed under the regular processing are between 9 and 12 months. This suspension will impact summer travel plans and may prevent H-1b workers from changing employers or returning to employment after extended leaves. The USCIS has stated that the purpose of the suspension is to allow them to move resources from the PP units to work on cases that have become severely backlogged.

Shooting of H-1b workers saddens and stirs fear

The shootings of two H-1b engineers near Kansas this past week, resulting in the death of one of them has saddened and stirred fear among the Indian community. We offer our condolences to his family. Many are quick to link this shooting to the nationalistic and inflammatory rhetoric which has become commonplace since President Trump began his campaign and has continued since he took office. The White House was quick to deny any link. India’s Foreign Secretary, S. Jaishankar will be in the U.S. this coming week for an official visit and has pledged to discuss this incident.

H-1b Visa News

During a time when the H-1b visa is under seemingly constant attack, at least one Senator thinks we need an expansion of the program, along with greater US worker protections. Get an update on Senator Hatch’s plan from CIO.com

March Visa Bulletin

During this season where it seems like bad news is the order of the day, the Department of State (DOS) released the March Visa Bulletin and also made some very positive predictions for movement in the coming months. For example, the DOS predicted that we could see a movement of 1 month per month for the India EB2 category, up to the 3 months for the all other EB3 category, and up to 6 months each month for the EB3 Philippines category. They also indicated that EB2 would remain current for all other countries.

By |February 14th, 2017|Green Cards|0 Comments|

HLG to host I-9 Compliance Seminar

On Tues Feb 7th, HLG will host a free teleconference on I-9 compliance. More information can be found here and registration is available at the HLG events page.

More Travel Ban News !

Lots of updates recently, but, here is the latest announcement from AILA National on the expansion of additional countries to the list “Contrary to rumors apparently circulating, AILA National has no confirmation of additional countries being added to the travel ban. The executive order anticipates that additional countries could be added. Clearly, it is impossible to guess where, when, or how the president will use this authority” We will continue to keep you updated as developments occur. AILA has created a AILA public page to post breaking news on the travel ban.

Another update, late this afternoon, the DOS released an DOS emergency travel alert providing assurances that persons with dual nationalities wherein one nationality was subject to the ban but, another nationality was not; would not be considered subject to the ban.

Green Card Holders (LPR) not Subject to the Travel Ban per WH (and more travel ban updates)

Yesterday, the White House announced that the Travel Ban in effect since Sat. for nationals from 7 designated countries would not be applicable to U.S. permanent residents. This is welcome news after the uncertainty caused by the EO and its implementation. Further bad news for nationals from the 7 designated countries, the USCIS has confirmed that it has stopped the processing of all petitions and applications submitted with the exception of N-400 (naturalization application). Processing will resume only after the ban has been lifted. Yesterday’s report of an expansion of the banned country list to include additional countries remains unconfirmed but, not denied.