Recently, the Department of State (DOS) announced that visa services at U.S. Consular Posts will resume operations as local conditions warrant. This is an ever changing situation and we encourage you to contact your HNM attorney before seeking any service at a US Consulate.
HLG will be hosting a free teleconference on Thurs. May 14th at 11:00 am eastern to discuss some recent changes in the immigration laws and policies relative to H-1b visas and PERM applications and also to provide updates on several misc. topics impacted by COVID-19. The seminar will specifically focus on the IT and engineering staffing market but, information will be provided that is relevant to all employers that have international workers. Register here.
The USCIS has announced that its offices would re-open to the public on June 4,2020. We are hopeful that other services including premium processing availability will shortly follow.
HLG will be hosting a free conference call for clients on Tues Jan 14th at 2:30 eastern to provide information on the new electronic registration system and the H-1b cap lottery filings for this year. Register here.
Our Senior partner, Mike Hammond spent 2 days in Wash DC this week with TechServe Alliance providing Congressional briefings and meeting with Congressional staff members to advocate for fair treatment of staffing and solution firms in any business immigration legislation that may be considered and updating them as to the current crisis being created by the Administration’s current policies and directives. Unfortunately, there was very little optimism for any legislative solutions.
Senior partner, Mike Hammond will be a speaker at the TechServe Alliance webinar discussing H-1b visas. The webinar will focus on issues facing IT and Engineering staffing/solutions firms.
As expected, the USCIS announced that it received enough petitions to exceed the statutory cap and a lottery will be held to choose those H-1b petitions which will be processed. Further updates will be provided as they become available.
The USCIS has provided a memo outlining some procedural guidance for H-1b cap filings due in less than 2 weeks. The most notable information relates to the availability of premium processing. Premium processing can be done under one of three scenarios:
1. If the case filed includes a change of status (COS) request, a premium request can be filed concurrently with the petition and processing will begin no later than May 20th.
2. If the case filed includes a change of status (COS) request but, premium was not requested at the time of filing, an upgrade to premium processing can be filed when premium processing resumes, no later than May 20th.
3. If the case filed asks for Consular Processing/Notification (CP), an upgrade to premium processing can be filed only after it is announced of its availability by the USCIS and should not be expected prior to June 2019.
Other information regarding the establishment of an employer datahub to be available as of April 1st and a reminder about the new selection process was also described in detail in the memo.
The Department of State (DOS) has released the April Visa Bulletin and there was some significant forward movement in the Final Action Dates for EB2 China and EB3 Philippines. The DOS cautioned that this forward movement was due to slower than expected processing of I-485 cases and the gains may be short-lived and retrogression may occur in these categories. The USCIS has announced that for April, it will not honor the Dates for Filing chart but, will only accept 485 filings using the Final Action Dates chart.
The USCIS has now released the new I-539 form. The new form must be used on all filings received after March 21st.