Today, the USCIS announced that on June 16, 2008, it will begin accepting Premium Processing Service requests for I-140’s filed on behalf of certain H-1b workers who are nearing the end of their sixth year limit. Although this particular program is rather limiting, it is welcome news and may signal the more widespread return of premium processing. Check out the USCIS fact sheet to see if your case may qualify for this new program.
The DOL announced today that all of the PERM filings made by the national law firm Fragomen will be subject to audit due to claims of the law firm being improperly involved in the rejection of U.S. workers. Given the vague nature of the regulation in question, this action could prove to be enlightening and provide a much needed drawing of the lines between the employer, alien, and the law firms’ roles in the PERM process.
The USCIS followed up on plans announced last fall to increase the vailidity period of TN visas from 1 year to 3 years. this would apply to both new admissions as well as extensions. The proposed rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register shortly. Many IT cos. use the TN category for computer systems analysts. THe USCIS announcement can be found below.
The USCIS announced that it has completed the H-1b lottery and that receipts on those cases that were chosen should be received no later than June 2, 2008. We should also expect that cases not chosen will begin to be returned and that process could take 6-8 weeks. If your case was filed as a premium processing case and chosen, the clock will start to tick as of April 14, 2008. For a full copy of the press release please see http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=183f301458e49110VgnVCM1000004718190aRCRD&vgnextchannel=68439c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD
Today, the USCIS announced that it received 163,000 H-1b cases for the FY 2009 cap of which 31,200 were for the advanced degree cap. The lottery will begin shortly so keep your fingers crossed. There has been no indication as to when receipts will be issued for accepted cases or when rejected cases will be returned however, expect the lottery process to take several weeks.
Today, the USCIS officially announced that it had enough petitions as of April 7th, to reach both the advanced degree and regular cap. The announcement can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=c5b6628090e29110VgnVCM1000004718190aRCRD&vgnextchannel=68439c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD The USCIS is expected to begin the random lottery selection process shortly however, no date has been set. It is expected that it may be several weeks or even a couple of months before the lottery process is completed. Cases filed under the advanced degree cap and not chosen as part of the 20,000, will be placed in the lottery for consideration under the regular allotment.
The DHS has announced new rules impacting certains persons on OPT. http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1207334008610.shtm HLG will be providing a detailed summary of these rules on Monday. The USCIS has also issed an FAQ regarding the new rules http://www.uscis.gov/files/article/OPT_FAQ_4apr08.pdf
HLG produces a monthly ezine directed at employers who employ foreign national workers. It is free of charge and can be subscribed to using a link to the right. The March edition was released last week. http://www.hammondlawfirm.com/monthly/business-immigration-monthly-March-2008-h-1-cap.htm
Today, the USCIS issued an Interim Rule which changes certain policies for H-1b cap filings for FY 2008. The full memo can be found at USCIS link.
The new rule makes 2 major changes:
1. Duplicate filings by the same employer for the same beneficiary will be denied or revoked and filing fees not returned.
2. The filing period will last for 5 business days.
It has been reported by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has cleared for publication an interim regulation titled “Petitions Filed on Behalf of H-1B Temporary Workers Subject to the Annual Numerical Limitation.” It is believed that this rule addresses the filing of duplicate petitions in the upcoming H-1B “lottery.” Given that April 1 is only a few days away, it is anticipated that the regulation will be cleared by the USCIS quickly and be published in the Federal Register, whereupon, it will become effective. We will keep you updated as developments occur.