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Green Cards

September Visa Bulletin

Last week, the Department of State (DOS) released the last visa bulletin of this fiscal year. Typically, at the end of a fiscal year, we see significant retrogression and often some categories become “U” unavailable however, this year virtually all categories remained at last month’s priority date. The USCIS has yet to announce which chart they will recognize but, you can be confident that if you were “current” in Aug, you will remain current in September. We will update the USCIS I-485 information when it is released.

The USCIS has announced that for purposes of filing I-485’s in September, the Final Action Date chart must be utilized.

Categories
Government Agency Actions - USCIS, ICE, etc. Green Cards Visas - H-1b, L-1, E, O, TN

New I-765 Form

For all of our clients that file for your own EAD cards, please take note that the USCIS will be requiring a new form as of Aug 25th. More info. and a copy of the form can be found here.

Categories
Government Agency Actions - USCIS, ICE, etc. Green Cards US Immigration Policy Visas - H-1b, L-1, E, O, TN

Trump’s New Public Charge Rules Suspended

The USCIS has accepted the ruling from a U.S. Federal Court and has suspended the application of the new Public Charge rule issued in Jan of 2020. The public charge rules based upon prior statute and regulation remain in effect. As a practical matter, this means that certain questions on the I-129 and I-539 will no longer be relevant and need not be answered. It also means that the I-944 need not be included with the I-485. The USCIS has specifically stated the following about forms received: “In the interim, USCIS will not reject any Form I-485 on the basis of the inclusion or exclusion of Form I-944, nor Forms I-129 and I-539 based on whether Part 6, or Part 5, respectively, has been completed or left blank.”

Categories
Government Agency Actions - USCIS, ICE, etc. Green Cards

New PERM Form

Last week the DOL published notice in the Federal Register of its intention to change the ETA 9089 form which is used for PERM filings. A copy of the form can be accessed here by going to its July 20th announcement and it has links included for the proposed form along with all attachments. There is a 60 day comment period ending on Sept 18, 2020 and our firm will be submitting comments on behalf of our clients.

Categories
Government Agency Actions - USCIS, ICE, etc. Green Cards US Immigration Policy Visas - H-1b, L-1, E, O, TN

Consular Services Re-opening

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.

Categories
Green Cards

August Visa Bulletin

The Department of State (DOS) has released the August Visa Bulletin and we saw significant forward movement in several categories. For example, India EB1 moved forward 8 mos; China EB1 moved forward 6 mos; and, EB3 all other countries and the Philippines both moved forward almost a full year. The USCIS has announced that they will use the Final Action Date chart for filing I-485’s in Aug. We typically experience retrogression at the end of the fiscal year so do not assume that your date will remain current in Sept but, we encourage you to file your I-485 in August if you are eligible.

Categories
Green Cards

Presidential Proclamation RE: H-1B, H-2B, J-1, and L-1 Visas

As everyone is aware, late on June 22, the President issued a new proclamation suspending the entry for certain foreign nationals seeking to enter the U.S. on H-1B, H-2B, J-1, and L-1 visas (and applicable dependents such as H-4 and L-2). While we do not believe that this proclamation will have the intended effect of freeing up jobs for U.S. workers, we do believe that the effect will be limited to those in specific situations.

The Executive Proclamation applies only to those outside the U.S. on the effective date (12:01 am on June 24, 2020). Any foreign national currently in the U.S. will not be affected by this proclamation, either for current application or future extensions or visas at the U.S. consulate. We expect the main group that will be impacted is H-1B CAP cases filed as Consular cases. They will not be able to enter the U.S. until next year regardless of approval and visa period. H-1B CAP cases filed as a Change of Status in the US will not be affected.

Even if a person is outside the U.S, the Executive Proclamation applies only if the person does not already have a valid visa on the effective date or a valid travel document. Those with a visa stamping currently in their passport may continue to use it to enter the U.S. as normal. However, we caution to be prepared if traveling in the U.S. as there will be additional review by the officer to determine whether a person is exempt from the Proclamation.

The J-1 restriction is limited to only interns, trainees, teachers, au pairs and camp counselors; it does not restrict entry for researchers, physicians or any other J-1 category.

As a result of the is order, anyone who is affected by the Executive Proclamation will be unable to obtain a visa unless they meet one of the exceptions which includes:
(1) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
(2) any person who is the spouse or child, as defined in the Immigration and Nationality Ac;
(3) any person seeking to enter the United States to provide temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain; and
(4) any person whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.

It is worth reemphasizing that visas not listed, such as E-1, E-2, E-3, O-1, P, TN (Canadian and Mexican), are not included and entry on these visas can continue as normal. Furthermore, the filing and processing of U.S. permanent resident applications (Application to Adjust Status) have not been impacted by this Proclamation. USCIS and DOL may continue to process such applications.

If you have questions about a specific scenario not covered above, please contact your HNM attorney. Stay safe.

Categories
Green Cards

July Visa Bulletin

The Department of State (DOS) has released the July Visa Bulletin and there was significant forward movement in multiple categories which is unusual this late in the fiscal year. The “All Other” EB3 moved forward another 6 mos. as did EB3 for the Philippines, Mexico, and Vietnam. India EB1 jumped forward 10 months. The difference between India EB2 and EB3 is only 5 weeks. The USCIS has indicated that they will use the Final Action Date chart for I-485 filings in July.

Categories
Green Cards US Immigration Policy Visas - H-1b, L-1, E, O, TN

Premium Returns

The USCIS has announced that premium processing will return in phases throughout June. Below is a chart to help you see when your petition will be eligible:

JUNE 1st:
-All I-140’s can be premium processing

JUNE 8th:
-H-1b transfers filed before June 8th can be upgraded
-H-1b extensions filed before June 8th can be upgraded
-H-1b cap exempt entities filed before June 8th can be upgraded
-Non H-1b I-129 petitions (TN, L-1) filed before June 8th can be upgraded. E-3 still not eligible for premium processing

JUNE 15:
-h-1b’s that are cap exempt entities, regardless of original filing date, can be premium processed
-H-1b’s for physicians under J-1 waiver

JUNE 22nd:
-All I-129’s can be premium processed (including cap cases, H-1b transfers that were filed after June 8th

Categories
Green Cards

June Visa Bulletin

Last week, the Department of State (DOS) released the June Visa Bulletin and several categories saw significant forward movement. The EB3 all others and Philippines both jumped forward 10 mos. as did India EB1. Other categories saw little to no forward movement. The USCIS announced that it would follow the Final Action Date chart for I-485 filings in June. If you are current in June, we encourage you to file your I-485 as the summer months typically see retrogression.