The Department of state (DOS) lately issued the visa bulletin for January 2014. The Visa Bulletin gives information in regards to the cut-off dates which controls the visa availability in different visa categories.
The cut-off dates for the family sponsored category have moved ahead by a month or so except for Mexico and Philippines.
|Family-Sponsored||All Charge -ability Areas Except Those Listed||CHINA- mainland born||INDIA||MEXICO||PHILIPPINES|
Under the employment based category, the employment based first preference (EB1) is current for all countries. As anticipated there is a deep retrogression by 4 years in the employment based second preference (EB2) cut off dates for India. Whereas, the cutoff date for EB2 – China have moved ahead by one month. The employment based third preference cut off dates have moved ahead for all except for India which stays at 01Sep 03.
|Employment- Based||All Charge-ability Areas Except Those Listed||CHINA- mainland born||INDIA||MEXICO||PHILIPPINES|
|Certain Religious Workers||C||C||C||C||C|
|Regional Centers and Pilot Programs|
Stay tuned to www.emandlilaw.com for the latest updates on immigration news.
EMANDI LAW FIRM continues to stay abreast of the latest Immigration Laws and Procedures
December 16, 2013
Attorney Rani Emandi and her paralegals attended the following Immigration Conferences:
1. Attorney Rani Emandi attended the EB-5 Summit for Attorneys and Developers in New York City on Friday December 13, 2013. The event was organized by ILW.com, the leading Immigration Law Publisher. Many experts and practitioners involved in the EB-5 work process attended the detailed all day workshop event. The workshop covered all the major topics related to EB-5 and also focused on The Regional Center View, Structuring the Deal and Finding Investors; Lawfully Advising on Choosing a Project; Developing the 924 Application; 526 Petitions and Source of Funds Issues; 829 Applications and Documenting Job Creations and Innovation in EB-5, The Non-Regional Center Concept.
2. Navigation Waivers: Options for Individuals In Proceedings Before The Immigration Court, held on November 4, 2013, sponsored by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), New York Chapter at the New York Law school
3. Advance Corporate Immigration Conference, held on October 23, 2013, sponsored by the NJ Institute for Continuing Legal Education at the Newark Club. The conference covered hot topics like strategies for convincing USCIS adjudicators, advanced labor certifications, practice and review Board of alien labor certification decisions, etc.
IS AN ORIGINAL H1B APPROVAL REQUIRED AT THE US CONSULATE ABROAD FOR VISA STAMPING?
December 10, 2013
An original I-797 A or B approval notice is not required anymore at the visa application interview due to the fact that that the Department of State’s (DOS) system called Petition Information Management Service (PIMS) verifies the existence of the approval. In order to assist with fraud detection, the process called PIMS has put an end to the consular posts’ reliance on paper USCIS approval notices which have been altered or fabricated in some instances.
At the time of filing the H1b petition, a duplicate petition with original signatures is submitted to the USCIS which is forwarded to the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) where the date is entered into PIMS. The PIMS Petition database contains a record of all petitioners approved by the USCIS since 2004 and has facilitated the efficient processing of visa petitions as the original visa approval is not a requirement. The Department of State set up PIMS, a separate report with the Consolidated Consular Database to provide consular posts with official, inter-agency, notification of H, L, O, P, and Q classification petition approvals. After the USCIS sends the case to the KCC, an approved case is entered into PIMS to record the approval a change of status, extension of stay, or amendment of a petition.
However, the original approval notice may still be required by the Consular Border Post (CBP) when the foreign national applies for admission at the port-of-entry. Some posts may still require evidence of petition approvals in order to make the appointments and if so, the attorney may intervene and clarify that the original is not required but there could be delays in this regard. It is best for the foreign national to carry the original approval and petition copy as well.
Immigration Reform – New hope
December 5, 2013
The House office on Tuesday December3, 2013 announced that it has hired immigration advocate Ms. Rebecca Tallent, director of immigration policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center to help the House take forward the long pending immigration reform. Ms. Tallent was expected to join the House office by Wednesday December 4th, 2013. House Speaker Mr. Boehner mentioned that they would go with a step by step approach as decided earlier.
Ms. Tallent has a very strong and extensive experience in immigration services. She has earlier worked as an immigration policy adviser with both the House and Senate. She also served as the chief of staff for Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona and has also helped in drafting the measures to fix immigration when John McCain and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) of Massachusetts undertook the issue in 2007. Before that, she worked for former Rep. Jim Kolbe (R) of Arizona, another longtime advocate of immigration reform.
Speaker Boehner’s move of hiring Ms. Tallent has brought a new hope for all the supporters of immigration reform and also implies the strong desire of the House to fix the immigration reform.
Immigration Reform - House under pressure
October 31, 2013
There is lot of pressure on the House in regards to immigration reform. Recently, many business groups, social supporters and law enforcement leaders visited Capitol Hill to meet the members of House and Senate to take action on the CIR (Comprehensive Immigration Reform). Three House Republicans have recently voiced their consent to the Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform bill increasing the pressure on other House Republicans. House Republicans are still insistent for a step by step approach to the immigration reform. The House leaders have approved 5 different bills including one for tighter border security.
Though there are a few working days remaining for the House Legislative s, immigration reform can still prevail if the House leaders move it forward.
ICERT Portal resumes normal functioning
October 31, 2013
The ICERT portal is now functioning smoothly giving a sigh of relief to all the employers hiring temporary non-immigrant workers and the immigration attorney’s. The ICERT portal which enables the filing of Labor Condition Applications (LCA’s related to H1b petitions) and Prevailing Wage Requests (related to perm application) has been down for the past two weeks despite being reopened on October 17, 2013.
ICERT portal down for maintenance and improvements
October 24, 2013
Employers hiring temporary non-immigrant workers and Immigration attorneys are facing setback as a result of the recent Government shutdown. The ICERT portal which enables the filing of Labor Condition Applications (LCA’s related to H1b petitions) and Prevailing Wage Requests (related to perm application), is periodically unavailable since the Government reopened.
Today the Department of Labor has updated its website with the following, “The labor Certification Registry is temporarily unavailable for maintenance and improvements on the website and that it would be available again on Friday, November 1, 2013”. We have heard reports that some are intermittently able to access the DOL site.
The USCIS shall consider the government shutdown as an unusual circumstance and shall excuse the late filing for H1B extensions. Employers needs to submit evidence to establish the primary reason for late filing for the extension of stay or the change of status request was due to the Government shutdown. We shall continue to follow up with the USCIS and obtain recent information to keep you informed. Stay tuned to our website www.emandilaw.com for the latest updates.
Impact of Government Shutdown still felt
October 22, 2013
Although the shutdown is over and the Federal employees are back to work, there are numerous issues which are a direct outcome of the shutdown and are impacting smooth operations. There are obstacles in filing LCA’s (Labor Condition Application), Prevailing Wage Requests as the Department of Labor website is experiencing technical difficulties due to heavy traffic levels. Also the website is under maintenance resulting in the website being periodically unavailable. Other Government websites related to Incorporation's and the Department of State are still not functioning properly.
October 21, 2013
President Obama in an interview last week indicated that the focus this week is fixing immigration reform. He also informed that he would take up this issue with the House as soon as the debt crisis is averted and the government shutdown is over. President Obama stated he would request the immigration reform to be brought to the floor for voting before end of the year.
President Obama also said that if the House republicans have ideas to improve the senate bill, he would like to start a discussion. The House is still certain that they would deal with the issue in a step by step manner. Immigration advocates are trying hard to bring this issue to the forefront. The President’s signal on immigration reform last week has brought back a ray of hope.
Government Shutdown Over
October 17, 2013
Great News, after a 16 day partial US government shutdown, the government has reopened. The Government has reopened as a result of a bill introduced by the Senate and passed by the House led GOP on Wednesday October 16, 2013 which was finally signed by the President into law early Thursday morning. All Federal workers are expected to return back to work today.
The Department of labor (DOL) website that affects the ability for H1B employers to file new LCA’s (Labor Condition Application) for their employees and Green Card applications should resume operation anytime today or latest by tomorrow.
Government Shutdown 2nd Week
October 11, 2013
It is the 2nd week that the US government is partially shut down with effect from October 1st 2013. The shutdown was implemented as Congress was unable to finalize the debt ceiling in regards to government spending. The deadline to avoid the Government debt default is October 17, 2013.
The White house and House Republicans have agreed to talk to find a solution to end the government shutdown and save the US economy from defaulting on its debts. It seems like that the White House and House Republicans are taking some concrete measures to reach a conclusion at the earliest. Today, the House Republicans have proposed an offer to increase the federal borrowing limit. However, the question of government shutdown still remains unresolved. This measure fails to address the bigger problem; the fact the US Government is not fully operative causing millions in lost revenue on a daily basis. The Government shutdown has also slammed many businesses which rely on the Government in order to operate.
Government Shutdown 4th day – USCIS
October 4, 2013
Today is the 4th day that the US government is partially shut down with effect from October 1st 2013. The shutdown was implemented as Congress was unable to finalize the debt ceiling in regards to the government spending.
The Emandi Law Firm has contacted the USCIS to obtain information on H1b petitions that are affected due to LCA’s (labor condition applications) not being certified. We have received news that the processing centers are awaiting for instructions and guidance from their headquarters for a policy on how to handle such cases and situations where H1b petitions would be expiring. Stay tuned to our website www.emandilaw.com for the latest update.
The Department of Labor halted services on October 1, 2013. By halting services, the Green Card applications, filing of LCA’s, prevailing wages and filing of PERM application have not been permitted since October 1, 2013. The only good part is that the USCIS continues to operate and would accept and process applications, petitions etc. period. It has been confirmed by the Department of State that consular operations in the US and overseas would continue to operate and that it would have no impact by the shutdown.
Facebook's Zuckerberg is Pro Immigration and Speaks in Washington
Mark Zuckerberg was at the Capitol during the last week of September to meet Republican and Democratic members of House and Senate leadership to drum up support for comprehensive immigration reform. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said that rather than being Democrat or Republican, "I'm pro-knowledge economy. He states that immigration is an incredibly complicated issue and he supports immigration reform both as an ideology and a business decision. He said, the tech industry requires skilled laborers and they should be able to get into the country more easily.
Immigration reform is supported by many Silicon Valley CEOs. Zuckerberg said his motivation was some students whom he's taught in an afterschool program, many of whom he learned were undocumented. He said he found it as an unfair treatment. He said he was "optimistic" of the chances for reform, "But I'm an entrepreneur and can support the reform”. With many industries, CEO’s, Social groups supporting the immigration reform, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Employment-Based Quota Limit Reached for FY2013
The State Department confirmed that the employment based annual limit for FY 2013 has been reached. They also informed that all the eligible cases which have been submitted before the cut off dates would be authorized with effect from October 1, 2013.
New identity verifying process at USCIS interviews
From September 9, 2013 USCIS has started using a new process to verify the identity through a new verification tool called Customer Identity Verification (CIV).The tool was introduced to help USCIS to biometrically verify applicant’s identity.
The process states that once the applicant reaches the office and clears the security, he would be called to the counter and requested to electronically scan two fingerprints. A digital picture would also be taken of the applicant. Both together would help USCIS to verify the identity of the applicant.
All are requested to note that the current process of biometrics prior to a green card or naturalization interview remains unchanged.