News Updates

2018 Year In Immigration – Summary of Key Policy Changes

23:35 21 December in News Updates by Larrabee

This year brought many key immigration policy changes in the employment-based immigration arena and 2019 is expected to be no different. H-1B Petitions: Interpretation of "Specialty Occupation". A more narrow interpretation of the positions that qualify as a "Specialty Occupation" continues to result in the issuance of Requests for Evidence, Notices of Intent to Deny and Denials for certain occupations. Immigration regulations define a "specialty occupation" as one requiring the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of at least a Bachelor's Degree in a specific specialty or its equivalent. The...

NAFTA Renegotiations – Update

18:08 10 October in News Updates by Larrabee

Below is a brief update on the renegotiations of NAFTA that have taken place between the U.S., Canada and Mexico: On September 30, 2018, the U.S., Canada and Mexico reached an agreement, known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).  This agreement is not yet finalized as there are a number of procedural steps that will need to take place in each country before it can be implemented as law.  In the meantime, all provisions of NAFTA remain in effect. On the immigration front, there were very minor changes made and at this point in the renegotiation process the USMCA will not change...

2020 DIVERSITY VISA LOTTERY – ONLINE ENTRY PERIOD

21:26 03 October in News Updates by Larrabee

Begins at Noon EDT on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 Ends at Noon EST on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (also known as the Green Card or DV Lottery) provides immigrant visas each fiscal year for persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Essentially, this program provides certain nationalities with the opportunity to win the chance to apply for a green card, without having to qualify in one of the family-based or employment-based categories. For fiscal year 2020, 50,000 diversity visas will be available. There are various bills pending before Congress which call for the...

Approved and Pending H-1B Cap Petitions as of October 1, 2018

21:42 28 September in News Updates by Larrabee

October 1st marks the date when H-1B petitions filed under the annual cap are set to take effect.  This year is somewhat different as a large number of H-1B petitions remain pending with USCIS.  Below are some important reminders for approved H-1B petitions and options for petitions that remain pending. Reminders for Approved H-1B Petitions         Work authorization must be re-verified on Form I-9 to reflect an employee's H-1B status.       F-1 students are not normally subject to Medicare and Social Security withholdings, but H-1B nonimmigrants are.  Therefore, adjustments to payroll withholdings may be required for F-1 students whose status...

Premium Processing Fee to Increase October 1, 2018

18:05 04 September in News Updates by Larrabee

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published notice today that it is increasing the premium processing fee charged by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  DHS is increasing the fee by 14.92 percent, which reflects the percentage change in inflation since the fee was last adjusted in 2010 according to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). The adjustment increases the USCIS filing fee from $1,225 to $1,410. The fee increase is effective on October 1, 2018.   Applications postmarked on or after that date must include the new fee. Additional information on the USCIS Premium Processing Service  Should you have any questions,...

USCIS Extends and Expands Suspension of Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions

15:01 29 August in News Updates by Larrabee

USCIS is extending the previously announced temporary suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions. The previously announced suspension of premium processing for fiscal year 2019 cap-subject H-1B petitions was originally slated to last until Sept. 10, 2018, but that suspension is being extended through an estimated date of Feb. 19, 2019. In addition, beginning Sept. 11, 2018, USCIS will be expanding this temporary suspension to include certain additional H-1B petitions.  USCIS expects that these suspensions will also last until Feb. 19, 2019. Which Cases are Affected? As of Tuesday, September 11, 2018, premium processing requests will not be accepted for: -      H-1B change...

USCIS Updates Guidance on Unlawful Presence Accrual for F, M and J Nonimmigrants

17:53 14 August in News Updates by Larrabee

USCIS Updates Guidance on Unlawful Presence Accrual for F, M and J Nonimmigrants U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued revised and final guidance on the accrual of unlawful presence for students and exchange visitors. The memo issued August 9, 2018 updates the guidance issued on May 10, 2018 regarding the accrual of unlawful presence for F, M and J nonimmigrants. The new guidance is effective as of August 9, 2018, and supersedes prior memoranda. The major change from the memorandum issued on May 10, 2018 is that if a student who is out of status timely files an application for...

Major Change for F, M and J nonimmigrants: USCIS Changing Policy on Accrual of Unlawful Presence

17:47 16 May in News Updates by Larrabee

Effective August 9, 2018, USCIS will change the way it calculates unlawful presence for individuals in the U.S. as F-1 students, J-1 exchange visitors, and M-1 vocational students and their families. Who Does This Impact? F-1 International Students M-1 Vocational Students J-1 Exchange Visitors in all categories, from au pairs to post-doctoral research scholars F-2, M-2 and J-2 dependent spouses and children 18 to 21 years of age.   Dependents may accrue unlawful presence based on the principal’s violation of status, or their own violation. Current Policy The above visa classifications are generally admitted for “Duration of Status.”  That is, the I-94 admission document...

USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions

22:38 15 May in News Updates by Larrabee

USCIS issued the following Press Release: May 15, 2018-  "USCIS has completed data entry for all fiscal year 2019 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected in our computer-generated random selection process. USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected. Due to the high volume of filings, USCIS cannot provide a definite time frame for returning unselected petitions. USCIS asks petitioners not to inquire about the status of their cap-subject petitions until they receive a receipt notice or an unselected petition is returned. USCIS will issue an announcement once all the unselected petitions have been returned. Additionally, USCIS may transfer...

USCIS Completes the H-1B Cap Random Selection Process for FY2019 – Notifications to Begin

21:14 12 April in News Updates by Larrabee

  Lottery completed:   USCIS announced that it has completed the computer-generated random selection process to select enough H-1B petitions to meet both the congressionally-mandated cap of 65,000 H-1B visas and the U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master's cap, of 20,000 H-1B visas for fiscal year (FY) 2019. Total number of cap-subject petitions received:  USCIS received at total of 190,098 H-1B petitions for the roughly 85,000 visas available during the filing window of April 2, 2018 to April 6, 2018.  This compares with 199,000 petitions in FY2018, and 236,000 in FY2017.    Selection process:    USCIS conducted the selection process for the...