News Updates

News Regarding FY2017 H-1B Cap

23:14 04 January in News Updates, Uncategorized by Larrabee

April 1, 2016 marks the opening date of the filing window for H-1B petitions seeking a FY2017 (10/1/16 to 9/30/17) cap or quota number. USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions for the 2017 H-1B cap starting Friday, April 1, 2016. The H-1B quota limitations are as follows: Regular cap (Bachelor's degree): 58,200 Regular cap, Citizen of Chile: 1,400 Regular cap, Citizen of Singapore: 5,400 Master's cap (Master's degree or higher from a U.S. University): 20,000 Background: You may recall that for the past three years the H-1B quota was met as soon as the filing window opened on April 1st, triggering the lottery provision. This provision requires...

Breaking News: STEM OPT Update

22:35 19 October in News Updates by Larrabee

Breaking News:  DHS Issues Proposed Rule "Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students with STEM Degrees and Cap-Gap Relief for All Eligible F-1 Students" Today the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") issued an Advance Copy of proposed rulemaking related to F-1 students with STEM degrees, as well as cap-gap relief for all eligible F-1 students.   DHS issued this Rule on the deadline under the Administrative Procedures Act to allow for the Rule to take effect prior to February 2, 2016, thereby preventing the possible termination of STEM OPT work authorization on that date.  Among other significant changes, the Proposed Rule...

The 2017 Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Entry Period to Open on October 1, 2015

23:09 30 September in News Updates by Larrabee

The 2017 Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Online Entry Period will begin at Noon ET on October 1, 2015, and will end at Noon ET on November 3, 2015. Applicants may access the eligibility requirements, instructions for application, and FAQs for the 2017 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program at: http://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/Diversity-Visa/DV-Instructions-Translations/DV-2017-Instructions-Translations/DV-2017%20Instructions%20and%20FAQs.pdf The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (also known as the Green Card 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...

Certain Applicants without a Current Priority Date to become Eligible to File for Adjustment of Status Beginning October 2015

22:25 09 September in News Updates by Larrabee

This information is likely of interest to foreign national employees who are pursuing U.S. permanent residence (a green card) through adjustment of status. Certain Applicants without a Current Priority Date to become Eligible to File for Adjustment of Status Beginning October 2015 The October Visa Bulletin includes a positive development that will benefit quota backlogged immigrant visa (i.e. greencard) applicants. The Visa Bulletin will now contain two charts: The first chart lists the "current" priority dates, which are the dates when applicants become eligible to receive a greencard.   Employment- Based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA - mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 1st C C C C C 2nd C 01JAN12 01MAY05 C C 3rd 15AUG15 15OCT11 08MAR04 15AUG15 01JAN07 Other Workers 15AUG15 01JAN06 08MAR04 15AUG15 01JAN07   A new second...

Restrictions on California Notaries Completing Form I-9

18:09 14 August in News Updates by Larrabee

Restrictions on California Notaries Completing Form I-9 U.S. employers are required by law to verify the identity and employment authorization of each individual they hire after November 6, 1986 by completing Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The employee must complete Section 1 of Form I-9 attesting that he or she is a U.S. citizen or national, a lawful permanent resident, or an alien authorized to work in the United States. The employee must present documentation to the employer establishing identity and employment authorization by choosing from the documents listed on the "Lists of Acceptable Documents." The employer is obligated, after physically examining the...

Current DOL Policies and the Challenges of the Prevailing Wage

15:03 11 August in News Updates by Larrabee

We have been seeing many of our clients struggle with the prevailing wage requirement which applies to both nonimmigrant categories and to the green card process. This is largely due to the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) current policies surrounding this area. H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3 Nonimmigrant Categories and the Labor Condition Application (LCA) The employer is required to pay the foreign national employee a base salary which is at least the prevailing wage or the actual wage [i] (whichever is higher). In the nonimmigrant context, the wage the employer is required to pay the foreign national employee is certified by the...

Immigrant Visas: August 2015 Priority Dates and Predictions of Future Visa Availability

14:59 11 August in News Updates by Larrabee

IMMIGRANT VISAS  PRIORITY DATES AND PREDICTIONS OF FUTURE VISA AVAILABILITY   Each month, the U.S. Department of State publishes its Visa Bulletin, in which it establishes cut-off dates in each immigration category, for each nationality.  The recently released Visa Bulletin for August 2015 shows a minor advancement of the cut-off date for EB-2 China, while EB-3 China is hit with a 7 year retrogression.     WHAT IS A PRIORITY DATE?                             PRIORITY DATES/ IMMIGRANT VISA AVAILABILITY AS OF AUGUST 1, 2015: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/law-and-policy/bulletin/2015/visa-bulletin-for-august-2015.html   PREDICTIONS OF FUTURE VISA AVAILABILITY  Courtesy of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).  AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14071401 (posted July 14, 2015).  The information below is based on...

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for H-1B Extensions

15:21 15 July in News Updates by Larrabee

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Extension of Stay H-1B Petitions On July 13, 2015 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that it will resume accepting Premium Processing requests for H-1B extensions and H-1B change of employer petitions which include a request for extension of status, effective immediately. USCIS had suspended premium processing for the above petitions from May 26, 2015 to July 27, 2015 to address the additional workload created by the new H-4 EAD filings.  However, the agency reports that it monitored its workloads and has determined it can resume accepting premium requests earlier than anticipated. Please note that a premium...

6/25/15 UPDATE re: Technical problems with U.S. Passport and Visa Issuance

20:24 26 June in News Updates by Larrabee

Dept. of State technical problems with U.S. passport and visa issuance Closer to resolution worldwide Status as of June 25, 2015 -- The Bureau of Consular Affairs reports that 165 posts, representing more than 85 percent of our nonimmigrant visa demand worldwide, are now online and issuing visas. Posts overseas issued more than 82,000 visas on June 24. -- Posts overseas have issued more than 238,000 non-immigrant visas this week. For context, if systems had been operating normally, posts would have issued approximately 540,000 visas since the outage started. -- The Bureau of Consular Affairs will continue to bring additional posts online until connectivity with...