Posted On: July 20, 2009

President Obama Changes Tone of Immigration Reform Discussion

According to a June 25th press release out of Washington DC, President Obama has indicated that he and his administration aim to change the dynamics and tone of the immigration debate. The President, Vice President Biden, and several crucial cabinet members met with Republicans and Democrats from Congress to discuss immigration reform philosophies and solutions, after which the Obama administration released a statement that described the discussion as the “launch” of a new kind of political approach. The President said that the immigration debate has long been characterized by “overheated rhetoric and demagoguery on all sides” and that he intends to set a more responsible course.

President Obama also announced the formation of a high profile working group to consider the problems associated with immigration. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has been tasked to lead this group and to work with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to arrive at practical, non-ideological solutions. A spokesman for the Immigration Policy Center lauded the President’s refocusing of the debate, saying that “the public should be reassured that we are finally moving forward in a genuine bipartisan fashion on comprehensive immigration reform.”

Obviously, it remains to be seen whether the Obama administration’s aggressive push to change the timbre of the debate will bear fruit. But reactions from various camps have thusfar generally been positive. Even ideological opponents of the President’s agenda appeared taken aback by his inclusive approach to problem solving.

Posted On: July 20, 2009

H-1B Count Updated By USCIS For Fiscal Year 2010

According to official channels, United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) has received 44,900 H-1B cap-subject petitions as of the 10th of July 2009. The agency plans to continue accepting petitions for both advanced degree and cap subject applications until statutory limits have been reached. It remains to be seen how fiscal year 2010’s numbers will compare to numbers from the last several years.

Posted On: July 20, 2009

Attention I-140 Immigration Petitioners and Beneficiaries: USCIS Change Allows Resumes Use Of Premium Processing Service

The United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that starting June 29th, the agency will once again offer premium processing services for alien workers applying for immigration via form I-140. Pursuant to 8 CFR 103.2(f)2, this rule change aims to eliminate backlog for I-140 form processing and speed up adjudication over these petitions.

Who can use this premium processing service, and who cannot?

Many visa petitioners can take advantage of this service. Those who can include:

• EB-1 aliens with extraordinary ability
• EB-1 outstanding professors and researchers
• EB-2 members of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability (who are not concurrently applying for a national interest waiver)
• EB-3 professionals
• EB-3 skilled workers
• EB-3 workers other than skilled workers and professionals.

Immigrants who cannot use this premium processing service include:

• EB-1 multinational executives and managers
• EB-2 members of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability (who ARE applying for a national interest waiver)

New rules and standards for premium processing service

The program works as follows. Qualified petitioners will pay a $1000 processing fee to USCIS. The agency then has 15 calendar days to process the application. At the end of that time, USCIS must respond by doing one of the following:

• Submitting an approval notice
• Submitting an intend-to-deny notice
• Submitting a request for more evidence
• Opening an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation

If USCIS does not respond in any one of the above ways, the petitioner will get his or her $1,000 fee refunded, and the application will be processed as quickly as possible. There is a dedicated premium processing email and phone hotline.