As of May 26, 2011, the USCIS has received approximately 13,100 Bachelor's degree petitions and 9,000 U.S. Master's degree petitions. The USCIS will continue to accept H-1B petitions for FY2012 until the quota of 65,000 Bachelor’s degree petitions and 20,000 U.S. Master’s degree petitions is met.
Beginning June 1st, the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (“ECA”) will introduce a new J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program website at http://j1visa.state.gov. The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is an educational and cultural exchange program whose objective is to foster mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and people from other countries around the world. Exchange visitor categories include secondary and college students, au pairs, camp counselors, government and international visitors, interns, physicians, professors, research scholars, teachers, trainees, specialists, and summer work travel participants. The new state-of-the-art website seeks to provide information on everything a prospective J-1 visitor will need to know, including program sponsor ship and participation information. Specifically, the site will feature the following:
• Instructions on how to participate in the Exchange Visitor Program
• Descriptions of each Exchange Visitor program category
• Testimonials from exchange participants
• Instructions on how to apply
• Videos and interactive content
For more information on the new J-1 website, see http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/05/164289.htm.
As of May 20, 2011, the USCIS has received approximately 12,300 Bachelor's degree petitions and 8,500 U.S. Master's degree petitions. The USCIS will continue to accept H-1B petitions for FY2012 until the quota of 65,000 Bachelor’s degree petitions and 20,000 U.S. Master’s degree petitions is met.
The Department of State (DOS) has announced that the results of the 2012 Diversity Lottery that were previously posted on its website have been voided as a result of a computer programming problem. By law, the selection process must be executed in a fair and random matter and the results failed to meet the selection standards. Applicants who checked the DOS website during the first week in May should disregard the results that were posted as they are no longer valid. DOS will conduct a new selection process based on the original entries for the 2012 Diversity Lottery program. Therefore, applicants who submitted a qualified entry from October 5, 2010 to November 3, 2010 will continue to have a valid entry and the confirmation number to check results on the DOS website will also remain valid. DOS anticipates results from the new selection process to be posted on their website on or about July 15, 2011. For more information, see http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/.
The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5452.html. Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current, except for India and China (Oct. 2006); EB-3 is at September 2005 for all countries, except for India (April 2002), China (May 2004), and Mexico (Dec. 2004); EB-3 other workers is at November 2003 for all countries, except India (April 2002), China (April 2003); EB-4, religious workers, EB-5, and targeted employment areas and regional centers are all current. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at August 2007.
As of May 13, 2011, the USCIS has received approximately 11,200 Bachelor's degree petitions and 7,900 U.S. Master's degree petitions. The USCIS will continue to accept H-1B petitions for FY2012 until the quota of 65,000 Bachelor’s degree petitions and 20,000 U.S. Master’s degree petitions is met.
On May 13, 2011, USCIS launched I-9 Central, a new online resource that provides helpful information on Form I-9, Employee Eligibility Verification. U.S. employers are required to verify the identity and employment authorization on Form I-9 for all employees regardless of their immigration status. The new online resource will guide employers and employees on how to properly complete Form I-9, including information about employer and employee rights and responsibilities, step-by-step guidance in completing the form, and valid forms of identity and employment authorization documents. I-9 Central will also address common mistakes and how to correct them, as well as troubleshoot employers’ questions. Other additional resources include USCIS’ recently updated “Handbook for Employers: Instructions for Completing Form I-9 (M-274),” free webinars on completing Form I-9, and E-Verify Self Check, an on-line service that allows workers to check their own employment eligibility status. For more information on I-9 Central, see www.uscis.gov/I-9central.
On May 12, 2011, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) published an expanded list of science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) degree classifications. F-1 students with STEM designated degrees are eligible for a 17 month extension of optional practical training (OPT). To be eligible for the OPT extension, the student must have received a degree included on the STEM-Designated Degree Program List. The last version of the list was published in April 2008 and the newly revised list with the additions indicated in bold print can be found at http://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/stem-list-2011.pdf.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is offering a podcast on the subject of the new “Export Control” licensing determination required on H-1B, L-1, and O-1A petitions. An employer is now required to certify on Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, that it has reviewed the U.S. export control regulations, specifically the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and determined whether it will require a U.S. government export license to release controlled technology or technical data to the foreign worker. If the petitioner determines a license is required, the company must further certify that it will not release or allow access to the controlled technology or technical data until it has received the necessary license or authorization.
The podcast will feature AILA member Tien-Li Loke-Walsh and Abby Walsh, CEO of True Compliance Group, who will discuss the following main points: the company/organization classification and license determination, including best practices and procedures, timelines, common issues for immigration practitioners and key issues for hi-tech or software companies. The podcasts are short, informative audio files that are available exclusively to AILA members. For membership information, see www.aila.org.