Posted On: June 27, 2012

Update on Visa Bulletin Priority Dates and Demand

American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and Department of State (DOS) recently held a meeting that included a discussion regarding visa demand in the employment preference categories and predictions for FY2012 and FY2013. The following are the notes from that meeting:

• In October 2012 (beginning of the 2013 fiscal year), the EB-2 cut-off dates for China-Mainland born and India, which are currently "unavailable," will move to August or September 2007 (China may be slightly better). It is unlikely that the cut-off dates will move forward at all between October 2012 - March 2013.

• EB-2 worldwide will be current again in October 2012 when the fiscal year opens.

• If USCIS approves many pending cases during the month of June, the worldwide EB-2 category may retrogress or become unavailable in August 2012 and September 2012.

Posted On: June 15, 2012

DHS Announces Deferred Action Process to Select Young Individuals

Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that a certain class of young individuals will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, explained as follows: “Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner. But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”
Those eligible for consideration are individuals who came to the U.S. as young children and who meet the following criteria:

· Be 15-30 years old, and have entered before age 16;
· Have been present in the U.S. for 5 years as of June 15, 2012;
· Have maintained continuous residence;
· Have not been convicted of one serious crime or multiple minor crimes, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and
· Be currently enrolled in high school, graduated or have a GED, or have enlisted in the military.

Those who meet the above criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization. Although this rule is effect immediately, USCIS and ICE anticipate implementation of the application processes to be within sixty days. In the meantime, for more information on the new policy, see USCIS’s website (at www.uscis.gov), ICE’s website (at www.ice.gov), or DHS’s website (at www.dhs.gov). Beginning June 18, 2012, you can also call USCIS’ hotline at 1-800-375-5283 or ICE’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 regarding the process.

Posted On: June 15, 2012

DHS Announces Deferred Action Process to Select Young Individuals

Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that a certain class of young individuals will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, explained as follows: “Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner. But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”
Those eligible for consideration are individuals who came to the U.S. as young children and who meet the following criteria:

· Be 15-30 years old, and have entered before age 16;
· Have been present in the U.S. for 5 years as of June 15, 2012;
· Have maintained continuous residence;
· Have not been convicted of one serious crime or multiple minor crimes, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety; and
· Be currently enrolled in high school, graduated or have a GED, or have enlisted in the military.

Those who meet the above criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization. Although this rule is effect immediately, USCIS and ICE anticipate implementation of the application processes to be within sixty days. In the meantime, for more information on the new policy, see USCIS’s website (at www.uscis.gov), ICE’s website (at www.ice.gov), or DHS’s website (at www.dhs.gov). Beginning June 18, 2012, you can also call USCIS’ hotline at 1-800-375-5283 or ICE’s hotline at 1-888-351-4024 regarding the process.

Posted On: June 12, 2012

FY2013 H-1B CAP Reached June 11, 2012

On June 11, 2012, USCIS announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the FY2013 H-1B cap. On June 7, 2012, USCIS also received enough H-1B petitions to meet the additional 20,000 cap for individuals with U.S. Master's degrees. Any FY2013 cap petitions received after June 11, 2012 will therefore be rejected and returned with the filing fee.

USCIS will continue to accept H-1B petitions that are cap-exempt, including beneficiaries employed at institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations. Additionally, USCIS will continue to accept H-1B cases that are not subject to the numerical cap, including the following petitions:


• H-1B extension of status.;
• H-1B change of employer;
• H-1B amendments; and
• H-1B concurrent employment.

Posted On: June 12, 2012

July 2012 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The new visa bulletin is out at this link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5733.html. The biggest change reflected is the July visa bulletin is in the EB-2 category where there is a cut-off date of January 1, 2009 for all countries, except for China and India where it remains "unavailable." It is anticipated that the EB-2 category may become entirely "unavailable" in August and September and visa numbers may not become available again until the beginning of FY2013, i.e. October 1, 2012. Meanwhile, the EB-3 category is expected to advance 5 weeks in July for all countries, 6 weeks for China, and 1 week for India. Individuals, other than India and China-mainland born nationals, who have approved labor certification applications and are eligible for EB-2 classification, are advised to file their immigrant petitions and adjustment of status applications by the end of June before the July visa bulletin goes into effect. Specifically, the July visa bulletin cut-off dates are as follows:


Employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is at January 1, 2009 for all countries, except for India and China for which visas are currently unavailable; EB-3 is at July 22, 2006 for all countries, except for India (Sept. 22, 2002), China (Sept. 22, 2005), and Philippines (June 8, 2006); EB-3 other workers is at July 22, 2006 for all countries, except India (Sept. 22, 2002), China (June 15, 2003), and Philippines (June 8, 2006); 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 February 15, 2010 for F2A (spouses and children under 21 of lawful permanent residents) and the longest queue for F4 Philippines (brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens) of February 1, 1989.

Posted On: June 4, 2012

FY2013 H-1B Cap Close to Being Reached!

As of June 1, 2012, USCIS has received approximately 55,600 H-1B petitions towards the 65,000 cap and approximately 18,700 petitions towards the 20,000 cap for applicants with U.S. advanced degrees. Based on the current rate of H-1B cap filings, it is anticipated that the FY2013 cap may be reached any day now. We advise that H-1B cap cases be submitted immediately in order to secure an H-1B number.

For assistance in filing an H-1B petition, please contact our office.