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June 2017 Department of State Visa Bulletin

The visa bulletin is out at this link: June 2017 Visa Bulletin

For the Application Final Action Dates, employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries except China and India (January 1, 2012); EB-2 remains current for all countries except India (July 1, 2008) and China (March 1, 2013); EB-3 is at April 15, 2017 for all countries except India (May 15, 2005), China (October 1, 2014), and the Philippines (May 1, 2013); EB-3 other workers is at April 15, 2017 for all countries except India (May 15, 2005), China (July 15, 2006), and the Philippines (May 1, 2013); EB-4 and religious workers are current for all countries except Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (July 15, 2015); EB-5 non-regional and regional centers are current for all countries except China (June 8, 2014). Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at August 15, 2015 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) November 22, 1993.

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The visa bulletin is out at this link: May 2017 Visa Bulletin

For the Application Final Action Dates, employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current for all countries except India (June 22, 2008) and China (February 8, 2013); EB-3 is at March 15, 2017 for all countries except India (March 25, 2005), China (October 1, 2014), and the Philippines (January 1, 2013); EB-3 other workers is at March 15, 2017 for all countries except India (March 25, 2005), China (March 8, 2006), and the Philippines (January 1, 2013); EB-4 is current for all countries except Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (July 15, 2015); religious workers’ numbers are unavailable; EB-5 non-regional centers are current for all countries except China (June 1, 2014); and EB-5 regional centers’ numbers are unavailable. Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at July 15, 2015 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) October 15, 1993.

For the Date for Filing, employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries except India (February 1, 2009) and China (October 1, 2013); EB-3 is current for all countries except India (April 22, 2006), China (September 1, 2015), and the Philippines (July 1, 2014); EB-3 other workers is current for all countries except India (April 22, 2006), China (June 1, 2008), and the Philippines (July 1, 2014); EB-4 and religious workers are all current; and EB-5 non-regional centers and regional centers are current for all countries except China (September 1, 2014; both non-regional centers and regional centers). Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at April 8, 2016 for F2A (spouses and children under 21 of lawful permanent residents) and the longest queue for F3 Philippines (brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens) of February 1, 1995.

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The Justice Department cautioned employers filing H-1B petitions not to discriminate against U.S. workers. The warning came as the federal government began accepting employers’ H-1B visa petitions for the next fiscal year. The H-1B visa program allows companies in the United States to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations such as science and information technology. The antidiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) generally prohibits employers from discriminating against U.S. workers because of their citizenship or national origin in hiring, firing and recruiting. Employers violate the INA if they have a discriminatory hiring preference that favors H-1B visa holders over U.S. workers. “U.S. workers should not be placed in a disfavored status, and the department is wholeheartedly committed to investigating and vigorously prosecuting these claims” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Civil Rights Division. Applicants or employees who believe they have been discriminated against based on their national origin, citizenship or immigration status can contact the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section. The IER can be reached via email at IER.usdoj.gov and via phone at 1-800-255-8155.

For further information: http://www.aila.org/infonet/doj-cautions-employers-seeking-h-1b-visas

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UCSIS recently announced that it will restructure the focus of H-1B site visits. The H-1B visa is an employment based visa in which the employer petitions USCIS to grant lawful status for the purposes of work on the behalf of the employee. These visas help employers recruit foreign nationals in an effort to compensate for the lack of domestic supply of qualified and skilled workers. Enforcement officers will be looking at the following key points with in hopes of reducing H-1B abuse by employers:

  • Cases where employer information is not easily verifiable via commercially available data
  • High ratio of H-1B workers in comparison to U.S. workers
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The visa bulletin is out at this link: April 2017 Visa Bulletin.

For the Application Final Action Dates, employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current for all countries except India (June 22, 2008) and China (January 15, 2013); EB-3 is at February 15, 2017 for all countries except India (March 24, 2005), China (August 15, 2014), and the Philippines (September 15, 2012); EB-3 other workers is at February 15, 2017 for all countries except India (March 24, 2005), China (March 1, 2006), and the Philippines (September 15, 2012); EB-4 is current for all countries except Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (July 15, 2015); religious workers are all current except Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (July 15, 2015); EB-5 non-regional and regional centers are current for all countries except China (May 22, 2014).  Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at June 8, 2015 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) September 8, 1993.

For the Date for Filing, employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries except India (April 22, 2009) and China (March 1, 2013); EB-3 is current for all countries except India (July 1, 2005), China (May 1, 2014), and the Philippines (September 1, 2013); EB-3 other workers is current for all countries except India (July 1, 2005), China (August 1, 2009), and the Philippines (September 1, 2013); EB-4 and religious workers are all current; and EB-5 non-regional centers and regional centers  are current for all countries except China (June 15, 2014).  Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at November 22, 2015 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 April 1, 1994.

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As of Monday March 27, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed that there will be a random lottery for the H-1B cap cases for Fiscal Year 2018. If during the period of April 3-7, 2017, enough petitions are received to reach the 65,000 statutory H-1B cap and the 20,000 cap for petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption, a lottery will be conducted. As in the past, a random computer selection will first be carried out for those petitions submitted under the 20,000 master’s cap exemption. Any petitions not selected for the master’s cap will then be included in the random selection process for the 65,000 regular cap.

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Starting April 3, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions for a period of up to 6 months. During this suspension of H-1B premium processing, USCIS will reject any Forms I-907 filed with an H-1B petition. Submission of combined checks for both the Form I-907 and Form I-129 H-1B fees will result in the rejection of both forms. The USCIS will notify the general public when premium processing for H-1B petitions will resume.

The suspension is applicable to any and all H-1B petitions (both the FY18 H-1B regular cap and master’s cap) filed on/after April 3. The temporary suspension of premium processing also applies to cap-exempt petitions.

The USCIS will continue premium processing of Form I-129 H-1B petitions if an associated Form I-907 was filed before April 3, 2017.

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Effective December 23, 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will increase the fees required for most immigration applications and petitions.  Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016, must include these new fees or USCIS will reject the submission.

Here is a partial list of common forms with fee increases:

  • Form N-400, Application for Naturalization from $595 to $640
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The visa bulletin is out at this link: November 2016 Visa Bulletin.

For the Application Final Action Dates, employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 remains current for all countries except India (November 1, 2007) and China (July 15, 2012); EB-3 is at July 1, 2016 for all countries except India (March 8, 2005), China (April 15, 2013), and the Philippines (April 1, 2011); EB-3 other workers is at July 1, 2016 for all countries except India (March 8, 2005), China (September 1, 2005), and the Philippines (April 1, 2011); EB-4 is current for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (July 15, 2015); religious workers are all current except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (July 15, 2015); EB-5 non-regional and regional centers are current for all countries except China (March 8, 2014). Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at January 22, 2015 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) May 8, 1993.

For the Date for Filing, employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 remains current for all countries; EB-2 is current for all countries except India (April 22, 2009) and China (March 1, 2013); EB-3 is current for all countries except India (July 1, 2005), China (May 1, 2014), and the Philippines (September 1, 2013); EB-3 other workers is current for all countries except India (July 1, 2005), China (August 1, 2009), and the Philippines (September 1, 2013); EB-4 and religious workers are all current; and EB-5 non-regional centers and regional centers are current for all countries except China (June 15, 2014). Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at November 22, 2015 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 April 1, 1994.

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Based on the recently released guidance from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), individuals who hold nonimmigrant visas in the U.S. are likely to face severe consequences if arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or a related offense. Earlier this year, DOS made public all unclassified content in its policy manual for DOS and its officers. According to its policy manual, DOS “has the authority to prudentially revoke a visa on the basis of a potential [health-related ground of] ineligibility” when DOS receives notification of “an arrest or conviction of driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, or similar DUI arrests/convictions that occurred within the previous five years.”

Please contact our office if you plan to travel internationally using a nonimmigrant visa and have been arrested or convicted for a DUI or a related offense. Please also contact our office if you have any questions.

For more information, please visit the following website.