Articles Posted in General

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On June 22, 2020, The President signed a Proclamation suspending and limiting the entry of any individual seeking entry pursuant to the following nonimmigrant visas:

  1. an H-1B or H-2B visa, and any individual accompanying or following to join such individual;
  2. a J visa, to the extent the individual is participating in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel program, and any individual accompanying or following to join such individual; and
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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will resume premium processing for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, in phases over the month of June.

Here are the dates and types of cases for which Premium Processing can be requested.

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Immigrants have long enlisted in all branches of the U.S. military, beginning with the Revolutionary War. According to an article published by Migration Policy Institution (MPI), a leading institution in the field of migration policy and a source of authoritative research and analysis, the current number of veterans who were born outside the United States stands at approximately 530,000, representing 3 percent of all 18.6 million veterans nationwide. We would like to provide this article from MPI that provides information on the population of immigrant veterans in the United States.

Please contact immigrationinfo@cornerlaw.com if you have any questions.

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Immigrants make up significant shares of the U.S. workforce in a range of industries. As workers, business owners, taxpayers, and neighbors, immigrants are an integral part of the country’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

We would like to provide this fact sheet from the American Immigration Council (AIC) that highlights key facts about the current state of  U.S. immigration. AIC is a nonprofit organization and advocacy group that advocates for immigrants to the United States. Please find AIC official website here.

Please contact immigrationinfo@cornerlaw.com if you have any questions.

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U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on May 6, 2020, that it recently migrated to Microsoft 365 and that, as of April 24, it is unable to receive and answer emails sent to e-verify@dhs.gov and i-9central@dhs.gov.

Per USCIS’s notice, if you sent an email to these addresses on or after April 24 and have not received a response within 48 hours, please resend your message to the email addresses below:

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The visa bulletin is out at this link: March 2020 Visa Bulletin

Employment-based preferences must use the Dates of Filing chart. The employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 is current for all countries except China (October 1, 2017) and India (March 15, 2017); EB-2 is current for all countries except China (August 1, 2016) and India (July 1, 2009); EB-3 is January 1, 2019, for all countries except China (March 1, 2017) and India (February 1, 2010); EB-3 Other Worker is January 1, 2019, for all countries except China (August 1, 2008) and India (February 1, 2010). EB-4 is current for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (August 15, 2016); Religious Worker visas are current for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (August 15, 2016); EB-5 non-regional centers are current for all countries except China (December 15, 2015); EB-5 regional centers are current for all countries except China (December 15, 2015).

Family-based petitions are backlogged, however, the F2A category is current in the Final Action Dates. USCIS says that applicants in the F2A category may file using the Final Action Dates Chart for March 2020.

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According to Bloomberg Law, a case pending in federal district court could put a stop to USCIS’ practice of issuing of H-1B approvals that are only valid for several weeks or months despite requests for full three year validity that is allowed for H-1B petitions.

For approximately two years USCIS has been issuing H-1B approvals to information technology consulting companies that allow workers to remain in H-1B status for only a few weeks or months at a time. USCIS’ February 2018 policy requires consulting and staffing companies to submit itineraries detailing their H-1B employees’ work for the entire length of time requested on their petitions. If an employer can’t provide the full itinerary for the requested three year period, USCIS can shorten the validity of the petition to correspond with how much future work those companies can show.

Members of the IT consulting industry say the practice is causing them to lose business and thousands of dollars in filing and attorneys’ fees to request multiple H-1B extensions during the year. They also say it’s impossible to know exactly what a worker will be doing years into the future.

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On December 13, 2019 USCIS expanded its policy guidance regarding unlawful acts that may prevent an applicant from meeting the good moral character (GMC) requirement for naturalization.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), an applicant for naturalization must establish GMC. The commission of, or conviction or imprisonment for, an unlawful act, during the statutory period for naturalization, may render an applicant ineligible for naturalization should the act be found to adversely reflect on moral character. The statutory period is generally five years for permanent residents of the United States, three years for applicants married to a U.S. citizen, and one year for certain applicants applying on the basis of qualifying U.S. military service.

Previously, the USCIS Policy Manual did not include extensive information about unlawful acts. The update to the Policy Manual provides additional examples of unlawful acts, more detailed instructions for USCIS adjudicators, and further identifies unlawful acts that may affect GMC based on judicial precedent.

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The visa bulletin is out at this link: December 2019

Employment-based petitions must use the Dates for Filing chart. The employment-based categories are as follows: EB-1 is current for all countries except China (September 1, 2017) and India (March 15, 2017); EB-2 is current for all countries except China (August 1, 2016) and India (July 1, 2009); EB-3 is current for all countries except China (March 1, 2017) and India (February 1, 2010);  EB-3 other workers is current for all countries except China (August 1, 2008) and India (February 1, 2010); EB-4 and religious worker visas are current for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico (August 15, 2016); and EB-5 non-regional centers and regional centers are current for all countries except China (May 15, 2015). Family based petitions must use the Dates for Filing chart.  Family based petitions are backlogged, with the most recent date at October 1, 2019 for F2A (spouses and children under 21 of lawful permanent residents) and the longest queue for Mexico F4 (brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens) at January 1, 1999.

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The federal judge presiding over a court case that challenges United Sates Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) policy regarding unlawful presence calculations for student visa holders, has issued an injunction permitting the two student plaintiffs to remain in the U.S. so that they can continue to participate in the case.

The case, Guilford College et al. v. Nielsen et al., challenges USICS’ May 2018 policy that changes how unlawful presence is calculated for foreign citizens studying in the U.S. under F student, J exchange visitor, or M vocational student status. Under the new policy, USCIS considers unlawful presence accrual to begin from the date in which a student initially falls out of status, rather than from the date when USCIS formally concludes that there has been a violation and notifies the student.

According to the legal news service Law 360, the policy “could carry heavy penalties for students who inadvertently or unknowingly accrue unlawful status including re-entry bars after 180 days of unlawful presence that would prevent the students from returning to the U.S. again for years.”

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