Friday, March 30, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

TPS for Syria

SUMMARY: Through this notice, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announces that the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) has designated the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for a period of 18 months, effective March 29, 2012 through September 30, 2013. Under section 244(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (Act), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1), the Secretary is authorized to grant TPS to eligible nationals of designated foreign states or parts of such states (or to eligible aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in such states) upon finding that such states are experiencing an ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent nationals from returning in safety.

This designation allows eligible Syrian nationals (and aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Syria) who have both continuously resided in and been continuously physically present in the United States since March 29, 2012 to be granted TPS. This notice also describes the other eligibility criteria applicants must meet.

Individuals who believe they may qualify for TPS under this designation may apply within the 180-day registration period that begins on March 29, 2012. They may also apply for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) and for travel authorization. In this notice, DHS also sets forth the procedures for nationals of Syria (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Syria) to apply for TPS and EADs with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

DATES: This designation of Syria for TPS is effective on March 29, 2012 and will remain in effect through September 30, 2013. The 180-day registration period for eligible individuals to submit TPS applications begins March 29, 2012, and will remain in effect through September 30, 2013.

For further information on TPS, including guidance on the application process and additional information on eligibility, please visit the USCIS TPS Web page at You can find specific information about this designation of Syria for TPS by selecting ``TPS Designated Country--Syria'' from the menu on the left of the TPS Web page.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

TPS announced for Syria

Secretary Napolitano announced that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will be extended to eligible Syrian nationals as of March 29, 2012. Please join USCIS officials in a discussion about TPS and other relief measures available to Syrian nationals in the United States.
While we welcome the participation of all interested stakeholders, we are particularly interested in hearing from those who engage frequently with the Syrian community in the United States in order to share information about the TPS registration process and respond to questions or concerns you may have.

H-1bs season ready to go

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 cap on Monday April 2, 2012. Cases will be considered accepted on the date that USCIS takes possession of a properly filed petition with the correct fee. USCIS will not rely upon the date that the petition is postmarked.

The congressionally mandated numerical limitation on H-1B petitions for FY 2013 is 65,000. Additionally, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap.
USCIS will monitor the number of petitions received and will notify the public of the date on which USCIS received the necessary number of petitions to meet the H-1B cap. If the number of applications received exceeds the numerical cap, USCIS will randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit from the pool of petitions received on the final receipt date. USCIS will reject cap-subject petitions that are not selected, as well as those received after the final receipt date.
Petitions for new H-1B employment are exempt from the annual cap if the beneficiaries will work at institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations. Petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who will work only in Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are exempt from the cap until December 31, 2014. Employers may continue to file petitions for these cap-exempt H-1B categories seeking work dates starting in FY 2012.
Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap also do not count towards the congressionally mandated H-1B cap. Accordingly, USCIS will continue to process FY 2012 petitions filed to:
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extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States; change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers; allow current H-1B workers to change employers; or allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
H-1B petitioners should follow all statutory and regulatory requirements as they prepare petitions to avoid delays in processing and requests for evidence. USCIS has developed detailed information, including a processing worksheet, to assist in the completion and submission of FY 2013 H-1B petitions.

Friday, March 16, 2012

India and China visas to retrogress again

On March 16, 2012, at the AILA Midwest Regional Conference in Chicago, Charlie Oppenheim, Chief, Visa Control and Reporting at DOS, informed participants that he will likely retrogress India and China-mainland born Employment-Based Second Preference priority dates to around August 2007, effective with either the May or June 2012 Visa Bulletin. He also advised that he projects that all EB-1 visas available in FY2012 will be used this year, resulting in no "spilldown" to EB-2.