Tuesday, April 16, 2013
USCIS has started the data entry process for H-1B petitions selected in the lottery. Premium processing cases are being handled first and data entry for those cases should be completed by April 15. USCIS announced on March 15, 2013, that the 15-day premium processing clock will start on April 15. (AILA Doc. No. 13031549) At the AILA Spring CLE conference on April 12, 2013, Donald Neufeld, Associate Director of the Service Center Operations (SCOPS) Directorate, informed the audience that data entry for non-premium processing cases will begin after the premium processing cases are entered. Data entry for non-premium cases will likely not be completed until sometime in May, and rejection notices for petitions not selected in the lottery will be sent out after that. Please note that when the cap was reached on the first day in 2008, USCIS did not complete data entry and issue receipt notices until late in May.
Monday, April 15, 2013
1. The Border Security "Trigger" The bill creates a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who meet certain qualifications, but applicants would need to undergo a 10-year probationary period before being eligible for a green card. The decade-long wait comes with another caveat: The federal government will need to meet certain border security benchmarks before any undocumented immigrants can receive a green card. The benchmarks? An operational border security plan, a completed border fence, a mandatory employment verification system across the country and a system to track exits at airports and seaports, according to reports in several news outlets. The border security plan would require surveillance of 100 percent of the U.S.-Mexico border and 90 percent effectiveness in border enforcement, The New York Times reported. If those goals are met, immigrants who completed the 10-year waiting period would be eligible to apply for a green card. 2. The Cut-Off Date Of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., hundreds of thousands may not be eligible for the path to citizenship being offered by the Senate, the AP reported on Friday. The bill requires that applicants prove they were in the country before December 31, 2011, the AP reported. That means anyone who arrived after that date would be excluded. There will be other requirements, too, like proving you have a clean criminal record and that you have enough job stability to stay off welfare. How the bill defines those things -- criminality and financial stability -- could decide the fate of thousands. 3. More Visas for Workers The majority of immigrants who receive legal permanent residence in the U.S. get their visas because of family ties. But the Senate bill will add a major new "merit-based" program, The New York Times reported on Thursday. Here's what will happen, according to the Times: Over a 10-year period, the government will seek to clear the backlog of 4.7 million immigrants waiting to come to the U.S. After that, the bill will create a new, merit-based visa program that will offer legal permanent residence based on work skills. At the same time, some family-based visas will be eliminated. Siblings of U.S. citizens would no longer be eligible for green cards, the documents that show legal permanent residence. The exact balance of family visas to employment visas in the Senate proposal isn't clear, but the bill would focus on bringing in more workers of all skill levels.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
AILA members are beginning to receive premium processing receipts from the VSC for FY2014 H-1B petitions that state “The Vermont Service Center will adjudicate this case within 15 calendar days of the ‘received date’ set forth above.” Members are reminded that USCIS suspended premium processing for FY2014 H-1B petitions until April 15, 2013. The USCIS notice advises “While the Form I-797 receipt notice may indicate the date that the premium processing fee is received, the 15-day processing period set by 8 CFR 103.7(e)(2) will not begin until April 15, 2013.”
The USCIS has reached the statutory H-1B cap of 65,000 for fiscal year 2014 (H-1B Regular Cap). USCIS has also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption (H-1B Masters Cap). This is the first year since FY 2008 that the cap has been reached so quickly. It is truly a shame. USCIS received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 7, 2013, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as a “lottery”) to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption limit. For cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing. CIR can not come soon enough