DHS Proposes Merit-Based Rule H-1B Visa Program

DHS announced a notice of proposed rulemaking, to be published in the Federal Register 12/3/18, which would add a registration requirement for cap-subject H-1B petitions, as well as propose to reverse the order by which it selects H-1B petitions under the cap and the advanced degree exempted petitions.

USCIS Now Accepting Copies of Negative O Visa Consultations Directly from Labor Unions

Effective immediately, USCIS will begin accepting copies of negative consultation letters directly from labor unions relating to a current or future O nonimmigrant visa petition request. O-1 and O-2 nonimmigrant visas are available to individuals with extraordinary ability in science, education, business, athletics, or the arts, and individuals with extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry, and certain essential support personnel. A consultation letter from a U.S. peer group, labor organization, and/or management organization is generally required for petitions in the O visa classification.

Typically, a petitioner submits the necessary O visa consultation with the petition, and that process requirement remains unchanged. Director L. Francis Cissna recently met with several labor unions to discuss concerns they had with the consultation process for O visa petitions, in particular that some advisory opinions may be falsified by petitioners and submitted to USCIS as no-objections or favorable consultations, when in fact these were negative. The labor unions will now be able to send a copy of a negative consultation letter to USCIS so that it can be compared to the consultation letter submitted to USCIS by the petitioner.

Labor unions should send copies of negative O nonimmigrant consultation letters to UnionConsultationMailbox@uscis.dhs.gov. To make sure USCIS matches the letters to the correct petitions, labor unions should include the last five digits of each beneficiary’s passport number in the consultation letters. Note that only copies of negative consultation letters should be sent to USCIS in the manner described above for O petitions.

After six months USCIS will analyze the data collected to identify areas for improvement in the consultation process. Additional information on O nonimmigrant visas is available on the O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement page.

Visa Bulletin for August 2018 Shows Backlogging/Oversubscription in EB-1 Category

OVERSUBSCRIPTION OF AUGUST 2018 EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CATEGORIES

WORLDWIDE, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, MEXICO, AND PHILIPPINES EMPLOYMENT-BASED FIRST (E1) PREFERENCE:  As readers were advised in item F of the July Visa Bulletin, there continues to be an extremely high rate of demand for E1 numbers, primarily for USCIS adjustment of status applicants. Therefore, pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, it has been necessary to impose an E1 Final Action Date for the month of August, with this date being imposed immediately. This action will allow the Department to hold worldwide number use within the maximum allowed under the FY-2018 annual limits.  

The implementation of the above mentioned dates will only be temporary, with the dates returning to Current status for October, the first month of fiscal year 2019.

USCIS Completes the H-1B Cap Random Selection Process for FY 2019

On April 11, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process to select enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally-mandated cap and the U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap, for fiscal year (FY) 2019.

USCIS received 190,098 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 2, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS announced on April 6, that it had received enough H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 and the master’s cap of 20,000. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees unless the petition is a prohibited multiple filing.

 

USCIS Reaches FY 2019 H-1B Cap

Demonstrating a critical demand for educated foreign workers in the United States, the annual H-1B cap was reached on April 6, 2018.  This is the 6th year of H-1B cap being reached within the first week of filing acceptance.  

USCIS has reached the congressionally-mandated 65,000 H-1B visa cap for fiscal year 2019.

USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap.

The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not prohibited multiple filings (PDF, 119 KB).

EB-5 Regional Center Program gets Extended (again) without Any Changes

SEC. 204. Section 610(b) of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993 (8 U.S.C. 1153 note) shall be applied by substituting “September 30, 2018” for “September 30, 2015”

This language refers back to Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993 (Public Law 102-395) Section 610 (PDF page 47), which established the regional center program. The 2018 Appropriations Act does not include the EB-5 Reform Act, or other EB-5 changes. It just extends the borrowed time until we get a good piece of EB-5 legislation.

H-1B VISA PROGRAM AND TRUMP: HOW HIGH-SKILLED IMMIGRANTS ARE BEING THREATENED BY PRESIDENT’S ADMINISTRATION

The Trump administration’s once-rumored restrictions to the H-1B visa program have begun to take effect.

They’re causing a shakeup particularly in the United States tech industry because the temporary, non-immigrant work document enables companies to hire highly skilled foreign workers in fields that require technical and theoretical expertise.

EB-5 Regional Center Program Extension

USCIS administers the EB-5 program, created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a program initially enacted as a pilot in 1992, and regularly reauthorized since then, investors may also qualify for EB-5 classification by investing through regional centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth. On February 9, 2018, the President signed Public Law 115-123; extending the Regional Center Program through March 23, 2018.

As H-1B applications get under way, foreigners face new challenges

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, introduced a bill Thursday that would vastly increase the number of H-1B visas available and ease restrictions on the issuance of green cards to foreign workers.

The bill, also sponsored by Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., would bring relief to the Bay Area’s large community of immigrants working at startups and big tech companies, many of whom rely on the H-1B visa, as well as their employers, who have quietly lobbied for years for an expansion of the program.

Congress Votes to Reopen and Temporarily Fund Government

 

Stopgap Bill to End Government Shutdown Passes Congress (January 22, 2018) and signed by Trump

Trump signed a short-term funding bill Congress passed on Monday, officially ending the three-day federal government shutdown.

The key vote came in the Senate, where most members supported a key procedural vote to let the funding bill proceed without a filibuster. The cloture vote easily cleared the 60-vote threshold with a final vote of 81 to 18. Two Republicans, Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee, voted against the measure, as did 16 Democrats.

The deal will keep the government funded until February 8, eight days earlier than the date in the House-passed funding bill that the Senate rejected on Friday.

The final bill passed in the Senate a few hours later with the same vote as the cloture measure. The delay between the cloture vote and the final vote was due to members working out language that will allow federal workers to receive back-pay for the days the government was closed, per reports.

The House then agreed to the deal, passing the measure shortly after the Senate by a vote of 266 to 150. 45 Democrats voted for the funding bill, while six Republicans crossed party lines to vote no.