Reminder - DHS Extends Eligibility for EAD to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses – 5/26/15

May 22, 2015

Reminder: USCIS will begin accepting employment authorization (EAD) applications from certain H-4 dependent spouses on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 – qualified H-4 nonimmigrants should start the process as soon as possible. Please note that EAD applications CANNOT be filed until May 26th.

USCIS Director León Rodríguez announced on Tuesday, February 24th, that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR), effective May 26, 2015.

Finalizing the H-4 employment eligibility was one of President Obama’s key elements in his immigration executive actions announced last November.

Eligible individuals include certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who:
• Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
• Have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act (i.e., an extension of H1B status beyond the 6th year).

The H4 EAD is not limited, nor restricted; the H4 spouse may use the EAD to work anywhere realistically speaking.

Generally, EAD applications are processed in 2-3 months!

The duration of the EAD will vary depending upon the status of the H-1B nonimmigrant, it will be valid for one (1) to three (3) years, as each case is case specific and will depend upon the primary H1B nonimmigrant’s eligibility for the underlying H-1B extension.

USCIS will begin accepting applications on May 26, 2015. Once USCIS approves Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and the H-4 dependent spouse receives the physical Employment Authorization Document (EAD), he or she may begin working in the United States

For further details please read the USCIS news release linked below.

To discuss your eligibility, contact an Immigration Attorney.

Note: EAD applications CANNOT be filed until May 26, 2015.


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, 2/24/15, News Release:
DHS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants Seeking Employment-Based Lawful Permanent Residence

federalregister.gov, 2/25/15, Final Rule:
Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses

USCIS Temporarily Suspends Premium Processing for Extension of Stay H-1B Petitions

May 21, 2015

USCIS announced that they will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B Extension of Stay petitions as of Tuesday, May 26, 2015. This suspension will last until Monday, July 27, 2015.

During this temporary suspension period, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, requesting an extension of the stay for an H-1B nonimmigrant.

If you filed an H1B Extension of Stay petition with premium processing before the May 26th suspension date, the USCIS will still process your request.

For more information about this subject, please review the USCIS News Alert, “USCIS Temporarily Suspends Premium Processing for Extension of Stay H-1B Petitions”.

**This temporary suspension will allow USCIS to use more of its workforce to rapidly implement the H-4 EAD final rule. Please review MVP Law Group’s blog post, “DHS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses” for more detailed information.

Note: Premium processing remains available for all other Form I-129 H-1B petitions!


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, 5/19/15, News Alert:
USCIS Temporarily Suspends Premium Processing for Extension of Stay H-1B Petitions

AILA.org, 5/19/15, AILA Doc No. 15051970:
USCIS Alert: Premium Processing Temporarily Suspending for H-1B Extensions


Related Links on MVP Law Group’s Immigration Blog:

DHS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses

Reminder - DHS Extends Eligibility for EAD to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses – 5/26/15

BALCA Upholds Denial for Failure to Investigate Applicant’s Qualifications

May 20, 2015

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently affirmed the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Industrial/Organizational Psychologist.”

After receiving & reviewing an Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO issued an Audit notification. The Employer presented its response and the CO issued a Notification of Supervised Recruitment. A few weeks later, the Employer sent a copy of the proposed job advertisement as well as a copy of the foreign worker’s Master’s degree and school transcripts. In response, the CO requested a signed sworn statement and documentation that explains why training is not realistic to meet the requirements for the particular position. The Employer responded with the required documents. The CO sent the Employer the resumes it had received from advertising. Two months later, the Employer submitted its recruitment report and accompanying records.

Upon review of the recruitment report, the CO denied certification of the labor application. He stated the Employer turned down qualified U.S. job applicants for “non-lawful job-related reasons.” The CO believed there were at least three fitting candidates for the job opening that were refused because the Employer believed they did not meet the minimum requirements. In his denial, the CO cited the Employer’s statement on the ETA Form 9089, “will accept any suitable combination of education, training and experience.”

The Employer requested reconsideration of the denial arguing none of the three job applicants were even slightly qualified for the available position. They also submitted a statement from their Vice President explaining why the applicants were not suitable. The CO sent the case to BALCA. He believed one of the applicants, a U.S. Worker, was able and qualified for the position. The CO thought the Employer should have investigated his qualifications to demonstrate honest recruitment practices.

After BALCA’s examination of the case, BALCA sided with the CO. BALCA thought the applicant had a broad range of experience, training and education. Since the Employer listed their “willingness to accept any suitable combination of education, training or experience,” the Board found the Employer inappropriately excluded the job applicant without further investigation.

Adopting Children Affected by the Earthquake in Nepal

May 19, 2015

USCIS is warning U.S. citizens that they must follow inter-country adoption procedures before legally adapting a child from Nepal! The country of Nepal was devastated by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit on April 25, 2015 and another magnitude 7.3 that hit on May 12, 2015.

Before a child may immigrate from Nepal to the United States, USCIS must determine that the child qualifies as an “orphan” under the immigration laws of the United States, and that the adoptive parents are capable of providing proper care. Also the Nepali authorities must determine whether the child can be legally adopted under their country’s laws. The USCIS will consider each case individually before making a final determination.


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, 5/12/15, News Alert:
Children Affected by the Earthquake in Nepal

USCIS.gov, 5/13/15, Web Page:
Adoption Information: Nepal

Department of State, 5/1/15, Notice:
Notice: Children Affected by the Earthquake in Nepal

Updated Service Center Processing Times

May 18, 2015

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 5/12/15 with processing dates as of 3/31/15.

If you filed a petition with one of the Service Centers, please review the links below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.


California Service Center (CSC)

National Benefits Center (NBC)

Nebraska Service Center (NSC)

Texas Service Center (TSC)

Vermont Service Center (VSC)

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO)


**Please be aware that the data provided above is approximately 45 days old at the time of posting.

If your petition is out-side of the normal range listed, contact USCIS (1-800-375-5283).

If you are a client of MVP Law Group and would like our assistance please contact our office.

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, May 15, 2015

May 15, 2015

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Question #1 – H1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
Is the USCIS finished with the acceptance process for the FY2016 Cap? My future employer filed my case and we still have not received a notification that my case was accepted.

Answer#1
According to the USCIS, on Monday, May 4, 2015 they completed the data entry of all Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 H-1B cap- subjected petitions that have been selected randomly through the computer generated process. USCIS will begin returning all H-1B petitions that were not selected but because of the large amount received; the return time frame is unknown. They also ask that petitioners not contact them until they have received a receipt notice or had their unselected petition returned. *USCIS will announce when all the unselected petitions have been returned.

For more information, please check out our Blog Post on the Subject: USCIS Completes Data Entry of FY 2016 H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions


Question #2 – General
Are there any type of restrictions on a Conditional Green Card? Once I get my green card, can I travel out of the country?

Answer #2
A conditional green card is only granted for a period of two years. Within 90 days of the expiration of the two year anniversary period, you must file to remove those conditions (Form I-751) with the USCIS, or risk losing conditional green card status and being deported. With a conditional green card, you may travel outside of the U.S.; however, you should limit your trips abroad to less than one (1) year to avoid any abandonment issues, unless you have applied for a re-entry permit.


Question #3 – Form I-485, Adjustment of Status Petition
What are the filing fees for the I-485 application? I would like to file an EAD and AP as well.

Answer#3
The USCIS filing fee for Form I-485 is $985.00, plus an $85 biometrics fee (total = $1070.00) for people ages 14-78. For children under 14 & applying with at least one (1) parent = $635.00. For children under 14 and NOT applying with at least one (1) parent = $985.00. For people 79 or older = $985.00.

No additional fee is required to also file an application for employment authorization on Form I-765 and/or advance parole on Form I-131.


Question#4 – Change of Address (Form AR-11)
My family and I are in the process of moving to a new home this summer. How do I notify the USCIS of this change? I have a pending I-485 for myself, my wife and child.

Answer#4
To notify the USCIS of any address change for any pending cases, the process consists of two (2) steps:

Step1: File Form AR-11 (online OR by mail)
AND
Step 2: Change your address on any pending or recently approved applications or petitions (online OR by phone at 1-800-375-5283)


Question#5 - General
Can I change my employer once I receive my Green Card or is there a waiting period?

Answer #5
Our recommendation is that you wait at least six (6) months after receiving your green card before changing employers.

Question #6 – H1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
What is the minimum time period for which an H1B visa can be issued? Can it be less than 3 years? If yes, what is the minimum number of years for which my employer can sponsor me for a visa?

Answer #6
It depends. I’ve seen H1B approvals for the entire three (3) year period, and cases approved for only two (2) months. You should speak with an Immigration Attorney concerning your circumstances.


Question #7 – Employment Based Immigration
I have an approved I-140 in the EB-3 category. My new employer wants to file an application for me in the EB-2 category. Can I make the switch if I believe I am qualified?

Answer#7
If the employer offers you the position, and you are able to satisfy the minimum education and experience requirements for the position, you should be able to make the switch and petition to recapture the earlier priority date at the I-140 stage.


Question #8 – H1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
Do non-profit organizations follow the same guidelines/rules for filing H-1B cases?

Answer #8
No. H-1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education (or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities), a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization are not subject to the numerical cap. In other words, if a nonprofit research organization wants to employ a qualified H1B specialty occupation worker in the middle of June, they may petition the USCIS directly, and do not have to wait for the annual April 1, H1B CAP to open.


Question #9 – Family Based Immigration
As a Lawful Permanent Resident, can I file an I-130 petition for my family members?

Answer #9
It depends upon your relationship to that family member. As an LPR, you may only petition on behalf of your spouse, your children, and your unmarried sons and daughters (21 and older). An I-130, Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative will need to be filed for each qualifying family member.


Question #10 – L1 Intracompany Transferee Work Visa
How long can one stay in the US on an L-1A visa?

Answer#10
If the L1A recipient is coming to open a new office in the U.S., the initial L1A visa will only be valid for a period of one (1) year. The recipient will then have to petition the USCIS for an extension of stay in L1A status. The max limit in L1A nonimmigrant visa status is seven (7) years.


MVP Law Group would like to thank everyone who contributed a question or comment.

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, May 29, 2015!

Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our H1B Visa Lawyer blog!

Reminder - DHS Extends Eligibility for EAD to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses – 5/26/15

May 14, 2015

Reminder: USCIS will begin accepting employment authorization (EAD) applications from certain H-4 dependent spouses on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 – qualified H-4 nonimmigrants should start the process as soon as possible. Please note that EAD applications CANNOT be filed until May 26th.

USCIS Director León Rodríguez announced on Tuesday, February 24th, that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR), effective May 26, 2015.

Finalizing the H-4 employment eligibility was one of President Obama’s key elements in his immigration executive actions announced last November.

Eligible individuals include certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who:
• Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
• Have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act (i.e., an extension of H1B status beyond the 6th year).

The H4 EAD is not limited, nor restricted; the H4 spouse may use the EAD to work anywhere realistically speaking.

Generally, EAD applications are processed in 2-3 months!

The duration of the EAD will vary depending upon the status of the H-1B nonimmigrant, it will be valid for one (1) to three (3) years, as each case is case specific and will depend upon the primary H1B nonimmigrant’s eligibility for the underlying H-1B extension.

USCIS will begin accepting applications on May 26, 2015. Once USCIS approves Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and the H-4 dependent spouse receives the physical Employment Authorization Document (EAD), he or she may begin working in the United States

For further details please read the USCIS news release linked below.

To discuss your eligibility, contact an Immigration Attorney.

Note: EAD applications CANNOT be filed until May 26, 2015.


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, 2/24/15, News Release:
DHS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants Seeking Employment-Based Lawful Permanent Residence

federalregister.gov, 2/25/15, Final Rule:
Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses

Visa Bulletin - June 2015

May 13, 2015

The Department of State has released its latest Visa Bulletin.

Click here to view the May 2015 Visa Bulletin

As projected by the U.S. Department of State, the June 2015 Visa Bulletin shows the EB2 date for nationals from India moved from 4/15/08 to 10/1/08; the EB3 date for nationals from India made a small movement from 1/15/04 to 1/22/04; the EB2 for Chinese Nationals moved from 6/1/12 to 6/1/13; the EB3 for Chinese Nationals moved from 5/1/11 to 9/1/11; and EB3 for WW moved from 1/1/15 to 2/15/15; and the F2A category moved from 9/1/13 to 10/1/13, except Mexico which stayed at 8/8/13. The F2A category is reserved exclusively for Spouses and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of green card holders (LPRs).


*The priority date is current if there is no backlog in the category, or if the priority date is on or before the date listed as current in the State Department's monthly Visa Bulletin.

**”All Chargeability Areas except Those Listed”, includes all other countries except: China, India, Mexico and Philippines.

USCIS Teleconference - National Spanish-Language Engagement (Enlace) – 5/20/15

May 12, 2015

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will be presenting a national Spanish language Enlace session. ENLACE stands for ENgaging LAtino Communities for Education and it will take place on Wednesday, May 20, 2015, from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm (EST).

The Enlace session will include the following:
- USCIS agency updates;
- Discussion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA);
- Questions and Answers.

Event Information:
DATE: Wednesday, May 20, 2015
TIME: 3:30pm to 5:00pm (EST)

To join the teleconference, please follow the steps below:
Toll-free call-in number: 1-888-982-7293
Passcode: DACA

To submit possible questions:
Via Twitter to @USCIS_es
Via Email to OPE-Live@uscis.dhs.gov

Note: If you would like to learn more about USCIS resources available in Spanish, please visit http://www.uscis.gov/es.


Source of Information:

- Enlace: A Conversation with USCIS
- USCIS Invitation - Enlace (English).pdf
- USCIS Invitation - Enlace (Spanish).pdf

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, May 15, 2015

May 11, 2015

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, DREAMers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications, etc., please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, May 15, 2015. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

USCIS Alerts Nepali Nationals to Available Immigration Relief Measures

May 8, 2015

USCIS has released a News Alert highlighting some of the available immigration relief measures that may assist eligible Nepali nationals. The country of Nepal was devastated by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit on April 25, 2015.

Immigration relief measures that may be available upon request include:
• Change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even if the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;
• A grant of re-parole;
• Expedited processing of advance parole requests;
• Expedited adjudication and approval, where possible, of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
• Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate;
• Consideration for waivers of fees associated with USCIS benefit applications, based on an inability to pay; and
• Assistance replacing lost or damaged immigration or travel documents issued by USCIS, such as Permanent Resident Cards (green cards).

Note: To learn more about how USCIS can provide assistance to immigrants living in country’s with Special Situations, please visit the link http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/special-situations or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 (TDD for the hearing impaired: 1-800-767-1833).


Source of Information:
USCIS.gov, 5/5/15, News Alert:
Immigration Relief Measures for Nepali Nationals
USCIS.gov, 5/1/15, Web Page:
Special Situations

Related Link:
New York Times, Article:
Nepal, Before and After the Earthquake

Impact of New Americans (2015) - Mississippi, Missouri & South Carolina

May 7, 2015

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets (2015)

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the United States (Overall), for a total of fifty-two updated fact sheets with accompanying info graphics and other details. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. continues the discussion of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be a good time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on three states at a time. This week we will highlight; Mississippi, Missouri & South Carolina.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Mississippi
Missouri
South Carolina

Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), Interactive Map (fact sheets):
The Economic and Political Impact of Immigrants, Latinos and Asians State by State

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), List (fact sheets):
The Economic and Political Impact of Immigrants, Latinos and Asians in all 50 States