Posted On: November 29, 2011

Alternatives to the H-1B Visa for Individuals who did not make the FY2012 H-1B Quota

Now that all of the new H-1B visas for the 2012 Fiscal Year have been allocated, What options do Employers who are looking to hire Foreign National Professionals have?

Here are some creative solutions to this problem:

O-1 Visa
The O-1 visa is suited for individuals of extraordinary ability or achievement. The O classification is a useful and flexible alternative to the H-1B program because there is no overall limit on time in the classification and there is no cap. O-1 beneficiaries in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics must have extraordinary ability “demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim.”

E-3 Visa
The E-3 visa classification is limited to Australian Professionals. The E-3 visa is a “specialty occupation” visa similar to the H-1B visa. Therefore to be eligible for the visa, the Australian citizen must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher (or its equivalent) in the specialty and the specialty occupation must require the degree. There is a 10,500 annual limit on the E-3 visa.

L-1 Visa
The L-1 visa is an option for international organizations with offices in the United States who transfer employees to the United States for temporary periods of time. In order to be eligible for an L-1 visa, the petitioning entity must prove that the beneficiary of the visa has worked for the non-U.S. based sister company/subsidiary for at least one full year within the last three years as an executive, manager or employee with specialized knowledge.

H-1B Visa for FY2013
WAIT for the H-1B FY2013 Quota. The H-1B FY2013 Quota will open on April 1, 2012 with employment beginning on October 1, 2012. 65,000 visas are annually allocated to foreign nationals who possess a bachelor’s degree or higher (or its equivalent) in the specialty and the specialty occupation must require the degree. We can begin to prepare cases for the annual quota now; however, no cases will be filed with the USCIS towards the CAP until after April 1, 2012.

Contact MVP Law Group for more information!

Posted On: November 28, 2011

AILA Recognizes H-1B Cap Reached; Recommends Changes to System

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) commented on Wednesday’s announcement from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year 2012 since the filing window opened on April 1st this year.

“During a time when job creation is the nation’s number one priority, why are we still fiddling around with an outmoded quota system that ignores the importance of immigrants to the economic engine?” said AILA President Eleanor Pelta.

“The marketplace dictates the pace and type of demand by business for specialized workers. To be more competitive globally, we really should be smarter about our high skilled visa distribution so that it is related to market needs instead of pinned to a static limit that was determined by Congress in the last decade,” continued Pelta. “Congress needs to be working on ways to make the visa system work for fueling the economy. The status quo is no longer acceptable.”

H-1B petitions are filed by U.S. employers seeking to hire a specific foreign national in a specialty occupation involving the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge (such as the sciences, medicine and health care, education, biotechnology). The numerical limitation on H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2012 is 65,000. Additionally, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of aliens who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap.

MVP Law Group agrees wholeheartedly with AILA's President Eleanor Pelta's recommendation to change the current system!

Source of Information: "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11231102 (posted Nov. 23, 2011)"

Posted On: November 25, 2011

USCIS Reaches Fiscal Year 2012 H-1B Cap

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced November 23, 2011 that it received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year (FY) 2012.

USCIS notified the public that November 22, 2011 is the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions for FY2012. USCIS will reject cap-subject H-1B petitions that arrive after November 22, 2011.

To find out about alternatives to H-1B visas, please stay posted to MVP Law Group's H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog!!

Posted On: November 25, 2011

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, November 25, 2011

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. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.


Question #1 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
Any H-1B visas left?

Answer #1
As of November 18, 2011, there were approximately 3,200 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas remaining and the H-1B Masters CAP has been reached. USCIS will continue to accept cap-subject petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn. Petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who have obtained a U.S. master’s degree or higher will be counted against the regular cap once USCIS has received sufficient petitions to reach the advanced degree exemption.


Question #2 – Family Based Immigration – Green Card
Can I bring siblings with me to the United States when I apply for a green card?

Answer #2
Siblings (Brothers/sisters) are considered a family based preference category and would have to ‘wait in line’ to come to the United States once an Immigrant Petition is first filed on their behalf by a sponsoring relative. Therefore, no your siblings cannot accompany you to the United States when you apply for a green card.


Question #3 – General
If my visa was denied, can I apply again? If so, how soon can I apply again?

Answer #3
Yes, you can apply again, but you should consider the grounds (reasons) for denial of the visa prior to applying again. If you are able to overcome the grounds for denial then maybe you should consider re-applying. We would recommend that you speak with an experienced Immigration Lawyer before re-applying to further discuss your specific situation.


Question #4 – Family Based Immigration – Green Card
I am a US legal permanent resident with a green card, can I get divorced and keep my green card?

Answer #4
It depends. How did you become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), through employment or marriage? If through employment, you should be able to obtain a divorce and legally keep your green card. If through marriage, it depends upon how long you have already been an LPR. If you are still a GC holder within the first two years of marriage, you will have to file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence and if you do not, you will be removed. If you are still married, the petition should be filed jointly by you and the spouse through whom you obtained conditional status. However, you may apply for a waiver of this joint filing requirement if: (a) you entered the marriage in good faith, but your spouse subsequently died; (b) you entered the marriage in good faith, but the marriage was later terminated due to divorce or annulment; (c) you entered the marriage in good faith and have remained married, but you have been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse; or (d) the termination of your status and removal would result in extreme hardship. You will have to provide proof of your reason for applying for the waiver.


Question #5 – General
Will a criminal offense prevent me from becoming a lawful permanent resident in the United States?

Answer #5
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) recognizes three categories of crimes that can place a non-citizen at risk of deportation or prevent a non-citizen from ever becoming a lawful permanent resident. (1) Aggravated felonies are the most serious crimes and are specifically defined by statute in the INA. Because of the sentence imposed by the state criminal court, some common misdemeanor crimes can be considered aggravated felonies for immigration purposes. These crimes include theft and crimes of violence. For both of these crimes a non-citizen can be placed in deportation proceedings and deported from the United States, if the person is sentenced to more than one-year imprisonment, including any suspended time. A “crime of violence” is a term vaguely defined by the United States Code and could include convictions for assault in the fourth degree and felony driving under the influence. (2) Crimes of moral turpitude are the second category of crimes that can impact a non-citizen’s ability to remain in the United States. Generally, a crime of moral turpitude is defined as a crime that encompasses a base or vile act. Although the case law interpreting the term is not entirely uniform, the following types of crimes have been held to involve moral turpitude: crimes (felonies or misdemeanors) in which either an intent to defraud or an intent to steal is an element; crimes (felonies or misdemeanors) in which there is an element of intentional or reckless infliction of harm to persons or property; felonies, and some misdemeanors, in which malice is an element; sex offenses, in which some “lewd” intent is an element. Thus, murder, rape, voluntary manslaughter, robbery, burglary, theft, arson, aggravated forms of assault, forgery, prostitution and shoplifting have all been consistently held to involve moral turpitude. (3) A third category of crimes specifically listed in the INA may either trigger deportation or prevent a non-citizen from attaining lawful permanent resident status. Crimes included in this category include violations of any law relating to a controlled substance, domestic violence convictions, judicial determinations of protective order violations and convictions under any law of purchasing, selling, using or possessing a firearm or destructive device.


Question #6 – General
I am on H-1B, just filed I-485, with my pending I-485, can I invest in stocks?

Answer #6
Yes, as an H-1B nonimmigrant, you may own real estate property; you may also invest money in stocks, bonds and mutual funds.


Question #7 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
My husband’s petition for nonimmigrant I129 was returned to USCIS for review. It has been 4 months since USCIS received the petition from DOS. How long will we wait for the reaffirmation?

Answer #7
There is no set period of time for the USCIS to review a case that has been returned to them by the Department of State (DOS). The USCIS commonly provides the following response when you request information concerning a case returned to them from a U.S. Consulate: The Petitioner for Non-Immigrant Worker Form I-129 was returned to this office from a U.S. Consulate and is currently pending review. Our office processes these cases as our resources and priorities allow. I would recommend following up with the USCIS National Customer Service Center, 1-800-375-5283 every thirty days to see if any decision has been made. I would wait 6 months before initiating a Service Request with the USCIS.


Question #8 – General
I have to travel to India during the months of February and March 2012…do I have wait for Advance parole to process (How long does it take to approve I-131?) or take appointment at an Indian consulate
a. Do we have to do anything to expedite the process?
b. Since I will be in the midst of green card processing, does the process jeopardize my visa stamping (if my I-131 is not approved by that time)

Answer #8
a. You cannot expedite the process unless you are traveling for medical reasons, death, etc. The processing time is currently 2-3 months for an approval of the I-131. You can only receive the Advance Parole (AP) document while in the U.S., you cannot receive it at an Indian consulate.
b. The GC and the H-1B are two entirely different programs – GC for permanent residency; H-1B for temporary employment. As long as you have a valid underlying H-1B visa and you continue to be employed by the H-1B sponsor, you may still travel on the H-1B visa if your AP is not approved by the time of your intended travel.


Question #9 –H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
I'm currently on F-1 (OPT), and the company I work for just started the process to sponsor me an H-1B visa on 11/18/2011. My OPT will expire in June 2012. I wonder if my H-1B petition will be denied given that my mother filed the I-130 for me in 2009 and I have a family member who is a US citizen. Thanks for your assistance.

Answer #9
Your H-1B petition should not be denied because your mother previously filed an I-130 petition for you or for the mere fact that you have a family member who is a U.S. Citizen.


Question #10 – General
Any update on prevailing wage determinations from the Department of Labor?

Answer #10
The Office of Foreign Labor Certification has provided the following update to the public on the issuing of prevailing wage determinations:

PERM: Became current the week of October 23, 2011
H-1B: Became current the week of November 6, 2011
H-2B: Anticipated becoming current the week of November 27, 2011

“Current” carries a different meaning in each program. A prevailing wage determination is “current” in the PERM and H-1B programs when it is issued within 60 days of submission. For H-2B prevailing wage determinations, “current” is within 30 days of submission in accordance with the program’s regulations. These dates may be subject to change based on actions not anticipated by the Department at this time, such as any additional judicial determinations or legislative actions. PWD appeals (redeterminations and Center Director Reviews) are being processed as resources allow, with priority placed on becoming current on initial PWD requests in each of the respective program areas.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, December 9, 2011!

Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyer blog.

Posted On: November 24, 2011

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

MVP Law Group would like to wish all of our readers a warm & wonderful Thanksgiving!

Posted On: November 22, 2011

LATEST UPDATE: H-1B FY2012 CAP COUNTS

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has updated the count of H-1B petitions received and counted towards the 65,000 cap.

As of November 18, 2011, 61,800 H-1B Regular CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 65,000 cap.

As of November 18, 2011, 20,000 H-1B Masters Degree CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 20,000 cap.

Petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who have obtained a U.S. master’s degree or higher will be counted against the regular cap once USCIS has received sufficient petitions to reach the advanced degree exemption.

*USCIS will continue to accept H-1B petitions until a sufficient number of petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.

Stay tuned to MVP Law Group for FY 2012 H-1B CAP updates!

Posted On: November 21, 2011

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, November 25, 2011

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, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, 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, November 25th, 2011. 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. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Posted On: November 17, 2011

LATEST UPDATE: H-1B FY2012 CAP COUNTS

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has updated the count of H-1B petitions received and counted towards the 65,000 cap.

As of November 14, 2011, 56,300 H-1B Regular CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 65,000 cap.

As of November 14, 2011, 20,000 H-1B Masters Degree CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 20,000 cap.

Petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who have obtained a U.S. master’s degree or higher will be counted against the regular cap once USCIS has received sufficient petitions to reach the advanced degree exemption.

*USCIS will continue to accept H-1B petitions until a sufficient number of petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.

Stay tuned to MVP Law Group for FY 2012 H-1B CAP updates!

Posted On: November 16, 2011

Updated Service Center Processing Times

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on November 14, 2011 with processing dates as of September 30, 2011.

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
National Benefits Center
Nebraska Service Center
Texas Service Center
Vermont Service Center

**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.

Posted On: November 15, 2011

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, November 11, 2011

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. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.


Question #1 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
I have applied to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States, but I have a family emergency outside of the country. Will I have trouble re-entering the United States upon my return?

Answer #1
If you applied for and have a valid Advance Parole (AP) document then you should not experience any issues when re-entering the United States. Carry your advance parole document and your I-485 receipt notice as evidence of your Adjustment of Status filing. If you did not apply for Advance Parole (AP) and you have a valid H-1B nonimmigrant visa, then you should be able to re-enter as an H-1B nonimmigrant. Valid meaning an unexpired visa status and you are currently employed by the H-1B sponsoring employer.


Question #2 – Nonimmigrant Visas
What is the difference between an H-1B and an H-2B visa?

Answer #2
An H-1B is a nonimmigrant Specialty Occupation visa. Specialty Occupations are defined as those that require a theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and the attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States. The H-1B visa allows foreign workers to enter the U.S. and work in a variety of fields ranging from architecture and engineering to teaching and medicine. The H-1B visa offers a wide range of employment possibilities and is a logical first step toward permanent immigration. In order to qualify for H-1B classification, the applicant must have at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent AND the job sought must require at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. This is not a self-petitioning category; therefore the applicant must have a sponsoring employer in the U.S. The period of employment is generally for a period up to three years, and may be extended for up to six years. Extensions may be available beyond the sixth year if green card processing has been initiated on behalf of the individual.

H-2B nonimmigrant visas are available for individuals to perform nonagricultural work of a temporary or seasonal nature, if U.S. workers capable of performing such service or labor cannot be found in the U.S. This classification requires the Sponsoring Employer to conduct active recruitment to determine if U.S. workers are available to fulfill the temporary need. Nonagricultural work includes Amusement Park workers; Bellhops; Bricklayers; Cannery workers; Commercial, Industrial and Residential Cleaners;Construction workers; Cooks; Crab Meat Processors; Fishing Vessel Deckhands;Dining Room Attendants; Electricians; Fast Food Workers; Forest Workers; Game Attendants; Industrial Groundskeepers; Landscapers; Kitchen Helpers; Sales Clerks; Tree Planters and the list goes on. In order to be eligible for H-2B classification, the Employer (Petitioner) should confirm that the job is temporary, that the Department of Labor (DOL) has certified that no U.S. workers are available to perform the job, that the beneficiary’s employment in the U.S. will not harm U.S. workers, and that all requirements have been met. The employer’s need for the services or labor shall be either: (1) a one-time occurrence; (2) a seasonal need; (3) a peakload need; or (4) an intermittent need. The period of employment is generally for a period of 1 year or less, but could be for a specific one-time need of up to 3 years. The foreign national must also be able to demonstrate that they have strong ties to their home country and will return at the end of the season. Nationals from the following countries are eligible to participate in the H-2B visa program: Argentina; Australia; Belize; Brazil; Bulgaria; Canada; Child; Costa Rica; Croatia; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Ethiopia; Guatemala; Honduras; Indonesia; Ireland; Israel; Jamaica; Japan; Lithuania; Mexico; Moldova; the Netherlands; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Norway; Peru; Philippines; Poland; Romania; Serbia; Slovakia; South Africa; South Korea; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom and Uruguay. Nationals from other countries not listed above may be eligible; however, additional evidence will be required. This is not a self-petitioning category; therefore the applicant must have a sponsoring employer in the U.S.


Question #3 – General
I’ve been told that I can find my case status online. Where would I go to find out my approximate processing time?

Answer #3
The USCIS website provides case status information. You will find the case status online mechanism at www.uscis.gov on the left hand side of the screen. Use your receipt number found on Form I-797 in the upper left hand corner and enter it into the box. If you wish to determine the applicable processing time for your case, you will find a link on the USCIS website on the left hand side of the screen which reads: Processing Times, click on the link and scroll down to the bottom and find the Service Center where your case is undergoing processing. You will find the Service Center where your case was filed on Form I-797. Your Form I-797 will also display the Form type/number that was filed on your behalf in the upper right hand corner.

EAC – Vermont Service Center
SRC – Texas Service Center
WAC – California Service Center
LIN – Nebraska Service Center


Question #4 – Family Based Immigration - Green Card
Can a relative currently living in the United States legally write my affidavit of support?

Answer #4
Yes, if the relative currently living in the United States is willing and able to be a sponsor/joint sponsor and is aware of and understands the responsibilities associated with being a sponsor/joint sponsor.


Question #5 – Employment Based Immigration - Green Card
My wife and I have been working on H-1B for different employers. My employer applied for my green card in 2007 and my I-140 has been approved. My wife's H-1B term ends on Jan 2012. If she wishes to continue her employment with the same employer after Jan 2012, is she required to use her Employment Authorization Documents?

Answer #5
If she is no longer eligible to extend her H-1B nonimmigrant visa status beyond January 2012 , then yes, she will be required to utilize her Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to legally remain working.


Question #6 – Green Card
I am an Indian born citizen, but I have also attained Canadian citizenship. When I am applying for an I-485, which priority dates do I need to regard: Canada or India?

Answer #6
Country of Chargeability is determined by your country of birth. Accordingly, when applying for I-485 you would need to monitor the priority dates for India in the preference category under which your case was filed.


Question #7 – H1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Any H1B visas left under cap?

Answer #7
As of November 2, 2011, there were approximately 14,200 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas remaining and the H-1B Masters CAP has been reached. USCIS will continue to accept cap-subject petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn. Petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who have obtained a U.S. master’s degree or higher will be counted against the regular cap once USCIS has received sufficient petitions to reach the advanced degree exemption.


Question #8 – Employment Based Immigration - Green Card
What is AC21 Portability?

Answer #8
AC21 portability allows an individual to change employers while undergoing the Green Card process without having to start the process over from the beginning with a new employer. To qualify for AC21 portability, a foreign national must be the beneficiary of a certified labor application (first step of the green card process), an approved I-140 petition (second step of the green card process) and have an I-485 application (third step of the green card process) pending over 180 days. A new position which is within the “same or similar” occupational classification as listed on the certified labor application would make the applicant eligible for AC21 portability.


Question #9 – Family Based Immigration - Green Card
As a U.S. citizen, for whom can I file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative?

Answer #9
As a U.S. citizen, you may file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of the following relatives:
Immediate relatives (no annual limit/quota) - spouse; unmarried children under age 21; parents

Preference relatives (subject to priority dates/preference categories) – unmarried and married children of any age; siblings.


Question #10 – General
What is the difference between and immigrant and non-immigrant visa?

Answer #10
An immigrant visa is for individuals who intend to permanently live in the United States.

A nonimmigrant visa is for people who enter the United States on a temporary basis – whether for tourism, business, temporary work or study. Once a person has entered the United States in a nonimmigrant visa status, they are restricted to the activity or reason for which they were granted entry.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, November 25, 2011!

Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyer blog.

Posted On: November 14, 2011

DECEMBER 2011 VISA BULLETIN

The Department of State has released its latest Visa Bulletin.

Click here to view the December 2011 Visa Bulletin.

The December 2011 Visa Bulletin still shows employment based third preference (EB-3) visas as oversubscribed while the employment based second preference (EB-2) is current for all areas of chargeability except for China and India.

There has been significant forward movement in the EB-2 category for the past 3 visa bulletin issues. We have received some reliable information from Charles Oppenheim, Chief, Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division, DOS, that the upcoming advancement of the cutoff dates in EB-2 for India and China will advance again for the next several bulletin issues. We hope that the trend continues.

**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.

Posted On: November 9, 2011

Administrative Appeals Office Processing Times

The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of November 1, 2011.

If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The current processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is 22 months; for an I-129 L1 Appeal - 23 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is 31 months; for an I-140EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 35 months.

**Most other cases are within USCIS' processing time goal of 6 months or less.

Posted On: November 8, 2011

LATEST UPDATE: H-1B FY2012 CAP COUNTS

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has updated the count of H-1B petitions received and counted towards the 65,000 cap.

As of November 2, 2011, 50,800 H-1B Regular CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 65,000 cap.

As of November 2, 2011, 20,000 H-1B Masters Degree CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 20,000 cap.

Petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who have obtained a U.S. master’s degree or higher will be counted against the regular cap once USCIS has received sufficient petitions to reach the advanced degree exemption.

*USCIS will continue to accept H-1B petitions until a sufficient number of petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.

Stay tuned to MVP Law Group for FY 2012 H-1B CAP updates!

Posted On: November 7, 2011

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, November 11, 2011

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, AZ SB1070, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications or the debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, 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, November 11th, 2011. 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. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Posted On: November 3, 2011

Round-Up of Immigration Related Legislation (August-October 2011)

The following immigration-related bills were introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate in August 2011-October 2011 and summarized below by AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association):

Senate Bills

S. 1506
Introduced by Sen. Rubio (R-FL) on 8/2/11
Prevents the Secretary of the Treasury from expanding United States bank reporting requirements with respect to interest on deposits paid to nonresident aliens.

S. 1545
Introduced by Sen. Inhofe (R-OK) on 9/13/11
Designates Taiwan as a visa waiver program country under INA Section 217(c).

S. 1576
Introduced by Sen. Landrieu (D-LA) on 9/19/11
Measures the progress of relief, recovery, reconstruction and development efforts in Haiti following the earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010, and for other purposes.

House Bills

Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act of 2011 (HR 2730)
Introduced by Rep. Bass (D-CA) on 8/1/11
Better enables State child welfare agencies to prevent human trafficking of children and serve the needs of children who are victims of human trafficking.

H.R. 2763
Introduced by Rep. McDermott (D-WA); Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) on 8/1/11
Extends by two years the special rule relating to eligibility for benefits under the supplemental security income program for certain aliens and victims of trafficking. Amends section 402(a)(2)(M) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.

H.R. 2771
Introduced by Rep. Rivera (R-FL) on 8/1/11
Amends Public Law 89-732 to increase to 5 years the period during which a Cuban national must be physically present in the United States in order to qualify for adjustment of status to that of a permanent resident

Doctors for Underserved Areas in America Act (H.R. 2805)
Introduced by Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) on 8/5/11
Amends Section 220 of the Immigration and Nationality Technical Corrections Act of 1994 to make the section permanent.

Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011 (H.R. 2830)
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-NJ) on 8/30/11
Authorizes appropriations for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.

H.R. 2831
Introduced by Rep. Rivera (R-FL)on 8/30/11
Amends Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act to make ineligible for adjustment of status under Section 1 individuals who return to Cuba after admission or parole into the U.S.

American Specialty Agriculture Act (H.R. 2847)
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-TX) on 9/7/11
Establishes a H-2C nonimmigrant visa for an alien having residence in a foreign country which he or she has no intention of abandoning and who is coming temporarily (10-month maximum per contract period) to the United States to perform agricultural services, including the pressing of apples for cider on a farm. Requires an employer or employer association to file an H-2C petition.

Compassionate Visa for Medical Treatment Act (H.R. 2878)
Introduced by Rep. Cohen (D-TN) on 9/9/11
Amends INA with respect to temporary admission of nonimmigrant aliens for the purpose of receiving medical treatment.

Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 2885)
Introduced by Rep. Smith (R-TX) on 9/12/11
Makes mandatory and permanent requirements for use of E-Verify for employment verification.

Legal Agricultural Workforce Act(H.R. 2895)
Introduced by Rep. Lungren (R-CA) on 9/12/11
Amends INA to provide for a temporary agricultural worker program.

Chinese Media Reciprocity Act of 2011(H.R. 2899)
Introduced by Rep. Rohrabacher (R-CA) on 9/12/11
Establishes a reciprocal relationship between the number of visas issued to state-controlled media workers in China and in the U.S.

Immigration Backlog Reduction Act of 2011(H.R. 2952)
Introduced by Rep. Hunter (R-CA) on 9/15/11
Provides for expedited removal of certain aliens.

Senior Citizenship Act of 2011 (H.R. 2957)
Introduced by Rep. Nadler (D-NY) on 9/15/11
Amends INA to exempt certain elderly persons (75+ years; 5 years as LPR) from demonstrating an understanding of the English language and the history/government of the United States as a requirement for naturalization. The bill also permits other elderly persons (65+ years; 5 years LPR) to take the history and government examination in a language of their choice.

Restoring Protection to Victims of Persecution Act (HR 2981)
Introduced by Rep. Stark (D-CA) on 9/21/11
Amends the INA to eliminate the 1-year deadline for application for asylum in the United States.

Illegal Immigration Sentencing Uniformity Act of 2011 (HR 2991)
Introduced by Rep. Culberson (R-TX) on 9/21/11
Disapproves of a certain sentencing guideline amendment submitted by the United States Sentencing Commission, and for other purposes.

Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act (HR 3012)
Introduced by Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT) on 9/22/11
Eliminates the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants, and increases the per-country numerical limitation for family-sponsored immigrants.

SSI Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Act of 2011(H.R. 3083)
Introduced by Rep. McDermott (D-WA) on 10/3/11
Extends eligibility period for supplemental security income benefits for refugees, asylees, and certain other humanitarian immigrants.

Protecting American Families and Businesses Act of 2011(H.R. 3119)
Introduced by Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) on 10/6/11
Amends the INA to remove the per-country limitation on employment-based immigrant visas and adjusts the per-country limitation on family-sponsored immigrant visas.

Student Visa Reform Act (H.R. 3120)
Introduced by Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) on 10/6/11
Amends the INA to require accreditation of certain educational institutions for purposes of a nonimmigrant student visa.

H.R. 3162
Introduced by Rep. Alexander (R-LA) on 10/12/11
Prohibits the Secretary of Labor from implementing certain rules relating to employment of aliens described in section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Illegal Alien Crime Reporting Act of 2011 (H.R. 3168)
Introduced by Rep. Jones (R-NC) on 10/12/11
Prohibits the payment of funds to a state under any program by DHS unless the state 1. compiles statistics on persons arrested, charged, convicted or incarcerated, including immigration status and country of origin; 2. reports such statistics monthly to the FBI; and 3. certifies compliance with requirements of this Act.

Source: "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11110234 (posted Nov. 2, 2011)"

Posted On: November 2, 2011

Updated List: SEVP Approved Schools as of October 31, 2011

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently updated the list of Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) approved schools. The schools listed have all been certified to participate in the program.

The program allows foreign students interested in obtaining an education in the United States to complete a visa petition, pay the required fee, attend a visa interview at a U.S. Consulate, and enroll in a U.S. College or University.

Interested Foreign students: There is a process in obtaining a student visa, but it is not a difficult one. The student must first obtain Form I-20 from the U.S. College or University from which he/she intends to enroll, pay the required visa fee (Form I-901) and contact a local U.S. Consulate/Embassy to schedule an interview. The SEVP procedures differ among U.S. Consulates/Embassies; contact your U.S. Consulate/Embassy NOW to determine its particular procedure on applying for a visa before planning for the interview.

Interested Schools: There is a separate process to obtain F & M Certification. Authorized school officials must obtain and complete Form I-17. An overview of the SEVP Certification process can be found on the ICE website. If approved, the school will be certified and allowed to issue Form I-20 to qualifying foreign students.

If you need assistance or an explanation of the SEVP/student visa, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.

Posted On: November 1, 2011

LATEST UPDATE: H-1B FY2012 CAP COUNTS

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has updated the count of H-1B petitions received and counted towards the 65,000 cap.

As of October 28, 2011, 49,200 H-1B Regular CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 65,000 cap.

As of October 28, 2011, 20,000 H-1B Masters Degree CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 20,000 cap.

Petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who have obtained a U.S. master’s degree or higher will be counted against the regular cap once USCIS has received sufficient petitions to reach the advanced degree exemption.

*USCIS will continue to accept H-1B petitions until a sufficient number of petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.

Stay tuned to MVP Law Group for FY 2012 H-1B CAP updates!