MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, October 28, 2011

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Question #1 – General
What is PIMS? What is CLAIMS?

Answer #1
PIMS stands for Petition Information Management System which is an electronic report generated by the Department of State’s (DOS) Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) that collects nonimmigrant visa petition approval information from the USCIS.

CLAIMS stands for Computer Linked Application Information Management System. CLAIMS provides USCIS employees with automated support for adjudicating cases and processing various notices, among other things. CLAIMS capabilities include case tracking, status update, notice reporting, and document production.

Question #2 – H4 – Dependent Visa
My H1B visa was approved and notice sent to Consulate. My wife and child wish to come to U.S. with me. Can I apply for my wife and child during my H1B consulate interview? Please advise.

Answer #2
If the beneficiary or the beneficiary’s spouse/children are outside the United States and the beneficiary wishes to apply for a derivative visa (referred to as an H4 visa) abroad, and the H4 visa application can be made and is available on walk-in basis at the U.S. Consulate abroad along with or after the grant of the H1B approval. No other processing is required for an H4 visa abroad. Contact the consulate abroad or an Information Officer at the United States Department of State Visa Office at 202.663.1225 for the procedures or documents that may be required.

Question #3 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
How many H-1B nonimmigrant visas remain under the CAP?

Answer #3
As of October 21, 2011, there were approximately 18,800 H-1B Regular CAP subject nonimmigrant visas remaining and the H-1B Masters CAP has been reached. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree 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to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.

Question #4 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
I am a Pakistani National but was born in UAE. Should i be applying for Green Card on the basis of my country of birth or nationality?

Answer #4
It is based on country of birth, since you are not from China, India, Mexico or the Philippines, your case would fall under ‘All Chargeability Areas’ and the time period whether from Pakistan or the United Arab Emirates would be the same.

Question #5 – Family Based Immigration – Green Card
At what stage of family based green card does the priority date attach?

Answer #5
A priority date is assigned in a family based green card immigration proceeding when the I-130 petition is received by the USCIS.

Question #6 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
Has the suspension been lifted for the issuance of Prevailing wage determinations for PERM?

Answer #6
As of October 24, 2011 –
The Office of Foreign Labor Certification provided the following update to the public on its plans for becoming current on issuing prevailing wage determinations:
PERM: Week of October 23, 2011 H-1B: Week of November 6, 2011 H-2B: Week of December 18, 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. The PWD appeals are being processed as resources allow with priority being placed on becoming current on initial PWD requests in each of the respective program areas.

Question #7 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
At what stage of employment based green card does the priority date attach?

Answer #7
A priority date is assigned in an employment based green card immigration proceeding when the labor application is submitted to the Department of Labor (DOL). If no labor application is required for the preference category, then the priority date is assigned when the I-140 Immigrant Petition is received by the USCIS.

Question #8 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
We have an employee that has a U.S. Master’s degree; we noticed Masters CAP exemption was reached. Do we have to wait until next year to file for her H-1B work visa? Is there any way around this?

Answer #8
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 the USCIS has received sufficient petitions to reach the advanced degree exemption.

Question #9 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
Can you premium processing the GC process?

Answer #9
You may only premium process the I-140 Immigrant Petition, which is the petition that is filed after the labor application is certified by the Department of Labor (DOL). You cannot speed up the process of labor certification with the DOL, nor the process of adjudicating the Adjustment of Status petition with the USCIS.

Question #10 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have heard from friends and by reading the forums that the Consulates are very strict and ask for original I-797 approval notice but my employer is not willing to give me the original, they only provide me with bottom portion of original. Can I request USCIS to give me another original to take to Consulate? Is there anything I can do, I do not want rejected based on me not having original I-797 approval?

Answer #10
You do not need the entire original I-797 approval notice to schedule/attend a Consulate interview. Consular Officers are able to verify all approved petitions through the PIMS or CLAIMS system, and therefore the I-797 original notice is not required in order to verify that the petition has been approved. Additionally, the original I-797 notice clearly provides that the bottom portion may be torn off and provided to the applicant to be used for purposes of applying for a visa at a Consulate abroad.

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 11, 2011!

Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our H1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

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