USCIS REACHES FY 2017 H-1B CAP

In a surprise to no-one, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap of 85,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2017. As in the last few years, USCIS will use a computer-generated process (H-1B lottery) to randomly select H-1B petition “winners”. The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions. USCIS’ press release indicates that it cannot yet determine when it will conduct the random selection process. USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing no later than May 11, 2015. International workers who are working in the U.S. on an H-1B visa with another cap-subject employer are not subject to H-1B cap. These cases are commonly referred to as “H-1B transfer” cases and may be filed at any time throughout the year. Likewise, H-1B extensions and amendments are also not subject to the H-1B cap. MU Law recently posted a blog on alternatives to the H-1B cap, which you can access...

AUGUST 2015 VISA BULLETIN

The Department of State has just released the August 2015 Visa Bulletin. This is the eleventh Visa Bulletin of the 2015 Fiscal Year. The bizarre retrogression of the Philippines EB-3 continues. Although the July Visa Bulletin showed that Philippine EB-3 was unavailable, this month shows a date: June 1, 2004. This means that there are a few available visas for this fiscal year. Please read our blog post from May 19 for deeper analysis on the state of the Philippine EB-3. All Other EB-3 is essentially current, with a date of July 15, 2015. This is great news for all EB-3s, other than Philippine, China, and India. India EB-2 remained at October 1, 2008. On the other hand, India EB-3 leapt ahead. It is now at June 2004. China EB-2 improved another two and a half months to December 15, 2013 and EB-3 remained at September 1, 2011. The story was much different for China EB-3, which retrogressed back to 2004. Just a few months ago, China EB-3 had actually progressed further than EB-2. There is now a nearly ten year gap between these two categories. Employment- Based All Other CHINA – mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 1st C C C C C 2nd C 15DEC13 1OCT08 C C 3rd 15JUL15 01JUN04 01JUN04 15JUL15 01JUN2004 The Visa Bulletin also included this notice: D. CHINA-MAINLAND BORN EMPLOYMENT THIRD, AND THIRD OTHER WORKER VISA AVAILABILITY There was an extremely large increase in applicant demand reported for consideration in the determination of the August cut-off dates. Therefore, it has been necessary to retrogress the Employment Third, and Third Other Worker cut-off dates to hold number use within the FY-2015 annual limit. Every effort will be made to return those categories to the previously announced July cut-off dates as quickly as possible under the FY-2016 annual limits. Those limits will take effect October 1,...

JULY 2015 VISA BULLETIN

The Department of State has just released the July 2015 Visa Bulletin. This is the tenth Visa Bulletin of the 2015 Fiscal Year. The retrogression of the Philippines EB-3 continues. To insure that no Philippine EB-3 visas are issued, the Department of State has made the Philippine EB-3 number Unavailable. This means that no Philippine EB-3 visas can be issued this fiscal year. The next fiscal year starts on October 1, 2015. This cannot be good news, although MU still believes that the dates will progress with the start of FY 2016. Please read our blog post from May 19 for deeper analysis on the state of the Philippine EB-3. India EB-2 remained at October 1, 2008. India EB-3 only moved up one week to February 1, 2004. All Other EB-3 moved ahead two months to April 15, 2015, which is also the date for Mexico’s EB-3. China EB-2 improved another five months to October 1, 2013 and EB-3 remained at September 1, 2011. Employment-Based All Other China – Mainland Born India Mexico Philippines 1st C C C C C 2nd C 01OCT13 1OCT08 C C 3rd 15APR15 01SEP11 01FEB04 01APR15...

REMINDER: H-4 EADs CAN BE FILED 5/26

Earlier this year USCIS announced that the long-awaited H-4 EAD rule will go into effect on May 26, 2015. The full regulation was also published. We are still awaiting a FAQ from USCIS, which was promised in the spring. An MU Law FAQ is at the end of this blog post. Under the new H-4 EAD rule, the H-4 spouse may obtain an EAD card in two instances. (1) Either the principal H-1B worker has to have had a PERM Application pending for at least one year or (2) the principal H-1B worker has to have an approved I-140. H-4 spouses who meet one of the two conditions may file an I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Ordinarily, I-765 Applications are approved in 90-120 days. Accordingly, H-4 spouses who qualify should be able to begin working in September 2015. Musillo Unkenholt H-4 FAQ Can I file before May 26, 2015? No. The USCIS will not accept EAD applications until May 26, 2015. How long will it take the USCIS to process the EAD Application? Traditionally EAD Applications take 90-120 days until approval. Can I work upon the filing of the EAD Application? No. The EAD must be approved? Who qualifies for the new H-4 EAD card? Certain H-4 spouses may file for the new H-4 EAD. Children who hold H-4 status are ineligible for the EAD. Which H-4 spouses may file for an EAD? In order to decide if you qualify for the H-4, we must look to the underlying H-1B status holder. The USCIS elected to apply the rule first set forth in Section 106 of AC21. The H-1B worker must either: A. Hold an approved I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. The approved I-140 does not need to be from his present employer; or B. Have a priority date that is at least one year old. A priority date can be established by the filing of a PERM Application or a Form I-140. May an H-4 spouse file for an EAD if the H-4 spouse holds (A) an approved I-140 or (B) one year has passed since the filing of a PERM or I-140? No. The USCIS looks to the H-1B worker to meet...

CGFNS, ICN LAUNCH RESEARCH WEBSITE

The International Centre on Nurse Migration (ICNM) was created by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) International and the International Council of Nurses (ICN). ICNM develops and promotes research, policy and information on global nurse migration. The ICMN has launched a website aimed at being a significant resource for research and information. The website is www.intlnursemigration.org. From their press release: The new website features a bold, user-friendly web interface to easily access news, resources, and ICNM publications. eSource, a new website feature, offers a platform for new and experienced researchers to share articles, reports, papers or presentations on migration related issues with other researchers and the...