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MU Law Blog on Nurse and Allied Healthcare Immigration

Posted by on Sep 13, 2016 in News | Comments Off on MU Law Blog on Nurse and Allied Healthcare Immigration

MU Law Blog on Nurse and Allied Healthcare Immigration OCTOBER 2016 VISA BULLETIN Posted: 09 Sep 2016 06:29 AM PDT The Department of State has just issued the October 2016 Visa Bulletin.  This is the first Visa Bulletin of Fiscal Year 2017. As the fiscal year begins we are able to make some educated guesses at where the Visa Bulletin will be in the future. October 2016 Visa Bulletin   Final Action Dates Applications with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency card).   Employ- ment based All Charge- ability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA- mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 1st C C C C C 2nd C 12FEB12 15JAN07 C C 3rd 01JUN16 22JAN13 15MAR05 01JUN16 01DEC10   MU Law Analysis   All Other:  The EB-2 has been current for many years.  The EB-3 progression continues.  For Consular processing cases a June 2016 date is effectively Current. China:   As expected, these dates moved forward 2+ years.  Unusually, the China EB-3 has a more favorable date than EB-2, although this phenomenon has happened often for China as a result of many Chinese EB-3 workers “upgrading” their applications to EB-2. India:  EB-2 India had a notable progression from last month.  It will be interesting to see how this date moves forward.  In the Summer of 2007 hundreds of thousands of I-485 Applications were filed a result of VisaGate.  As a result of that bulk of filings, this number could slow in the forthcoming months. EB-3 had its usual one month forward movement.   Mexico: Mirrors All Other in all aspects. Philippines: EB-3 moved ahead by another six months.  The Phillippine EB-3 number essentially cleaned out all 2010 EB-3 visas in just two months.  This is what we have expected.  (Our note from May 2016: “MU Law believes that Philippines EB-3 will continue to steadily move forward in the coming months. We expect it to move into 2009 in the by early summer, and may reach 2010 by the end of this fiscal year.”). We expect more of the same fast progression in FY2017 for Philippine EB-3.  We expect that the Philippine EB-3 number will progress at least three years in...

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American Immigration Council and AILA File Suit against USCIS over H-1B Lottery

Posted by on May 27, 2016 in News | Comments Off on American Immigration Council and AILA File Suit against USCIS over H-1B Lottery

Every year, USCIS approves 65,000 cap-subject H-1B visas and an additional 20,000 H-1B visas for candidates with advanced degrees.  Every year for the past ten years, the number of applicants for these visas has exceeded the cap.  When this happens, CIS initiates a lottery that utilizes a computer-generated randomized selection process to determine which petitions get reviewed and which get returned to the sender. The H-1B lottery has always been shrouded in mystery.  Despite claims of commitment to transparency, CIS has not been forthcoming with information about the mechanisms of this lottery.  There is no way to hold CIS accountable for this process and possible flaws or unfairness resulting from it.  There is no way to tell whether this process even holds up to statutory standards without the ability to see and review it.  For this reason, a lawsuit has been brought against CIS and the US Department of Homeland Security by the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association with the purpose to seek information about the inner workings of the H-1B lottery process. H-1B visas are dual-purpose, non-immigrant visas that allow highly skilled foreign nationals with a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalent or higher to live and work in the United States for increments of three years to fill specialized job positions.  Demand for highly skilled workers with highly specialized skills and knowledge in the rapidly expanding US IT industry has been a driving force for the number of H-1B petitions filed growing every year.  CIS must continue to accept H-1B petitions for at least one business week before closing its doors.  The past two years, the cap has been exceeded within five days of when CIS begins accepting petitions. While the lawsuit is a good step in the right direction to bring some insight and accountability to the mysterious H-1B lottery process, there is little that can currently be done by H-1B candidates and their employers and lawyers to affect whether or not the petition makes the lottery.  Besides filing on April First, of course. “The internal workings of the H-1B lottery system are out of all of our control or understanding for now,” International education expert and executive director of prominent foreign credential evaluation agency TheDegreePeople, Sheila Danzig explains.  “What you can influence is what happens when your petition makes the lottery, and you can influence this by understanding CIS trends for what gets approved and what does not.” H-1B visa requirements are largely based on the nature of the candidate’s job and education.  For this reason CIS trends surrounding requirements pertaining to these facets are important to understand and anticipate.  This is the difference between your visa or your employee or client’s visa getting approved or receiving an RFE or worse.  These trends also change, and have changed over the past five or six years and the number of H-1B petitions flooding in has increased. Danzig recommends consulting with a credential evaluator who consistently works with H-1B cases and RFEs before filing a petition or responding to an RFE.  Evaluators who do the difficult work gain a complex understanding of international education norms, CIS trends, and what works and what does not work. “Forget about the lottery and focus on what you can do,” advises...

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USCIS REACHES FY 2017 H-1B CAP

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in News | Comments Off on 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...

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AUGUST 2015 VISA BULLETIN

Posted by on Jul 13, 2015 in News | Comments Off on 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,...

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JULY 2015 VISA BULLETIN

Posted by on Jun 15, 2015 in News | Comments Off on 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...

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

Posted by on May 13, 2015 in News | Comments Off on 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 A or B, above. It is irrelevant if the H-4 meets A or B. Are there any limitations on the work that I can perform on an H-4 EAD? For instance, is there a prevailing wage? Am I limited only to certain types of jobs? No. There are no such limitations. You can work for any employer, at any rate (above minimum wage), and in any occupation. What should I do if I want to file an H-4 EAD? EAD Applications do not require an attorney’s assistance, although many people find it helpful to have an attorney assist in the process. If you would like MU Law to help, please contact...

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CGFNS, ICN LAUNCH RESEARCH WEBSITE

Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in News | Comments Off on 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...

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DOS: WE HOPE TO PROGRESS PHILS EB-3 IN THE SUMMER

Posted by on Apr 23, 2015 in News | Comments Off on DOS: WE HOPE TO PROGRESS PHILS EB-3 IN THE SUMMER

AILA has discussed the Philippine EB-3 retrogression with Charlie Oppenheim, who is the Department of State’s Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division. Mr. Oppenheim is the person at DOS who writes and produces the Visa Bulletin. While he cannot speculate as to future dates, he “hopes to advance the cut-off date throughout the summer.” This statement is consistent with MU Law’s April 14, 2015 blog posting on this issue. USCIS demand for Philippine EB-3 visa numbers has increased. The DOS says that 2,000 Philippine EB-3 visa numbers were requested in the six week period leading to the publication of the may Visa Bulletin, which is a massive increase from Fiscal Year 2014 (Oct 1, 2013 – Sept 30, 2014). FY2014 saw a total of 3,275 Philippine EB-3 immigrant visas used. MU Law expects that the Philippine EB-3 number will return to 2014 or even 2015 in the forthcoming months. However if Philippine EB-3 demand continues the Philippine EB-3 number may eventually retrogress negatively, although it is too early to specifically estimate Visa Bulletin dates in calendar year...

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BREAKING: MANILA EMBASSY TO EXPEDITE EB3 IMMIGRANT VISA APPOINTMENTS

Posted by on Apr 17, 2015 in News | Comments Off on BREAKING: MANILA EMBASSY TO EXPEDITE EB3 IMMIGRANT VISA APPOINTMENTS

The US Embassy in Manila has waived the requirement for making an appointment for a visa interview for those who are affected by the retrogression (priority dates on or after July 01, 2007) and have never been interviewed. Once applicants have all the required documents and have completed the medical examinations at St. Luke’s Extension Clinic, they may come to the Embassy’s Immigrant Visa Check-in Counter on any workday between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. from April 15, 2015 through April 28, 2015 for the visa interview. More on their webpage:...

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VISA BULLETIN: PHILIPPINES EB-3 RETROGRESSED TO 2007: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Posted by on Apr 16, 2015 in News | Comments Off on VISA BULLETIN: PHILIPPINES EB-3 RETROGRESSED TO 2007: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

The May 2015 Visa Bulletin , released April 13, 2015, contained a major surprise for Philippines EB-3. That visa number was retrogressed to July 2007. While this was unwelcome news, MU Law has checked with several sources and it is our sense is that this retrogression is a temporary blip in immigrant visa processing for Philippines EB-3 applicants. Because there are very few Philippine EB-3 applications between 2009-2013, MU Law believes that the Philippines EB-3 date will return to at least 2014, although this may not happen until Fiscal Year 2016 begins in October 2015. Philippine EB-3 applicants have claimed many older priority dates from the high demand era of 2007-2009. The Department of State had progressed the Philippine EB-3 number over the last year in an effort to spur these older applicants into filing their immigrant visa applications. The retrogression is recognition that this effort to spur older immigrant visa applicants has worked. The DOS now has had to tap on the breaks in order to process these older immigrant visa applications. MU Law expects that the Philippines EB-3 number will remain in 2007 for the June 2015 Visa Bulletin. Because July is the start of the fourth and final fiscal quarter, the July 2015 Visa Bulletin may include a progression of the Philippine EB-3 date if overall demand for immigrant visas is low. It is common for the fourth fiscal quarter to include dramatic improvements in visa bulletin dates. For example, the Philippines EB-3 number advanced from November 07 (May 2014 Visa Bulletin) to January 09 (July 2014 Visa Bulletin) to April 2011 (September 2014 Visa Bulletin). With the start of the next fiscal year (FY2016) in October 2015, the DOS should progress the Philippine EB-3 date to 2014. The DOS will then steadily increase the date throughout FY2016, perhaps even making the Philippines EB-3 date current early in...

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