USCIS announced today that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year 2011. USCIS is notifying the public that yesterday, Jan. 26, 2011, was the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in fiscal year 2011. Individuals interested in applying for the fiscal year 2012 cap may begin to submit their applications on April 1st for an October 1st start date.
Archive for January, 2011
On Friday, January 21st, USCIS posted the final E-1-1 RFE template for extraordinary ability petitions. USCIS indicated that it will leave this template posted on their website until February 4th, giving stakeholders an opportunity to access and review. This document provides important information as to how USCIS adjudicators review and evaluate the regulatory criteria. While we appreciate the transparency USCIS offers by providing stakeholders access to this document, it seems that after February 4th, this template will no longer be available to the public.
On initial review, USCIS appears to have incorporated some of the changes suggested by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) with regards to evaluating individual criteria. These suggestions are discussed in my article “Dissecting USCIS’ E-1-1 RFE Template.” However, USCIS provides almost no guidance as to how adjudicators should apply the “final merits analysis”, despite the fact that several federal court decisions provide clear guidelines. The lack of guidance suggests that adjudicators can deny a petition based on nothing more than their own gut feeling that the beneficiary is not one of the small percentage who has risen to the top.
In addition, the E-1-1 RFE template is only one side of the equation. USCIS not released the final memo implementing Kazarian. Given the differences between how some criteria are evaluated in the memo versus how they are evaluated in the E-1-1 RFE template, it leaves open the question of which will take precedence.
To learn more about the employment based first preference immigrant visa category, please visit www.eb1immigration.com.
On January 14, 2011, USCIS updated its H-1B cap count and confirmed that it has received 60,700 H-1B petitions for FY 2011. In addition, USCIS already has reached the 20,000 H-1B Master’s exemption cap for FY 2011. Therefore, any H-1B petition filed as a Master’s degree will be counted towards the regular 65,000 H-1B cap.
The last update from USCIS on January 7, 2011 confirmed that 58,700 H-1B petitions had been received. Given that USCIS is receiving at least 2000 petitions per week, H-1B numbers for FY 2011 are expected to run out within the next two weeks.
Contact your Klasko Law attorney immediately if your organization wishes to sponsor a cap-subject H-1B nonimmigrant in FY 2011.
Yesterday, the USCIS issued an updated version of the M-274, The Handbook for Employers. Federal immigration law requires that all U.S. employers verify the identity and employment authorization for every worker they hire after November 6, 1986, regardless of the employee’s immigration status. The Handbook is the Service’s official guide to completion of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification Form and serves as an important resource to employers in the employment eligibility process. The new Handbook replaces the previous edition, which took effect in April 2009.
The Handbook has been revised and updated with new information about applicable regulations, including new regulations about electronic storage and retention of Forms I-9; it clarifies how to process an employee with a complicated immigration status; and, it addresses public comments and frequently asked questions.
Some of the new sections and tools included in The Handbook include:
-New visual aids for completing Form I-9;
-Examples of new relevant USCIS documents;
-Expanded guidance on lawful permanent residents, refugees and asylees, individuals in Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and exchange visitors and foreign students;
-Expanded guidance on the processing of employees in or porting to H1-B status and H2-A status; and,
-Expanded guidance on extensions of stay for employees with temporary employment authorization.
Additionally, The Handbook for Employers now also includes information for employers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) who must verify their employees’ employment authorization on Form I-9 CNMI. It also highlights information about documents CNMI employers may accept from their employees.
For more information on the employment eligibility verification process we encourage you to request a complementary recording of our recent Webinar entitled Increased Immigration & Worksite Enforcement: Strategies to Weather the Perfect Storm by emailing us at email@example.com.
To learn more about the Klasko, Rulon, Stock & Seltzer, LLP worksite compliance practice group please visit our website www.worksitecompliance.com
Today the U.S. Consulate in Mumbai erroneously posted an incorrect version of the February 2011 visa bulletin which reported that EB-2 India priority dates would become current, allowing individuals with previously backlogged priority dates to file adjustment of status and immigrant visa applications. However, The U.S. Department of State has clarified that the Mumbai posting was incorrect and India EB-2 remains at May 8, 2006.
Below is a copy of the February 2011 visa bulletin also available online at: http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5228.html
|Employment- Based||All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed||CHINA- mainland born||DOMINICAN REPUBLIC||INDIA||MEXICO||PHILIPPINES|
|Certain Religious Workers||C||C||C||C||C||C|
|Targeted Employment Areas/ Regional Centers||C||C||C||C||C||C|
|5th Pilot Programs||C||C||C||C||C||C|
I will admit to being surprised by the current discussions underway in the media as politicians and commentators, including State Representative Daryl Metcalfe here in Pennsylvania, talk about ways of ending the United States’ 200-plus-year recognition that birth in the United States confers United States citizenship on the child, regardless of the immigration status of the parents.
Opponents of birthright citizenship, who also generally oppose the United States’ overall willingness to accept legal immigration, refer pejoratively to the children of mothers without immigration status as “anchor babies” – implying that the children “anchor” the parents to the United States and make it difficult or impossible for the parents to be deported. This whole “birthright citizenship” debate, therefore, is based on a false understanding of the reality of immigration law: a child born in the United States is of no, or almost no, practical value to the parent as a means of obtaining lawful immigration status in any reasonable timeframe.* (For those who would like the details, I’ve put them at the bottom of this post.)
But why is US citizenship a birthright? Our current law on acquisition of citizenship at birth in the United States is based on more than 400 years of precedent. (more…)