As reported, this year’s H-1B cap is now closed and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has completed the lottery. USCIS indicated yesterday that it is delaying H-1B premium processing requests filed under this year’s cap until April 27, 2015. Contrary to this announcement, it appears USCIS is accelerating its processing of premium processing cases, as Greenberg Traurig has started to receive electronic receipt notices from the California Service Center. The firm has also found that the Vermont Service Center has started to cash filing fee checks on premium processed cases (no receipt notices as of yet). Greenberg Traurig will keep you posted on any further developments.
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) recently released the May 2015 Visa Bulletin in which significant movement should be noted in the employment-based classification for nationals of the Philippines in the EB-3 category, for Indian nationals in the EB-2 category, and for Chinese nationals in the EB-2 and EB-5 categories.
Specifically, the Visa Bulletin shows major retrogression in the EB-3 category (both “skilled workers” and “other workers” subcategories) for Filipino nationals, as it moved from Oct. 1, 2014, to July 1, 2007, creating a backlog of over seven years. As such, it is highly recommended that eligible Filipino EB-3 applicants who are “current” but whose priority date will be retrogressed on May, 1, 2015, to immediately file their I-485, Application to Adjust Status.
On April 15, 2015, Chief Judge M. Casey Rodgers of the federal district court in the Northern District of Florida extended the stay discussed in a March 18, 2015, blog post until May 15, 2015, thus allowing the Department of Labor (DOL) to continue accepting and processing H-2B prevailing wage and temporary labor certification applications.
DOL submitted its final rules on H-2B wage methodology and its H-2B comprehensive rule to the Office of Management and Budget on April 13, 2015.
Following the announcement last week by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that this year’s H-1B cap was reached, yesterday USCIS released the actual number of filings it received, stating nearly 233,000 H-1B petitions were filed between April 1 and April 7. The announcement did not give details about how many of the 233,000 petitions were filed under the 20,000 Master’s exemption and/or the 65,000 regular H-1B statutory cap. USCIS also indicated that it has now completed the computer-generated random selection process, also known as the “lottery,” and will begin notifying petitioners and their representatives of H-1B petitions that were selected. USCIS announced yesterday that it will delay the processing of H-1B premium processing requests under the cap until April 27, 2015. Employers should start receiving receipt notices for premium processed cases that same day or shortly thereafter. The firm expects to start receiving paper receipt notices for non-premium processed cases at some point during the first couple weeks of May. Rejected petitions are expected to start arriving in the mail throughout the month of May.
On April 13, 2015, at the Invest In the USA (IIUSA) Conference in Washington D.C., Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division of the U.S. Department of State Charles Oppenheim reported that the EB-5 China immigrant visa category will retrogress beginning May 2015. Oppenheim has indicated since October 2014 that this day would come. This was further confirmed upon the release of the May 2015 visa bulletin. Accordingly, this means that retrogression of the EB-5 China immigrant visa category will retrogress two years and have a cut-off date of May 1, 2013. The cut-off date has the effect of establishing a systematic line for the issuance of EB-5 immigrant visas. The cut-off date is determined based on the date an I-526 Petition was filed and is the date included on each I-526 Petition approval notice in the Priority Date box. Therefore, with the cut-off date set at May 1, 2013, based on the May 2015 visa bulletin, it means that during the month of May 2015, only those EB-5 investors (and their derivative beneficiaries) with a Priority Date of May 1, 2013, or earlier may apply for an EB-5 immigrant visa. The dates in the visa bulletin will either move forward, backward, or remain stagnant, and such changes will be reported monthly. Therefore, it is important that an applicant check the visa bulletin each month on the DOS website to see if their Priority Date has become current (i.e. if their Priority Date is earlier than the date listed on the visa bulletin). This is explained in even further detail in a previous post.
Employers take note: If you file a new Labor Condition Application (LCA) for an H-1B employee to reflect a change in work location that is outside the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) of the original worksite stated on the LCA and corresponding H-1B petition originally filed for the H-1B employee, then you must also file an amended or new H-1B petition to reflect this material change. Failure to do so will be considered a material deficiency by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and grounds for revocation of the underlying H-1B petition. Employers should also note that USCIS is expected to make 30,000 administrative H-1B and L-1 site visits this year with this being one of the agency’s top investigative priorities, thereby increasing the need for employers to ensure compliance with this rule for all active H-1B employees.
Greenberg Traurig attorney, Matthew Galati, recently presented at the AILA Philadelphia Chapter’s 2015 CLE Conference. Galati provided an overview of pending legislation, discussing AILA’s platform, and outlining the benefits to employers students and investors of the recently introduced American Entrepreneurship and Investment Act of 2015 and the Immigration Innovation Act of 2015. Galati also addressed the need to re-authorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program prior to its expiration on Sept. 30, 2015. He currently serves as the Philadelphia Chapter’s Advocacy Committee Chair.
On April 16, 2015, Galati will lead a diverse delegation of immigration attorneys to Capitol Hill as part of AILA’s National Day of Action in an effort to promote immigration common sense immigration policies that recognize the hardships and contributions of new Americans and aspiring immigrants.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced yesterday that it has reached the H-1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2016 and will no longer be accepting H-1B cap cases. USCIS has yet to provide the number of petitions received; however, last year’s FY2015 cap was oversubscribed by approximately 87,500 petitions. We anticipate the numbers to be even higher for FY2016. While an increased number of filings will confirm the U.S. economy continues to improve, it means a greater number of employers and individuals will be looking to alternative visa options when they leave H-1B cap season empty handed. Continue Reading
Immigrant entrepreneurs and investors have always been at the core of the American economy. Immigrant-founded companies have generated billions of dollars in revenues and contributed intellectual property leading to significant socio-economic advancements within the United States. Foreign-born entrepreneurs are a critical component to the advancement of the U.S. emerging technology space and it is important to note the variety of visa options available. This initial post will provide an overview of the nonimmigrant and immigrant visa options available to entrepreneurs and investors in the emerging tech space with future posts focusing on the visa specifics. Continue Reading