First Receipt Notices Received for H-1B Cap Premium Processing Cases

Posted in H-1B

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.

May 2015 Visa Bulletin Updates

Posted in Visa Bulletin, Visas

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.

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Court Extends Stay of H-2B Rule Injunction Until May 15, 2015

Posted in H-2B

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.

This Year’s H-1B Cap – 233,000 Petitions Received by USCIS

Posted in H-1B, USCIS

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.

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美国国务院宣布中国投资人EB-5申请将于2015年5月1日开始排期

Posted in Posts in Chinese, Visas

Following is the Chinese translation of a previously published blog post:

2015年4月13日,在华盛顿举行的“赴美投资”会议上,美国国务院签证控制和披露处负责人Charles Oppenheim宣布,自2015年5月1日开始,中国的EB-5申请人将面临排期。Oppenheim实际上在2014年10月的时候就已经暗示这一天会到来。2015年5月的签证公告进一步证实了这点。因此,这将意味着中国的EB-5移民签证类别会面临2年的排期,截止日期为2013年5月1日。截止日期将决定EB-5移民签证的发放顺序。截止日是由I-526申请提交的日期决定的。每个I-526申请的批准通知中的优先日一栏中都会列出一个日期。因此,根据2015年5月的签证公告,截止日划定在2013年5月1日,意味着在2015年5月,只有优先日早于2013年5月1日或者优先日是2013年5月1日的中国EB-5申请人(及其受益申请人)才能申请EB-5移民签证。签证公告中的日期或者向前推进,或者倒退,或者保持不变,这些变化每个月都回定期公布。因此,对于申请人来说,通过每个月查询国务院的签证公告来判断自己的优先日是否有效,至关重要。我们之前发表的博客文章详细的解释了怎样使用签证公告。

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EB-5 Retrogression Announced for Chinese Nationals

Posted in Visas

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.

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EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY: Restrictive AAO Decision Finds Change of Work Area Requires H-1B Amendment Filing

Posted in H-1B, USCIS

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.

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Greenberg Traurig Presents at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Philadelphia Chapter

Posted in Uncategorized

Matt GalatiGreenberg 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.

As Expected: 2016 H-1B Cap Met, USCIS to Conduct Lottery

Posted in USCIS

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

U.S. Visa Options for Emerging Tech Entrepreneurs, Investors

Posted in Visas

shutterstock_74614888Immigrant 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

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