Kristin Bolayir*

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I-539 Applications are Treated as Stand-Alone Applications and are No Longer Eligible for ‘Courtesy’ Premium Processing with I-129

There is no premium processing available for any nonimmigrant status requested using a stand-alone Form I-539. Until recently, however, the USCIS would traditionally grant courtesy premium processing for I-539 applications (H-4, L-2, E-2 or O-3 applicants) that were filed concurrently with the principal’s I-129 petition if the I-129 was filed using premium processing. The USCIS … Continue Reading

September 2018 Visa Bulletin Updates

The Department of State (DOS) recently released the September 2018 Visa Bulletin. The charts below show movement in employment-based categories. Referring to the Final Action Dates, following are updates from the September Visa Bulletin: EB-1: Mainland China and India had no movement, with a cutoff date of Jan. 1, 2012, while El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam … Continue Reading

FY2019 H-1B Cap Met

USCIS announced today, April 6, 2018, that the FY 2019 H-1B cap is now closed because it has received a sufficient number of H‐1B petitions to reach the 65,000 statutory cap as well as the 20,000 advanced degree exemption. The announcement did not provide details about the total number of H-1B petitions filed.  USCIS will … Continue Reading

July 2017 Visa Bulletin Update

The Department of State (DOS) released the July 2017 Visa Bulletin. The final action dates for Chinese and Indian nationals in the employment-based, first preference (EB-1) category remain unchanged with cutoff dates of Jan. 1, 2012.  It is expected that this EB-1 retrogression for China and India will last until October 2017 when the new fiscal … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Largely Upholds Injunction on President Trump’s Revised Travel Ban

On Monday, June 12, a second Federal Appeals Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in a per curiam decision, affirmed a nationwide preliminary injunction of President Trump’s revised travel ban that was issued March 15, 2017, by a U.S. District Court judge in Hawaii.  President Trump’s second Executive Order (EO), “Protecting … Continue Reading

EEOC Unveils New Strategic Plan

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) unveiled its Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for fiscal years 2017-2021.  The new plan approved on Monday, Oct. 17, looks much like its predecessor, seeks to continue areas outlined in the EEOCs 2013-2016 plan, and reaffirms the agency’s commitment to equal opportunity in America’s workplaces, which includes protecting immigrant and … Continue Reading

OSC Issues Updated Guidance on Internal I-9 Audits and Determining Validity of Documentation Provided

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) issued an updated Technical Assistance Letter (TAL) on Jan. 7, 2016, relating to an employer’s internal Form I-9 audit procedures. The TAL addresses: 1) an employer’s obligation to prevent discrimination in compliance with the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA);  … Continue Reading

USCIS issued Draft RFE Template for L-1B Petitions

In recent years, the USCIS has issued an increasing number of denials and Requests for Evidence (RFE) for L-1B specialized knowledge employees. As defined by regulations, specialized knowledge is special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an … Continue Reading

USCIS Reaches FY 2015 H‐1B Cap

Today, the USCIS announced that the FY 2015 H-1B cap is now closed because it has received a sufficient number of H‐1B petitions to reach the 65,000 statutory cap as well as the 20,000 advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject any cap‐subject H-1B petitions received on or after April 8, 2014 seeking an employment start … Continue Reading
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