Hello and welcome to the April 2007 Immigration Newsletter!
April Fools!!! Last year April Fools Day joke took a serious turn when a reputed website issued a press release that the USCIS reached the H-1B cap for FY 2007 on the first day of filing. The prank turned out to be true this year, and we at VisaPro had envisaged this scenario well in advance.
USCIS announced on April 2nd and April 3rd that it had received enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally mandated cap for fiscal year 2008 (FY 2008). Additionally, on May 04, 2007, USCIS announced that it had received enough H-1B petitions requesting exemptions from the FY 2008 H-1B cap for foreign workers who have earned a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education to meet the congressionally mandated exemption limit of 20,000. What is the H-1B and H-2B Cap, and how does it affect you? you ask. See our In Focus article this month. It provides complete information about the annual cap count for certain nonimmigrant visas for the FY 2008. It also has some brief notes on various bills that have been introduced in Congress to reform U.S. visa programs for highly skilled foreign workers and/or provide temporary relief from the H-1B cap.
Both government and industry experts were surprised to see the H-1B visa usage grew this big. However, it should not come as that much of a surprise given that the cap has been reached earlier and earlier each year. Because the cap was reached on the first day, and USCIS received more than twice the number of petitions for the number of visas available, they had to once again conduct a computer-generated random selection of cap-subject petitions to determine which cases they would accept for processing. The IT industry has been pushing hard to increase the number of visas available, with Bill Gates being their knight in shining armor, making several appearances before the U.S. Congress. We will keep you abreast of the developments on this front in our future issues of Immigration Monitor.
It is always a great feeling helping clients through their difficult and, very often, tiring immigration process. We share one such Success Story Avoiding the H-1B trap about developing alternative options (L-1, L Blanket, H-3 and B-1 visas) for personnel coming to the US, without relying on the H-1B visas.
This month we are also focusing on the R-1 religious worker program. As long as 8 years ago the Government Accountability Office reported that there is fraud in the religious worker program. In more recent times USCIS has noted there is a growing misuse of the category because of the opportunity for fraud in the program. On April 25, 2007, USCIS published proposed Revisions for Religious Worker Visa Classifications in the Federal Register. We have summarized the proposal for you in our April Industry Perspective.
USCIS has also made some policy changes which allow petitioners more time to bring foreign workers with extraordinary abilities to the United States. It has clarified that petitioners can now file O and P nonimmigrant petitions up to one year before a scheduled event under normal processing procedures, making planning and scheduling much easier. So if you want to know more about O and P visa options contact us. To check your eligibility for O and P visas click here.
Adding further to our endeavors in bringing one-stop global immigration service to all our readers, this month VisaPro has added immigration services to two more European countries. I invite our readers to visit our new Italy and France websites for information and queries related to immigration needs for these countries.
Once again last month’s poll question generated mixed reactions from our readers. The opinion was fairly equally divided. About half of those taking part in the poll believe the new USCIS regulations for US citizens filing an I-130 for an alien relative while outside the US would cause distress, hence having an adverse effect. The balance of you felt the new regulations would not have an adverse affect those US citizens outside the US when filing an I-130. This month we have another interesting question for you in our Your Opinion section. Dont miss the chance to make your opinion heard.
Congratulations to Janet Hopkins for winning last months Immigration Quiz and earning a FREE online consultation! A significant number of participants seemed to be confused about what would happen if a person is late in filing a petition to Remove Conditions while in the U.S. Check out the correct answer and see how close you were. We have another interesting quiz for you this month so put your thinking caps on and get out the research books. Give it a try; your name might be featured in the next Immigration Monitor newsletter as the winner. All the Best!
See you next month with a lot more noise from the Immigration World! Till then CIAO!!