Hello and welcome to the January 2012 Immigration Newsletter!
We are delighted to be connected to you, and as we enter into the New Year, we look forward to continuing to provide you with fast, easy and economical immigration services on the web! And, hopefully, a lot more, too!!
2012 is set to be quite an eventful year. 2012 is not only a leap year, but the Summer Olympics will be taking place in London, U.K. this year and more importantly, the US Presidential Election will take place this year. Immigration Reform has been a hot topic during this election cycle. We hope that the election cycle will bring about positive changes and that 2012 will be an immigration-friendly year, bringing continuing success and prosperity to all our readers.
As another new year begins, prospective employers and employees begin their eager wait for the H-1B filing period to begin again. The Fiscal Year 2012 H-1B cap saw a moderate start in April followed by a slow-down over the summer. Finally, there was a sudden and dramatic acceleration during late October- early November, 2011, with the H1B cap numbers for FY 2012 reaching the statutory cap of 65,000 on November 22, 2011. The sudden acceleration was, arguably, a sign that the U.S. economy is improving and employers have started to hire foreign nationals again to meet their employment needs. As the economy continues to slowly improve, it is expected that employers will slowly increase their hiring again, leading many immigration experts to believe that H-1Bs for fiscal year 2013 will be gone within a very short time and will not remain available for long — certainly not 8 months like last year. Therefore, we urge employers and employees to prepare and file most or all of their H-1B petitions as early as possible- on or as close as possible to April 1, 2012—to ensure that their petitions have the greatest chance to be included in the quota.
Here is the VisaPro suggested timeline for H-1B petitions. It has been designed to maximize your efforts and ensure timely and successful filing of your H-1B petition.
|ASAP||Identify your H-1B needs, discuss the strategy with your VisaPro immigration attorney and finalize the applicants list; Develop detailed job descriptions; Obtain prevailing wage determination.|
|Early Feb||File LCA with DOL; Begin gathering supporting documentation|
|Early March||Prepare all H-1B forms, support letter and other required supporting documentation|
|Mid March||Obtain Educational Evaluation if your applicants have foreign degrees|
|March 31||Mail the petition to USCIS for delivery on April 1, 2012.|
Contact VisaPro immediately to assist you with the H-1B filing using the fast, easy and economical online visa processing.
Because of the H-1B cap issues, employers need to plan for the next fiscal year in advance, devise a suitable strategy for hiring a foreign national and plan the filing accordingly. If an employer misses the chance to petition for an employee because the cap is reached, he or she will have to wait until next year to file or look for an alternate visa category, which may or may not exactly match his or her requirements. To learn more about how you can plan your H-1B filings before the H-1B filing period begins, read our informative article on the subject here.
Meanwhile, in other important immigration news, significant progression in the EB-2 category for India and China continues. The EB-2 priority dates, as posted in the February 2012 Visa Bulletin, for India and China moved further by a full one year from January 01, 2009 to January 01, 2010! It is advisable that you Contact VisaPro immediately if you believe your priority date is now current and you need any assistance in filing for an Adjustment of Status application or for an Immigrant Visa, as retrogression in this category in the coming months cannot be ruled out considering the sudden acceleration witnessed over the past couple of months.
Other Developments in Immigration Law:
USCIS Announces 58 Countries Whose Nationals are Eligible for H-2A and H-2B Participation
The DHS has identified 58 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs for the coming year. In addition to the 53 countries currently on the list, five countries, namely, Haiti, Iceland, Montenegro, Spain, and Switzerland, have been designated for the first time this year. Each country’s designation is valid for one year from the date of publication. This new list does not immediately affect the status of beneficiaries who are currently in the United States in H-2A or H-2B status, unless they apply to change or extend their status.
The U.S. Consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad and Calcutta not to process Immigrant Visa petitions
As of January 1, 2012, all immigrant visas in India will be processed through the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and U.S. Consulate in Mumbai.
Immigration Articles and Other Fun Stuff:
Check out our ‘Featured Video’ of the month ‘Can I Get Married On a Tourist Visa to a US Citizen?’, which showcases the very strict rules that USCIS has for those who come to the US on tourist visa with the sole intention of getting married, and explains all the do’s and don’ts of getting married in the US on a tourist visa. Please check out and subscribe to our YouTube channel to take advantage of another great service provided to you by VisaPro.
Also remember to check out our In Focus article for this month- ‘Get a Head Start on Filing H-1B Visas With VisaPro’s “H-1B Visa Timeline”’ which showcases effective tips to help employers plan ahead and prepare to file the nonimmigrant visa petition in a timely manner, ensuring successful filing of the H-1B petition.
Every month we introduce a new and interesting question for our opinion poll. Last month’s poll results indicate that an overwhelming majority of our respondents (83.33%) indicated that they welcome the end to per-country quota for Employment Based Green Cards that is proposed by the ‘Fairness for High-Skilled Workers Act’. We appreciate that people take interest in the opinion question and cast their votes to give us their feedback. Keep it up! And continue to cast your vote to express Your Opinion.
We congratulate Rakesh Kumar for winning last month’s Immigration Quiz. We received a significant number of responses from our readers, but Rakesh Kumar gave the best answer and won a free online consultation to discuss the concerned Immigration issues. It’s time to get ready for this month’s quiz. If you know the correct answer your name might be featured in next month’s newsletter. All the Best!!!
See you in February with a lot more noise from the Immigration World!