June 2009

From the Editor's Desk

Hello and welcome to the June 2009 Immigration Newsletter!

With June, here comes the end of first half of the year 2009. The first half of the year faced lots of ups and downs because of the economic situations, however it is expected that the Immigration Reforms and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, will bring a firm change in the US economy.

Neither is anyone unaware of the economy nor is anyone untouched by its impact. One of the areas that have been drastically affected by the economy is – Immigration and the biggest example for this is the fall in the demand for the H-1B. Yes, the H-1B cap has not been reached yet! USCIS still continue to accept both cap subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until it receives a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory limits.

Contact VisaPro to assist you with the H-1B filing using the fast, easy and economical online visa processing.

Well, it is for sure that we badly need an immigration reform and plans are underway to begin discussions in regards to comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Immigration Reforms Needed Badly!

President Obama had a meeting at the White House for Senate and House leaders to begin discussing immigration reforms. According to a White House spokesman, the Obama administration is hoping to propose immigration reform legislation by the end of this year. Fueling the debate is the decrease in arrests at the Mexican-U.S. border are down by 27% from prior years. This figure is in part due to the decline in illegal immigration to the United States, which is attributed to the downturn in the U.S. economy. The increase in immigration enforcement is also believed to be contributing to the decrease in illegal immigration to the United States. The United States has nearly doubled its employment of border patrol agents since 2001. In addition, to date, over 600 miles of border fencing has been completed of the proposed 2000 mile fence.

Catholic Bishops Urge Immigration Reform!

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called for immigration reform. The statement from Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who is the president of the bishops’ conference:

“On behalf of the United States Catholic Bishops, gathered in San Antonio, Texas, at our annual spring meeting, I would ask President Barack Obama and congressional leaders of both parties to work together to fashion and enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation before the end of the year.

It has been clear for years that the United States immigration system requires repair and that reform legislation should not be delayed. We urge respect and observance of all just laws, and we do not approve or encourage the illegal entry of anyone into our country. From a humanitarian perspective, however, our fellow human beings, who migrate to support their families, continue to suffer at the hands of immigration policies that separate them from family members and drive them into remote parts of the American desert, sometimes to their deaths. This suffering should not continue.

As a moral matter, we must resolve the legal status of those who are here without proper documentation so that they can fully contribute their talents to our nation’s economic, social and spiritual well being.

Only through comprehensive reform can we restore the rule of law to our nation’s immigration system. We urge President Obama and congressional leaders to meet as soon as possible to discuss and draft comprehensive immigration reform legislation, with the goal of making it law by the end of 2009.”

Reid: We’ll Fight For Immigration Reform This Year!

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., recently announced that he would work to pass comprehensive immigration reform this year, adding to an already busy congressional agenda.

Senate Reid is promising immigration will be one of three major legislative priorities this year (the other two are health care reform and energy). Speaking at a press conference about Supreme Court Justice Nominee Sonia Sotomayor, Reid identified immigration, health care and climate-change reform as the three main policy goals of Congress.

Roadmap to Recovery!

It’s been a little over 100 days since the Recovery Act was signed by the President. We’ve come a long way –- we’ve created or saved over 150,000 jobs, cut taxes for 95 percent of working families and made funds available for over 4,000 transportation projects. But while we’ve made progress, we still have a lot more work to do on this road to recovery.

To accelerate our recovery efforts, the Vice President announced the Roadmap to Recovery, ten major projects that will keep more teachers in the classroom, put more cops on our streets, and give more people access to healthcare over the next 100 days.

On June 8th, 2009, the President and Vice President announced the Roadmap to Recovery – a summer initiative designed to accelerate the Administration’s recovery efforts. Ten major projects – from job creation to increasing health care access to natural park restoration – were announced.

Other Developments in Immigration Law:

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

USCIS announced that effective June 29, 2009; it will resume Premium Processing Service for Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. USCIS will accept Premium Processing requests for Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, involving EB-1 Aliens with Extraordinary Ability, EB-1 Outstanding Professors and Researchers, EB-2 Members of Professions with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability not seeking a National Interest Waiver,         EB-3 Professionals, EB-3 Skilled Workers, and EB-3 Workers other than Skilled Workers and Professionals.

Electronic Passports Required for Travelers On Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

CBP issued a reminder that effective July 1, 2009; all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) emergency or temporary passports must be electronic passports (e-Passports) to be eligible for travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

Orphans, Widows and Widowers Protection Act Introduced in the Senate

Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Gillibrand (D-NY) and Leahy (D-VT) on June 11, 2009, introduced the Orphans, Widows and Widowers Protection Act (S. 1427) which addresses the immigration related hardships caused by the death of a sponsoring relative.

Immigration Articles and Other Fun Stuff:

Now for the regulars – this month’s Immigration Article entitled ‘I Got Laid Off on H-1B, What Should I Do Now?’ gives you a detailed insight about the consequences of being laid off on H-1B. The article also clarifies the common myth attached to H-1B lay off. Also check out our In Focus section for this month, ‘How do I get an Emergency Travel Document?’ will inform you why is it required to apply for a Travel Document before travelling outside the US and at the same time it also tell you how to apply for an Emergency Travel Document.

Every month we introduce a new and interesting question for our opinion poll. Last month’s poll results indicate that 88.24% of the respondents believe that the Durbin-Grassley Reform Act will make H-1B hiring tough. We appreciate that people take interest in the opinion question and cast their vote to give us their feedback. Keep it up! And continue to cast your vote to express Your Opinion.

We congratulate Sampath Vinay for winning last month’s Immigration Quiz. Again, we received a significant number of responses from our readers, who talked about various solutions to support their position, but Sampath Vinay gave the correct answer and won a free online consultation to discuss the concerned Immigration issues. So 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!!!

Latest Immigration News

USCIS Announces Elimination of FBI NameCheck Backlog

On June 22, 2009, USCIS announced that, in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), it has met all milestones set forth in a joint business plan announced April 2, 2008, resulting in the elimination of the FBI National Name Check Program (NNCP) backlog.

USCIS Issues Guidance Memorandum on EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

USCIS issued a guidance memorandum that provides USCIS adjudication officers with instructions related to the timing of job creation and the meaning of “full-time” positions in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. The guidance memorandum update to the Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM), clarifies that for purposes of the Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur (Form I-526) adjudication and the job creation requirements, USCIS will consider the two-year period to begin six months after the adjudication of the Form I-526.

DHS Establishes Interim Relief for Widows of U.S. Citizens

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today granted deferred action for two years to widows and widowers of U.S. citizens—as well as their unmarried children under 18 years old—who reside in the United States and who were married for less than two years prior to their spouse’s death.

June's Featured Articles

I Got Laid Off While on H-1B? What Should I Do Now?

The economy did not leave any one untouched by its drastic impact. Stories of banking crises, bailouts, rising unemployment, plummeting securities and housing prices, rising inflation, rising gas and food prices, recession, depression, and laid off of foreign employees in the US are no new. However, amongst all the worries of a foreign national worker in the US, the most worrisome is a layoff, these days. This article is designed to help you understand your rights and privileges in the US in case you are laid off from your job.

How do I get an Emergency Travel Document?

Due to recent changes to U.S. immigration law, travel outside of the U.S. may have severe consequences for foreign nationals (including legal permanent residents) who are in the process of adjusting their status, extending their nonimmigrant stay, or changing their nonimmigrant status.

Questions and Answers


I need to consult regarding my joining date at Company B on H1B visa. Currently I am on L1 Visa for Company A valid for three years (2007-2010). However, my current project ends on Nov 12, 2009 after which I plan to go back to India to change visa status to H-1B. Please note that my H1B’s I-797 has been received and becomes valid from Oct 1, 2007. As an aside, since I traveled to India while my H1B application was under process I received H1B approval without change of status and thus need to get stamping done in India. I would like to know if I could continue on my L1 status until Nov 12 and then travel back to India to get H1B stamping and change to H1B status thereafter.


Since only the H-1B petition, and not the change of status to H-1B, was approved, you can continue in L-1 status and you can stay in US on L-1 status till you leave the country to get your H-1B stamping. If you have no travel plans to go to India, you can apply for Change of Status in US itself. You can start the COS now and request for a start date of Nov 13, 09. You could file for premium processing by paying a $1000 fee to USCIS. For Change of Status, your H-1B employer has to Form I-129 and attach the prior H-1B approval copy. After approval of COS, you can start working for your H-1B employer.

You can also apply for a visa stamp at an American Consulate or Embassy overseas. However do remember that if you do a change of status in U.S., next time you travel outside the U.S., you need to get your H-1B stamp at the consulate/Embassy to come back to U.S.


I’m on J-1 till October 2009 and I want to extend to stay or change my status to H-2B. My current employer has petition for H-2B workers till December 2009. Can they put my name in this petition and change my status from J-1 to H2B? If not is there my chance to extend my J-1 status without going home?


It is possible to extend your J-1 visa for a period of time necessary to complete your program. However, if your program is over, you’ll need a new visa as J-1 is only good for the duration of the program under which it was initially issued. You have to contact your J-1 sponsor regarding this matter.

If your employer has not yet filed the H-2B petition with the USCIS, your name may be included. Otherwise, the employer must start a new H-2B labor certification. You may also file for a change your status to B-2 tourist visa, which allows you to stay in the US for 3 to 6 months. However, B-2 status does not allow you to work in the US.

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