Another month has passed and we are rapidly approaching summer. There have been a number of issues related to immigration that have hit the news this month, but let’s start with what is happening with the H-1B program.
As was expected the H-1B cap was not reached within the first week of the filing season. The falling demand for the H-1B visa indicates that things have not settled down completely and the economy is yet to recover from the financial meltdown of 2009. While many scholars say the economy is responsible for the falling H-1B visa demand, many lawyers argue that it is not solely the economy. They believe one of the biggest reasons for the sharp fall in the demand for H-1B visas is the increasing scrutiny of petitions by the immigration service. Unless the economy improves or the immigration department eases their restrictive review of H-1B petitions, things will continue the same way.
Although the H-1B movement is currently very slow, many immigration experts believe that the pace of filing will pick up and the H-1B visas may be exhausted by mid-Summer. Keeping this in mind, employers desiring to hire professional workers under the H-1B category should do well to file their petitions early, or lose any opportunity to petition a necessary professional worker until April 1, 2011 when the quota reopens for FY 2012. Contact VisaPro if you need any help in filing the H-1B visa petition.
Let’s now take a look at the other side of the immigration. Recently, in a long awaited move, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) unveiled a 26-page framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. In very general terms, the outline addresses immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs, employment eligibility verification, border control, and the legalization of the currently undocumented population.
Although the proposal has not yet been put forth as specific legislation, it is possible that a full bill could be introduced in the near future. Immigration is clearly now a main priority for the Obama White House and members of Congress, even more so after the recent Arizona law. But with looming elections and several other important issues now competing for attention on Capitol Hill – including financial regulation, climate change and a Supreme Court nomination – the prospects for this or any other immigration legislation are quite uncertain.
The other item that has made big news this month is the passage of a tough new immigration law in Arizona. The bill, known as SB 1070, makes it a misdemeanor to lack proper immigration paperwork in Arizona. It also requires police officers, if they form a “reasonable suspicion” that someone is an illegal immigrant, to determine the person’s immigration status. The law also contains a provision prohibiting cities and agencies from ‘opting out’ of enforcement effectively shutting the door on any sanctuary movements. This bill has sparked a national debate that will continue until the bill has been tested in the courts. It has also brought a new focus to immigration reform. We will keep you posted on both issues.
Other Developments in Immigration Law:
USCIS to Redesign Green Card
USCIS announced that beginning May 11, 2010, it will issue all Permanent Resident Card—commonly known as Green Cards in the new, more secure format. Recipients of the redesigned card will include those newly approved for lawful permanent residency, as well as those who have sought a renewal or replacement card.
USCIS Advisory for Foreign Nationals Stranded Due to the Icelandic Volcano Eruption
USCIS has released an advisory for foreign nationals stranded in the U.S. because of the airport closures in Europe due to the Icelandic volcano eruption. If you have exceeded or are about to exceed your authorized stay in the U.S. you may be permitted up to 30 days to depart.
Immigration Articles and Other Fun Stuff:
Now for the regulars – this month’s Immigration Article reveals 15 things that you should consider before you think of giving up your Green Card voluntarily. Also check out our In Focus, which explains what credential evaluation is and why it is required for H-1B visa. So, if you have a bachelor’s degree from a foreign country (other than U.S.) and you don’t know whether your foreign degree will be equivalent to U.S. bachelor’s degree, read this article to find out more.
Every month we introduce a new and interesting question for our opinion poll. Last month’s poll results indicate that 71.88% of the respondents believe that H-4 visa holders be allowed to work in the U.S. 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 Clarence Thomas 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 Clarence Thomas 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!!!
See you next month with a lot more noise from the Immigration World!