Hello and welcome to the April 2010 Immigration Newsletter!
Welcome to VisaPro’s April newsletter, focusing this month on H-1B visas. For decades, the United States of America has been recognized throughout the world as the “Haven of Opportunities” and the H-1B visa is widely regarded as the ticket to the haven as it is a dream of many to get to U.S. and settle. Every year, thousands of foreigners struggle to reach the shores in order to establish a better life for themselves and their families. This dream can become a reality if you apply for jobs in companies in the U.S. If you are lucky enough to get hired, and you meet the visa requirements, you get a chance to work and settle in the haven. Moreover, the H-1B visa is a dual intent visa – you don’t have to show your intent to return to your home country when applying for an H-1B visa.
We all know that the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) began accepting H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2011 (October 1, 2010 – September 30, 2011) on the first day of April, 2010. For many years before FY 2010 the H-1B quota reached almost as soon as the visas were made available. But as of April 15, 2010, USCIS announced that it has only received only 13,600 H-1B petitions counting toward the 65,000 cap, and approximately 5,800 petitions for individuals with advanced degrees. Given these numbers USCIS will continue to accept new H-1B petitions. USCIS will monitor the number of petitions received for both the 65,000 general cap and the 20,000 U.S. master’s degree or higher educational exemption and will notify the public when they have received sufficient petitions to meet the cap.
Because of the downturn in the economy last year was different with the cap not being reached until the end of year. It appears that this year will follow the pattern of last year; however nobody really can identify how long H-1B visas will be available.
There is very good news for the citizens of Greece as they can now use the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to make short business or tourism trips to the United States. Greece was welcomed into the VWP on March 9, 2010, and visa waivers became available for use beginning April 5, 2010. The Visa Waiver Program allows eligible foreign nationals from member countries to enter the United States for business or tourism for up to 90 days without first having to obtain a B-1/B-2 visitor visa from a U.S. consulate. To be eligible to use the VWP, Greek citizens must hold an “e-Passport” containing an integrated computer chip that stores the traveler’s biographic data, digital photograph and other information. Like all VWP travelers, Greek citizens must also obtain an approval to travel from the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before departing for the United States. Visa Waiver Program participation will make U.S. business travel easier for eligible Greek citizens and their employers. Travelers who meet program requirements will have more flexibility to make short business trips to the United States, since they will not have to go through the lengthy visa application proceedings.
On April 15, 2010 USCIS announced that it has launched a “new, comprehensive effort to review all Agency policies with the engaged participation of both its workforce and the public.” USCIS has already sent a survey to its workforce and is now inviting outside stakeholders to identify their highest priorities for the Policy Review. The public survey is available on www.uscis.gov through April 29. If you have comments or concerns for USCIS take the time to complete the survey. USCIS will publish a summary of the results later this spring.
Immigration reform continues to be in the news. There is now talk in the Senate that immigration reform could move ahead of President Obama’s cap and trade/energy/climate change legislation. Unfortunately we still don’t know what the reform bill will contain, however it will most likely have some sort of amnesty provision. One thing is for sure – whatever the bill looks like, it will not pass without a nasty fight.
Other Developments in Immigration Law:
USCIS Grants Parole-In-Place Status to Certain Foreign Nationals in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)
USCIS announced today that it will grant parole-in-place status to certain foreign nationals in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Foreign nationals without umbrella permits whose work permits expire before new visa categories are available to them under federal immigration laws may be eligible for this interim status.
DOL Certifies Approximately 4,000 Workers in 10 States as Eligible to Apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)
The U.S. Department of Labor announced that approximately 4,000 workers from companies in 10 states — California, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin — are eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance. Workers covered by these latest TAA certifications will be contacted by their respective states with instructions on how to apply for individual benefits and services.
U.S., Netherlands Announce 1-Stop Enrollment Pilot for Expedited Trusted Traveler Program
U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that travelers interested in applying to the Global Entry and Privium Trusted Traveler programs may do so at one of five “one-stop-shop” joint enrollment centers established as a pilot initiative in the United States and the Netherlands through the Fast Low-Risk Universal Crossing (FLUX) program.
Immigration Articles and Other Fun Stuff:
Now for the regulars – this month’s Immigration Article entitled The H-1B Cap – Who Is Not Subject To It talks about the H-1B cap exempt employers and employees. The article also assists both the employers and the employees from becoming the victim of the H-1B cap restriction. Also check out our In Focus section for this month, which explains what constitutes H-1B dependent employer and provides information concerning H-1B dependent employers under the H-1B visa program.
Every month we introduce a new and interesting question for our opinion poll. Last month’s poll results indicate that 50% of the respondents believe that change in the processing procedures for K-3 visa cases will cause K-3 visa to be administered closely. 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 Thomas Simpson 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 Thomas Simpson 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!!!