Hello and welcome to the March 2014 Immigration Newsletter!
We are now just a day away from the beginning of the FY2015 H-1B cap filing season!
USCIS has announced that it will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2015 cap on April 1, 2014. Cases will be considered accepted on the date that USCIS receives a properly filed petition with the correct fee– not the date that the petition is postmarked. USCIS has already indicated that it anticipates receiving more petitions than the H-1B cap allows between April 1, 2014 and April 7, 2014 and that if it receives more petitions than it can accept, USCIS will use a random selection process (H-1B Lottery) to select the number of petitions required to reach the H-1B cap numbers. According to the regulations, all properly filed petitions filed in the first five business days will be included in the lottery. Contact VisaPro if you have questions at any point when preparing and filing your 2015 H1B Cap cases. Our experienced immigration lawyers will be happy to assist you.
While employers and practitioners were busy preparing to successfully overcome the H-1B cap challenges, however, the H-2B cap numbers made silent headlines. March saw USCIS announcing that it had received sufficient number of petitions to reach the H-2B cap of 33,000 for the first half of FY 2014. March 14, 2014 was the final receipt date for new H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1, 2014. USCIS reported receiving H-2B petitions on behalf of 17,442 beneficiaries for the second half of FY 2014 as of March 21 2014.
In other nonimmigrant visa news, according to a recent report of the National Foundation for American Policy the denial rates for L-1B petitions in FY 2013 was 34%. The denial rate was up from 30% in FY 2012 despite no new regulation changing the adjudication standard. The report suggests that in 2013 about half of L-1B petitions were either denied or delayed by USCIS adjudicators, and that much of the increase in the denial rate appears to be focused on Indian nationals. Such reports certainly lead to a view that the ability of employers to increase jobs, innovation and production inside the United States will continue to be severely affected should the denial rates for L-1Bs remain as high as they are currently.
In Green Card related updates, the EB-2 priority date in respect to India remained at 11/15/04 in the recently published U.S. Department of State Visa Bulletin for April 2014. EB-2 priority date advanced by about 3 weeks in respect to mainland China. In the EB-3 category, the priority dates remained at 9/15/03 in respect to India, but advanced by about 4 to 6 weeks for all countries including China. Meanwhile, EB-1, EB-4 and EB-5 priority dates for all countries, along with the EB-2 priority date for all countries other than India and mainland China, continued to remain “Current”.
In a notable immigration-related development, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that illegal immigrants cannot be given a license to practice law in Florida. The court observed that current federal law prohibits issuance of a license to practice law to an unlawful or unauthorized immigrant. Significantly, while state law can override the federal ban, Florida has taken no action thus far to do so. Interestingly, the California Supreme Court very recently granted a law license to an illegal immigrant. It is hoped that this recent ruling of the Florida Supreme Court will move the Florida legislature to take some action in this regard.
Immigration Articles and Other Fun Stuff:
Our ‘FeaturedVideo’ for this month is “Setting Up a Company in US – Choosing L1 Visa or E Visa”, in which we present a detailed comparison between the 2 most popular nonimmigrant visas available to foreign nationals intending to set up a new business in the US or wishing to enter the US to invest in, manage or work for an existing business enterprise. Please check out and subscribe to our YouTube channel to take advantage of another great service provided to you by VisaPro.
Check out our ‘In Focus‘ article for this month titled “2015 H1B Cap Petitions: How To Properly File With USCIS” in which we have put together line-by-line instructions to prepare and assemble the 2015 H-1B cap petitions. Following these guidelines will help you avoid delays and increase the chances of lottery selection and approvals.
Every month we introduce a new and interesting question for our opinion poll. Results of our previous poll indicate thata large majorityof the respondents (75%) think that the intense competition witnessed for H-1B’s makes a strong case for immigration reform. We continue to 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 also congratulate Marco for winning last month’s Immigration Quiz. While we received more than one correct response to the quiz question, Marco 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 next month with a lot more noise from the Immigration World!