Hello and welcome to the May 2007 Immigration Newsletter!
For those of you who follow immigration issues April was a month of exhilaration for some, and disappointment for many. Some are hoping to get a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, whilst others are figuring out an alternative to the H-1B dilemma. The proposed increase in the H-1B cap might be the best surrogate for all the anguish they are undergoing. VisaPro has the resources and expertise when it comes to offering the best alternative solutions to H-1B.
USCIS announced on May 4 that it had received enough H-1B petitions requesting exemptions from the FY 2008 H-1B cap to meet the congressionally mandated limit of 20,000. USCIS will be rejecting petitions that are received on or after May 1, 2007, unless the petition is otherwise eligible for a separate cap exemption.
Given the way the H-1B program has been going for the last few years it should be no surprise that on May 11, 2007, USCIS advised its constituents had claimed that it was temporarily experiencing a receipting/data-entry front log at its Service Centers due to the unprecedented volume of recent H-1B filings. USCIS should have anticipated the numbers and been ready. In an effort to give its customers more accurate information about current receipting timeframes and service level commitments, USCIS has provided projections for fee receipting and data entry processing for H-1B cap cases currently at their Service Centers.
In another move that was not well received (but expected) USCIS announced that it would terminate Premium Processing Service for Form I-140 petitions that request labor certification substitution. USCIS is expecting a substantial increase in the number of petitioning employers that will file I-140 petitions requesting Premium Processing Service and seeking labor certification substitution prior to July 16, 2007 (the final day that I-140 will be allowed with substitutions on the labor certification).
The Department of Labor (DOL) has published a final rule that is intended to uphold the integrity of the Permanent Labor Certification program. The DOL rule will close off opportunities for fraud in the employment certification of non-US citizens for permanent residence in the United States. It eliminates the current practice of substitution of alien beneficiaries on both permanent labor certification applications and approved labor certifications. It also establishes procedures for Department of Labor debarment of any employer found to be acting fraudulently. You can track the latest update on this front through our Immigration News section.
USCIS is recognizing the contributions of our military. USCIS has made it possible for members of the U.S. Armed Forces to apply for citizenship under special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), including a streamlined naturalization process specifically for military personnel serving on active-duty status or recently discharged. Additionally, as of October 1, 2004, members of the U.S. Armed Forces do not pay a fee when filing for citizenship.
We are keeping a close watch on the various pieces of immigration legislation pending in Congress, the response to the hearings, and their likely consequences. We will keep you updated with the latest in the coming issues of your Immigration Monitor.
We invite all our VisaPro readers to go through our Industry Perspective article on H-2B Seasonal Workers to get a sense of the labor problems faced by many industries in the US. The debate over increasing the number of workers brought into U.S. through the H-2B program is heating up. The demand by employers for legal H-2B workers has greatly outstripped the visas which the Congress makes available each year. The H-2B numerical limit set by Congress per fiscal year is only 66,000.
We continue to further our endeavors to bring one-stop global immigration service to all our readers. This month VisaPro has added immigration services to more countries. I invite our readers to visit our Spain website. We will also be launching our Asian Immigration websites very shortly.
In last month’s poll question, we asked our readers whether or not they have an alternative to the H-1B visa if they are not selected in the random selection process. The responses showed us that this area continues to be a bit challenging for our readers. More than half of the participants showed their excitement that they may have an alternative visa category to enter the U.S. Others were discouraged because they do not have an alternative to be able to go to US, while another group appeared to be totally confused in making a decision, hence not having any effect at all. This month we have an interesting question for you to express Your Opinion. Don’t miss weighing in with your vote.
Samantha Cristina deserves all the Congratulations for winning last month’s Immigration Quiz. A significant number of participants confuse the denial of visa application with the denial of the petition. Make sure you research well for this month’s question. Who knows, your name may find a mention in the next newsletter. All the Best!
Dont forget to add our address Immigration-Monitor@VisaPro.com to the list of your contacts so that you see the Immigration Monitor in your email Inbox every month and you can keep up to date on immigration issues and you will not miss the latest immigration activity.
See you next month with a lot more noise from the Immigration World! Till then CIAO!!