Hello and welcome to the May 2013 Immigration Newsletter!
After the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill – the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 – was introduced in the Senate in April by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on behalf of the “Gang of Eight,” and after a round of additional negotiations, mark-ups and amendments, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill in May by a vote of 13 to 5. The bill will now be taken up for discussion in the full Senate in June and it is hoped that the bill will not be blocked in the Senate by a floor vote. Meanwhile, no meaningful proposals have been set forth by the House of Representatives regarding Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
Also in May, USCIS began returning the rejected H-1B petition packages that were not selected in the FY 2014 H-1B ‘lottery.’ As our readers are most likely aware, the FY 2014 H-1B cap was reached within the first week of filing, which began on April 1 and ended on April 5. USCIS conducted a ‘lottery’ on April 7, 2013 to select a sufficient number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption. Employers (except cap-exempt organizations) who would like to file new H-1B petitions will now have to wait until April 1, 2014 for a start date no sooner than October 1, 2014. If you missed the H-1B bus, consult a VisaPro attorney to learn more on how you can evaluate and utilize alternatives to the H-1B.
May also saw the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) complete the implementation schedule for the automation of Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record for all air and sea travelers. With I-94 automation, foreign visitors will no longer need to fill out a paper form I-94 when arriving to the U.S. by air or sea. Instead, records of admission will now be generated using traveler information already transmitted through electronic means. Travelers wanting a hard copy of the arrival-departure record or other evidence of admission can access this information online and print a copy of an I-94 through the CBP website. CBP will continue to issue paper I-94’s at land border ports of entry.
In some good news for Blanket L visa applicants in India, Mission India has announced the launching of a pilot program in Chennai for single day appointment scheduling. L-1 Blanket Visa Applicants can now visit the Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) and Consulate on the same day. Visa applicants in India should be aware that the U.S. Consulate in Chennai is the sole acceptance center in India for all applications for intra-company transfers under the Blanket L category and this single day appointment facility is limited only to Blanket L visa applicants.
Other Developments in Immigration Law:
June 2013 Visa Bulletin: EB-3 Priority Dates Advance for All Countries
In the recently published U.S. Department of State Visa Bulletin for June 2013, the EB-2 priority dates remained current in respect of all countries other than India and mainland China. The EB-2 priority date for India remained at 09/01/04, even as it advanced from 05/15/08 to 07/15/08 in respect of mainland China. Meanwhile, the EB-1, EB-4 and EB-5 numbers continue to remain current for all countries, while significant advancement was seen in EB-3 priority dates.
USCIS Reminds Employers To Start Using Revised Form I-9
USCIS has reminded employers to start using the revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 that was released on March 8, 2013 (revision 03/08/13) as of May 7, 2013, if they had not already begun to do so. Beginning May 7, 2013, all employers must only use the revised Form I-9 for new hires and previous versions of the Form I-9 must not be used after May 6, 2013. All previous versions will no longer be valid.
Immigration Articles and Other Fun Stuff:
Our ‘Featured Video’ for this month is “Family Based Immigrant Visa: Who Qualifies” in which we discuss which family members qualify for a family immigrant visa and how long it will take to get the immigrant visa. 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 “EB-3 to EB-2 Porting: How to Successfully Upgrade Your Green Card Application” to learn how EB-3 to EB-2 porting can save applicants years of waiting in line for the elusive but much-wanted Green Card.
Every month we introduce a new and interesting question for our opinion poll. Results of our previous poll indicate that a majority of respondents (85%) welcome the provision in the comprehensive immigration reform bill that proposes to bar companies from hiring people on H-1B visa if 50% of their employees are not Americans. 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 Morris for winning last month’s Immigration Quiz. While we received more than one correct response to the quiz question, Morris 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 again next month with a lot more noise from the Immigration World!