Hello and welcome to the November 2010 Immigration Newsletter!
Let us begin our most recent immigration expedition with one of the most important pieces of news this month. Well, no points for guessing that we are talking about the increase in fees for immigration benefits. This is the second time in three years that USCIS has announced an increase in fees. Almost all fees are increasing, on average, by 10%. The fees for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, however, will remain the same. Fees for six individual applications and petitions will actually go down; they are Form 129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé; Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status; Form I-698, Application to Adjust Status from Temporary to Permanent Resident; Form I-817, Application for Family Unity Benefits; Form I-131, Application for Travel Document when filed for Refugee Travel Document and Form N-565, Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document. The changes will go into effect on November 23, 2010. All applications received on or after November 23, 2010 with the old fee will be rejected.
USCIS is also reminding all stakeholders that it has revised Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, which will be published on November 23, 2010, the same day as the above noted fee changes go into effect. The previous version of the form will be accepted for 30 days, ending on December 21, 2010. All applications submitted to USCIS with the older version must be postmarked on or before December 21, 2010. USCIS has also informed that it will publish the revised edition of the Form I-129 on November 23, 2010 and until December 21, 2010, USCIS will accept the old version of the form but after December 21, it will not accept the previous editions of the form.
Here is a synopsis about the crucial changes that are going to take place in coming days:
On November 2nd, 2010, the Democratic Party suffered huge election losses, mostly tied to voter frustration with the state of politics in America and the weakened economy. After a disappointing two years for most immigration proponents in terms of any sweeping policy changes, it is difficult to say if there will be any immigration reform now, considering that the Republicans have wrested control of the Lower House.
On November 5th, 2010, President Obama departed on a ten-day trip to Asia, which began in India, followed by visits to Indonesia, Japan and ending in South Korea where he attended the G-20 Summit.
On November 6, 2010, President Obama addressed the US-India Business Council Summit at the Hotel Trident-Oberoi. We are pleased to share that the VisaPro team was a part of the Presidential Executive Mission to India.
Mr. Ramineni (standing on the extreme right, holding the President’s hand) from our DC office is interacting with President Obama at the Business and Entrepreneurship Summit in Mumbai where the President announced nearly $10 billion in U.S. export deals.
This Business and Entrepreneurship Summit in India’s financial capital (Mumbai) was the President’s first stop with the business community in India, enabling the President to experience first-hand the excitement underway being generated by the entrepreneurial spirit that unites the business communities and which binds the two countries.
Other Developments in Immigration Law:
Changes in Consular Processing for Family Second Preference (F2A) Applicants from Cuba
DOS and USCIS have announced that because of decreased worldwide demand in the family second preference category, all Cuban Family Reunification Program (CFRP) participants in this category will be eligible to be processed as regular immigrant visa applicants beginning January 1, 2011.
DOL Approves Standards for Direct Support Professional Occupation Under National Registered Apprenticeship System
DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has approved national guidelines for apprenticeship standards for the occupation of direct support professional. These standards will enable employers to use ETA’s Registered Apprenticeship program to train workers for careers in the long-term care sector of the health care industry. Under the new standards, the Registered Apprenticeship program will provide direct support professional apprentices with on-the-job instruction to develop competencies in assisting people in need. The credentials and competencies to be achieved are based upon criteria for the NADSP national voluntary direct support credentialing program.
Immigration Articles and Other Fun Stuff:
Now for the regulars – this month’s Immigration Article titled ‘B1 In Lieu Of H3: An Often Overlooked Trainee Visa’ contains a quick look at the similarities and differences between the B-1 and H-3 visas. The article also presents a brief introduction to B1 in lieu of H3 for employees required to undergo a training program in the U.S. Also check out our In Focus section for this month where we discuss some key concepts to be considered by both F1 students and H1B employers while changing status from OPT to H1B. The article also tells the FOUR steps you have to go through to change your status from OPT to H1B.
Every month we introduce a new and interesting question for our opinion poll. Last month’s poll results indicate that 60.00% of the respondents think that USCIS’ urge to Fraud Prevention Officers to check social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter when investigating cases may disturb a person’s privacy. We appreciate that people take an interest in our opinion question. Keep it up! And continue to cast your vote to express Your Opinion.
We congratulate Rehaan Hussain 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 Rehaan Hussain 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!!!