The month of October always rings a bell as it signifies the advent of much awaited DV lottery program widely known as Green Card lottery. The first week of October 2010 marked the beginning of the DV-2012 lottery program. This is the time many people wait for all year long. The Department of State (DOS) has not yet revealed the number of applications received towards the DV-2012 lottery program but they announced that the DV lottery for 2012 will certainly end on November 3, 2010.
H-1B numbers still remain available for the fiscal year 2011 employment. This week USCIS reported another slight increase in H-1B cap filings. As of October 15, 2010, USCIS has received 42,800 H-1B cap subject petitions against the standard H-1B cap of 65,000 and 15,700 petitions against the cap exemption of 20,000 for holders of U.S. advanced degrees.
The Department of Homeland Security’s report for the fiscal year 2010 in collaboration with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has made one of most pleasant announcements. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton have proclaimed record-breaking immigration enforcement statistics achieved under the Obama administration—including unprecedented numbers of convicted criminal alien removals and overall alien removals in fiscal year 2010. DHS and ICE set a record for removals of illegal aliens in fiscal year 2010, with more than 392,000 removals overall, of whom 195,000 were convicted criminals. DHS and ICE have also quoted dramatic improvement in the worksite enforcement as well.
The USCIS has been pushing proposals to change procedures of filing of H-1B nonimmigrant petitions since quite a long time. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is certainly taking steps to move closer to the pre-registration system for H-1B petitioners. USCIS drafted and sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a proposed online pre-registration form that employers would use to apply for an H-1B cap number. The proposed system aims to simplify the filing process for an H-1B visa. The pre-registration process would come into effect only after a final version of the regulation is approved and published by OMB. Under the proposed pre-registration system, employers will have to register online and wait until they are awarded an H-1B cap number in the annual lottery before they submit a full petition with supporting documentation. It is anticipated that eventually a pre-registration system would be used for other visa classifications that are subject to numerical limitations.
Here is an important reminder, the revised visa application and petition fees will go into effect from November 23, 2010. USCIS informed that applications or petitions postmarked or otherwise filed on or after November 23 date must include the new fee, or they will be rejected. USCIS final rule adjusting fees for immigration applications and petitions, which was announced on June 11, 2010 increases the overall fees by a weighted average of about 10 percent but will not increase the fee for the Naturalization application. Click here to read the USCIS final rule to increase the visa application and petition fees.
Other Developments in Immigration Law:
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.
OMB Approves Revised I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved a revised edition of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. The approved draft is the third revision of Form I-129 that the agency has proposed this year. However, the revised Form I-129 has not yet been released for public use.
USCIS Redesigns Naturalization Certificate to Enhance Security
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas today announced the launch of a redesigned Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550) with new security features that will reduce fraud—part of USCIS’ ongoing efforts to enhance the integrity of the immigration system. USCIS began using redesigned certificates at all offices today, and the agency anticipates that over 600,000 new citizens will receive the enhanced certificate over the next year.
Immigration Articles and Other Fun Stuff:
Now for the regulars – this month’s Immigration Article “Affidavit of Support – Forms I-134 and I-864 in Comparison” elaborates the differences between Form I-134 and Form I-864; explaining the importance of both the forms and their usage at the same time. Also check out our In Focus section for this month, “Do Immigrants Have Any Rights in the U.S.?” where we bring to light the basic rights of immigrants in the U.S.
Every month we introduce a new and interesting question for our opinion poll. Last month’s poll results indicate that 52.17% of the respondents do not favor the USCIS decision to increase the fees for many immigration filings, including premium processing cases. 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 Anand Prabhu 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 Anand Prabhu 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!!!
See you next month with a lot more noise from the Immigration World!