A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Gestational Mothers are also "Mothers" for Immigration Purposes

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) made the following policy announcement today -

USCIS Expands the Definition of “Mother” and “Parent” to Include Gestational Mothers Using Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

USCIS issued a new policy (PA-2014-009) clarifying the definition of “mother” and “parent” under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to include gestational mothers using assisted reproductive technology regardless of whether they are the genetic mothers. USCIS and the Department of State (DOS), who exercise authority over these issues, collaborated in the development of this policy. USCIS and DOS concluded that the term “mother” and “parent” under the INA includes any mother who:

  • Gave birth to the child, and
  • Was the child’s legal mother at the time of birth under the law of the relevant jurisdiction.
Under this new policy, a mother who meets this definition but does not have a genetic relationship with her child (for example, she became pregnant through an egg donor) will:

  • Be able to petition for her child based on their relationship
  • Be eligible to have her child petition for her based on their relationship
  • Be able to transmit U.S. citizenship to her child, if she is a U.S. citizen and all other pertinent citizenship requirements are met.
(Source: USCIS.gov  10/28/2014)

Monday, October 13, 2014

November Visa Bulletin: Major retrogression for Eb-2 India

In November, Employment-Based 2nd Preference (EB-2) India retrogresses more than four (4) years to Feb. 15, 2005.  Although retrogression has been predicted by the State Department, the extent of retrogression is still significant.  Since the October Visa Bulletin is still effective through October 31, Indian nationals with current priority dates in October should file their I-485 applications as soon as possible to secure their employment authorization document and travel document.  It is unlikely, however, that they will receive their green cards any time soon.  EB-3 India moves forward by one week to November 22, 2003.


Other employment-based categories have advanced. For example, EB-2 China advances by three (3) weeks to December 8, 2009; EB-3 China, Philippines, Mexico and Other Countries all move forward by eight (8) months, after October's six-month advancement.  It is interesting to note that China's EB-3 has caught up with its EB-2 category again.  

Family-based preference categories have generally enjoyed some small movements in November.  For example, F2A moves forward by one (1) month for China, India, Philippines, and Other Countries.  F2B advanced two (2) months for China, India and Other Countries to January 1, 2008.  




FAMILY
Other Countries
China
India
Mexico
Philippines
F1
06/08/07
06/08/07
06/08/07
06/08/94
11/01/04
F2A
03/01/13
03/01/13
03/01/13
09/22/12
03/01/13
F2B
01/01/08
01/01/08
01/01/08
09/08/94
01/01/04
F3
12/08/03
12/08/03
12/08/03
11/01/93
06/08/93
F4
02/08/02
02/08/02
02/08/02
02/15/97
05/01/91

1st: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens (about 23,000 per year).
2A: The 2 "A" preference is for Spouses and Children (under 21 & unmarried) of LPR's.
2B: The 2 "B" Preference is for Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 or older) of LPR's.
3rd: Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens.(about 23,000 per year)
4th: Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens.(about 65,000 per year)


EMPLOYMENT
Other Countries
China
India
Mexico
Philippines
EB1
C
C
C
C
C
EB2
C
12/08/09
02/18/05
C
C
EB3
06/01/12
01/01/10
11/22/03
06/01/12
06/01/12
Other Workers
06/01/12
07/22/05
11/22/03
06/01/12
06/01/12
EB4
C
C
C
C
C
EB5
C
C
C
C
C


1st: Priority Workers (Extraordinary ability aliens, multinational companies executives/managers, outstanding prof./researchers)
2nd: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability.
3rd: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers (Unskilled.)
4th: "Special Immigrants" (Religious & others)
5th: Employment Creation (Investors)

Friday, October 10, 2014

PERM Labor Application Processing Time

U.S. Labor Department posted the following PERM processing times as of 10/06/2014 -



Analyst Reviews: 
May 2014  (About 5 months)
Audit Review: 
April 2013 (About 18 months)
Reconsideration Requests: 
October 2014 (almost current)
Government Error Reconsideration:
Current

(Note: the dates denote initial filing dates)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

EB-3 and EB-2 China almost converge in November

In November's Visa Bulletin,  EB-3 China moves forward by 8 months to 01/01/2010, catching up with EB-2 China, which advances 3 weeks to 12/08/2009.  For the first time in recent history, these two visa categories' cut-off dates are within 30 days apart only!

EB-2 India retrogresses to February 2005 in November!

As expected, the November Visa Bulletin reveals major retrogression in the EB-2 India visa category, bringing it back more than four (4) years to 02/15/2005!  

Monday, October 6, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court to hear visa refusal case

A naturalized U.S. citizen filed an immigrant visa to bring her husband to the United States so that they can live together.  Things went well for the most part except the last step - the visa interview. After her husband was interviewed by a consular officer in Islamabad, Pakistan, he was told that everything was okay and he should expect to get his visa soon.  However, his visa was never issued despite repeated follow-up inquiries.  At the end, he was advised that his visa application was refused and his file was returned to the United States.

Hundreds of thousands of foreigners apply for U.S. visas every year.  Although many of them got their visas, there are also considerable number of applicants whose visas were refused.   According to the U.S. State Department's Report of the Visa Office 2013, 288,957 immigrant visas and 2,230,296 non-immigrant visas (e.g., tourist, business, student) were refused by U.S. consulates. When a visa application is denied, the applicant does not really have any recourse.  Until recently, that is.  

The above-mentioned U.S. citizen, Fauzia Din, took the visa refusal to court.  Legally speaking, the U.S. courts do not have much authority over visa issues because Congress was given "plenary power" to make rules regarding admission of foreign nationals by the Constitution.  Congress wrote several statutes which give almost unfettered power to the State Department and Consular Officers to issue and to deny visas.  Consequently, the courts rarely disturb the decisions of Consular Officers. Here, however, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal took side with Ms. Din and remanded the case to the State Department to provide more specific reasons for refusing visa to her husband. According to the Ninth Circuit, specific reasons need to be given to show that the decision was made in good faith and for legitimate reasons.

The Government appealed the Ninth Circuit's decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which recently agreed to hear the case.  (John F. Kerry, Secretary of State, et al., v. Fauzia Din).  The Government argues that by law the Consular Officer only needed to provide a notice of refusal of the visa application without specifying the exact reasons for his decision.  Here, the Consular Officer already stated "terrorist activities" were grounds for inadmission.

It appears the the "terrorist activities" ground of inadmission was triggered based on the husband's employment at the Afghan government's Ministry of Social Welfare as a clerk before, during, and after the Taliban occupation.  Ms. Din argued that the visa refusal could not have been justified since her husband only worked as a low-level clerk for the government.

The Supreme Court will decide this case in the coming months.  To a large extent, the Supreme Court's decision will depend on whether Ms. Din's Constitutional rights have been violated.  Ms. Din has liberty interest in marriage and to live with her spouse in the United States.  If her rights have been violated, the question remains whether her rights trump the national security powers of the State Department regarding visa issuance.   However, other Constitutional issues and statutory interpretation issues may also affect the outcome of this extremely important case.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Diversity Visa Program ("Visa Lottery") 2016

The annual U.S. visa lottery is here again! The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program ("DV Program" or "Visa Lottery") was created by Congress to provide an opportunity for individuals from countries with historically how rates of immigration to the U.S. to obtain permanent resident status.  It is an annual program with approximately 50,000 visas available.  For fiscal year 2016, applicants must submit their applications electronically between noon, EDT, Wednesday, October 1, 2014, and noon, EST, Monday, November 3,  2014.

Eligibility

1) Eligible Countries:   Natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because they sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years:

Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

Although people born in mainland China are not eligible to apply, those who were born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible for DV-2016.

Even if a foreign national's native country is not eligible for visa lottery, there are two other ways that the person may qualify to apply.  First, if this person’s spouse was born in an eligible country, than the person may also apply based on the spouse’s native country.  Secondly, if an applicant was born in an ineligible country such as China, but his or her parents were born in an eligible country such as Taiwan and they were not residing in China at the time of applicant’s birth, then the applicant is also eligible to apply.

2) Education and Work Experience Requirement:   An applicant must either have a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform.

Family members

For a married couple, if both husband and wife are qualified, they may each submit one application in order to increase the chances of being selected. Which family members should be included in the application?  The application must list the applicant’s spouse and all living unmarried children under the age of 21, including step-children and legally adopted children.  Even if a family member has no intention to immigrate, he or she must be included in the application form. The only exception is that the family member is a U.S. citizen or green card holder.

When and how to submit an entry

Entries for the DV-2016 program must be submitted electronically between noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), Wednesday, October 1, 2014, and noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST), Monday, November 3,  2014.  Applicants may access the electronic DV Entry Form (E-DV) at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period. Paper entries will not be accepted. Do not wait until the last week of the registration period to enter. Heavy demand may result in website delays. No entries will be accepted after noon, EDT, on November 3, 2014.

The DV program makes visas available to persons meeting simple but strict requirements. Applicants should carefully follow the program instructions to fill-out the application form and submit all required photographs.  Entries not following the official instructions and requirements will be rejected and disqualified.  Furthermore, DHS is technologically capable of identifying fraudulent entries, illegal entries or multiple entries. After an application is submitted, a unique confirmation number is generated.  This number should be kept in a safe place for future reference.

Selection process

A computerized process will randomly select 50,000+ lucky winners for DV visas.  There are no ways to improve the odds of getting selected.  As stated before, all eligible members within a member may apply individually, thus increasing the chance of winning.

When and how to find out the results

Beginning May 5, 2015 (until at least June 30, 2016), applicants will be able to check the status of their DV-2015 entries online.  Visit www.dvlottery.state.gov, click on Entrant Status Check, and enter the unique confirmation number and personal information. Entrant Status Check will be the only means through which applicants may check the status of their applications.  It will also provide instructions to the winners of the visa lottery how to proceed with the application process, and also notify them of their appointments for their immigrant visa interview. Therefore, it is very important for an applicant to keep the confirmation number.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Adopted children may self-petition for green card without living with abusive parents for 2 years

A recent USCIS policy memo implements an exception to the two-year custody and two-year residency requirement for abused adopted children.  This policy memo, dated July 14, 2014, provides guidance to USCIS officers in adjudicating Form I-360, filed by a self-petitioning adopted child for a green card, when the adopted child has been battered or abused.


Normal Requirements for Adopted Children Petition
Under normal procedure, an adopted child must meet certain legal requirements before he or she may apply for a U.S. green card based on the adoptive parent's petition.  The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires that the child's adoption must have been completed before the adopted child’s 16th (or 18th, if the child's sibling had been adopted by the same adoptive parent prior to the age of 16)  birthday.  Further, the adoptive parent must also have had legal custody of the adopted child for at least two years, and must have resided with the adopted child for at least two years. There are some exceptions to these requirements. For example, orphan adoptions or Hague Convention adoptions are governed by different sets of rules.

Problems under the Regular Requirements
Under the regular legal requirements, adopted children were required to prove that they have had two years of legal custody and two years of residence with the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident adoptive parent.  These requirements created problems for adopted children who were abused by their parents.  These children were not able to apply for a green card until they had lived with their abusive parents for two years.  If they chose to escape or move out of the abusive home, they would become ineligible for a green card for failing to meet the two-year legal custody and two-year residency requirements.

Violence Against Women Act 2005 Amendments
In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was signed into law, which allows certain abused adopted children of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to self-petition for immigrant visas.  However, many adopted children were not able to self-petition because they failed to meet the two-year legal custody and two-year residency requirements.

In 2005, VAWA was amended to remove these two requirements by amending the definition of
an adopted child under INA for a child if the child has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by the adoptive parent or by household family members of the adoptive parent.  In effect, the VAWA 2005 amendments allow abused adopted children to leave their abusive home without jeopardizing their eligibility to file a self-petition for green card.

New Guidance under Policy Memo
The new policy memo provides guidance on the adjudication of a VAWA-based Form I-360.  The policy memo basically adopted the VAWA 2005 amendments in the adjudication process.  Under the new policy, an abused adopted child applying for a self-petition only needs to prove that he or she shared a residence with the abuse parents for some period of time.  If the child has been abused
by the adoptive parent or a household family member,  the two-year custody and two-year residence requirements no longer applies.  To apply, the adopted child must be at least 14 years old and a person of good moral character.

Further, an abused adopted child may file the I-360 petition outside of the U.S. if  the abuser is an employee of the U.S. government or a member of the uniformed services, or if the self-petitioning child was subjected to battery or extreme cruelty in the United States.

Late filing is also allowed under the new policy.  Specifically, if the abuse was "one central reason" for the delay in filing, the "child" may continue to be eligible to file a self-petition until the age of 25.

Claims of abuse and extreme cruelty are scrutinized carefully by the adjudicators.  Substantial evidence such as police reports, sworn statements, medical documentation, etc., is required to prove that a child was battered or subjected to extreme cruelty.  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

PERM Labor Application Processing Time

U.S. Labor Department posted the following PERM processing times as of 09/08/2014 -

Analyst Reviews: April 2014  (About 5 months - an improvement from the beginning of the year)
Audit Review: March 2013 (About 18 months turn around - audits are getting slower.)
Reconsideration Requests: September 2014 (almost current)
Gov't Error Re-considerations: Current

(Note: the dates denote initial filing dates)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

California to issue driver's licenses to the undocumented in 2015

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in California will be issuing driver's licenses to
undocumented drivers under a new law as long as they can prove their identity and California residency.


Under the new law - Assembly Bill (AB) 60 - an applicant must still be able to provide proof of identify and residency in California within six months of application.  Furthermore, applicants must be at least 16 years old and without criminal background. The new law is expected to become operative on January 1, 2015.

Licenses issued under AB 60 are visually different from the regular driver's licenses. For instance, instead of using DL (driver's license), it will use DP (driving privileges).

Under AB 60, undocumented drivers must still pass a written and driving test and obtain proof of insurance before they are allowed to drive in the state. Approximately 1.4 million undocumented persons in California are expected to apply for driver's licenses over the next three years under the new law.

October 2014 Visa Bulletin: EB-2 India unchanged & retrogression expected

In October, there is some nice forward movement in family-based visa categories.  Family First (F1) for China, India and Other Countries all move forward by three (3) weeks to 05/22/07.   F-1 Philippines advances one (1) month to 09/01/04.  Another significant movement is with the Family 2A (spouses and minor children of lawful residents) categories.  F2A advances one (1) month to 02/01/13 for almost all countries; it advances three (3) months for Mexico.  This category was stagnant for many months until recently.  


On the employment side, the headline news is the slowing down of EB-2 India.  This visa category is unchanged in October, and is expected to retrogress as soon as November (next month) due to increased filing of I-485 adjustment applications.  After the publication of the October Visa Bulletin, State Department also announced that the FY2014 visa cap for EB-2 India was reached as of 09/10/2014.  This series of events indicate that the demand for EB-2 India has increased significantly in recent months, most notably due to large number of EB-3 to EB-2 upgrades among Indian applicants.    

On the other hand, EB-2 for China moves forward by five (5) weeks to 11/15/09.  EB-3 China moves forward by five (5) months to 04/01/09.  EB-3 India advances one (1) week to 11/15/2003.  EB-3 Philippines, Mexico and Other Countries advance six (6) months. 



FAMILY
Other Countries
China
India
Mexico
Philippines
F1
05/22/07
05/22/07
05/22/07
06/22/94
09/01/04
F2A
02/01/13
02/01/13
02/01/13
07/22/12
02/01/13
F2B
07/01/11
07/01/11
07/01/11
08/01/94
12/15/03
F3
12/01/03
12/01/03
12/01/03
10/22/93
06/01/93
F4
01/22/02
01/22/02
01/22/02
02/01/97
04/08/91

1st: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens (about 23,000 per year).
2A: The 2 "A" preference is for Spouses and Children (under 21 & unmarried) of LPR's.
2B: The 2 "B" Preference is for Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 or older) of LPR's.
3rd: Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens.(about 23,000 per year)
4th: Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens.(about 65,000 per year)


EMPLOYMENT
Other Countries
China
India
Mexico
Philippines
EB1
C
C
C
C
C
EB2
C
11/15/09
05/01/09
C
C
EB3
10/01/11
04/01/09
11/15/03
10/01/11
10/01/11
Other Workers
10/01/11
07/22/05
11/15/03
10/01/11
10/01/11
EB4
C
C
C
C
C
EB5
C
C
C
C
C


1st: Priority Workers (Extraordinary ability aliens, multinational companies executives/managers, outstanding prof./researchers)
2nd: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability.
3rd: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers (Unskilled.)
4th: "Special Immigrants" (Religious & others)
5th: Employment Creation (Investors)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Immigrant visas cut-off dates advance for Philippines due to decreased demand

The recent decreased demand for both employment-based and family-based immigrant visas for the Philippines has caused the visa cut-off dates to advance, according to Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division for the U.S. Department of State (DOS).

Most significantly, the October cut-off date for the Employment-based 3rd Preference and "Other Worker" categories for the Philippines is 10/01/2011, the same as (or as fast as) the Other Countries.  

EB-2 India FY2014 Visa Cap Reached

Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division for the U.S. Department of State (DOS), has confirmed that the EB-2 visa category for India was no longer available as of 09/10/2014, and will remain unavailable until 10/1/2014, when FY2015 begins.  

Applicants with priority dates earlier than 05/01/2009 may still continue to file their green card applications until the end of September.  However, those cases will be held in the Visa Office's "Pending Demand" file until 10/1/2014, when new visa quota becomes available.

Cases that have been submitted and pre-adjudicated will continue to be processed.  The visa exhaustion does not affect them as visa numbers have already been allocated.

Further, as reported in the October Visa Bulletin, EB-2 India is expected to retrogress as early as November this year due to large number of EB-3 to EB-2 upgrades for Indian-born applicants.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Political activities in the U.S. held to be "changed circumstances" for asylum application

A person who harbored dissenting views of his government came to the United States.  About eight years later, he started to become politically active in expressing his opposition to his government. This person argued that these activities in the United States constituted "changed circumstances" under asylum law, which should excuse his late filing of his asylum and related applications. The United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and ruled in his favor in a recent decision. (Lin v. Holder, 8/19/14).

One-year deadline for asylum application
The U.S. immigration law generally only allows a foreigner to apply for political asylum within one year of his or her entry into the United States.  There are some exceptions to this general rule. For example, if a person is seriously ill or disabled, then the deadline can be excused.  Another exception is a showing of changes in circumstances in his case.

Changed circumstances as an exception
Generally speaking, changed circumstances such as changes in country conditions or changes in the law are valid basis for late filing of one's asylum application.  There are other changes in circumstances that may also be eligible.  In the case of Lin, his claim of changed circumstances is based on the activities that he took part after his arrival to the United States.  According to Lin, he harbored dissenting views of the government before he left China in 1997.  However, he did not do anything to publicly express his political views until after he arrived in the U.S.

In December 2007, Lin joined an organization called China Democratic Party World Union (“CDPWU”). He also wrote essays for the CDPWU website criticizing the Chinese Communist Party. Finally, he participated in group protests at the Chinese Consulate General’s Office in New York City and at the Chinese Embassy in Washington.

Immigration Judge and BIA did not find changed circumstances
Lin's case was heard by an immigration judge (IJ) in New York, who found that the recent expression of his long-held views of the Chinese government did not constitute changed circumstances. According to the IJ, these new activities did not constitute a new reason to justify asylum. The judge also believed that Lin's activities were relatively mild and so far removed from China.  There was little chance that the Chinese government would take note of Lin's activities and punish him. The BIA agreed with the judge's decision.

Second Circuit held Lin's U.S. activities constituted changed circumstances
Lin appealed the case to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The Second Circuit held that the IJ and BIA decisions were wrong as a matter of law.  Their decisions are inconsistent with the regulation, which interprets changed circumstances to include “activities the [asylum] applicant becomes involved in outside the country of feared persecution that place the applicant at risk,” 8 C.F.R. § 1208.4(a)(4)(i)(B).

Secondly, their decisions are also inconsistent with BIA decisions dealing with "second child" issues.  In those cases, applicant's giving birth to a second child was recognized as changes in personal circumstances which would increase the likelihood of persecution.  See In re T-M-H- & S-W-C-, 25 I. & N. Dec. 193 (BIA 2010). These applicants are similar to Lin in that their viewpoints did not change but their actions expressing their viewpoints changed.

The Second Circuit left the question of whether or not Lin should be granted asylum to the IJ and BIA. It also invited the BIA to issue more binding decisions relating to this important issue.

Friday, August 29, 2014

China EB-5 Visa Quota Used up for 2014

The EB-5 immigrant visa numbers have been used up for China for fiscal year 2014 as of August 23, according to Charles Oppenheim, Chief of Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State. 

This action is necessary because all available visa numbers for China in the EB-5 category have been allocated to existing cases. 

The EB-5 visa provides a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States. To obtain the visa, individuals must invest $1,000,000 (or at least $500,000 in a "Targeted Employment Area" - high unemployment or rural area), creating or preserving at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers excluding the investor and their immediate family.

However, this development does not affect applicants whose cases that have already been processed and scheduled for interviews. These cases have already been reviewed and allocated visa numbers, including cases that have been scheduled for interviews. Therefore, Chinese EB-5 applicants who have been scheduled for an interview at an overseas American Consulate based on the original establishment of the August and September cut-off dates would not be impacted by the exhaustion of visa numbers as they already have been allotted visa numbers.  

The State Department states that no additional numbers are available for cases originally scheduled for interview in an earlier month who are just now returning, or for those first requesting an interview.  However if there are Chinese applicants who fail to appear or failed to overcome a refusal during August or September, then additional visa numbers will be available.

USCIS offices may continue to accept and process China Employment Fifth preference cases and submit them in the normal manner. However, instead of being acted upon immediately, those cases will be held in the Visa Office's "Pending Demand" file until October 1, 2014. At that time, all eligible cases will be automatically authorized from the "Pending Demand" file under the FY-2015 annual numerical limitation. Each USCIS requesting office will receive an e-mail notification of such authorizations, which will be effective immediately.

Applicants who are impacted by the unavailability of visa numbers or otherwise do not qualify for EB-5 investment visas may consider applying for L-1 visa if they own or currently working for a foreign enterprise. 

The L-1 visa is a temporary, non-immigrant visa which allows qualified overseas companies to relocate foreign qualified employees to its U.S. parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of that company. There are several different types of L1 visas. L-1A visa is specifically designed for intra-company executive or manager transferees. The L-1B visa is designed for intra-company transfers of employees with specialized knowledge. 

It is also important to note that additional visa numbers will be available starting October 1, 2014.  However, demand will likely continue to be strong for this visa category.