A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Contact: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/

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Friday, January 15, 2021

USCIS Replaces GC Extension Sticker with Notice

Permanent residents filing to extend their green card no longer need to go to an application support center (ASC) to get a sticker for their card. 

Instead, a revised I-797C receipt notice will be mailed to the address on file. The receipt notice, when presented with the applicant's current green card, serves as proof of status for 12 months from the card's expiration date. This can be used for identity verification, employment authorization, and reentry after foreign travel. 

Employers can use the receipt and expired green card combination as a "List A" document for proof of work authorization and to fill out form I-9. 

Essentially, the sticker has been replaced and now no appointment is needed to show valid status for the duration of the pending I-90. Applicants filing from January 2021 onward will simply need to wait for Form I-797C to arrive in the mail. This change is a positive move in light of the pandemic, as it means less exposure for applicants and ASC workers.


USCIS NJ Offices Will Be Closed 01/19 and 01/20




USCIS has announced that all USCIS offices in New Jersey will be closed next Tuesday and Wednesday.  All scheduled appointments will be re-scheduled later on.  All field offices, asylum offices and application support centers will be closed. The closure is to ensure public safety during the new president's inauguration. 


Thursday, January 7, 2021

Delay of PERM Prevailing Wage Determination


Immigration practitioners may have noticed a gradual delay of the issuance of prevailing wage determinations (PWDs) by the Office of Foreign Labor Certification of the Labor Department.  The processing time has almost doubled in the past few years.  For many years, the average processing time for PWD used to be between 3 and 4 months.  However, the current PWD processing time has increased to about 6 months.  The delay means that advance planning is critical for employment-based immigration cases. 

Requirement of the Prevailing Wage Determination

To petition for a foreign worker for permanent employment in the US, an employer typically has to go through the PERM labor certification process.  PERM certification is proof that the employer is not able to find a qualified and available US worker to fill a particular job opening.  Submission of a prevailing wage request (Form ETA 9141) is an initial step in the PERM application process.  In the PWD, the Labor Department will determinate the marketing wage for the position based on factors such as the job location, duties and requirements.  The employer must offer at least the prevailing wage to any qualified applicant. 

Timing is Critical for Employment Cases

In employment-based green card cases, timing is really everything.  Frist, the PERM process is governed by very strict time restrictions, and any deviations will result in a denial.  Further, consider a typical applicant who was born in India and is working in the US on H-1B visa.  The cutoff dates for the EB-2 and EB-3 categories are about 10 years away. The sooner this applicant applies for PERM, the earlier he can secure a priority date (PD), and the earlier that he can get his green card approved.  Filing PERM early can also facilitate this applicant's H-1B extension under the AC-21 portability rules.  Significantly, the current delay with PWD will cascade down the entire application process for permanent residency.  

Planning Ahead

In light of the current delay of PWD, employers and applicants should plan ahead. Map out an application schedule as soon as possible.  As it does not cost anything to file a prevailing wage request, employers should file the requests early on if they anticipate sponsorship of foreign workers down the road.   It is also possible to start PERM recruiting before the PWD is issued. But be forewarned - there are risks involved in doing so and an employer should only do it under the advisement of an experienced practitioner. 


(Immigration laws and policies change regularly.  If you have any questions regarding this article, please visit www.1visa1.com to schedule legal consultation.) 


Green Card Application Window for Liberians Extended


Good news for  Liberians who are under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and/or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)! The opportunity to apply for a green card under the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF) law was initially set to expire on December 20, 2020, but has now been extended for another year.

Liberians and certain family members will now have until December 20, 2021 to file for permanent residency. Any I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) application received after that will not count under LRIF. 

LRIF is a great opportunity for TPS/DED Liberians to gain permanent residence in the U.S. In general, I-485 applicants need a sponsor usually through family (Form I-130) or an employer (I-140), but LRIF takes care of this part by providing a unique qualification category for certain Liberians. However, applicants should note that it is still a lengthy process and a lot of evidence is required to demonstrate admissibility. Some general information on Form I-485 can be found here

Qualifying applicants should take advantage of this extension to apply for US green cards as soon as possible. When in doubt, do not hesitate to seek professional advice from an immigration attorney. 


(Immigration laws and policies change regularly.  If you have any questions regarding this article, please visit www.1visa1.com to schedule legal consultation.) 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Trump Extends Entry Ban to March 31, 2021


In April and June of 2020, when the pandemic was still in its early stages, President Trump issued Proclamations 10014 and 10052 to limit entry of immigrants and non-immigrants into the United States. The proclamations were renewed as the pandemic dragged on and have now once again been extended -- this time until March 31, 2021.

The proclamations affect visas issued before the initial rule was signed in on June 24, 2020. They basically ban legal immigration and entry of nonimmigrant visa-holders such as H-1B, H-4, L-1A, L-1B, L-2, J-1, and J-2. Almost every non-resident will be unable to enter the U.S. unless they are deemed a national interest exception or crucial to the food supply system. H-1B and L1 visas have milder restrictions, allowing for extensions and other exceptions. 

These two proclamations can be renewed yet again at the end of March 2021 if the pandemic does not let up, though the change in presidency will surely influence these policies. 

Monday, January 4, 2021

USCIS on Rescheduling COVID Biometrics Appointments


Are you still waiting for your fingerprinting appointment notice? Was your biometrics appointment canceled from between April and June due to the pandemic? Have you not heard from USCIS since then? Many applicants are in this same situation and are understandably worried about the state of their applications. 

Recently, USCIS made an announcement to address the delays of biometrics appointments. Many benefits applications such as I-539, I-485, I-765, and N-400 require a biometrics appointment. The unprecedented pandemic has caused cancellations and delays of these appointments at the Application Support Centers (ASC).  USCIS stated that ASC operations are now functioning at around 65% of pre-COVID levels. 

So how long can one expect to wait? There isn't a concrete answer, though a few factors are identified. Some benefit types, though not stated, are prioritized over others based on processing time and demand. USCIS states that they operate mostly on a first-in, first-out basis. This means within a category of application, biometrics rescheduling will be done in the order they were canceled. Other factors affecting wait time are capacity and demand of the relevant ASC.

Note that walk-ins for biometrics are not allowed (except for military) because of COVID-19 restrictions.

For applicants that have done biometrics for a past application, there is a chance that the biometrics can be reapplied and an ASC appointment is not needed. If USCIS decides to do this, they will send the applicant a courtesy I-797 Notice of Action. 

As of this month, USCIS states that there are still about 1.3 million applications awaiting a biometrics appointment.  Hence, though it may seem like your biometrics appointment has been forgotten by USCIS, it is most likely due to the delays that have unfortunately become the new norm.  Applicants should make plans accordingly in light of these delays. 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

January 2021 Visa Bulletin: EB-1 Advances



In the first Visa Bulletin of 2021, EB-1 categories advance several months.  However, USCIS has decided to use the Final Action Date Chart for filing of the I-485 applications in January.  For the past few months, USCIS has allowed the use of the Filing Date Chart for applicants to file the I-485 application, resulting in many "downgraded" cases being filed.  

There are slight advancements in the family categories in January.  

AD: Dates for Final Action (Green Card Approval)           FD: Dates for Filing Applications Only

      Family
Other Countries
      China
India
Mexico
Philippines
F1
AD
09/15/2014
09/15/2014
09/15/2014
01/15/1998
01/01/2011
FD
07/22/2015
07/22/2015
07/22/2015
02/22/2000
10/08/2012
F2A
AD
      C
      C
      C
      C
      C
FD
08/01/2020
08/01/2020
08/01/2020
08/01/2020
08/01/2020
F2B
AD
07/08/2015
07/08/2015
07/08/2015
05/01/1999
08/15/2011
FD
05/01/2016
05/01/2016
05/01/2016
12/01/1999
04/01/2012
F3
AD
07/08/2008
07/08/2008
07/08/2008
08/22/1996
03/01/2002
FD
06/01/2009
06/01/2009
06/01/2009
08/15/2000
12/22/2002
F4
AD
10/08/2006
10/08/2006
03/15/2005
07/01/1998
02/01/2002
FD
09/15/2007
09/15/2007
11/22/2005
04/22/1999
09/01/2002

1st: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens (about 23,400 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 23,400 per year)
4th: Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens. (about 65,000 per year)


Employment
Other Countries
China
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
India
Mexico
Philippines

Vietnam
EB1
AD
C
09/01/2019
C
09/01/2019
C
C
C
FD
C
11/01/2020
C
11/01/2020
C
C
C
EB2
AD
C
06/01/2016
C
10/08/2009
C
C
C
FD
C
10/01/2016
C
05/15/2011
C
C
C
EB3
AD
C
12/15/2017
C
03/22/2010
C
C
C
FD
C
06/01/2018
C
01/01/2014
C
C
C
Other Workers
AD
C
03/01/2009
C
03/22/2010
C
C
C
FD
C
05/01/2009
C
01/01/2014
C
C
C
EB4
AD
C
C
03/01/2018
C
12/01/2018
C
C
FD
C
C
05/01/2018
C
C
C
C
EB5
AD
C
08/15/2015
C
C
C
C
09/15/2017
FD
C
12/15/2015
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) 





What happens if the Final Action Date is "current" or later than the Filing Date? 
If this happens in a particular immigrant visa category, applicants in that visa category may file using the Final Action Dates chart during that month.

For Family-Sponsored Filings:
In the F2A category, there is a cutoff date on the Dates for Filing chart. However, the category is “current” on the Final Action Dates chart. This means that applicants in the F2A category may file using the Final Action Dates chart for January 2021.

For all the other family-based preference categories, you must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for January 2021.

For Employment-Based Preference Filings:
For all other employment-based preference categories, you must use the Final Action Date chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for January 2021.


(Immigration laws and policies change regularly.  If you have any questions regarding this article, please visit www.1visa1.com to schedule legal consultation.) 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Travel from Canadian Border Restricted for Another Month

 As a response to the worsening COVID-19 situation, the Department of Homeland Security will be extending the travel limit at the Canadian border. Continuing from December 22, 2020 until January 22, 2021, only essential travel will be permitted to minimize contagion. 

Essential travel means U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, and army plus dependents returning to America. Travel to receive medical treatment and travel for military operations are also included.  Individuals that must travel for work (truck drivers for cross-border trade, agricultural work) or who are traveling to assist in public health and emergencies are also allowed to cross the border. 

Travel for tourism is explicitly listed as non-essential. As with throughout this pandemic, it is highly advised that you do not travel, especially if you are not a citizen or permanent resident. 

Asylee Adjustment Interviews Much Less Likely to be Waived



If you have been granted political asylum or refugee status by the US government, you may generally apply for a green card through the adjustment of status process after being in the US for one year.  You must continue to meet the definition of a refugee and has not firmly resettled in another country.  

To apply for adjustment of status, you must also not subject to other grounds of inadmissibility (e.g., criminal background).  For many years, interviews have not been required when asylees or refugees apply for adjustment of status. However, this will change soon. 

Following a December 15, 2020 change in USCIS policy, asylees and refugees applying for adjustment of status are much more likely to have to attend an interview. Previously, asylees that had already been interviewed by an officer were extremely likely to have their adjustment interview waived. This change removes them from the list of waivable adjustment interviews, leaving them open to being selected based on officer discretion.

Officer discretion on selecting adjustment cases for interviews is guided by several general criteria. Overall, issues with the applicant's identity and concerns of national security, fraud, and other grounds of inadmissibility that arise during background checks necessitate an interview. The officer can also request an interview if there is insufficient information to establish eligibility through just documentation. 

Other reasons include residence or citizenship in a country deemed a State Sponsor of Terrorism or if an applicant benefitted from an approved I-730 petition but was not interviewed. The decision to call for an interview is ultimately down to the officer.

USCIS explains that under the previous policy less than 5% of asylee adjustment applicants were interviewed. This figure will rise significantly following this change, something USCIS acknowledges as part of an effort to increase screening and vetting. 

Interviews are a standard part of many application procedures. Anyone, asylee applicant or not, feeling unsure about an upcoming adjustment interview can seek the guidance of an immigration attorney to help prepare for it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

USCIS Delay in Issuing Application Filing Receipts


After an application is filed with US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the agency issues a filing receipt notice (Form I-797C, Notice of Action) to acknowledge receipt of the application and filing fees. The filing receipts also contain important information such as the priority date of the application, the case receipt number, and other information about the applicant (such as name, date/place of birth, etc.).  

For the past few months, applicants have experienced delays in receiving their receipt notices from USCIS, most notably with the I-485 applications.  

In a recent announcement, USCIS has acknowledged the immense processing delays in applications sent to lockbox facilities these past weeks. The delays come as no surprise, given the long-awaited shift in EB India and China priority dates in October and the resulting influx of I-485 applications.  The ongoing pandemic of COVID has also significantly reduced the processing capacity of USCIS.

USCIS provides some filing tips for reducing wait time.

One quick way to file and get an immediate receipt number is to do so online.  However, this option is only available to N-400, I-90, and I-130 applicants.  There are also other restrictions with online filing.  

If you want to confirm that your application has been received by USCIS, complete Form G-1145 E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance and put it on top of your application. G-1145 is a brief form that takes your email address and phone number so that you can receive a quick text notification when your application is received. Note, however, that this option is available only for applications that are filed with the USCIS lockboxes.

The way we organize the documents also affects how long it takes to process the application. USCIS states that forms and copies of documents should be printed one-sided, unless it is an original document.  Do not submit original documents unless they are specifically requested by USCIS.  Submitted photos, often used as evidence in family-based petitions, should be printed out on 8.5" x 11" paper instead of sent as is. Passport-sized photos are the exception and should be sent as originals. 

It is also extremely important to submit the necessary documents and evidence based on the application requirements.  One must understand the legal requirements for each application and follow form instructions and submit correct and necessary information and documents.  Applicants will be rejected if incorrect or insufficient fees and/or documents are submitted.  Since many immigration applications are time-sensitive, one may lose eligibility for a benefit if his or her application is rejected.  Do not hesitate to seek professional advice from a qualified immigration attorney when in doubt. 


(Immigration laws and policies change regularly.  If you have any questions regarding this article, please visit www.1visa1.com to schedule legal consultation.) 

Friday, December 4, 2020

DOL Set Schedule to Revert Back To Previous Prevailing Wage Data


DOL has promptly set schedules to roll back the prevailing wage data to the previous level in compliance with a  federal court order halting the implementation of the recent wage increase Interim Final Rule (IFR).  

Accordingly the Labor Department will make technical changes to the FLAG system, the FLC Online Data Center, as well as OFLC’s National Prevailing Wage Center.  The following are the scheduled events:

Implementation Timeframe for Technical Changes to FLC Online Data Center

Beginning 12/04/2020, at approximately 12:00PM (Noon) EST, the previous wage data (OES wage data for 7/1/2020 - 10/7/2020) source will be updated at https://www.flcdatacenter.com/ to reflect the correct prevailing wage data for each SOC and area of intended employment through 06/30/2021.   

Implementation Timeframe for Filing LCAs

The FLAG system will continue to process and issue a determination on all LCAs submitted through 12/4/2020 5:59AM EST.  

12/4/2020, 6:00AM - 8:00AM EST, the FLAG system will be temporarily unavailable.  Starting around 8:30AM EST, the FLAG system will be back online; however, users will temporarily not be able to submit applications for processing where OES survey data is the prevailing wage source.

Beginning 12/9/2020, 8:30AM EST, users will be able to submit new LCAs using the OES survey data that was in effect on October 7, 2020 (old data). 

Implementation Timeframe for Processing PERM Prevailing Wage Determinations

OFLC’s National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) has temporarily paused processing pending Form ETA-9141s (Prevailing Wage Determination Requests) for use in filing LCA and PERM applications.  However, users may continue to file new requests for a prevailing wage determination

Beginning around 12/15/2020, 8:30AM EST, OFLC’s NPWC will resume processing all pending and new Form ETA-9141s for use in filing LCA and PERM applications, and will use the OES survey data that was in effect on October 7, 2020 for prevailing wage determinations where the OES survey data is the prevailing wage source. 

Request for Review of a PWD Issued Under the IFR

Employers may request for a review of a PWD issued using the 10/8/2020-6/30/2021 wage source year data (with higher wages) under the IFR on or before 01/04/2021.  






Thursday, December 3, 2020

"Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2020" passed by Senate


Remember the controversial S. 386 bill that was kicking around before COVID paralyzed the United States?  Apparently, after some behind the scene negotiations and compromises, a revised version of bill was passed by Senate today by unanimous consent.  It is actually the H.R. 1044 bill from the House with some additional provisions and changes.  

This new version of the bill, entitled “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2020,” still keeps the key provisions of the previous version regarding elimination of the per-country cap when allocating employment-based immigrant visa numbers.  

New provisions were added to the bill, including some new restrictions and some benefits:

  • Allow applicants and their dependents who have approved I-140 visa petitions for at least two years to file for I-485 adjustment of status, regardless of priority date.
  • Preserve the eligibility of minor children for adjustment of status one they have summitted the I-485 application, even after they have reached the age of 21. 
  • Restrict the number of adjustment applicants who have held H-1B / H-4 status within the last 2 years to 50% of the annual employment visa quota.   Medical professionals and individuals granted national interest waivers are exempt from this cap.  During the transitional period (first 9 fiscal years), the cap will be set at 70%.  Also unused employment visa numbers can be used by H-1B/ H-4 applicants.
  • Prohibit adjustment of status to any individual who is “affiliated with the military forces of the People’s Republic of China or the Chinese Communist Party”.
  • Impose employer requirements.  Employers would be required to post job openings before sponsoring an H-1B worker.  They must also submit W-2 pay statements of former H-1B workers to prove compliance. 

  • Employers with 50 or more employees in the United States that have a workforce made up of more than 50% H-1B or L-1 workers would not be allowed to sponsor new H-1B petitions, except to file for petitions to extend H-1B status or transfer employees.  

The House must also pass the bill or a modified version before the bill can be sent to the President for signature.  Timing is tight as this Congressional session will end on 12/18/2020.   If not passed in this session the bill must be re-introduced again next year. Given the current fluid political dynamics and other legislative priorities, it is difficult to predict the chances for the bill to become law.  Stay tuned for further updates. 


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Interview Requirement to be Added for Asylee Petitioners of I-730



Obtaining status as an asylee or refugee means that one may legally stay in America with protection. What about the person's family members abroad, who may still be at harm's way?  

After attaining asylee status or admission as a refugee, individuals may file Form I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition within 2 years to have their spouse or unmarried children under 21 join them in America.

The process involves the usual -- submitting evidence, beneficiary biometrics and interview, etc. Petitioners themselves only need to interview when the beneficiary is in the United States and more information is needed to determine eligibility. 

However, according to a recent memo published by USCIS, the petitioner interview for such cases will be a requirement by the first quarter of FY2021. Furthermore, this change will be Phase 1 of a plan to implement the petitioner interview under USCIS and DOS jurisdiction globally (jurisdiction being where an office that handles those cases exist).

In Phase 2, estimated to begin by the time new Form I-730 instructions are published, will add the requirement to cases where the beneficiary and/or petitioner is in a USCIS jurisdiction abroad. This is only if the petitioner and beneficiary are located within USCIS jurisdiction.

Phase 3, implementation date to be announced, will include cases where the beneficiary and/or petitioner is in a DOS (Department of State) jurisdiction abroad.

Petitioners will be expected to attend a scheduled in-person interview at a USCIS office as part of the adjudication process. They can expect multiple interviews if they filed multiple I-730s. As with all USCIS appointments, petitioners should make time to attend their interview. It is an important part of the process and missing it could result in case denial.

The above rules will apply to Form I-730 applications filed on or after a to-be-announced implementation date for each phase. There are no concrete dates for now. Asylee and admitted refugees with pending I-730 petitions should expect and be prepared for an interview as each phase of the plan moves forward in 2021.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Federal Court Set Aside Rules on Prevailing Wage Increase and H-1B Restrictions

 


A federal district court in Northern California set side two interim final rules of the U.S. DOL and DHS:

1) Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States (Wage Rule)

2) Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program (H-1B Rule), 

Both rules were promulgated swiftly by the Government recently without going through the normal rule making process.  The Wage Rule was published on 10/08/2020 by DOL - which substantially increased the wage requirements for many employment-based immigration petitions - took effect almost instantly.  

The H-1B Rule - which would impose stricter requirements on the H-1B visa program by restricting the applicants' subjects of study, redefining the meaning of specialty occupation, as well as imposing additional requirements regarding employer-employee relationship - was scheduled to take effect on 12/07/2020.  

A lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to stop the enforcement of these rules.  One of the bases for the lawsuit was government's failure to follow the normal rule-making process.  The Government countered by arguing that the occurrence of COVID-19 excused it from following the normal notice and comment timetable. 

The U.S District Court, Northern District of California, disagreed with the government that these rules are so urgently needed that the public's right to notice and comment should be taken away.  The normal rule-making procedure can be skipped only under very narrow circumstances or in the event of emergencies. 

The Government argued that sky-high unemployment rates brought about by the pandemic justified the quick promulgation of the rules.  The Court noted that the government had been aware of the unemployment situation for several months already and should have taken actions earlier.  In fact, President Trump announced the Buy America, Hire Americans initiative as early as 2017, directing the cabinet Secretaries to address the issues regarding the labor market.  Hence, the Government's delay in pushing out these rules without following the normal procedure was unreasonable. Further, the employment rates in the professional and business sectors, which employ most H-1B workers, have actually been low. Hence, there is no urgent need to restrict the H-1B visa program.

It is important to note that the Court did not address whether the rules would actually achieve the purported goals of the Government.  The Court decision merely held that the Government failed to justify the implementation of the rules without public notice and comment.  


What's Next

The Government may still appeal the District Court's decision.  Hence, the outcome is still uncertain at this moment.  However, assuming the decision stands, the Labor Department would have to quickly revert the wage tables to the old rates.  DHS/USCIS would also have to stop enforcement the new H-1B rule on 12/07/2020.  


12/4/2020 Update

Both DHS and DOL have agreed to follow the federal court order.  DOL has already planned to revert the wage data on its systems next week.  Hence, we can consider the decision to be final. 


President-elect Joe Biden's Immigration Policies



President-elect Joe Biden has announced his immigration policies, which are markedly and expectedly different from those of President Trump.  According to their website information,  the following are some of the actions that the Biden Administration will take on immigration in the first 100 days of Biden's presidency:

Highly-Skilled Workers: Work with Congress to first reform temporary visas to establish a wage-based allocation process and enforcement mechanisms to ensure they are aligned with the labor market and not used to undermine wages. Then, support expansion of the number of high-skilled visas and eliminate the limits on employment-based visas by country, which create unacceptably long backlogs. 

Family-based Immigration:  Allow any approved family-based applicant to receive a temporary non-immigrant visa until the permanent visa is processed; support legislation that treats the spouse and children of green card holders as immediate relatives (exempting them from caps).  Allow parents to bring their minor children with them at the time that they immigrate. 

Employment-based Immigration: Work with Congress to increase the number of visas awarded for permanent, employment-based immigration and promote mechanisms to temporarily reduce the number of visas during times of high U.S. unemployment. Exempt from any cap recent graduates of PhD programs in STEM fields in the U.S. who are poised to make some of the most important contributions to the world economy. 

Naturalization:  Restore and streamline the naturalization process for green card holders to ensure applications are processed quickly. Reject the imposition of unreasonable fees. Devote resources to prioritize integration and promote immigrant entrepreneurship, increase access to language instruction, and promote civil engagement. 

Undocumented Immigrants:  Commit political capital to deliver legislative immigration reform to provide a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants. 

Border: Immediately reverse the Trump Administration’s policies of separating parents from their children at the border and prioritize the reunification of any children still separated from their families. End prolonged detention. Stop building of the U.S.-Mexican border wall. 

Asylum: End Trump’s restrictive asylum policies regarding victims of gang and domestic violence,  systematic prosecution of adult asylum seekers for misdemeanor illegal entry, the ability of members of the LGBTQ community to seek asylum, claims based on members of a “particular social group", limitation of number asylum applications, etc.  Facilitate humanitarian resources from faith-based shelters, non-governmental aid organizations, legal non-profits, and refugee assistance agencies. 

Public Charge Rule:  Reverse Trump’s public charge rule. 

DACA/Dreamers:  Reinstate the DACA program and explore all legal options to protect DACA families from inhumane separation. Allow Dreamers to receive federal student aid (loans, Pell grants) and seek education opportunities. 

Travel Bans:  End the travel and refugee bans against Muslims.

TPS/DED:  Protect TPS and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders from being returned to countries that are unsafe.  Offer a path to citizenship through legislative immigration reform to TPS/DED holders who have been in the US for an extended period of time 

Enforcement of Immigration Laws:  Target people who committed serious offences and those who are threats to public safety and national security. ICE and CBP will report directly to the President. 

Military Personnel: Protect and expand opportunities for military personnel and their families. Create a parole process for veterans deported by the Trump Administration to reunite them with their families and military colleagues in the U.S. 

Temporary Workers:  Work with Congress to reform the current system of temporary work visas to allow workers in select industries to switch jobs.  

Visas for Rural Areas: Create a new visa category to allow cities and counties to petition for higher levels of immigrants to support their growth. 

Domestic Violence Survivors: End delays of processing time and triple the current cap of 10,000 on U-visas.

Monday, November 23, 2020

December 2020 Visa Bulletin: EB-1 Advances

In December 2020 Visa Bulletin, employment-based categories advance moderately.  Family-based categories remain stagnant.  

As predicted last week, the Final Action Date of EB-1 India and China advance 5 months to April 1, 2019.  The EB-2 and EB-3 categories move forward slightly.  

The Filing Date of EB-3 India has retrogressed by one year, after October bulletin's 5-year advancement. "Downgrading" is still possible form EB-2 to EB-3 for certain Indian applicants.

Family visa categories are mostly unchanged. Charlie Oppenheim expected that there will be forward movements in January 2021. 


USCIS  Adjustment of Status Dates for December 2020
Adjustment of status (AOS) applicants in the F2A category - which may file using the Final Action Dates chart in the December 2020 Visa Bulletin. 

Applicants in all other family-sponsored preference and employment-based preference categories must use the Dates for Filing chart.

AD: Dates for Final Action (Green Card Approval)           FD: Dates for Filing Applications Only

      Family
Other Countries
      China
India
Mexico
Philippines
F1
AD
09/15/2014
09/15/2014
09/15/2014
01/08/1998
12/15/2011
FD
07/22/2015
07/22/2015
07/22/2015
02/22/2000
10/08/2012
F2A
AD
      C
      C
      C
      C
      C
FD
08/01/2020
08/01/2020
08/01/2020
08/01/2020
08/01/2020
F2B
AD
07/08/2015
07/08/2015
07/08/2015
04/08/1999
08/01/2011
FD
05/01/2016
05/01/2016
05/01/2016
12/01/1999
04/01/2012
F3
AD
06/15/2008
06/15/2008
06/15/2008
08/01/1996
02/15/2002
FD
06/01/2009
06/01/2009
06/01/2009
08/15/2000
12/22/2002
F4
AD
09/22/2006
09/22/2006
03/08/2005
06/22/1998
01/01/2002
FD
09/15/2007
09/15/2007
11/22/2005
04/22/1999
09/01/2002

1st: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens (about 23,400 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 23,400 per year)
4th: Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens. (about 65,000 per year)


Employment
Other Countries
China
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
India
Mexico
Philippines

Vietnam
EB1
AD
C
04/01/2019
C
04/01/2019
C
C
C
FD
C
11/01/2020
C
11/01/2020
C
C
C
EB2
AD
C
05/01/2016
C
10/01/2009
C
C
C
FD
C
10/01/2016
C
05/15/2011
C
C
C
EB3
AD
C
11/01/2017
C
03/15/2010
C
C
C
FD
C
06/01/2018
C
01/01/2014
C
C
C
Other Workers
AD
C
02/15/2009
C
03/15/2010
C
C
C
FD
C
05/01/2009
C
01/01/2014
C
C
C
EB4
AD
C
C
02/01/2018
C
11/22/2018
C
C
FD
C
C
05/01/2018
C
C
C
C
EB5
AD
C
08/15/2015
C
C
C
C
09/01/2017
FD
C
12/15/2015
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)


(Immigration laws and policies change regularly.  If you have any questions regarding this article, please visit www.1visa1.com to schedule legal consultation.)