The Department of State (DOS) has released the April Visa Bulletin There was no forward movement in the Dates for Filing chart and there was very limited movement in the Final Action date chart and when I say limited movement, I mean 3 days forward for India EB2 and up to a few months for EB1 all others. The EB3 all others category remained unmoved. The USCIS has not yet announced which chart they will use for I-485 filings. We will update this post when they announce.
The Department of State (DOS) has released the March Visa Bulletin and as predicted, the Final Action Date for EB3 for all countries has retrogressed back to Jan 1, 2017 (aside from India and China which are at 2009 and 2016 respectively). The Dates for Filing chart remains unchanged at Jan 1, 2019. The USCIS has declared that they will accept I-485 filings in March using the Dates for Filing chart. Retrogression occurs when there is an oversubscription (demand exceeds supply) for a particular category. The DOS went on to state that they do not expect any forward movement in the EB3 category in the foreseeable future meaning that we may get no forward movement until Oct 2020, the beginning of the new fiscal year. New legislation is the only remedy.
Following its Supreme Court victory, the White House has begun the implementation of the new public charge rules, which will have far-reaching implications for both employment and family based cases. The new forms to be used in all USCIS filings as of Feb 24, 2020 have been released and can be reviewed here.
On Friday, January 31, 2020, President Trump issued a new set of travel restrictions for nationals of certain foreign countries. This is an expansion of the “travel ban” issued in 2017, as both draw their power from the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212(f). The foreign nationals affected are those from Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, and Nigeria. This does not affect nationals of those countries if they are already present in the U.S. For example, if you have a Nigerian employee on H-1B, they may remain employed. You are also perfectly fine to start or continue a permanent residency case (PERM, I-140, I-485) via employment-based sponsorship. Non-immigrant visas, such as H-1b, TN, L-1, O, etc are not impacted. Students are also unaffected. For example, you may continue to employ a Kyrgyzstani student on Optional Practical Training. Nationals from affected countries are also permitted to extend or change status in the U.S.—they may apply for a STEM OPT extension, and/or you may place them into the H-1B lottery. The most heavily affected are those candidates who are outside of the United States and going through National Visa Center processing for an immigrant visa. Nationals of those four countries are no longer able to seek immigrant visas through U.S. embassies and consulates abroad, regardless of the location of the post. If you have candidates who are currently part of the offshore immigrant visa process, you need to inform the candidate as soon as you can that their case may continue to be processed, but that their case will be placed into administrative processing or outright denied if this ban remains in effect. Dual citizens are unaffected so long as they seek an immigrant visa on their non-affected passport. This set of restrictions will affect your employees’ family members who are not in [...]
The Department of State (DOS) has recently released the February Visa Bulletin and there is very little forward movement in the Final Action Dates chart. Several categories remained the same and India EB2 jumped forward by 1 single day ! As expected, the Dates for Filing Chart stayed the same. The DOS issued a warning indicating that they expect retrogression in the "rest of the World" EB3 category as early as March. The USCIS has announced which 485 applications they will accept in Feb and they are using a combination of the dates for filing and final action charts depending upon your country of chargeability. Check the language carefully to understand how it may impact you.
The Department of State (DOS) has released the January 2020 Visa Bulletin and there is a lot of activity. Most notably, in the Dates for Filing chart, EB3 for the Philippines and all other countries retrogressed to Jan 1, 2019. In the Final Action chart, EB1 for the all other countries jumped forward 4 mos. but, all other categories remained essentially the same with forward movement ranging from 3 days to 2 weeks. The USCIS has announced that they will accept I-485 filings in January based upon the Dates for Filing chart. Also, included in the Visa Bulletin were projections for coming months and there was a lot of bad news with the prediction that EB3 for all other countries is expected to retrogress by March and EB2 may retrogress as early as April.
Recently the Department of State (DOS) released the December Visa Bulletin and it brought no holiday gifts. All of the dates in the "Dates for Filing" chart remained unchanged whereas dates in the "Final Action Dates" chart stayed the same or barely crept forward. For example, of the 4 categories for Indian nationals, the India EB2 category is the only one that moved forward and it moved forward by a whopping 2 days :( On the good news front, the USCIS has announced that it will accept I-485 filings in Dec using the "Dates for Filing" chart consequently, we are recommending that all persons eligible to file I-485's in December, do so. In a sign of dark clouds looming on the horizon, the DOS predicted that retrogression in the "All other countries" categories for EB2 and EB3 is imminent and cut-off dates could occur as soon as January. Typically, this does not occur until near the end of the fiscal year i.e. Aug or Sept. Retrogression remains a major problem for legal immigrants and only a legislative solution can solve the issue. With the current political climate, no relief is expected.
In a move designed to offset the tremendous amount of paper costs associated with issuing 1200 page RFE's on H-1b cases, the USCIS has announced that they will be raising the premium processing fees on I-129 and I-140 petitions to $1440.00 effective Dec 2nd. With this increased fee, they promise to continue to overlook the evidence presented, bastardize the regulations, ignore decisions from Federal Courts and the AAO; business as usual !
On Thursday, the Senate bill designed to eliminate the per country limits for green card cases failed again. This time, it was blocked by Senator Perdue from Georgia. The current concern centers around the negative impact that the bill would have on the recruitment of international RN's from the Philippines. It is expected that Senator Perdue and Senator Lee will try and work out a compromise to protect this important industry. Whether or not a compromise can be achieved is unknown at this time but, it is believed by many to be closer to passage than it has in the past. More insight onto the current state of this bill can be found at the WSJ. If you would like to follow the bill using the official Congressional web-site, you can access that here.
The Department of State (DOS) has released the October Visa Bulletin This is the first bulletin of the new fiscal year and is eagerly anticipated to see how far dates will advance forward. Unfortunately, this bulletin disappointed as dates did not even return to dates available in July. In addition, the DOS made predictions for the coming months and indicated slow movement for many of the retrogressed categories. On the positive side, EB1 is current for all practical purposes for All Other Countries and EB2 and EB3 are both current and expected to remain that way. The USCIS announced that it would honor the Date for Filing chart for the purposes of filing I-485 cases in October which is good news for many.