News

Form I-94W to be eliminated for Visa Waiver Program travelers

July 28, 2015

http://www.dhs.gov/news/2010/05/20/secretary-napolitano-announces-elimination-paper-arrivaldeparture-form-streamline


Changes in the work site location require action before the change happens

July 27, 2015

In response to a recent precedent decision (Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC (“Simeio”)), USCIS issued guidance on July 21, 2015, advising employers of the actions required for future work site changes and how to handle such changes that have already occurred.

If an H-1B employee’s worksite will change, the employer must take action before the employee moves to the new worksite. In Simeio, it was held that if an H-1B employee’s worksite will change to a new area of employment, the employer must file both a new LCA and an amended H-1B visa petition before the H-1B worker changes work sites. Prior to Simeio, if an H-1B employee moved to a new area of employment (not covered by an existing, approved H-1B visa petition), USCIS would not necessarily revoke or deny the petition solely based upon a failure to file an amended or new petition. In fact, there was an old legacy INS letter that indicated that amended petitions could be filed after the move!

The July 21, 2015 USCIS Policy Memorandum 602-0120 serves as guidance on when to file an amended or new H-1B petition as a result of the Simeio decision and how to handle moves that happened before Simeio as well as moves that occurred post Simeio and before the guidance was issued.

 

What does this mean to employers?

Action required if the new location is in a different area of employment:

It is important to understand what is meant by “area of employment”. Under Simeio, the focus is on the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). An MSA is a geographic area delineated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for use by Federal statistical agencies in collecting, tabulating, and publishing Federal statistics. An MSA contains a core urban area of 50,000 or more population. Each MSA consists of one or more counties and includes the counties containing the core urban area, as well as any adjacent counties that have a high degree of social and economic integration (as measured by commuting to work) with the urban core.

If the new work site is in a different area of employment from the original work site, then the employer must file both the new LCA and the amended or new H-1B visa petition before the H-1B worker changes work sites. Once the H-1B visa petition is filed, the H-1B employee can move to the new work site while it is pending. If the amended petition is denied, the employer would have the “option” of returning the employee to the prior location so long as that location and petition were still valid.

Action required if new location is in the same area of employment:

If the new work site is in the same area of employment, a new LCA and new H-1B visa petition are not required, but the employer must post the original LCA notice at the new work site before the employee commences work at the new location. For example, if an H-1B employee presently authorized to work at the company’s facility located in San Francisco (i.e., San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward Metropolitan Statistical Area), will be transferring to another company work site (or even a home office) in Oakland, such a move by itself does not trigger the need for a new LCA and H-1B petition, provided that the terms and conditions of the original H-1B visa petition and its LCA remain valid. In this situation, the LCA notice needs to be reposted in two conspicuous locations at the new worksite before the individual moves. Similarly, if the entire company moves from one location in San Francisco to a new office in San Francisco, all LCAs for the company must be reposted. Posting of notice is required regardless of whether an entire office moves from one location to another within San Francisco, or just one H-1B employee. Please note that these rules do apply to home office work sites for telecommuters, such that a change of home address can trigger the need to file a new LCA and H-1B petition.

Carve out for temporary placements and non-worksites:

The decision did not change the existing “short term placement” rule. This provides that under certain circumstances, an employer may place an H-1B employee at a new worksite for up to 30 days, and in some cases 60 days (where the employee is still based at his/her “usual” worksite), without obtaining a new LCA. In these situations, the employer does not need to file an amended or new H-1B petition nor post an existing LCA, provided there are no material changes in the terms and conditions of the H-1B worker’s employment.

Another exception exists if the H-1B employees are only going to a non-worksite location (such as conferences and seminars related to employee development, occasional travel for short periods to other locations, or where employees spend little time at any one location). If there are no material changes in the authorized employment, the employer does not need to file an amended or new H-1B petition.

What is the impact on the employee if the employer does not follow this guidance?

USCIS has indicated that where an employer does not follow the guidance to either file an amended or new petition or repost an LCA, that it may be found that the foreign national employee is no longer maintaining nonimmigrant status in the United States. This could have consequences to the ability to, for example, change or extend status.

What about work site changes that occurred before USCIS issued its guidance?

The Policy Memorandum sets forth how USCIS will apply the Simeio holding going forward, as follows:

  • Worksite changes that occurred on or before April 9, 2015: If an H-1B employee moved to a new place of employment not covered by an existing approved H-1B petition by this date, then the employer may choose to file an amended or new petition by January 15, 2016. If the move is in the same MSA and all other aspects of the H-1B visa petition remain the same, then the employer should have reposted the LCA notice; if this was not done, LCA posting should be completed as soon as possible.
  • Worksite changes that occurred between April 9, 2015 and August 19, 2015: If an H-1B employee moved to a new place of employment not covered by an existing approved H-1B petition between these dates, then the employer must file an amended or new petition by January 15, 2016. Filing by this deadline will provide employers with “safe harbor” and forgive the filing of such petitions after the move. If the move is in the same MSA and all other aspects of the H-1B visa petition remain the same, then the employer should repost the LCA notice.
  • After August 19, 2015: If an H-1B employee will be moving to a new place of employment not covered by the existing approved H-1B petition and its LCA after this date, then the employer must file an amended or new petition before the H-1B employee starts working at the new work site. If the new work site is in the same MSA and all other aspects of the H-1B visa petition remain the same, then the employer must repost the LCA notice at the new worksite before the employee moves.

Please contact our office if you would like to discuss these changes. We will be sending memos out to our corporate clients outlining these policy changes and asking them to contact us regarding specific cases and moves. If you have questions in the meantime regarding this memo or are not a J&H client but would like to discuss this policy change, please contact our office. The bottom line is to notify counsel if an H-1B employee has moved or will be moving to another work location.


August 2015 Visa Bulletin

July 13, 2015

The Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin for August 2015 outlining immigrant visa availability has been released. The retrogression went into effect for mainland China EB-5 investors in the May 2015 Visa Bulletin, moving from being current to May 1, 2013. This priority date moved to September 1, 2013 in the July 2015 Visa Bulletin for mainland China EB-5 investors, which is the date that also appears in the August 2015 Visa Bulletin.

The employment-based second preference category (EB2) for China moved forward again from October 1, 2013 in the July 2015 Visa Bulletin to December 15, 2013 in the August 2015 Visa Bulletin. There was no movement in the EB2 category for India, as the priority date remained October 1, 2008 in the July 2015 Visa Bulletin and in the August 2015 Visa Bulletin. The EB2 category for all other countries, including Mexico and the Philippines, remains current.

While there was forward movement in most of the employment-based third preference categories (EB3), one EB3 category retrogressed. The EB3 category for India moved forward slightly from February 1, 2004 in the July 2015 Visa Bulletin to June 1, 2004 in the August 2015 Visa Bulletin. However, the EB3 category for China retrogressed significantly, as the priority was September 1, 2011 in the July 2015 Visa Bulletin, but is June 1, 2004 in the August 2015 Visa Bulletin. All other EB3 categories, including Mexico, moved forward from April 15, 2015 in the July 2015 Visa Bulletin to July 15, 2015 in the August 2015 Visa Bulletin. The EB3 category for the Philippines has become available again in the August 2015 Visa Bulletin with a priority date of June 1, 2004. This is positive news given that the EB3 category had become unavailable in the July 2015 Visa Bulletin.

The employment-based first preference category (EB1) continues to remain current for all countries and the DOS has indicated it will remain current in the upcoming months.

The priority date is effectively one’s place in line to immigrate. The priority date is established when a PERM application is filed with the Department of Labor, or for those cases not requiring a PERM application (typically EB1 cases and EB2 applications in the national interest), when the I-140 is filed with the USCIS. In the EB-5 context, the priority date is the date that the Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur is received by USCIS. For family-based immigration cases, the priority date is established when the I-130 is filed with the USCIS. Individuals with priority dates earlier than the listed cut-off date on the bulletin are eligible to submit applications for adjustment of status (or consular visa applications) or if their applications are already pending may have their cases adjudicated. If ones priority date is not “current” neither agency may accept the case for processing nor adjudicate a pending case because the “visa is not available” if the priority date is not “current.”

Note that DOS looks at your country of birth in determining whether you are a national of a given country, not your country of citizenship. It is country of birth (yours or your spouse) that determines which country to which you are “charged” or “counted” against for purposes of permanent residency. For example, if you were born in India but have since become a citizen of Canada, you are still charged against India and you have to look at advancements for India rather than worldwide numbers. As another example, if you (principal applicant on an employment based process) were born in India but you are married to a person who was born in Canada, both of you can be charged against Canada. This latter example is called “cross-chargeability.”

For general information on visa retrogression, please see our FAQ on this subject. For more information on the Visa Bulletin and country quota movements, including information about movement in the Family-Based Quotas, please see our DOS Visa Bulletin and Quota Movement page, which includes detailed nationality-specific charts of quota movement since 1996. Please also note that while Congress is contemplating new immigration legislation it is far too early to look at the potential changes and their impact on the immigration system. Until new legislation is actually passed and becomes law, we can only look to the current laws for how cases will be processed.

 


Visa systems issues: Update from the DOS website

June 25, 2015

From the DOS website, http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english/news/technological-systems-issue.html

Technological Systems Issue
June 24, 2015

Visa Systems Issues

The Bureau of Consular Affairs reports that 50 posts, representing nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of our nonimmigrant visa demand worldwide, are now online and issuing visas.

Posts overseas issued more than 60,000 visas on June 23. Mission China alone issued nearly 25,000 visas.

Posts overseas have issued more than 150,000 non-immigrant visas since June 9. For context, if systems had been operating normally, posts would have issued approximately 450,000 visas during the June 9-23 timeframe. We expect to close this gap rapidly over the next few days.

We will continue to bring additional posts online until connectivity with all posts is restored. All posts worldwide are now scheduling interviews with applicants, including those who applied after the systems problems began on June 9.

We deeply regret the inconvenience to travelers who are waiting for visas.

We continue to post updates to our website, travel.state.gov.

Q: Reports indicate that your backlog is 700,000 visas. Is this accurate?

No. While there is a large backlog of cases to clear, it never approached that level, and we have already made good progress issuing those visas. Many posts are working overtime this week, and we expect to eliminate the backlog in a week or less.

Q: How old is this equipment? And does the age of the equipment and the need to have so many repairs to the hardware mean that this equipment should have been replaced? Is this a funding issue at the base of it?

The hardware that impacted the biometrics system is several years old. The Department was working to move the biometrics system off of this hardware.

The operational requirements to keep this database running for domestic and overseas passport and visa issuances caused delays in upgrading the database according to our planned maintenance schedule.

We have been working to upgrade our systems over the past year.

We will move ahead with planned migration and systems upgrades as soon as we fully restore service.

Q: How did you restore service?

We restored service using a redundant, secondary backup system and other sources. That data allowed us to begin to re-connect posts to the affected portion of the system and synchronize biometric data. This system is running on newer hardware, and has a synchronized standby system in a different Department data center.

In parallel, we are continuing to restore data from backups and overseas post databases. This process is ongoing.

Q: Do you know whether this is equipment that was acquired directly by the State Department, or was this acquired through a third-party contractor?

The equipment was acquired by the Department of State.

Q: What does this mean for travelers seeking visas?

All posts are now interviewing applicants. Please check the website of the nearest embassy or consulate for interview appointment availability and up-to-date messages.

Q: How many people were affected by this outage?

During the past two weeks, consular sections have continued to interview travelers who applied June 8 or earlier. Those posts reconnected to our system are now issuing visas for those applicants.

Q: How are cases being prioritized?

Now that system functionality is being restored, case prioritization will follow our normal procedures.

We apologize to travelers and recognize that this has caused hardship to some individuals waiting for visas.

Q: What about the foreign agricultural workers (H2A visa holders?)

Nearly 1,700 temporary or seasonal workers have been issued new visas in Mexico. These are applicants whose biometric data was captured before the systems went down.

An additional 250 received Port of Entry waivers from Customs and Border Protection (CBP). We are no longer asking CBP to provide port of entry waivers, as we are now able to issue visas at border posts.

We are currently scheduling more than 1,500 H-2 visa applicants for visa interviews.

Visa applicants, including agricultural workers, who have not received a visa should not report to the border. Please contact the nearest embassy or consulate.

Q: What about domestic passports?

Domestic passport operations are functioning, with some processing delays.

The technical problems have affected the intake of some mailed applications and same-day service at our passport agencies; however, we continue to issue routine and expedited passports to U.S. citizens for all overseas travel needs.

Q: What about overseas passports?

Overseas passport applications are being processed. There have been delays in some cases, but posts overseas are able to issue emergency passports in urgent cases.

*Connected Posts

Paris
Monterrey
Ciudad Juarez
Guangzhou
Beijing
Shanghai
Tijuana
Nuevo Laredo
Mexico City
Guadalajara
Mumbai
New Delhi
Sao Paolo
Chennai
Manila
Bogota
Buenos Aires
Rio de Janeiro
Tel Aviv
Merida
Hermosillo
Karachi
Seoul
Lima
Santo Domingo
Kingston
Shenyang
Chengdu
Lagos
Guayaquil
London
Brasilia
Moscow
San Salvador
Quito
Ho Chi Minh City
Hanoi
Kyiv
Djibouti
Cairo
Amman
Toronto
Ankara
Nairobi


Delays in visa issuance due to technical problems

June 16, 2015

On June 15, 2015, the Department of State (DOS) announced that the Bureau of Consular Affairs is currently experiencing technical problems with its overseas passport and visa systems. The issue is not specific to any particular country, citizenship document, or visa category.  These technical problems are affecting the issuance of visas and requiring some visa interviews to be rescheduled.  Individuals with upcoming visa appointments should check the U.S. Embassy’s webpage for specific details on rescheduling appointments.

A hardware failure on June 9 halted the flow of biometric clearance requests from posts to the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD). Individuals who submitted online applications or were interviewed for visas on or after June 9 may experience a delay in the processing. The systems in place to perform required national security checks before visas are issued are experiencing technical difficulties, resulting in the inability to print visas. Consular offices cannot bypass the legal requirements necessary to screen visa applicants before issuing visas for travel, causing a backlog of visas waiting to be processed. These technical problems are  causing delays in printing visas and may mean rescheduling some visa interviews. These technical issues have also disrupted or prevented some of the Department’s primary data-share partners from accessing visa records.

The Department of State is working urgently to restore visa processing and expect the systems to be fully operational again soon. As further information comes available, we will provide updates.


New USCIS guidance for change of worksite of H-1B employees: Filing deadline of August 19, 2015

June 11, 2015

The USCIS issued a news alert on May 21, 2015, and updated its website on May 27, 2015, to publicize updated guidance from the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) on employer obligations in the situation of a change of an H-1B employee’s worksite. In Matter of Simeio Solutions, decided on April 9, 2015, the AAO stated that employers must file an H-1B amendment petition whenever a new Labor Condition Application (LCA) filing must be filed with DOL due to a change in the H-1B employee’s worksite. The AAO’s decision is a precedent decision, which means that it is a legally binding agency decision.

A new LCA must be filed with DOL whenever the new worksite is outside the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) or area of intended employment (i.e., normal commuting area). In any situation where a new LCA is required, an H-1B amendment petition must also be filed. The AAO decision and the USCIS web alert state specifically that the amendment petition must be filed before placing the H-1B employee at the new worksite; the web alert clarifies that the change of worksite can take place while the H-1B amendment petition is pending.

USCIS confirmed that as outlined in existing regulations, the LCA posting and therefore the H1B amendment filing requirements do not apply (1) to changes of worksite within the MSA/area of intended employment (although the employer must post notice to employees at the new worksite before the move in this situation), (2) to “short term placements” of either 30 to 60 days per year, (3) to non-worksites such as training locations, or (4) to casual short-term travel to other locations.

A non-binding opinion letter from a former USCIS General Counsel issued in 2003 had given the impression that filing an LCA on its own was sufficient compliance and an H-1B petition filing was not also required. Some companies were following this guidance to not file H-1B petitions and only submit new LCAs in change of worksite situations (Jackson & Hertogs did not follow this guidance and has been filing amended petitions whenever new LCAs were required to effect a change in location). This updated guidance clarifies that the H-1B filing is also required. As some companies had relied upon this previous guidance for years, USCIS has given a “grace period” of 90 days from the date of the web alert, or until August 19, 2015 to file an amended H-1B petition. If an amended petition is denied, the original petition would remain valid and the H-1B employee may return to the previous worksite.

Notably, the web alert specifically addresses the situation of “successive” amendment petitions (e.g., serial filings) which involve a request for extension of H-1B stay. It states that subsequent H-1B amendment petitions, if filed while the previous petition is pending, are dependent upon the approval of the previous petition; as s each successive petition must independently meet the requirements for H-1B “specialty occupation” classification and extension of stay.

Given the updated USCIS guidance, it is advisable for companies employing foreign national employees to review and strengthen systems for updating immigration counsel about all possibly “material” changes to the terms of employment, and specifically about  any change of worksite(s), of those employees.


July 2015 Visa Bulletin

June 10, 2015

The Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin for July 2015 outlining immigrant visa availability has been released. The retrogression went into effect for mainland China EB-5 investors in the May 2015 Visa Bulletin, moving from being current to May 1, 2013. This priority date is now September 1, 2013 in the July 2015 Visa Bulletin for mainland China EB-5 investors.

The employment-based second preference category (EB2) for China moved forward again from June 1, 2013 in the June 2015 Visa Bulletin to October 1, 2013 in the July 2015 Visa Bulletin. There was no movement in the EB2 category for India, as the priority date remained October 1, 2008 in the June 2015 Visa Bulletin and  in the July 2015 Visa Bulletin. The EB2 category for all other countries, including Mexico and the Philippines, remains current.

There was forward movement in most of the employment-based third preference categories (EB3). The EB3 category for India moved forward slightly from January 22, 2004 in the June 2015 Visa Bulletin to February 1, 2004 in the July 2015 Visa Bulletin. There was no movement in the EB3 category for China, as the priority date remained September 1, 2011 in the June 2015 Visa Bulletin and  in the July 2015 Visa Bulletin. All other EB3 categories, including Mexico, moved forward from February 15, 2015 in the June 2015 Visa Bulletin to April 15, 2015 in the July 2015Visa Bulletin. However, despite two retrogressions, the EB3 category for the Philippines has become  unavailable  in the July 2015 Visa Bulletin. The State Department has indicated that it may be possible that some unused numbers from the second preference category (EB2) may become available for September use. If EB2  numbers do not become available, however, Philippines third preference (EB3)  numbers will once again be available beginning October 1, 2015 under the FY-2016 annual numerical limitations.

The employment-based first preference category (EB1) continues to remain current for all countries and the DOS has indicated it will remain current in the upcoming months.

The priority date is effectively one’s place in line to immigrate. The priority date is established when a PERM application is filed with the Department of Labor, or for those cases not requiring a PERM application (typically EB1 cases and EB2 applications in the national interest), when the I-140 is filed with the USCIS.  In the EB-5 context, the priority date is the date that the Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur is  received by USCIS. For family-based immigration cases, the priority date is established when the I-130 is filed with the USCIS. Individuals with priority dates earlier than the listed cut-off date on the bulletin are eligible to submit applications for adjustment of status (or consular visa applications) or if their applications are already pending may have their cases adjudicated. If ones priority date is not “current” neither agency may accept the case for processing nor adjudicate a pending case because the “visa is not available” if the priority date is not “current.”

Note that DOS looks at your country of birth in determining whether you are a national of a given country, not your country of citizenship. It is country of birth (yours or your spouse) that determines which country to which you are “charged” or “counted” against for purposes of permanent residency. For example, if you were born in India but have since become a citizen of Canada, you are still charged against India and you have to look at advancements for India rather than worldwide numbers. As another example, if you (principal applicant on an employment based process) were born in India but you are married to a person who was born in Canada, both of you can be charged against Canada. This latter example is called “cross-chargeability.”

For general information on visa retrogression, please see our FAQ on this subject. For more information on the Visa Bulletin and country quota movements, including information about movement in the Family-Based Quotas, please see our DOS Visa Bulletin and Quota Movement page, which includes detailed nationality-specific charts of quota movement since 1996. Please also note that while Congress is contemplating new immigration legislation it is far too early to look at the potential changes and their impact on the immigration system. Until new legislation is actually passed and becomes law, we can only look to the current laws for how cases will be processed.


Premium Processing suspended for H-1B extension of stay

May 19, 2015

USCIS announced that it will suspend premium processing for all H-1B extension of stay petitions from May 26, 2015 until July 27, 2015. No requests for premium processing may be filed on any H-1B extension of stay during this period. H-1B extension of stay petitions with Form I-907 premium processing requests filed before May 26, 2015 will continue to be processed. A refund of the premium processing fee will be issued if the premium processing H-1B was filed prior to May 26, 2015 and USCIS did not act on the case within the 15 calendar day period.

USCIS is suspending premium processing in order to implement the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Spouses rule and allow for adjudication of H-4 EAD application. The first day that H-4 EAD applications may be filed is May 26, 2015. This suspension to premium processing adjudication will only apply to H-1B extension of stay petitions. All other premium processing will remain available for H-1B petitions, including H-1B cap petitions requesting a change of nonimmigrant status or consular notification.


May and June 2015 Visa Bulletins

May 13, 2015

The Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin for June 2015 outlining immigrant visa availability and updating availability from the Visa Bulletin for May 2015 has been released.

The Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at DOS, Charles Oppenheim, is responsible for oversight of immigrant visa usage. He had previously indicated that retrogression in the EB-5 immigrant visa category for investors from mainland China would likely take place in 2015. The retrogression went into effect for mainland China EB-5 investors in the May 2015 Visa Bulletin. In May 2015, immigrant visa availability was no longer “current” and instead retrogressed to May 1, 2013. This date remains unchanged as of the June 2015 Visa Bulletin for mainland China EB-5 investors.

By contrast, there was forward movement in the other immigrant categories. The employment-based second preference category (EB2) for China moved forward from April 1, 2011 to June 1, 2012 in the May Visa Bulletin, and more dramatically, an entire year forward to June 1, 2013 in the June Visa Bulletin.

There was also movement in the EB2 category for India, from September 1, 2007 to April 15, 2008 in the May Visa Bulletin, and again to October 8, 2008 in the June Visa Bulletin.

The EB2 category for all other countries, including Mexico and the Philippines, remains current.

There was forward movement in most of the employment-based third preference categories (EB3) as well. The EB3 category for India moved forward slightly from January 8, 2004 to January 15, 2004 in the May Visa Bulletin, and to January 22, 2004 in the June Visa Bulletin. The EB3 category for China moved forward more from January 1, 2011 to May 1, 2011 in the May Visa Bulletin, and to September 1, 2011 in the June Visa Bulletin.

The “all other counties” and Mexico EB3 categories moved forward from October 1, 2014 to January 1, 2015 in the May Visa Bulletin, and to February 15, 2015 in the June Visa Bulletin.

However, the EB3 category for the Philippines retrogressed  from October 1, 2014 to July 1, 2007 in the May Visa Bulletin, and further retrogressed to January 1, 2005 in the June Visa Bulletin.

The employment-based first preference category (EB1) continues to remain current for all countries and the DOS has indicated it will remain current in the upcoming months.

The priority date is effectively one’s place in line to immigrate. The priority date is established when a PERM application is filed with the Department of Labor, or for those cases not requiring a PERM application (typically EB1 petitions and EB2 petitions in the national interest), when the I-140 is filed with the USCIS.  In the EB-5 context, the priority date is the date that the Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur is  received by USCIS. For family-based immigration cases, the priority date is established when the I-130 is filed with the USCIS.

Individuals with priority dates earlier than the listed cut-off date on the bulletin are eligible to submit applications for adjustment of status (or consular immigrant visa applications). If these applications were filed and pending but a visa number became unavailable, and then has become available again, these individuals  may  now have their cases adjudicated by USCIS or DOS. If one’s priority date is not “current,” neither agency may accept the case for processing nor adjudicate a pending case because the “visa is not available” if the priority date is not “current.”

Note that DOS looks at your country of birth in determining whether you are a national of a given country, not your country of citizenship. It is country of birth (yours or your spouse) that determines which country to which you are “charged” or “counted” against for purposes of permanent residency. For example, if you were born in India but have since become a citizen of Canada, you are still charged against India and you must refer to advancements for India rather than worldwide numbers. As another example, if you (principal applicant on an employment based process) were born in India but you are married to a person who was born in Canada, both of you can be charged against Canada. This latter example is called “cross-chargeability.”

For general information on visa retrogression, please see our FAQ on this subject. For more information on the Visa Bulletin and country quota movements, including information about movement in the Family-Based Quotas, please see our DOS Visa Bulletin and Quota Movement page, which includes detailed nationality-specific charts of quota movement since 1996.

Please also note that while Congress is contemplating new immigration legislation that may change immigrant visa chargeability and backlogs, it is far too early to look at the potential changes and their impact on the immigration system. Until new legislation is actually passed and becomes law, we can only look to the current laws for how cases will be processed.

 


USCIS completes data entry of fiscal year 2016 H-1B cap-subject petitions

May 4, 2015

USCIS announced May 4, 2015, that it has completed data entry of all fiscal year 2016 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected in its computer-generated random process. USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected. Due to the high volume of filings, the time frame for returning these petitions is uncertain. USCIS asks petitioners to not inquire about the status of submitted cap-subject petitions until they receive a receipt notice or an unselected petition is returned. USCIS will issue an announcement once all the petitions have been returned.