Registration for the Annual Green Card Lottery Opens October 2, 2019

The Department of State just announced that the online registration period for the  annual green card lottery will begin at 12 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT–4), Wednesday, October 2, 2019, and end at 12 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT–5), Tuesday, November 5, 2019. We recommend registering as soon as possible because the DOS website does slow down or freeze due to very heavy traffic towards the end of the registration period. 

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Repeal of H-4 EAD Delayed Until Spring 2020

The publication of a proposed rule that would rescind the H-4 EAD has been delayed until at least spring 2020. In a letter submitted by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia last week, the agency confirmed that while it still plans on publishing a rule to repeal the H-4 EAD, the proposed rule is still undergoing interagency review. DHS also stated that the spring 2020 date was “aspirational.”

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October 2019 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State (DOS) has issued its October 2019 Visa Bulletin.  October 1 marks the start of the new fiscal year so all the visa categories benefit from new visa numbers.  As a result, most categories see sizable movement.  Employment-based (“EB”) category 1 for all nationals (except for India and China) advances by six months.  EB-1 for China moves forward nearly three years and EB-1 India goes from unavailable to January 1, 2015. The EB-2 category for all nationals is now current, except for China, which, unfortunately, has a two-year retrogression, and India, which advances by four days. The EB-3 category is current for all nationals except for China, which moves forward nearly two years; India, which moves forward three and a half years, and the Philippines, which moves forward by fifteen months. 

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Employers Should Continue to Use the July 17, 2017 Version of Form I-9 Until Further Notice from USCIS.

Although the most recent version of the  Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification expired on August 31, 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has advised employers to continue to use the July 17, 2017, version of the Form I-9 until an updated version is released.  The revised version of Form I-9 is not expected to be significantly different from the current version. 

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September 2019 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State (DOS) has issued its September 2019 Visa Bulletin. Overall, most employment-based categories this month had little advancement or retrogressed.  Employment-based category 1 (EB-1) for most nationals advanced by a little over a year, while for Chinese nationals it retrogressed by two and a half years, and for Indian nationals the EB-1 category is now unavailable.  For the employment-based category 2 (EB-2), most nationals advanced by one year, while Chinese nationals had no advancement, and Indian nationals advanced by only six days. Lastly, the employment-based category 3 (EB-3) for most nationals saw no advancement. Chinese nationals retrogressed by 2 years and a half, Indian nationals retrogressed by six months, and Filipino nationals had no advancement. In fact, the DOS has indicated that the EB-3 category for all nationals other than India and China is unavailable for the rest of the fiscal year.

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New Rules for "Public Charge" Ground of Inadmissibility

Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) published a final rule concerning the “public charge” grounds under the immigration statute for denying admission, extension of status, and permanent residence to foreign nationals. The rule will take effect after 60 days, on October 15, 2019, unless litigation prevents its implementation.

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USCIS Proposes Employer Registration Fee for Next Year’s H-1B Visa Lottery

USCIS’s fee proposal for employers to complete the online registration process for next year’s H-1B visa lottery has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”). The amount of the fee, which would be paid in addition to the filing, training, and anti-fraud fees for each H-1B petition, has not yet been announced. Publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register is anticipated in the coming days.

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Requirements for "Million dollar green card" Revamped

People often ask me about the “million dollar green card.” Established nearly thirty years ago by Congress, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program grants lawful permanent residence (“green card”) to individuals who invest US$1 million in a business in the U.S. (or $500,000 in high unemployment areas), and create (or, in some cases, preserve) 10 permanent full-time jobs for U.S. workers. Today, USCIS published a final rule that contains major changes to the EB-5 Program. These changes will take effect on November 21, 2019.

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