Posts tagged immigration
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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Revised Civics Test for Naturalization Application Initiated

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it is revising the civics test for the naturalization application, which was last done in 2009. According to USCIS, the purpose of the revision is to ensure that it continues to accurately test the applicant’s knowledge and understanding of U.S. history, government, principles, and values.

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Federal Court Upholds USCIS Denial of H-1B Petition for Quality Assurance Analyst

Earlier this week, a federal court in Washington, DC, upheld U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (“USCIS”) denial of an H-1B petition for a Quality Assurance Analyst (“QA Analyst”), finding that the agency’s analysis of the regulations defining a “specialty occupation” was not contrary to law. This decision provides important insights into 1) how the degree requirement should be worded so that a position qualifies as a “specialty occupation”; 2) how to strengthen expert statements and job postings of similar positions; 3) the need for descriptions of job duties that communicate complexity while being comprehensible; and that 4) federal court litigation may not be the solution for overcoming H-1B denials because the standard of review for overturning these decisions is tough. Speaking from my own experience as a staff attorney at the Ninth Circuit for five years, the federal courts generally will defer to an agency’s decision unless the agency clearly failed to consider relevant evidence in the record or disregarded applicable case-law.

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Congress Tackles Green Card Backlogs

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation last week that seeks to end the backlogs for green cards by eliminating the per-country cap for employment-based immigrants and raising the existing per-country cap from 7% to 15% for family-based immigrants. The elimination of per-country caps would benefit Chinese and Indian nationals in particular, who face three to ten year delays in obtaining green cards based on employment.

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May 2019 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State (DOS) has issued its May 2019 Visa Bulletin. Overall, there was very little movement in most categories this month.  EB-1 for most nationals advanced by one month while there was no movement for Chinese and Indian nationals. For the EB-2 category, Chinese nationals advanced by forty-four days while Indian nationals advanced by only three days. Lastly, EB-3 for Chinese nationals moved forward by twenty-one days, while Indian nationals advanced by nine days, and Philippine nationals advanced by three months.

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April 2019 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State (DOS) has issued its April 2019 Visa Bulletin. Overall, there was very little movement in most categories this month.  EB-1 for most nationals advanced by one month while there was no movement for Chinese and Indian nationals.  For the EB-2 category, Chinese nationals advanced by three months while Indian nationals advanced by only three days. Lastly, EB-3 for Chinese nationals moved forward by twenty-four days, while Indian nationals advanced by one month, and Philippine nationals advanced by three months.

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USCIS Announces Online Case Status Feature for Asylum Applicants

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that applicants who have a pending affirmative asylum application with USCIS can now check the status of their applications online at uscis.gov/casestatus. Only asylum applicants with an application pending with USCIS will be able to use this new feature to check their case status online. It will not cover defensive asylum applicants whose cases are pending in immigration court.

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How Congressional Representatives Can Help with Immigration Cases

Many people don’t know that US Senators and Representatives can assist with immigration cases.  In fact, members of Congress usually have one or more staffers liaising with the federal agencies that are responsible for immigration processing and enforcement, including US Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), and the US Department of State (“DOS”).  Although the Congressional members cannot force the agencies to make a particular decision or reverse a denial, they can put a spotlight on a case by their involvement.

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