Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Nonimmigrant Workers

Effective January 17, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) amended its regulations related to certain employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs. Specifically, the final rule provides various benefits to participants in those programs, including the following: (1) improved processes and increased certainty for U.S. employers seeking to sponsor and retain immigrant and … [Read more...]

First-Time Third-Country H-1B Applicants May Apply in Vancouver

The U.S. Consulate General at Vancouver, B.C., Canada has confirmed that it will accept applications filed by third-country nationals applying for their first H-1B visa, even if the application is based on a university degree issued outside the United States or Canada.  Previously, these applicants were discouraged from applying at the post. Applicants should regularly monitor the appointment … [Read more...]

USCIS Proposes Fee Hikes

On May 4, 2016, USCIS published a proposed rule that would raise filing fees for most USCIS applications and petitions, if finalized as proposed. Public comment on the proposal is due on or before July 5, 2016. As this is a proposed rule, fee changes will not be final until USCIS receives and analyzes public comment, and publishes a future final rule with an effective date in the Federal Register. … [Read more...]

H-1B Cap Reached for H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Cap Season

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 7, 2016, that it has received enough H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2017. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap. USCIS received over 236,000 H-1B petitions during the filing … [Read more...]

Retention of EB–1, EB–2, and EB–3 Immigrant Workers and Program Improvements Affecting High-Skilled Workers

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing to amend its regulations related to certain employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs. The proposed amendments would provide various benefits to participants in those programs, including: Improved processes for U.S. employers seeking to sponsor and retain immigrant and nonimmigrant workers, greater stability and job flexibility … [Read more...]

Conrad State 30 J-1 Program Extension

The U.S. Congress passed the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016” on December 15, 2015, which among the provisions included a temporary extension of the Conrad State Waiver program. The Conrad Waiver program provides an option for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) to waive the two-year home residence requirement for clinical services for three years in a designated Health Professional … [Read more...]

Change in Law for Immigrant Visa Eligibility

In closely monitoring the ever-changing landscape of U.S. immigration policy, there has been a change in policy by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), in coordination with U.S. Department of State (USDS), whereby the USCIS is revising the procedures for determining visa availability for applicants waiting to file for employment-based or family-sponsored preference adjustment … [Read more...]

H. R. 3370 Conrad State 30 Program Permanent Reauthorization

The U.S. House of Representatives has introduced a bill to reauthorize the Conrad 30 Program. The Conrad 30 provision found in H.R. 3370 seeks to permanently reauthorize the Conrad State 30 Program, which is set to sunset on September 30, 2015. If the Conrad State 30 Program is not reauthorized by September 30, 2015 and does sunset, it does not mean that the Conrad State 30 Program will … [Read more...]

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for H-1B Extensions

Beginning July 13, 2015, USCIS will resume accepting Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for all Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, H-1B extension of stay petitions. Premium processing requests for Form I-129 H-1B extension of stay petitions received by USCIS before July 13, 2015 will be rejected. The USCIS previously announced on May 19, 2015, that premium … [Read more...]

US Visa Issuing Posts Are Back Online

The State Department’s Consular Consolidated Database problems that affected travelers globally is now back online at all 220 visa issuance posts worldwide.   … [Read more...]