Successful event by @FWD.us and @RenewOurEconomy!

On April 22, 2014, FWD.us and Bloomberg’s Partnership for a New American Economy held an event at Techstar Seattle premises to discuss immigration reform.  The event had a panel of 4 distinguished guests- Jack Chen, Senior Immigration Policy lawyer at Microsoft, Michael Schutzler, President and CEO of Washington Technology Industry Association, Avi  Cavale- CEO of Shippable.  I was very honored to part of this panel also.  The event was moderated by Andy Sack, Techstar Seattle.

The stimulating discussion on immigration reform included the current status of immigration reform and why we should all be actively engaged in the call for immigration reform.  The discussion included reasons why America is losing talent, what other countries are doing to find and retain talent, the current H1b cap situation, the cap-exempt H1b work around in Massachutetes, the Startup visa and much much more.

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We all emphasized the need for the American people to speak up and have their voices heard.  My regular readers may recall my article 12th Man for Immigration Reform- we discussed again why that is important.   To make it simple for you, FWD.us has many simple tools to help contact your representative at a click of a button- here is a link to take action. 

Immigration reform is important- for the American people and for the economy.  Be the 12th Man for immigration reform and contact your House of Congress Representative asap!

APIChaya Fundraiser- Huge Success!

My regular readers will know about my affinity with APIChaya, a commendable organization of Seattle that assists victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking.  On Saturday April 20th 2014, more than 520 people gathered at the Westin hotel in downtown Seattle in support of APIChaya.  As usual, the event was colorful, elegant, fun and full of energy.  The event was fully organized by an amazing team of volunteers who dedicted numerous hours of their time. Many dignatories were in attendance including Seattle mayor Ed Murray.

Here are some photos from the night.

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We heard from some of the victims who benefited from APIChaya’s services.  Listening to a victim of human trafficking was yet another reminder about the need for immigration reform.   Senate bill S.744 affords stronger protection for victims of domestic violence.  Among other things, the bill adds fiance(e)s to the list of people who can seek immigration assistance, for example. Currently, the Violence Against Women Act only applies to spouses of US citzens and green card holders, not fiance(e)s.

The event was a huge success. During the evening, people raised their paddles and generously gave to the cause.  Final count of funds raised will likely take several days but early indications are that much more than $100,000 was raised for this deserving organization.  Thank you APIChaya for all the work you do and to the volunteers who tirelessly work to help make this world a better place.

Tahmina to Speak at event by FWD.us and Bloomberg’s Renew Our Economy

Event Organized by The Partnership for a New American Economy and FWD.us

I am so honored to be invited to speak on immigration reform issues at an exciting event organized by Bloomberg’s Partnership for a New American Economoy and FWD.us. Thank you for the honor! To anyone interested in immigration reform- this is a must-attend event! #iCodeImmigration: Join us for a stimulating discussion from different perspectives from experts in our local community. With immigration reform stalled, now is the time to get your voice heard! This is your opportunity to be the 12th Many for Immigration Reform! We look forward to seeing you there!

Event Details copied below: 

Venue:  Techstar: 511 Boren Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109.     Time: 6pm – 8pm PST

Join a group of leading entrepreneurs, investors, technologists and policy experts for a discussion on why immigration reform is critical to the tech and start-up community in Seattle and across the country. Speakers will include:

  • Avi Cavale, CEO, Shippable
  • Jack Chen, Senior Attorney for Labor, Employment & Immigration Policy, Microsoft
  • Michael Schutzler, President & CEO, Washington Technology Industry Association
  • Tahmina Watson, Immigration Lawyer, Watson Immigration Law

RSVP now and we will follow up with additional information about the program.  Refreshments will be provided.

More information about the organizations:

The Partnership for a New American Economy brings together more than 500 Republican, Democratic, and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reform as a way of creating jobs for Americans today.

FWD.us is an organization started by key leaders in the tech community to promote policies to keep the United States and its citizens competitive in a global economy—including comprehensive immigration reform and education reform.

 

Meeting With Congressman Reichert

I had the distinct privilege of meeting with Congressman Dave Reichert today organized by the Washington Compact to discuss immigration reform.   I thank One America and Washington Compact for organizing this special meeting and thank Congressman Reichert for making time for us.

Congressman Reichert for blog

KCBA CLE on Startups- great success!

KCBA startup visa CLE_Page_1 borderIt was a great honor to be invited to speak on immigration options for startups for the King County Bar Association CLE on Advising Startups. Tahmina’s presentation was well received and was a great success.  Thank you KCBA for the honor!

KCBA Startup CLE 4.11.14

KCBA Startup CLE 4.11.14

H1b for Entrepreneurs- New Developments Hopefully

The Puget Sound Business Journal reports on possible new developments for entrepreneurs using the H1b visa.  Read the full article here.  Thank you to the PSBJ and Emily Parkhurst for reporting on this important matter.

PSBJ 4.11.14

PSBJ 4.11.14

 

 

 

From One Blogger to Another!

In the olden days, people used to have penpals. Modern technology has made things so much easier and quicker that you don’t have to wait days and months for letters to arrive in your mailbox.  Friendships can happen through social media.

Raghu Kumar is a fellow blogger who has a special niche of helping international students with US immigration and visa issues. He has an amazing blog- Happy Schools Blog.  Raghu and I have been corresponding for a few years.  He visited Seattle recently and we had the opportunity to meet in person.  It was great to speak about immigration reform, startup visa, student visas and so much.  Thank you for making time to meet, Raghu!

Raghu and Tahmina in Seattle, WA.

Raghu and Tahmina in Seattle, WA.

H1b FY2015 Premium Processing Receipts Have Started

After the random selection of H1b cap cases yesterday, receipts for premium processing cases have started to come through.  We just received a receipt from California Service Center via their premium processing email. Best of luck to all of you waiting anxiously! Share your story if you want to as well.

172,500 H1b cap-subject applications filed.

The USCIS announced today that 172,500 H1b visa petitions were filed for fiscal year 2015.  A random selection/lottery was conducted today April 10. See below for text from USCIS website.  Premium processing will begin April 28.  We hope to hear from USCIS with receipt notices soon! Wish you all the best with the lottery!

 

USCIS Reaches FY 2015 H-1B Cap
Release Date: April 10, 2014
WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 7 that it has received a sufficient number of
H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2015. USCIS has also received more than the limit of
20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption.
USCIS received about 172,500 H-1B petitions during the filing period which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advanced
degree exemption. On April 10, 2014, USCIS completed a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough
petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. For cap-subject petitions
not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing.
The agency conducted the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All advanced degree petitions not selected then
became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.
On March 25, USCIS announced that they would begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than April 28. For more
information on premium processing for FY 2015 cap-subject petitions, see the related USCIS Alert.
USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B
workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2015 H-1B
cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
• Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
• Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
• Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
• Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields
such as science, engineering, and computer programming.
For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit http://www.uscis.gov or follow us on Facebook (/uscis), Twitter (@uscis),
YouTube (/uscis) and the USCIS blog The Beacon

May 2014 Visa Bulletin Commentary

visa-passport blog picThe May 2014 Visa Bulletin was released today.  Big jump on F2B for all countries, India and China but not for Mexcio and Philippines.

Here is what my readers are looking for:

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2A remains at 8 September 2013, F2B preference advanced 103 days with PD at 1 February 2007;  F4 category advances 17 days to PD at 8 December 2001;  EB2 is current and, and EB3  has no forward movement with PD remaining 1 October 2012.

For India only:  F2A sees no movement, F2B preference F2B preference advanced 103 days with PD at 1 February 2007;  F4 category advances 17 days to PD at 8 December 2001;

There is still no movement in EB2 preference category and EB3 finally sees some forward movement of 17 days taking us to priority date 1 October 2003.

If your priority date is current, especially in the EB3 All Countries category, congratulations! We hope you file your petition in due course!

We will report on the June 2014 visa bulletin when it is released.

Important text from the May 2014 visa bulletin below.

 D.  VISA AVAILABILITY DURING THE COMING MONTHS

WORLDWIDE F2A:  From early 2013 through September 2013, the level of demand for numbers in this preference category was extremely low. As a result, the F2A cut-off date was advanced at a very rapid pace, in an attempt to generate demand so that the annual numerical limit could be fully utilized. As readers of the Visa Bulletin were advised during that time, such cut-off date advances were not expected to continue, and at some point they could stop, or retrogression might be required.

The level of demand being experienced for FY-2014 has resulted in the Worldwide F2A cut-off date being held since October. Despite no forward movement of the cut-off date, the level of demand has continued to increase dramatically. At the current rate, such demand will require a retrogression of the F2A cut-off date within the next several months. That action would be necessary to hold number use within the annual numerical limit.

MEXICO F2A:  Despite an earlier retrogression of this cut-off date, the level of demand remains extremely heavy. As a result, it is likely that another retrogression of this cut-off date will be required to hold number use within the annual numerical limit.


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