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.

H4 work authorization soon? The White House is working on it!

On April 7th, the White House made several announcements including that current regulations will be reviewed to create new rules for work permits for spouses of certain H1b workers and to make visas for entrepreneurs more efficient using existing visas.  See below for text of the White House press release from the website. While this is promising news, and certainly within the authority of the President’s powers, we will be watching this space closely. For all my H4 and Startup clients and readers- sign up to our blog if you haven’t yet.  This news will be important for you. Stay tuned!

____________________________________________________

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

FACT SHEET: Strengthening Entrepreneurship At Home and Abroad

“Let’s do more to help the entrepreneurs and small business owners who create most new jobs in America.”

– President Barack Obama, State of the Union, January 28, 2014

Entrepreneurs play a critical role in expanding the economy and creating jobs.  President Obama is committed to increasing the prevalence and success of entrepreneurs across the country, including through the White HouseStartup America initiative, an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to expand access to capital, accelerate innovation, and promote private sector efforts to strengthen the Nation’s startup communities.  The United States also runs and funds hundreds of programs to support entrepreneurs globally and maintains a broad coalition of governments, business people, civil society, investors, and academics to educate and support entrepreneurs around the world.

Building on these efforts, today the Administration is announcing a series of new steps to accelerate the success of entrepreneurs in the United States and across the globe:

Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship: Today, President Obama hosted the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE), a group of successful American businesspeople who have committed to sharing their time, energy, ideas, and  experience to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs at home and abroad. The group is chaired by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are also partners in this effort.

Attracting the World’s Best and Brightest: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will soon publish several proposed rules that will make the United States more attractive to talented foreign entrepreneurs and other high-skill immigrants who will contribute substantially to the U.S. economy, create jobs, and enhance American innovative competitiveness.  These proposed regulations include rules authorizing employment for spouses of certain high-skill workers on H-1B visas, as well as enhancing opportunities for outstanding professors and researchers. These measures build on continuing DHS efforts to streamline, eliminate inefficiency, and increase the transparency of the existing immigration system, such as by the launch ofEntrepreneur Pathways, an online resource center that gives immigrant entrepreneurs an intuitive way to navigate opportunities to start and grow a business in the United States.

Accelerating Biomedical Entrepreneurs from Lab to Market:  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are launching a new collaboration to empower entrepreneurial scientists and address the critical gap between fundamental research and the development of a commercial entity.  Academic researchers and entrepreneurs who receive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding from NIH will be eligible to pilot a new version of the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program that is specially tailored for biomedical technologies.  This intensive, mentor-driven experience is changing the way that NSF-funded researchers think about the commercialization process.  NIH will also help scale up I-Corps by augmenting existing NIH-funded programs, such as the NIH Centers for Accelerated Innovation (NCAI), that focus on promising technologies developed by academic researchers.  Faculty and students who participate in these new I-Corps programs will receive mentorship opportunities, entrepreneurial training, and modest funding to enable them to move their ideas from the lab to the market.

Energizing Entrepreneurs to Help End Extreme Poverty: Fostering entrepreneurs and strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems are vital elements of USAID’s newly launched U.S. Global Development Lab (The Lab).  The Lab will empower a global network of individuals to help create, solve and scale innovative solutions to global challenges by applying rigorous scientific, business, research, and technological expertise. In the next five years, scientists and technology experts at The Lab will create a new global marketplace of innovations and take them to scale to reach over 200 million people worldwide. The Lab is pioneering open-source development models like Development Innovation Ventures and Grand Challenges that nurture new solvers and players in emerging markets and spurring innovation. The Lab is expanding a Global Development Alliance furthering LGBT equality through entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprise growth in Latin America.  A new USAID Research and Innovation Fellowships Program will send more than 60 young U.S. leaders in science and technology to universities, NGOs, and companies in 12 developing countries this year.

Bolstering Exchanges and Training for Entrepreneurs in the Western Hemisphere: This fall, the State Department will host TechCamps for women in El Salvador, Colombia, and Argentina. These camps will bring together hundreds of women across the region over the course of the year and provide them training to address key challenges in business formation, from financing to marketing. Additionally, the State Department will be launching two new exchange programs for entrepreneurs in the Western hemisphere. The Small Business Network of the Americas (SBNA) Fellowship Program will connect incubators across the hemisphere to share best practices in entrepreneurial development and unlock market access for small businesses across the region. The Professional Fellows Program will bring Salvadorian, Guatemalan, and American officials together for a six-week internship and training program focuses on professional development, problem-solving, and networking.

H1b FY 2015 Cap Met- Random Selection Coming Soon- no date yet.

USCIS announced today that the quota has been met and a random selection process to be held soon.  However, we are not told the date on which the random selection (also known as the lottery!) will be held. We also do not have information about the total number of petitions received yet. We will keep you posted. See below for text of USCIS annoucement copied from http://www.uscis.gov.

______________________________________

 

USCIS Reaches FY 2015 H-1B Cap

Release Date: April 07, 2014

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year (FY) 2015.  USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U. S. advanced degree exemption.

Before running a random selection process, USCIS will complete initial intake for all filings received during the filing period which ended today. Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the date on which it will conduct the random selection process.

A computer-generated process will randomly select the number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject and return filing fees for all cap-subject petitions that are not selected, unless found to be a duplicate filing.

The agency will conduct the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All advanced degree petitions not selected will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.

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 www.uscis.gov or follow us on Facebook (/uscis), Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis) and the USCIS blog The Beacon.

 

WIL Out and About

We have been busy juggling H1b deadlines with social engagements (not an easy feat, I can tell you!). Here are some snap shots.

On April 4, 2014, One America celebrated its annual fundraising dinner.  With about 600 people in attendance, the event was a great success. Many dignatories were in attendance including WA Supreme Court judges, Congress representatives as well as other local leaders.  It was a fun event as usual. Watson Immigration Law thanks One America for its continued hardwork for social justice and immigration reform.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On April 1st, prominent immigration reform activist Pramila Jayapal held her campaign kickoff for Washington State Senator.  Some 250 people attended to support her campaign. Good luck Pramila Jayapal!

Pramilakickoff pic

Rich Stolz, Pramila Jayapal and Tahmina Watson

On March 27th, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce hosted a lunch the new WIBLI program.  It was wonderful to meet so many professional women at all stages of their careers.  Here are all the photos from the event.

WIBLI 3


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