The May 2015 Visa Bulletin was released today by the Dept. of State. Our commentary will follow soon. BUT headline:
The much anticipated retrogression for China EB5 preference is finally here. Cut-off date is May 1, 2013- that is almost 2 years. below is notice from DOS about what to expect but warning of further retrogression. Please note that this is only applicable to citizens of China.
To our regular visa bulletin readers- sorry we have not been able to post our usual commentary in a timely manner over the last couple of months. We will do so soon though.
D. OVERSUBSCRIPTION OF THE CHINA-mainland born
EMPLOYMENT FIFTH PREFERENCE CATEGORY
Heavy applicant demand has required the implementation of an Employment Fifth preference cut-off date to hold number use within the maximum level of numbers which may be made available for use by such applicants during FY-2015. No specific prediction regarding movement of this date is possible at present. Future visa availability will depend on a combination of demand for numbers being reported each month, and the extent to which otherwise unused numbers may become available. An increase in visa demand by applicants with relatively early priority dates COULD make necessary a retrogression of this cut-off date prior to the end of the fiscal year; retrogression is NOT being predicted but it cannot be ruled out. It is extremely likely that this category will remain subject to a cut-off date indefinitely.
E. PHILIPPINES VISA AVAILABILITY
Family First preference: This cut-off date had been advanced very rapidly during the course of the last year in an effort to generate sufficient demand to fully utilize all available numbers. In recent months the amount of demand being received has been increasing at a steady pace. A continued increase in demand may require a retrogression of the cut-off date within the next several months to hold number use within the annual limit for this preference category.
Employment Third preference: This cut-off date had also been advanced very rapidly in an effort to generate sufficient demand to fully utilize all available numbers. The current rate of increase in demand has required the retrogression of this cut-off date for the month of May, in an attempt to hold number use within the annual limit for this preference category.
Today, USCIS announced that they received 233,000 petitions for fiscal year 2016. The random selection process will begin soon. See below copy of USCIS notice. If you have filed a petition, we wish you all the best in ‘winning the lottery’!
|U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 7, 2015 that it has received enough H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2016. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption, also known as the masters cap.
USCIS received about nearly 233,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 13, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing.
The agency conducted the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All unselected advanced degree petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.
As announced on March 12, 2015, USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than May 11, 2015.
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 also not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2016 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
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, please see: http://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-completes-h-1b-cap-random-selection-process-fy-2016
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We are very proud to announce that Tahmina will be speaking on Startup Visa issues at the Bitspiration Festival 2015 in Poland. The Bitspiration Festival will be held on June 22-23 in Warsaw, Poland. We are very honored for the invitation, thank you Bitspiration!
If you or anyone you know will attend, please do say hi in advance! If any of our friends and colleagues are in the vicinity, please say hi too! We will post more updates in due course.
On Thursday April 9th 2015, I attended Senator Murray’s Golden Tennis Shoe Award where she honored three very deserving people. The sold out event had about 1200 people present including many elected officials and dignitaries. Sen. Cantwell was present. Sen. Al Franken from Minnesota attended to present the key note speech. It was an inspiring event. I took the opportunity to hand my Startup Visa book to all three senators. Here are some photos to enjoy.
Here are a couple of articles in which Tahmina’s insight was sought:
India Abroad –March 27 edition page A19
The Seattle Times (front page news) April 8, 2015.
We hope you will enjoy these articles and please feel free to share your thoughts.
The USCIS today stated that the agency has received more applications than the quota. This is certainly not a surprise. Below is a copy of the text from the website. Good luck to everyone who applied this year.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2016. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption.
USCIS will use a computer-generated process, also known as the lottery, to randomly select the petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 for the advanced degree exemption.
USCIS will first randomly select petitions for the advanced degree exemption. All unselected advanced degree petitions will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 general limit. The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not duplicate filings.
Before running the lottery, USCIS will complete initial intake for all filings received during the filing period, which ended April 7. Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the date it will conduct the random selection process.
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, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the congressionally mandated FY 2016 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.
We encourage H-1B applicants to subscribe to the H-1B Cap Season email updates located on the H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Cap Season Web page. For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Facebook (/uscis), Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis) and the USCIS blog The Beacon.
After several years of pushing for legislative reform, some startup/investor leaders have turned to alternative methods of fixing the startup visa problem. The Massachusetts Global Entrepreneurship in Residence (GEIR) program was the result. Today, the second state following the Massachusetts model will launch- Colorado’s CU Boulder. The University of Colorado Boulder’s Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship this fall will pilot a new Entrepreneurs In Residence (EIR) program to bring mentorship to students and allow entrepreneurs domestically and from around the world to be part of Colorado’s vibrant startup community – Here is the press release.
Congratulations to CU Boulder and the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship for taking this bold move and to everyone involved in the creation of this program. We will look forward to hearing more news in due course.
As an immigration lawyer, what do I look for when it comes to USCIS? A good system that works. For that, what is most needed is good leadership. Leadership that can accomplish tasks, organize large groups of people. That is what I saw in Alejandro Majorkas, current Deputy Secretary of the DHS, former Director of USCIS.
There has been much written about him over the last 24 hours. But I wanted my readers to know that he was was a great leader for USCIS. Under his leadership, the agency saw much progress. In fact, when he was promoted to number two of DHS, I felt it was a loss to USCIS- but was happy he had oversight in his new role. He was a fast learner on all the tough immigration issues we face when he first took on the job. He brought to the agency engagement with stakeholders and better efficiency. He started the creation of precedent cases that would set example for specific types of cases. He created the Entrepreneur in Residence program specifically for startup founders which was also followed by a special web portal for entrepreneurs. That is only a small list of what he did.
As a lawyer, he’s a problem solver. As an immigrant himself, he was empathetic yet firm in his leadership. As a team player, he made stakeholders feel their voices were being heard. He really took note of what experts had to say and tried to make a difference.
With his hard earned knowledge of immigration law, the processes and the agency, his leadership as Deputy Secretary of the Homeland Security is immensely valuable to USCIS and to the public. His understanding can bring more cohesive action between all agencies under the DHS such as ICE, CBP and USCIS. Rather than taint his name, I hope it will ultimately be recognized that he is a an excellent leader with great integrity and dedication to public service.
L1B- Intra company transfer of specialized knowledge employees are cases that have seen disproportionate scrutiny and denials in the past few years. Yesterday, President Obama announced at the SelectUSA summit in Washington DC that a new L1B memo was imminent. Today USCIS issued the policy memo. There will be a comment period until May 2015. This is a particularly necessary step as the world gets smaller and businesses become more global. I hope to see improvements that will not only benefit our business clients but also bring more business and investment into the US.