The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process. The complete visa bulletin can be found here.

Below is a summary of the March Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month:

  • China: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 jumps ahead another two months to December 8, 2013, and EB-3 advances two months to November 15, 2014
  • India: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 creeps forward one week to December 15, 2008, and EB-3 moves forward one month to January 1, 2007
  • Philippines: EB-2 remains current and EB-3 advances two months to May 1, 2016
  • All Other Countries: All EB categories are current

NOTE: USCIS has not yet announced if it will accept I-485 applications in March based on the Department of State’s Dates for Filing chart. However, the trend over the last several months has been to NOT honor the Dates for Filing chart, and instead only accept I-485 applications based on the Final Action Dates as listed above.

As negotiations in Congress continue towards resolving the shutdown of the federal government, individuals and companies that interact with the various federal agencies that administer immigration programs are naturally wondering how they might be affected. US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) typically provides clear information about the impact of a government shutdown on its operations. For other agencies, we can only look to prior shutdowns in 2011 and 2013 to understand what to expect.

As a general matter, only “essential” employees will continue to work until funding is restored. The following is what we anticipate with respect to the various agencies Hunton & Williams deals with on behalf of our clients:

Continue Reading How Will the Government Shutdown Impact Immigration? It Depends on the Federal Agency and Program Involved

The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process. The complete visa bulletin can be found here.

Below is a summary of the February Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month:

  • China: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 advances nearly two months to October 1, 2013, and EB-3 jumps forward five months to September 15, 2014
  • India: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 continues a slow forward crawl –advancing 16 days to December 8, 2008, and EB-3 leaps forward an entire month to December 1, 2006
  • Philippines: EB-2 remains current and EB-3 advances two weeks to March 1, 2016
  • All Other Countries: All EB categories are current

Continue Reading February 2018 Visa Bulletin – Slow Advancement in Every Category and Projections for Future Movement

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that because the conditions in El Salvador no longer support its designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), the designation set to expire on March 9, 2018, will terminate in 18 months.  TPS allows qualifying persons inside the United States to remain and work lawfully in the United States until conditions in their home countries improve following civil war, natural disaster or similar extraordinary situations.  The final 18 months of designation gives those unable to acquire another legal status time to prepare to depart the United States by the TPS termination date.

USCIS will issue a notice in the Federal Register with the exact dates for re-registration and employment authorization document (EAD) renewal.  We expect that EADs set to expire on March 9, 2018, will be automatically extended for 6 months.  We will update this entry as soon as the Federal Register notice is released.

If 2017 is any indication, the new year will bring a fresh cascade of changes – both announced and unannounced, anticipated and unanticipated – in the business immigration landscape.  Few, if any, of these changes are expected to be good news for U.S. businesses and the foreign workers they employ.

In 2017, while much of the news media focused on the Trump Administration’s draconian changes to practices and policies that affected the undocumented – including ending the DACA Dreamer program, shutting down Temporary Protected Status for citizens of countries ravished by war and natural disaster, and aggressively enforcing at the southern border and in “sensitive” locations such as churches, courthouses, and homeless shelters – relatively less attention has been paid to the steady, incremental erosion of rights and options for legal immigrants, particularly those who are sponsored for work by U.S. employers, under the Administration’s April 2017 “Buy American / Hire American” executive order.  There is no doubt that such restrictions to the legal immigration system will continue to cause business uncertainty and disruption in 2018.  Here’s what to expect:

Continue Reading Buckle Your Seatbelts: 2018 Will Be a Watershed Year in Business Immigration

The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process. The complete visa bulletin can be found here.

Below is a summary of the January Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month:

  • China: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 advances five weeks to August 8, 2013, and EB-3 advances six weeks to April 15, 2014
  • India: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 moves ahead 3 weeks to November 22, 2008, and EB-3 finally moves– advancing two weeks to November 1, 2006
  • Philippines: EB-2 remains current and EB-3 jumps ahead one month to February 15, 2016
  • All Other Countries: All EB categories are current

PLEASE NOTE:  USCIS has not yet announced if it will accept I-485 applications in January based on the Department of State’s Dates for Filing chart. However, the trend over the last several months has been to NOT honor the Dates for Filing chart, and instead only accept I-485 applications based on the Final Action Dates as listed above.

On December 4, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two orders (available here and here) that allow the Presidential Proclamation of September 24, 2017, otherwise known as the “Travel Ban,” to go into effect while appeals continue in the lower courts.  The practical effect of SCOTUS’s actions is to reinstate this version of the Travel Ban fully.  See our earlier blog entry, New Presidential Proclamation Modifies Travel Ban; SCOTUS Reacts, for a full explanation of which countries are targeted in the revised Ban and which citizens of those countries are subject to U.S. travel restrictions under the Ban.

In October, a federal judge in Maryland granted a temporary injunction preventing the revised Ban from going into effect against those who have a bona fide relationship with a U.S. person or entity.  Another federal court, in Hawaii, also blocked implementation of the Ban.  However, the government appealed those rulings to the federal appellate courts for the Fourth and Ninth Circuits, respectively, where the issues remain pending.  In November, the government went higher still, asking the Supreme Court to allow full enforcement of the Ban while the Fourth and Ninth Circuits consider the government’s appeals of the lower courts’ injunctions.  SCOTUS has now granted that request, although, as each order specifies, Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor were not in favor of granting.  Both federal appellate courts will hold oral arguments this week, and both have agreed to expedite their decisions so that the Maryland and Hawaii cases may move forward quickly.

If either or both Circuits eventually rule against the government, thereby leaving the lower courts’ injunction in place, the government could ask the Supreme Court to review those rulings.  If that happens and SCOTUS refuses to hear the government’s request for review, then SCOTUS’s orders will automatically terminate, thereby putting the Travel Ban on hold yet again, until final decisions are made in the Maryland and Hawaii federal courts.

The Visa Bulletin is released monthly by the Department of State and is used to determine when a sponsored foreign national can submit the final step of the green card process. The complete visa bulletin can be found here.

Below is a summary of the December Visa Bulletin, including Final Action Dates and changes from the previous month:

  • China: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 creeps forward two weeks to July 1, 2013, and EB-3 advances five weeks to March 8, 2014
  • India: EB-1 remains current, EB-2 advances 3 weeks to November 1, 2008, and EB-3 remains frozen at October 15, 2006 for the fourth month in a row
  • Philippines: EB-2 remains current and EB-3 stalls at January 15, 2016
  • All Other Countries: All EB categories are current

PLEASE NOTE:  USCIS has not yet announced if it will accept I-485 applications in December based on the Department of State’s Dates for Filing chart. However, the trend over the last several months has been to NOT honor the Dates for Filing chart, and instead only accept I-485 applications based on the Final Action Dates as listed above.

This week, Tom Homan, acting Director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), announced that he has instructed Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative branch of ICE, to quadruple the number of worksite inspections.  Danielle Bennett, spokeswoman for the agency, confirmed this directive and added “ICE’s worksite enforcement strategy continues to address both employers who knowingly hire unauthorized workers and the workers themselves.”

What does this mean for U.S. employers? This means that employers should expect to see increased HSI visits during which HSI will conduct not only I-9 audits to ensure that employers are complying with established employment eligibility verification requirements, but also other investigations related to compliance with immigration and labor regulations.

Continue Reading Employers Should Take the Necessary Steps to Prepare for Increased Worksite Inspections