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  • Type: Visa Bulletin
    Post date: May 21st 2020
    Body:

    Number 42
    Volume X
    Washington, D.C

    View as Printer Friendly PDF

    A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

    This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during June for: “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” indicating when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit required documentation to the National Visa Center.

    Unless otherwise indicated on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website at www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with USCIS in the Department of Homeland Security must use the “Final Action Dates” charts below for determining when they can file such applications. When USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state on its website that applicants may instead use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts in this Bulletin. 

    1.  Procedures for determining dates. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; USCIS reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations in the charts below were made, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by May 11th. If not all demand could be satisfied, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed. The final action date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a final action date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new final action date announced in this bulletin. If at any time an annual limit were reached, it would be necessary to immediately make the preference category “unavailable”, and no further requests for numbers would be honored.

    2. Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000.  The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000.  Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620.  The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.

    3.  INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed. Section 203(d) provides that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal. The visa prorating provisions of Section 202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit. These provisions apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas:  CHINA-mainland born, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, INDIA, MEXICO, PHILIPPINES, and VIETNAM.

    4.  Section 203(a) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Family-sponsored immigrant visas as follows: 

    FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

    First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

    Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents:  114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

    A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

    B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents:  23% of the overall second preference limitation.

    Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

    Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens:  65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

    A.  FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES

    On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and "U" means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the final action date listed below.)

     

    Family-
    Sponsored 
    All Chargeability 
    Areas Except
    Those Listed
    CHINA-mainland 
    born
    INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
    F1 22MAY14 22MAY14 22MAY14 15NOV97 01FEB11
    F2A C C C C C
    F2B 15MAR15 15MAR15 15MAR15 15FEB99 01SEP10
    F3 15APR08 15APR08 15APR08 22JUN96 15APR01
    F4 08AUG06 08AUG06 22JAN05 08MAY98 01FEB01
    22MAR05
    22MAR05
    22DEC10
    01FEB16
    01FEB16

     

     

    B.  DATES FOR FILING FAMILY-SPONSORED VISA APPLICATIONS

    The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart below may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The application date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa. If a category is designated “current,” all applicants in the relevant category may file applications, regardless of priority date.

    The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date which is earlier than the listed date may file their application.

    Visit www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo for information on whether USCIS has determined that this chart can be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 4.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS. 

    Family-
    Sponsored 
    All Chargeability 
    Areas Except
    Those Listed
    CHINA-
    mainland 
    born
    INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES 
    F1 15FEB15 15FEB15 15FEB15 22DEC99 01SEP11
    F2A 01MAY20 01MAY20 01MAY20 01MAY20 01MAY20
    F2B 01DEC15 01DEC15 01DEC15 22SEP99 01MAY11
    F3 15MAR09 15MAR09 15MAR09 15JUL00 15NOV01
    F4 31JUL07 31JUL07 01OCT05 08FEB99 01SEP01

    5.  Section 203(b) of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of Employment-based immigrant visas as follows: 

    EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

    First:  Priority Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

    Second:  Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.      

    Third:  Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "*Other Workers".

    Fourth:  Certain Special Immigrants:  7.1% of the worldwide level.

    Fifth:  Employment Creation:  7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.

    A.  FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES

    On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are authorized for issuance to all qualified applicants; and "U" means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance. (NOTE: Numbers are authorized for issuance only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the final action date listed below.)

     

    Employment-
    based
    All Chargeability 
    Areas Except
    Those Listed
    CHINA-
    mainland 
    born
    EL SALVADOR
    GUATEMALA
    HONDURAS
    INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES VIETNAM
    1st C 15AUG17 C 08JUN16 C C C
    2nd C 01NOV15 C 12JUN09 C C C
    3rd 08NOV17 15JUN16 08NOV17 01APR09 08NOV17 08NOV17 08NOV17
    Other Workers 08NOV17 15JUL08 08NOV17 01APR09 08NOV17 08NOV17 08NOV17
    4th C C 15DEC16 C 08JUN18 C C
    Certain Religious Workers C C 15DEC16 C 08JUN18 C C
    5th Non-Regional Center
    (C5 and T5)
    C 15JUL15 C 01JAN20 C C 22APR17
    5th Regional Center
    (I5 and R5)
    C 15JUL15 C 01JAN20 C C 22APR17

     

    *Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year. This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program. Since the EW final action date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002. For Fiscal Year 2020 this reduction will be limited to approximately 350.

    B.  DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS

    The chart below reflects dates for filing visa applications within a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process. Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions. The application date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who cannot submit documentation to the National Visa Center for an immigrant visa. If a category is designated “current,” all applicants in the relevant category may file, regardless of priority date.

    The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date which is earlier than the listed date may file their application.

    Visit www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo for information on whether USCIS has determined that this chart can be used (in lieu of the chart in paragraph 5.A.) this month for filing applications for adjustment of status with USCIS. 

    Employment-
    based
    All Chargeability
    Areas Except
    Those Listed
    CHINA-
    mainland 
    born
    EL SALVADOR
    GUATEMALA
    HONDURAS
    INDIA MEXICO  PHILIPPINES 
    1st C 01OCT17 C 15MAR17 C C
    2nd C 01AUG16 C 01JUL09  C C
    3rd 01APR19 01MAR17 01APR19 01FEB10 01APR19 01APR19
    Other Workers 01APR19 01AUG08 01APR19 01FEB10 01APR19 01APR19
    4th C C 01FEB17 C C C
    Certain Religious Workers C C 01FEB17 C C C
    5th Non-Regional Center
    (C5 and T5)
    C 15DEC15 C C C C
    5th Regional Center
    (I5 and R5)
    C 15DEC15 C C C C

    6.  The Department of State has a recorded message with the Final Action date information which can be heard at:  (202) 485-7699.  This recording is updated on or about the seventeenth of each month with information on final action dates for the following month.

    B.  DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE

    Section 203(c) of the INA provides up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit additional immigration opportunities for persons from countries with low admissions during the previous five years. The NACARA stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program. This will result in reduction of the DV-2020 annual limit to approximately 54,650. DV visas are divided among six geographic regions.  No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.

    For June, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2020 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

    Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except
    Those Listed Separately
     
    AFRICA CURRENT Except:  Egypt  42,000
    ASIA CURRENT

    Except:  Nepal  13,500

    EUROPE CURRENT  
    NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS)  CURRENT  
    OCEANIA CURRENT  
    SOUTH AMERICA,
    and the CARIBBEAN
    CURRENT  

    Entitlement to immigrant status in the DV category lasts only through the end of the fiscal (visa) year for which the applicant is selected in the lottery. The year of entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2020 program ends as of September 30, 2020. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2020 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2020 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2020. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2020 cannot be taken for granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

    C.  THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN JULY

    For July, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2020 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

    Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except
    Those Listed Separately
     
    AFRICA CURRENT Except:  Egypt  42,000
    ASIA CURRENT Except:  Nepal  13,500
    EUROPE CURRENT  
    NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS)  CURRENT  
    OCEANIA CURRENT  
    SOUTH AMERICA,
    and the CARIBBEAN
    CURRENT  

    D.  FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION ON VISA PROCESSING AT U.S. EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, PLEASE VISIT THE BUREAU OF CONSULAR AFFAIRS WEBSITE AT TRAVEL.STATE.GOV

    E.  OBTAINING THE MONTHLY VISA BULLETIN

    To be placed on the Department of State’s E-mail subscription list for the “Visa Bulletin”, please send an E-mail to the following E-mail address:

    listserv@calist.state.gov

    and in the message body type:
    Subscribe Visa-Bulletin 
    (example: Subscribe Visa-Bulletin)

    To be removed from the Department of State’s E-mail subscription list for the “Visa Bulletin”, send an e-mail message to the following E-mail address:

    listserv@calist.state.gov

    and in the message body type: Signoff Visa-Bulletin

    The Department of State also has available a recorded message with visa final action dates which can be heard at: (202) 485-7699. The recording is normally updated on/about the 17th of each month with information on final action dates for the following month.

    Readers may submit questions regarding Visa Bulletin related items by E-mail at the following address:

    VISABULLETIN@STATE.GOV

    (This address cannot be used to subscribe to the Visa Bulletin.)

    Department of State Publication 9514
    CA/VO:   May 11, 2020

  • Type: News
    Post date: May 13th 2020
    Body:

    Rule creates new requirements for CNMI employers to protect U.S. workers

    WASHINGTON—On May 14, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will publish an interim final rule (IFR) implementing the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act of 2018, which protects U.S. workers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and ensures that U.S. workers will not be displaced or encounter a competitive disadvantage for employment compared to non-U.S. workers.

    “In addition to implementing legislation, this rule follows the clear guidance laid out by President Trump’s Buy American and Hire American executive order, which called on the Department of Homeland Security to propose rules to protect the interests of U.S. workers in the administration of our immigration system,” said USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow.

    Key among the changes, the IFR requires CW-1 employers to enroll in the E-Verify program with respect to all their hiring sites in the CNMI and elsewhere in the United States, and be a participant in good standing in the program. E-Verify is a web-based system that allows enrolled employers to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.

    The IFR also requires CW-1 employers file a semiannual report to verify the continuing employment and payment of the CW-1 worker under the terms and conditions set forth in the CW-1 petition. USCIS is implementing this new statutory requirement through a new standalone form, Form I-129CWR, Semiannual Report for CW-1 Employers.

    The IFR establishes that the semiannual report is required for all CW-1 petitions approved by USCIS with employment start dates in fiscal year 2020 for a validity period of six months or more. Since the IFR effective date June 18, 2020 falls after the sixth month of FY 2020, USCIS is offering a one-time additional 60-day period in which affected employers may comply with the new semiannual report requirement. For petitions approved with start dates from Oct. 1, 2019, through Dec. 18, 2019, CW-1 employers will have until Aug. 17, 2020 to file Form I-129CWR as required in the IFR.

    Other key updates in the IFR include:

    • Requiring a CW-1 petition to be filed with an approved temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor;
    • Establishing minimum wage requirements for a CW employer;
    • Establishing procedures for revoking an employer’s CW-1 petition, based upon existing revocation grounds in place for other nonimmigrants; and
    • Incorporating the definition of legitimate business as set forth in the Workforce Act, including the requirement that CW-1 employers enroll in and be a participant in good standing in the E-Verify program as a condition of filing CW-1 petitions.

    The Workforce Act required DHS to proceed by publishing an interim final rule and written comments will be considered in developing a final rule. The public may submit comments and related materials on or before July 13, 2020. Comments on the form, form instructions, and information collection revisions in this interim rule must be submitted on or before June 13, 2020. The interim final rule will go into effect on June 18, 2020.

  • Type: News
    Post date: May 12th 2020
    Body:

    WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a temporary final rule to change certain H-2B requirements to help support the U.S. food supply chain, maintain essential infrastructure operations and reduce the impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.

    These temporary measures apply solely to aliens already present in the United States with a valid H-2B nonimmigrant status, and the temporary final rule does not increase H-2B visas above the congressionally mandated 66,000 visa cap through the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2020.

    "These necessary flexibilities will safeguard a critical U.S. infrastructure sector; reinforce security of the nation’s food supply chain; and encourage key American businesses to maintain essential operations currently threatened by the COVID-19 public health emergency,” said USCIS Deputy Director for Policy, Joseph Edlow. “Importantly, these measures protect U.S. workers by not adding supplemental H-2B visas during the national emergency.”

    Under this temporary final rule, a petitioner will have additional flexibilities for employing workers essential to the U.S. food supply chain. To take advantage of this time-limited change in regulatory requirements, the H-2B worker must already be in the United States and in valid H2B status.

    As part of the TLC process, the petitioning employer must have demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Secretary of Labor that there is not a sufficient supply of qualified U.S. workers who will be available at the time and place needed to perform the labor or services involved in the petition. The employment of the alien(s) in such labor or services will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers in the United States similarly employed.

    There are two flexibilities in the temporary final rule. First, the rule allows an H-2B employer to employ an H-2B nonimmigrant physically present in the United States while the employer’s H-2B petition on behalf of that nonimmigrant is still pending before USCIS. The rule only provides this flexibility if the employer attests that the worker will perform temporary services or labor that is essential to the U.S. food supply chain. The temporary employment authorization will last for up to 60 days. Second, the rule allows H-2B workers essential to the U.S. food supply chain to stay beyond the three-year maximum allowable period of stay in the United States. This flexibility applies to petitions filed by the H-2B nonimmigrant’s current employer, as well as petitions filed by a potential new employer. The rule only provides this flexibility if the employer attests that the worker will perform temporary services or labor that is essential to the U.S. food supply chain. It is not acceptable for employers to hire illegal aliens. 

    A petitioner seeking the flexibilities under this temporary final rule will be required to submit an attestation, swearing under penalty of perjury, that the H-2B worker(s) will be performing temporary nonagricultural services or labor or that is essential to the U.S. food supply chain.  

    The temporary final rule is effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register.

    DHS previously announced similar protections for American agricultural employers in order to secure the nation’s food supply chain. The H-2B nonimmigrant classification applies to alien workers seeking to perform nonagricultural services or labor of a temporary nature in the United States, usually lasting no longer than one year, for which able, willing and qualified U.S. workers are not available. 

  • Type: News
    Post date: May 6th 2020
    Body:

    USCIS transferred some of the following cases from the Vermont Service Center to the Nebraska Service Center and from the California Service Center to the Texas Service Center:

    • Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, for H-1B cap-subject petitioners requesting H-1B nonimmigrant classification for FY 2021 (regular cap and advanced degree exemption)

    USCIS transferred some of the following cases from the California Service Center to the Vermont Service Center:

    • Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, for petitioners seeking O and P nonimmigrant classification

    Please visit  Workload Transfer Updates page for more information.

  • Type: FAQ
    Post date: May 6th 2020
    Body:

    Watch the Video on this FAQ:

    Implications of the 240 days grace period


    Video Transcript

    Question:

    I am on H1-B with approved I140. My I94 expired on 10th October and my H1 extension was filed in time. After 7 months of processing time I got RFE even though my employer has filed two service requests requesting to expedite the process. Regardless now that I have got the RFE there is a very high probability that I wont get a response before 240 days which is on 6th June. As far as my understanding goes I am allowed to stay even after 240 days of H1 extension waiting for the decision but not authorized to work. Is that understanding right?

    Answer:

    When you file your petition timely you have a 240 days grace period to continue working even after your current status expires. That is a very big advantage, but the problem is what if the government takes more than 240 days to adjudicate. While the case is pending you can work for only 240 days, but you can stay an unlimited amount of time in the United States as long as the case is pending.

    In the context of an H-1B if you have filed for an extension to change you can continue working as long as the case is pending, but if you have filed for an extension without change, you have got 240 days. FAQ in detail...

     

     

    Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.