2013

Blog Posts in 2013

  • USCIS Issues New Guidelines on Immigration Benefits for Same-Sex Marriages

    USCIS released new guidelines for legally married same-sex couples in the wake of the US Supreme Court's Windsor decision holding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. USCIS will review immigrant visa petitions on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as an opposite-sex spouse. U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents may immediately file a Form I-130 immigrant visa ...
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  • Department of Labor No Longer Has Access to Employer Application Records Beyond Retention Period of Five Years

    The Department of Labor announced on October 30, 2013 that as of October 25, 2013, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) no longer has access to employer application records that are beyond the retention period of five (5) years from the date a final determination was issued and stored in the OFLC Permanent Backlog System (PBLS). The PBLS system, which was previously used by the OFLC ...
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  • DOL Following Government Shutdown

    Following the government shutdown, the iCERT and PERM portals were re-started on Friday, October 18, 2013, but remain slow and spotty. Users have reported that Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) that were submitted in late September (roughly 9/23 to 9/27) that remain pending. The Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) Help Desk has indicated that PERM applications, where the automatic ...
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  • Investment Scams Hit Fast-Growing EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

    Confirm that the regional center has been designated by USCIS. Obtain copies of documents provided to USCIS. Request investment information in writing. Ask if promoters are being paid. Seek independent verification. Examine structural risk. Consider the developer’s incentives. Look for waning signs of fraud, including but not limited to: Promise of a visa or becoming lawful permanent resident. ...
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  • I-130 Transferred from National Benefits Center to Service Centers

    USCIS recently began transferring some casework from the National Benefits Center to the Nebraska, Texas and California Service Centers to balance overall operational workload. At this point, the following casework is affected: I-130 Petition for Alien Relatives, filed by U.S. citizens for their eligible immediate relative (spouse, child, or parent). The workload transfer will not change your ...
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  • How Your Immigration Services are Affected by the 2013 Government Shutdown

    As of October 1, 2013, the U.S. federal government is officially partially shut down. The partial government shutdown will impact immigration services across a number of different government agencies. In this article we address the impact of the shutdown on petitions, visas, and labor certifications. USCIS All USCIS offices are open and will continue to accept and process applications and ...
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  • Update on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

    On October 1, 2013, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has provided an analysis on four (4) possible legislative scenarios that currently exist in light of the stalemate in Congress on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform. 1. Discharge Petition on Senate Bill 744 At this juncture, U.S. Senate has passed the Senate Bill 744 - Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration ...
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  • Procedure for Transferring Pending I-485 From One Preference Category to Another

    Hypothetical: the Principal Beneficiary and his Derivative Spouse filed I-485 applications based on the Principal Beneficiary’s approved I-140 under EB-3. Before the I-485s were adjudicated, the priority date retrogressed. The Derivative Spouse, who has been working on EAD, became the beneficiary of an approved I-140 under EB-2 with a priority date that is current. What is the procedure for the ...
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  • Summary of Merit-Based Points System Under the Senate's Reform Bill

    The Senate's proposed Immigration Reform Bill (S. 744) is currently under review before the Senate Judiciary Committee. One of the key provisions of the Bill creates a merit-based immigrant visa, similar to the merit-based point system in Australia and Canada, but with some nuances that focus on family ties to the U.S. Applicants for this new visa will have to pay a fee of $500, and aliens ...
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  • Receipt Notices for Non-cap I-129 Petitions Reportedly Taking 30 Days or More

    AILA members reported that receipting for non-cap H-1B petitions and other I-129 petitions are taking 30 days or more. AILA Liaisons have reported the delay in receipting to Service Centers and USCIS headquarters, but asks members to report such delays to AILA at reports@aila.org if they have not yet received a receipt for a petition that was filed more than 30 days ago and the checks for the ...
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  • Senator Charles E. Grassley's Letter Regarding Potential Fraud in the Use of B-1 Business Visas and the 'B-1 in lieu of H-1B' Note in the Foreign Affairs Manual

    Dear Secretary Clinton and Secretary Napolitano: I'm very concerned about fraudulent actions that at least one foreign-based company has allegedly been taking in order to get around the requirements and U.S. worker protections of the H-1B visa program, and more generally, about provisions in current guidance to visa adjudicators that actually authorize such evasion of Congressional intent. On ...
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  • URGENT NOTICE: San Jose USCIS Recalling Incorrect Lawful Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards)

    The San Jose USCIS Office announced that it issued green cards to many family-sponsored permanent residency applicants with an incorrect validity period for ten (10) years, instead of two (2) years. As such, it will be recalling these green cards and will be sending out notices regarding the error. The notices will include instructions on how to exchange the incorrect green cards for the correct ...
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  • AILA Releases Full Summary of Day 2 of S.744 Markup

    On May 14, 2013, the Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up Day 2 of its review and markup of the Senate's Immigration Reform Bill (S. 744), getting through most of Title IV of the Bill regarding changes to non-immigrant visa provisions. Republican and Democrat lawmakers passed fifteen (15) amendments. The "Gang of Eight" remained committed to the core provisions of the Bill, with the two ...
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  • Proposed Changes to the H-1B Program under the Senate's Immigration Reform Bill

    The Senate Judiciary Committee is currently reviewing a comprehensive immigration reform bill drafted by a group of bipartisan Senators, known as the “Gang of Eight” that seeks to implement provisions balancing changes sought by Republicans and Democrats. Titled "the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013," the new bill seeks to make sweeping changes ...
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  • Update on Receipt Notices for H-1B Cap Cases for FY2014

    AILA members announced that as of May 10, 2013, USCIS has completed data entry and sent receipt notices for all H-1B cap cases selected for processing. USCIS has also already begun sending out rejection notices for those petitions not selected for processing. AILA reminds its members to allow until the end of May for delivery of the receipt and rejection notices.
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