Immigration Blog

Insight, News, and Strategy on Immigration Matters Around the World

Since at least 2013, there have been efforts to make the Conrad 30 J-1 visa waiver program for physicians permanent. But that has not happened and it continues to be necessary to reauthorize the program every year. This year, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Angus King (I-ME) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) have introduced a bill to improve and extend the program until 2021 – the Conrad State 30 and Physician
DHS is apparently citing federal cannabis laws as grounds for denying citizenship. Further, USCIS announced on April 19 that the USCIS Policy Manual now clarifies that violation of federal controlled substance law, including for marijuana, remains a conditional bar to establishing good moral character for naturalization even where that conduct would not be an offense under state law. As a majority of states legalize marijuana in full or in part, conflicting state and federal…
USCIS has announced on Twitter that there was an 11% increase from FY 2019 in H-1B advanced degree petitions selected in the FY 2020 lottery. This year, USCIS reversed the lottery selection process. Master’s cap petitions were first entered into the regular lottery and then those left over were entered into a master’s-cap-only lottery. USCIS had originally forecast a 16% increase. USCIS spokesperson Jessica Collins said, “Our efforts to improve the H-1B program…
The U.S. Embassy in Israel has announced that the necessary agreement has been signed and Israeli citizens will be able to apply for an E-2 Visa as of May 1, 2019. This is an important announcement for the Israeli high-tech sector and the U.S. economy because it opens new possibilities for Israelis wishing to create start-ups in the U.S. or open subsidiaries in the U.S. President Barack Obama had signed legislation in 2012 allowing nationals of…
Because some of the 9/11 terrorists used fraudulent driver’s licenses to travel, Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 to comply with the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government establish minimum standards for the issuance of forms of identification, such as state driver’s licenses. After many starts, stops, and delays, the deadline set by the government for full enforcement of the Act is October 1, 2020. By that date, individuals must have
USCIS announced that as of April 10, 2019, it received 201,011 H-1B petitions for the FY 2020 cap season — more than enough to meet both the regular (65,000) and the advanced degree exemption (20,000) caps. At the same time, the denial rate for H-1B petitions reportedly hit 32 percent in the first quarter of 2019. Since the “cap” was established, FY 2017 was the high point, with 236,000 petitions filed. By FY 2019,…
The Social Security Administration (SSA) No-Match letters to employers are notifications from SSA that an individual employee’s W-2 form does not match SSA’s records. The letters also inform employers that corrections are necessary and direct employers to use the SSA’s Business Services Online (BSO) database, which requires registration, to find out exactly which employees came up as “mismatched” and to respond. What are some of the reasons that there might be a “mismatch”? An administrative…
On May 20, 2019, USCIS will begin premium processing for cap-subject H-1B cases that were filed concurrently with Form I-907 premium processing requests. Under the Premium Processing Service, USCIS guarantees 15-calendar-day processing. That means the first premium processing adjudications should start coming out by the end of May or beginning of June. This is the first stage in USCIS’ “two-phased approach.” During the first phase, USCIS will premium process only cap-subject cases that are…
President Donald Trump has extended the wind-down period for termination of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status for beneficiaries from Liberia from March 31, 2019, to March 30, 2020. DED, like Temporary Protected Status (TPS), allows individuals from certain nations to remain in the United States, despite being otherwise removable, because of civil or political strife or conflict in their native countries. Liberia is currently the only country covered under DED and the Administration had
The FY 2020 H-1B cap cases have been filed and 85,000 will be selected for adjudication. “Winning the lottery” is no longer considered the biggest hurdle, however. Back in FY 2005, about 95% of all selected cases were approved and only about 22.3% received Requests for Evidence (RFEs). Recent USCIS statistics show that by FY 2018, only 84.5% of the cases were approved and 38% received RFEs, of which 62.3% were approved. By FY 2019,…