Visa Bulletin: Visa Retrogression Likely for EB-2 India

September 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

Visa Retrogression EB-2 India

Each month, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) publishes a Visa Bulletin that summarizes the available immigrant visa numbers for the upcoming month. The visa numbers are calculated based on total fiscal year limits set by the Department of State.

The Visa Bulletin is broken down by categories (e.g. employment-based), preferences (e.g. 2nd preference), and countries of chargeability (e.g. India), which are presented in matrix format. On each of the matrices, the breakdowns come together with either a “C,” a “U,” or a date.

  • A “C” stands for current (i.e., all of the immigrant visa demand for that breakdown can be satisfied by the amount of available visa numbers currently allocated).
  • A “U” stands for unavailable (i.e., all of the allocated visa numbers in that breakdown have been used for the fiscal year).
  • A date represents the cut-off date for an oversubscribed breakdown (i.e., not all of the immigrant visa demand for that breakdown can be satisfied by the amount of available visa numbers currently allocated).

Cut-off dates are determined by priority dates (i.e., date of filing for the petition or application granting a visa number). Thus, if a date is listed in one of the matrix breakdowns on the monthly Visa Bulletin, the date represents the priority date of the first applicant whose immigrant visa application could not be processed within the numerical limits.

For example, if “01APR11” appears in one of the matrix breakdowns, then only applicants whose priority dates are earlier than April 1, 2011 are eligible to receive an immigrant visa.

Countries of chargeability are determined by countries of birth. It is important to note that this is not referring to country of citizenship. Often times, foreign nationals mistakenly believe that they can “skip the line” by obtaining citizenship in another country. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Currently, the Department of State has four countries designated on the Visa Bulletin whose visa demand exceeds the per-country limitation. These countries are China (mainland born), India, Mexico, and Philippines. If a country is not specifically represented on the Visa Bulletin, it falls into the “All Chargeability Areas” section. In recent months, the India Employment-Based Second Preference (“EB-2 India”) cut-off date has been rapidly advancing due to the use of “otherwise unused” immigrant visa numbers. However, this rapid advancement has led to increased demand for these visas.

In the October 2014 Visa Bulletin, the DOS specifically mentions that the increased demand will require the retrogression of the EB-2 India cut-off date. The Visa Bulletin goes on to explain that the retrogression could occur as early as November 2014. Currently, the cut-off date for EB-2 India is May 1, 2009. However, Visa Bulletin experts are predicting a retrogression to around 2005.

Pursuant to this information, foreign nationals who fall under the EB-2 India category should verify whether they are eligible to file an immigrant visa application based on the current cut-off date. Eligible individuals should heed the retrogression warning and file their applications as soon as possible. Not sure how to verify this information? GoffWilson is here to help! Please contact our office today for more information on filing an immigrant visa application.

To view the October 2014 Visa Bulletin click here.

Don’t Miss Our Seminar on How to Complete the New I-9 Form and E-Verify

April 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

I9-Seminar-2013-HRCIEmployers and human resource professionals, do you have questions about how to complete the new 2013 I-9 Form? Don’t miss our training seminar, “The Brand New I-9 Form: How to Complete it & E- Verify for 2013” on Thursday May 16 at the Delta Dental Auditorium in Concord, NH.

We urge you to register early as this event always sells out quickly.

With a revised format and e-verification stipulations, it’s essential you understand how to properly complete the new I-9 which will be required for all new hires starting on May 7, 2013. We’ll cover everything you need to know about the new I-9 Form and how to complete it properly. We will also review E-verify.  The workshop will offer extensive I-9 compliance training, with topics including:

  • Lists of Acceptable Documents
  • Receipt Rules Samples
  • Establishing Office Procedures to Ensure Compliance
  • Issue Spotting, Retention Requirements and Social Security
  • No-Match Letters and E-Verify Requirements
  • Federal Contractor and I-9 Compliance Resource Guide

In addition to intensive I-9 training, attendees will receive three hours of HRCI credit, the updated version of the GoffWilson proprietary I-9 manual, and breakfast. Space is limited and this event sells out fast, so register today to reserve your seats!

DACA Recipients to Soon Receive Permission to Travel Outside U.S.

December 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

DACA-Travel-Permission120412

Recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals will soon be able to travel outside of – and return to – the United States under limited circumstances. These changes are part of the regulations issued in June 2012 by the Department of Homeland Security.

Travel under these regulations for a DACA-approved person will be available once the need for such travel has been established to the satisfaction of USCIS. Following approval, the individual traveler will be issued an Advance Parole document that they will need to present at the time of departure and on return to the U.S. « Read the rest of this entry »

Form I-9 and E-Verify Seminar, May 10: Register Now!

April 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

On May 10, 2012, Attorneys John Wilson and Grace Miller will be giving a presentation on Form I-9 and E-Verify at the Delta Dental Auditorium in Concord, New Hampshire. Registration is now open!

This workshop will provide an in-depth look at each section of the I-9 Form and the Lists of Acceptable Documents. Your questions about E- Verify will also be answered, as we will explain the program, how it relates to the I-9 Form and the obligations created by enrolling and participating in E-Verify.

Each participant will receive GoffWilson’s up-to-date reference workbook that has been tailored to contain a practical guide to completing the Form I-9, examples of correctly completed I-9 forms using the most recent documents issued by US Citizenship and Immigration Service, frequently asked questions and issue spotting examples.

The presentation will be from 8 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and a yummy breakfast will be provided. GoffWilson is pleased to offer participants three recertification credit hours through the HR Certification Institute for PHP, SPHR and GPHR.

For more information and to register for the event, please click here.

Do You Check Out? USCIS Self Check Program Now Available

February 15, 2012 § 2 Comments

Self Check Employment Records Program

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently made an announcement that the Self Check Program is now available throughout the United States, Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.

The Self Check Program is an online service for employees to check their own employment eligibility status through the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. « Read the rest of this entry »

Why U.S. Employers Should Consider Hiring Foreign Students

February 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sometimes it is simply in the best interests of an employer to hire a foreign student and employers should not pass on this opportunity, especially when recruiting in the areas of science, technology and engineering.

Many of the brightest students from around the world come to the U.S. to study at our colleges and universities. Following graduation they often seek employment here in America.

An individual here on an F-1 student visa who has received a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in science, technology, engineering or math (known as STEM, collectively) may apply for a one time 17-month extension of his or her Optional Practical Training (OPT) to allow authorization to work for a U.S. employer as long as the employer is enrolled in E-Verify prior to the expiration of the employee’s status.

If you employ a student, be sure that your I-9 Form is properly updated. But what steps need to be taken prior to the expiration of a student’s initial OPT card?

  1. To document the extension, the student will need to present the Form I-20 endorsed by the designated school official recommending STEM extension.
  2. Upon reviewing the Form I-20, you should write “180-day Ext.” in the margin of Section 2.
  3. If it is your policy to make a photocopy of the supporting documents used to complete the Form I-9, a copy of the I-20 form should be made and retained with the Form I-9.
  4. Last, you are required to re-verify employment authorization no later than 180 days from the expiration date of the previous EAD.
  5. Employers should mark a tickler system to ensure the I-9 Form is updated prior to this date.

The employer should not submit an E-Verify inquiry for any employee hired before the company signed the E-Verify Memorandum of Understanding, unless the employer is subject to a contract containing the E-Verify mandate under the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR).

If you are considering hiring a recent foreign graduate, give us a call. We can explain all the employment options available to you. We are immigration attorneys. It’s all we do!

The Many Benefits of Foreign Investment in U.S. Businesses

January 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Foreign investment in a U.S. business is a win-win.

Under the EB-5 visa program, U.S. immigration law allows foreign investors to speed up their green card process when they invest money in the U.S. economy and employ Americans. It’s a sound investment for foreigners and a needed injection of jobs and money for struggling local economies.

Under the EB-5 visa program, the foreign investor is able to accelerate the green card process when he or she invests $1 million in a U.S. business. If the investment is made in an area considered a “targeted employment area” (defined as a rural area or one with unemployment at or above 150% of the national average),  the investor only needs to invest a minimum of $500,000. In addition, the foreign investor must agree to employ at least 10 full time workers.

The EB-5 (investment visa) is currently a hot trend at Department of Homeland Security. There are 10,000 visas available in this category annually, but typically less than 1,500 are utilized.  Although the investor program has been active since November 1990, it has become very popular lately as U.S. businesses and local communities struggle with high unemployment and difficult credit. Foreigners view the U.S. as a blue chip investment, and communities affected by the recession welcome the influx of money and jobs.

The United States as a whole also benefits from the EB-5 visa program. Investors like these are the type of people we need coming in to the U.S.: highly motivated, well educated, business savvy, financially secure individuals who want to run a business and provide full time employment for  U.S. workers.  In return, the foreigner and his/her immediate family receives permanent residency (green card status) after a conditional period of two years. It is a program that truly benefits everyone involved.

Like all Department of Homeland Security programs, the EB-5 program is complex, with many regulations to consider. If you or someone you know would like more information about this program and how to apply, give us a call. It’s what we do and we are happy to help! Thoughts on EB-5? Feel free to comment below.

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