The 2014 H-1B season saw 172,500 petitions filed for the 65,000 H-1B spots (plus an additional 20,000 visas set aside for those with US Master’s degrees). This means that applicants had a little over a 1/3 shot at being chosen for the lottery. The last time that the volume of filings was so high was 2008.
USCIS’s Outstanding Americans by Choice Initiative recognizes the outstanding achievements of naturalized U.S. citizens. Recognition is based on civic participation, professional achievement, and responsible citizenship, that demostrate a commitment to our nation. The 2013 award recipients can be found online: http://www.uscis.gov/news/outstanding-americans-choice/2013-outstanding-american-choice-recipients
When the Nobel Prize winners were announced recently, 4 of the 9 were immigrants to the U.S. And the three winners for Chemistry were immigrants who became U.S. citizens. This is not unusual, as 32% of all U.S. Nobel laureates are immigrants. The research of one of this year’s winners,Thomas C. Sudhof, has been critical in advancing our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease; Sudhof immigrated to the US as a post-doc in the 1980s,
According to the New York Times, groups supporting an immigration overhaul said they are planning a mobilization early next month to press the House of Representatives to vote on an immigration reform bill. They will hold rallies in at least 40 cities nationwide on Oct. 5 and a large rally in Washington on Oct. 8, said Gustavo Torres, executive director of Casa de Maryland, one of the organizations leading the events. Immigrant leaders said they hoped to keep pressure on House lawmakers so they would not lose sight of immigration amid debates over military action in Syria and the budget.
While the fate of immigration reform is anything by certain, both the Senate and House bills may help immigrant entrepreneurs. Both bills propose an entrepreneur visa that will grant permanent residence. The catch? The entrepreneur must attract venture capital of at least $500,000, and create at 5 full-time jobs. The Senate bill (but not the house bill) creates a 3 year temporary entrepreneur visa that requires a $100,000 investment and the creation of 3 jobs.
Both bills may also help profession workers who are not entrepreneurs by raising the cap on H-1Bs, increasing the number of employment-based green cards, and eliminating the per country caps that create backlogs.
USCIS has completed the H-1B lottery for the October 2013 cap, and has also started the data entry process for H-1B petitions selected. Premium processing cases are being handled first and data entry for those cases were completed on April 15. USCIS announced on March 15, 2013, that the 15-day premium processing clock will start on April 15.
On April 12, 2013, Donald Neufeld, Associate Director of the Service Center Operations (SCOPS) Directorate, informed the audience that data entry for non-premium processing cases will begin after the premium processing cases are entered. Data entry for non-premium cases will likely not be completed until sometime in May, and rejection notices for petitions not selected in the lottery will be sent out after that.
The FY 2014 H1B season brought on a mad rush, with the cap being reached in just 5 days. USCIS received 125,000 petitions for the 65,000 regular cap and 20,000 master’s cap. In other words, about 40,000 petitioners were turned away.
Those scrambling for alternatives might consider O-1 status. This category is used by aliens of extraordinary ability in the arts/science/business. Extraordinary ability in the arts is shown with portfolios, awards, articles, recommendation letters, etc. Extraordinary ability in science is shown with publications, presentations, awards, citations, judging the work of others, and peer review letters. Extraordinary ability in business might be shown by past positions held, articles about the beneficiary, and a list of contributions made to the business field.
New York Senator Schumer is poised to introduce a bill today calling for a two year pilot program that would allocate 55,000 additional green cards each year for foreign-born graduates who have earned a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. academic institution in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Math) field. Given that the congress is close to the end of the currents session, though, it seems unlikely that the measure will be voted on before the November election.
The October DOS Visa Bulletin is out and a great stride forward has been made in the Employment Based 2nd Preference. Last month’s visa bulletin listed a priority date of January 2009 for “all chargeable areas.” This meant that many of those in EB2 could expect about a 3 year wait before they could file an I-485. Those from China, India, Mexico and Philippines could expect a much longer wait. But the October Visa Bulletin for EB-2, all chargeable areas has surged forward to January 2012, meaning that the delay has been shortened to about 9 months.
USCIS expects to make all forms, instructions, and additional information relevant to the deferred action for childhood arrivals available on August 15, 2012. Upon making the forms available, it will immediately begin accepting requests for deferred action. While CIS has not said a lot about what will be required in terms of forms, it has said that requestors will be required to use a form developed specifically for this purpose. It has also said that requests will be sent to a lock box along with applicable fees, and that requestors will be required to be fingerprinted and go through background checks. The amoung of the fees has yet to be announced. Stay tuned!