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Work Cards (EAD) for SOME H-4 visa holders

The USCIS has started accepting applications for work cards from H-4 visa holders – in two instances.

1) The H1B visa holder who the H-4 is a dependent of, has an approved I-140 based on an employment based immigrant petition, and;
2) The H1B visa holder is on their 7th or later extension based on an ETA9089 application that was filed more than a year before the expiration of the H1B status.

No other H-4 visa holders are eligible to file for work cards.

Contact an if you have any questions.

USCIS announcement:

Beginning May 26, 2015, certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants can file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, as long as the H-1B nonimmigrant has already started the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. Specifically, H-4 dependent spouses may apply for employment authorization if the H-1B nonimmigrant:

Is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
Has been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act (AC21). AC21 permits H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.
The Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses final rule (H-4 rule), effective on May 26, 2015, seeks to support the goals of attracting and retaining highly skilled foreign workers and minimizing the disruption to U.S. businesses resulting from H-1B nonimmigrants who choose not to remain in the United States and pursue LPR status.

Although USCIS published the H-4 notice of proposed rulemaking in May 2014, finalizing it was part of the executive actions on immigration that President Obama announced in November 2014. Extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants is one of the initiatives to modernize, improve and clarify visa programs to grow the U.S. economy and create jobs.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require a bachelor’s or higher degree in a specific specialty that is directly related to the H-1B position. In addition to specialty occupation workers, the H-1B classification applies to individuals performing services related to a Department of Defense cooperative research and development project or coproduction project, and to individuals performing services of distinguished merit and ability in the field of fashion modeling.

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USCIS ALERT: Relief to Yemeni Nationals

April 29th, 2015 No comments

From the USCIS:

USCIS is closely monitoring conditions in Yemen. Due to the current unstable security situation, USCIS seeks to highlight several available immigration relief measures that may assist eligible Yemeni nationals.
Immigration relief measures that may be available upon request include:
• Change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even if the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;
• Extension of certain grants of parole made by USCIS;
• Expedited adjudication and approval, where possible, of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
• Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications, where appropriate; and
• Consideration for waiver of fees associated with USCIS benefit applications, based on an inability to pay

More information here.

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USCIS resumes H-2B processing.

March 18th, 2015 No comments

From the USCIS:

“Today, March 17, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will resume adjudications of H-2B petitions, but will continue to suspend premium processing until further notice.

Monday, March 16, 2015 the Department of Labor (DOL) filed an unopposed motion to stay the March 4 order of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in Perez v. Perez until April 15. That order vacated DOL’s H-2B regulations on the grounds that DOL had no authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act to issue them.

DHS suspended H-2B adjudications while it reviewed the decision. As stated in the motion, DHS will resume adjudicating H-2B petitions based on temporary labor certifications issued by the Department of Labor.

To fill the regulatory gap, DOL and DHS announced on Friday, March 13, that they intend to issue a joint interim final rule by April 30, 2015.”

See the posting here.

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USCIS Will Accept H-1B Petitions for Fiscal Year 2016 Beginning April 1, 2015

March 17th, 2015 No comments

From the USCIS:

WASHINGTON – On April 1, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2016 cap. U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.

The congressionally mandated cap on H-1B visas for FY 2016 is 65,000. The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the 65,000 cap.

USCIS expects to receive more petitions than the H-1B cap during the first five business days of this year’s program. The agency will monitor the number of petitions received and notify the public when the H-1B cap has been met. If USCIS receives an excess of petitions during the first five business days, the agency will use a lottery system to randomly select the number of petitions required to meet the cap. USCIS will reject all unselected petitions that are subject to the cap as well as any petitions received after the cap has closed. USCIS used the lottery for the FY 2015 program last April.

Premium Processing for Cap-Subject Petitions
H-1B petitioners may still continue to request premium processing together with their H-1B petition. However, please note that USCIS has temporarily adjusted its current premium processing practice based on historic premium processing receipt levels and the possibility that the H-1B cap will be met in the first five business days of the filing season. In order to prioritize data entry for cap subject H-1B petitions, USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing no later than May 11, 2015.

More here.

Always hire an immigration attorney for this process.

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H-4 EAD coming soon…

March 13th, 2015 No comments

Starting around May 26, 2015, spouses of certain individuals will soon be able to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Eligible individuals include certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who:

Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
Have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. The Act permits H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.

More here.

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USCIS Will Accept H-1B Petitions for Fiscal Year 2016 Beginning April 1, 2015

March 13th, 2015 No comments

Release Date: March 12, 2015
Petitioners are Reminded to Follow Regulatory Requirements

WASHINGTON – On April 1, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2016 cap. U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.

The congressionally mandated cap on H-1B visas for FY 2016 is 65,000. The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the 65,000 cap.

USCIS expects to receive more petitions than the H-1B cap during the first five business days of this year’s program. The agency will monitor the number of petitions received and notify the public when the H-1B cap has been met. If USCIS receives an excess of petitions during the first five business days, the agency will use a lottery system to randomly select the number of petitions required to meet the cap. USCIS will reject all unselected petitions that are subject to the cap as well as any petitions received after the cap has closed. USCIS used the lottery for the FY 2015 program last April.

More here.

If the petitioning company does not have counsel it is important to hire an immigration attorney for assistance with an H1B visa.

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USCIS and DOL suspend H2B processing…

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Do not send expanded DACA applications yet.

February 17th, 2015 No comments
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Democrats launch effort to enroll immigrants in new program

January 14th, 2015 No comments

According to The Hill,

Dems are going to push forward on a nationwide effort to enroll immigrants in President Obama’s new programs:

Undaunted by GOP efforts to undo President Obama’s executive order to halt deportations, House Democrats have launched a national campaign to get the millions of eligible illegal immigrants signed up.

Spearheaded by Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), the multi-city effort will unite lawmakers, faith-based institutions and other community leaders working to help participants through the application process and over other bureaucratic hurdles.

More here.

As always, discuss your immigration issue with an immigration attorney before you file anything!

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Deferred Action: Parents of US Citizens/Permanent Residents

November 21st, 2014 No comments

On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama announced an expansion of the deferred action program to include parents of US citizen and permanent resident children.

What I know about the process as it stands is as follows. The applicant must:

– have, on November 20, 2014, a son or daughter who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
– have continuously resident in the U.S since before January 1, 2010;
– who are physically present in the U.S. on November 20, 2014, and at the time of making a request for consideration of deferred action with the USCIS;
– have no lawful status on November 20, 2014;
– are not an enforcement priority as reflected in the November 20, 2014 (see November 20, 2014, Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants Memorandum); and
– present no other factors that, in the exercise of discretion, makes the grant of deferred action inappropriate. (See, November 20, 2014, Prosecutorial Discretion Memorandum).

How and when the process will be implemented and how much it costs remains to be seen.

I’ll update the process as more information becomes known.

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