Thursday, September 22, 2022

PREMIUM PROCESSING WILL EXPAND TO INCLUDE ADDITIONAL PENDING EB-1 AND EB-2 I-140 PETITIONS: PHASE 3

In the third phase of its initiative to expand premium processing eligibility, on September 15, 2022, USCIS issued a news alert that its premium processing program will be expanded again to include additional pending I-140 petitions filed under the EB-1 and EB-2 categories.

MU issued updates on the first phase and second phase of the initiative earlier this year.

Beginning September 15, 2022, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests for:

·       EB-1 multinational executive and manager petitions received on or before January 1, 2022; and

·        EB-2 NIW petitions received on or before February 1, 2022.

New (initial) I-140 filings for the categories above are not eligible for premium processing at this time.

USCIS has 45 days to issue an RFE, approval, or denial on cases that request premium processing for these newly included Form I-140 classifications. Per USCIS’s I-907 webpage, the fee for filing Form I-140 requesting EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 immigrant visa classification is $2,500.

USCIS will reject any premium processing requests for the classifications above that are filed before the appropriate start date. 


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

EMPLOYMENT-BASED GREEN CARD CASES FOR THE COMING YEAR

The USCIS recently posted updated processes and procedures for green card cases filed during Fiscal Year 2023 (FY2023) which ends on September 30, 2023.  Below is a short summary of the key issues regarding the coming fiscal year’s green card cases.

The US Department of State estimates the annual allotment of employment-based green cards will be approximately 200,000 due to unused family-based visa numbers from FY 2022 (ending September 30, 2022).  Please see our previous blog post for an explanation of the unused family-based numbers flowing into the employment-based category.  Each year there are 140,000 green cards allocated for employment-based cases by statute; the coming year’s allotment of 200,000 is a large increase in available green cards.

Q: If there is an increase in available green cards, why have the Indian EB2 numbers retrogressed in October 2022?

A: The DOS and USCIS estimate the annual usage of green cards based on the number of pending applications.  When estimating how many green cards will be approved, the DOS and USCIS consider the following factors:

  • A percentage of the pending applications will not be approved for a variety of reasons;
  • An accounting for applicants who have more than one green card application pending;
  • An estimate of the number of dependents who will be included on the   application; and
  • How far along in the application process the pending cases are, e.g. how     likely it is to result in the use of a green card during the coming months.

Given these factors, the DOS and USCIS estimate the Indian EB2 category is still oversubscribed and so applied a cut-off date.

Q: Does retrogression affect my priority date or place in line for a green card?

A: No, retrogression does not impact or change your priority date or place in line.  Retrogression only means a green card is not immediately available to applicants in certain categories. 

Q: My category retrogressed, what is my path forward to a green card if I am in the US and have filed my I-485?

A: The USCIS will hold your pending I-485 until your priority date becomes current and a green card is available.  During the time your I-485 is pending with the USCIS, even if your category is retrogressed, you can:

  • Apply for a work authorization card also called an EAD;
  • Apply for a travel authorization card also called Advance Parole or AP;
  • Once your I-485 has been pending with the USCIS for more than 180 days, you can “port” your pending green card application to a new employer who provides a qualified job offer; and
  • Your dependent children may be eligible for benefits under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) (for more specific information abut the CSPA please contact your MU attorney).

You are considered to be in a “period of authorized stay” while your I-485 is pending.

Q: I did not file my I-485 with a medical exam (form I-693), should I affirmatively send in a medical exam or wait until the USCIS issues an RFE (request for evidence) or deficiency notice asking for a medical exam?

A: The USCIS requests applicants not send in a medical exam until the USCIS requests the medical exam via RFE or deficiency notice.  Immigration files are often transferred between USCIS offices to process the cases as quickly as possible.  USCIS indicates it is difficult to match an unsolicited medical exam to a pending case.

Q: How does the transfer of underlying basis request work?

A: If an applicant has two or more approved I-140s, the applicant can request that the USCIS move the pending I-485 from one I-140 to another.  This request must be made in writing and include a form I-485j where appropriate.  Applicants must affirmatively request a transfer of underlying basis; the USCIS does not review the applicant’s files and transfer the I-485 automatically when an I-140 becomes current in a different category.  All transfer requests are reviewed and granted at the discretion of the USCIS.

Q: When the USCIS adjudicates the principal applicant’s I-485, does the USCIS also adjudicate the I-485 of the dependent family members?  What happens if a dependent family member’s I-485 is not approved and the priority date of principal retrogresses?

A: USCIS makes every effort to adjudicate all family members’ cases together.  However, each case is treated independently and has unique factors of review.  If a principal applicant’s I-485 is approved, but a dependent applicant’s I-485 remains pending, and the priority date of the principal applicant retrogresses, the dependent’s I-485 will remain pending with the USCIS until the principal’s priority date becomes current again.

Friday, September 16, 2022

MUSILLO UNKENHOLT FINALIST FOR BEST PLACES TO WORK

MU was recognized by the Cincinnati Business Courier as one of the best places to work in the Greater Cincinnati area for 2022. MU was one of just 77 finalists! Businesses that are finalists for this award all ranked exceptionally high in workforce satisfaction by a very large percentage of their employees.

To celebrate being nominated as a finalist, MU was invited to an award ceremony this past Tuesday, September 13, 2022, at TQL Stadium, home of FC Cincinnati Football Club. MU strives to be an enjoyable and diligent workplace and was very honored to receive this recognition. MU hopes to always be a great place to work for all its employees!


Wednesday, September 14, 2022

OCTOBER 2022 VISA BULLETIN: ANALYSIS AND PREDICTIONS

The Department of State has recently issued the October 2022 Visa Bulletin.  This blog post analyzes this month's Visa Bulletin.

Visa Bulletin

Table A:  Final Action Dates -- Applications with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency card) or Immigrant Visa appointment.

 

EB

Worldwide

CHINA

INDIA

PHILIPPINES

1st

C

C

C

C

2nd

C

08JUN19

01APR12

C

3rd

C

15JUN18

01APR12

C

Other workers

01JUN20

01SEP12

01APR12

01JUN20

Table B: Dates of Filing

The USCIS is using the Table B Dates of Filing chart for I-485 employment-based filings. See: USCIS Visa Bulletin Dates

MU Law Analysis

There have been reports that India EB1 and EB2 are now “unavailable” through October 1, 2022.  However, there has been no specific announcement from the DOS that visas are unavailable.  USCIS has stated (in court filings) that the USCIS expects retrogression in India EB2 in the coming months due to high demand.

Once visas become unavailable on Chart A, USCIS will be unable to approve any more green card cases (I-485) in those specific categories.  All I-485s will remain pending until the applicable priority date becomes current again on Chart A.  However, while cases are retrogressed, those with a pending I-485 are still eligible for AC21 portability and can renew their I-485-based EAD (work authorization) and Advance Parole (travel authorization).

EB-3 Other Workers, which is the category for occupations that require less than two years of education or experience to perform the job, remains retrogressed but did move forward from May 2019 to June 2020 for Philippines and ROW.  

 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

USCIS REACHES H-1B CAP FOR H-1B CAP CASES FILED IN THIS YEAR’S H-1B CAP LOTTERY (FISCAL YEAR 2023)

On August 23, 2022, USCIS announced that they received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the 65,000 H-1B regular cap and 20,000 H-1B master’s cap, for fiscal year 2023 (registrations filed in March 2022).

For all non-selected cases, the attorney of record and petitioner should have received a non-selection notification through the registration on the USCIS website. The status for registrations properly submitted, but not selected, will state: Not Selected: Not Selected – not eligible to file an H-1B cap petition based on this registration.

USCIS will continue to accept H-1B cap exempt petitions and H-1B petitions for workers that have previously been counted against the cap.

Monday, August 8, 2022

SEPTEMBER 2022 VISA BULLETIN: ANALYSIS AND PREDICTIONS

The Department of State has just issued the September 2022 Visa Bulletin.  This is the eleventh Visa Bulletin of Fiscal Year 2022. This blog post analyzes this month's Visa Bulletin.

Visa Bulletin

Table A:  Final Action Dates -- Applications with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency card) or Immigrant Visa appointment.

 

EB

Worldwide

CHINA

INDIA

PHILIPPINES

1st

C

C

C

C

2nd

C

01APR19

01DEC14

C

3rd

C

22APR18

15FEB12

C

Other workers

08MAY19

01JUN12

15FEB12

08MAY19

Table B: Dates of Filing

The USCIS is expected to use the Table B Dates of Filing chart for I-485 employment-based filings. See: USCIS Visa Bulletin Dates

MU Law Analysis

As is often the case toward the end of the fiscal year, there was not much movement as the USCIS and DOS seek to use the remaining visas in the fiscal year. We are repeating the same message as last month.

EB-3 Other Workers, which is the category for occupations that require less than two years of education or experience to perform the job, remains retrogressed to 08May2019.  This date will not advance until October 1, 2022, with the start of the new fiscal year. 

The India and China EB-2 categories remain unchanged.  EB-3 India and EB-3 China advanced one month each.

The WW and Philippine EB-3 remained current. We may see a retrogression of WW and Philippine EB-3 before the end of the fiscal year, once the full allotment of visas is exhausted. This is common, and nothing to be too concerned about, as we have explained in the past.

Monday, July 25, 2022

PREMIUM PROCESSING WILL EXPAND TO INCLUDE ADDITIONAL PENDING EB-1 AND EB-2 I-140 PETITIONS: PHASE 2

In the second phase of its initiative to expand premium processing eligibility, on July 15, 2022, USCIS issued a news alert that its premium processing program will be expanded again to include additional pending I-140 petitions filed under the EB-1 and EB-2 categories.

MU’s discussion on the first phase of the initiative can be found here.

Beginning Aug. 1, 2022, USCIS will accept Form I-907 requests for:

·       EB-1 multinational executive and manager petitions received on or before July 1, 2021; and

·         EB-2 NIW petitions received on or before Aug. 1, 2021.

New (initial) I-140 filings for the categories above are not eligible for premium processing at this time.

USCIS has 45 days to issue an RFE, approval, or denial on cases that request premium processing for these newly included Form I-140 classifications. Per USCIS’s I-907 website, the fee for filing Form I-140 requesting EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 immigrant visa classification is $2,500.

USCIS will reject any premium processing requests for the classifications above that are filed before the appropriate start date. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

CGFNS WILL ACCEPT ADDITIONAL ENGLISH EXAMS FOR VISASCREEN STARTING AUGUST 1, 2022

On May 24, 2022, the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services updated their list of tests and scores acceptable for foreign healthcare workers. This full list can be found here.

Upon this HRSA update, CGFNS International, Inc. stated that starting August 1, 2022, CGFNS will accept additional English exams for the VisaScreen process. Currently, CGFNS only accepts the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFLS) and International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) for the English exam requirement of the VisaScreen.

CGFNS will be issuing an announcement of the full details of the additional tests and score requirements on August 1, 2022. CGFNS has confirmed that they will accept the Occupational English Test (OET) and Pearson PTE Academic (PTE) for VisaSceen purposes starting August 1, 2022. CGNFS has also stated that they will accept PTE and OET exams taken before August 1, 2022, as long as they are still valid on August 1, 2022.

Acceptance of these additional English exams only applies to the CGFNS VisaScreen process, each state still has their own requirements for state licensure.

 

Monday, July 18, 2022

EMPLOYMENT-BASED ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS: MEDICAL EXAMINATION REMINDER

As we grow closer to September 30, 2022, USCIS issued a reminder to applicants of the proper process regarding submitting Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record. In order to ensure efficient processing, the Service recommends the following when submitting a medical exam Form I-693:

1.)  If you have already submitted your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, then you should not send the Form I-693 separately until USCIS issues a notice requesting the form be sent to them.

2.)  Similarly, if a Form I-693 was not included with your I-485 petition, and the underlying petition (I-130 or I-140) is approved, and your priority date is current on the final action chart, then you may want to schedule an appointment with a civil surgeon so that you can have the completed I-693 on hand when the request arrives. To locate a civil surgeon please visit the USCIS website here.

3.)  If you have not yet filed your I-485 but are planning on filing it in the immediate future, USCIS recommends including a completed form I-693 at the time of filing.

4.)  USCIS has temporarily extended the time that the civil surgeon’s signature remains valid on the Form I-693 until September 30, 2022. Signatures currently are valid for two years from the date the form is signed.

USCIS has the goal of using all the available employment-based immigrant visas (green cards) this fiscal year even with the increased number of immigrant visas available. Should you have any questions regarding your personal case, please reach out to your attorney or contact at MU.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

AUGUST 2022 VISA BULLETIN: ANALYSIS AND PREDICTIONS

The Department of State has just issued the August 2022 Visa Bulletin.  This is the eleventh Visa Bulletin of Fiscal Year 2022. This blog post analyzes this month's Visa Bulletin.

Visa Bulletin

Table A:  Final Action Dates -- Applications with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency card) or Immigrant Visa appointment.

 

EB

Worldwide

CHINA

INDIA

PHILIPPINES

1st

C

C

C

C

2nd

C

01APR19

01DEC14

C

3rd

C

22APR18

15FEB12

C

Other workers

08MAY19

01JUN12

15JAN12

08MAY19

Table B: Dates of Filing

The USCIS is expected to use the Table B Dates of Filing chart for I-485 employment-based filings. See: USCIS Visa Bulletin Dates

MU Law Analysis

As is often the case toward the end of the fiscal year, there was not much movement as the USCIS and DOS seek to use the remaining visas in the fiscal year.

EB-3 Other Workers, which is the category for occupations that require less than two years of education or experience to perform the job, remains retrogressed to 08May2019.  This date will not advance until October 1, 2022, with the start of the new fiscal year. 

The India and China EB-2 categories remain unchanged.  EB-3 India and EB-3 China advanced one month each.

The WW and Philippine EB-3 remained current.  We may see a retrogression of WW and Philippine EB-3 before the end of the fiscal year, once the full allotment of visas is exhausted. This is common, and nothing to be too concerned about, as we have explained in the past.