Monday, April 28, 2014


Every few months Charlie Oppenheim of the Department of State discusses predictions for future Visa Bulletins.  MU Law has spoken with Mr. Oppenheim several times in the past and have always found that his projections are well thought out and very accurate.

Here are his projections for a recent conversation with AILA:
  •           India EB-2: before the end of the summer India EB-2 will be into 2008.
  •            Worldwide EB-2: no major changes.
  •           Worldwide EB-3, including Philippines: as happens every summer, EB-3 may retrogress and even become unavailable until the new fiscal year that starts October 1, 2014.
  •           China EB-3: demand has been steady since the China EB-2 and China EB-3 dates flip-flopped.  China EB-3 may retrogress his summer.
  •            National Visa Center:  the NVC is now sending out Fee Bills 8-12 months in advance of the expected priority date becoming current.  Previously, the NVC had been sending out the Fee Bills 12-18 months in advance. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

500,000 UNFILLED RN JOBS BY 2022

The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) is a treasure trove of data.  Government agencies, politicians, and employers use this data to analyze and assess trends in US employment.  The 2014 edition of the OOH shows that job openings in nursing is expected to outpace almost all other occupations.  In fact, healthcare occupations in fields like Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Audiologists, and Home Health dominate the list of fastest-growing occupations

Traditionally, America has been welcoming to immigrants in occupational zones that Americans have been unwilling to fill.  Whether Congress recognizes this fact and improves the pathway for these workers to come to the US is still an open question.

Organizations such as and the Partnership for a New American Economy are working exceptionally hard to convince legislators of the potential gains to the US economy by strategic immigration policy.  One of their recent projects has been to show the impact of immigration on a state by state basis, called Map The Impact.  Map The Impact allows users to see the local impact on restrictive immigration.

For instance, we can learn that there will be 60,000 open nursing positions in Florida alone by the end of the decade.  There will be another 10,000 open positions in the small state of New Mexico.

There have been some recent indications that the Republican’s animosity to immigration reform may be thawing.  Republicans such as likely Presidential candidate Jeb Bush and Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake have recently spoke positively of immigration reform.  For America’s sake, let’s hope others are listening.

Monday, April 21, 2014


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed that they will begin premium processing for H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year 2015 cap on April 28, 2014.  USCIS first announced that they would begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than April 28 in a news release on March 25.  This latest news release confirms the April 28, 2104 date.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


The American public newscaster, PBS, recently broadcast a piece on the migration of nurses to the US.  The segment focused on the H-1B nursing scheme that resulted in a guilty verdict in 2013.  The scheme was deplorable and the guilty verdict was warranted based on the facts of the case.

The PBS video focusses on the worst recruiters and the worst abusers of the system.  It also misses a big point – if the US visa system allowed for nurses to enter the US in a reasonable amount of time then these poachers would not be able to use scam tactics to attract desperate nurses. 

Ethical codes are one good measure.  Codes like the one used by the AAIHR insure fairness to all stakeholders in the system: nurses, recruiters, facilities, and patients.  If you are a nurse seeking to come to the US, MU Law suggests that you dutifully research the practices of your recruiter.  Make sure that they are acting in an ethical fair manner. 

The good news: many of the nurses highlighted in the segment had great results and are now fulfilling their American dream. 

Friday, April 11, 2014


The USCIS has just announced that it received 172,500 H-1B cap-subject petitions for this year’s H-1B cap.  The H-1B cap is 85,000, of which 20,000 are reserved for graduates of US Masters Programs.  Essentially the USCIS received 200% of the H-1B cap allocation.  Put another way, only 50% of the H-1B petitions will be accepted under the H-1B lottery.

The USCIS has inputted all 172,500 and processed the H-1B lottery for both the H-1B masters cap and the H-1B regular cap.  The USCIS has not yet announced when it will notify H-1B lottery winners and losers, although the Premium Process Service petitions should start being notified by April 28.

A higher percentage of masters cap H-1B petitions are accepted than H-1B regular cap petitions because H-1B master cap petitions that do not win the H-1B masters lottery are re-submitted into the H-1B regular cap lottery.

As soon as MU Law begins receiving confirmation of H-1B lottery winner and losers will immediate contact our clients.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


The Department of State has just released the May 2014 Visa Bulletin.  This is the eighth Visa Bulletin of the 2014 US Fiscal Year, which began on October 1, 2013.  

The Philippines EB-3 leaped ahead by almost six month.  It is now at November 2007.

The Chinese EB-2 and EB-3 continued to be flipped: the Chinese EB-2 is worse than the Chinese EB-3.  Chinese nationals who are EB-2 may be able to file an EB-3.  Chinese EB-3s should check with their attorneys to effect this change.The Chinese EB-3 mirrors the All Other EB-3.
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014


The White House yesterday has announced a series of notable improvements to the nation’s business immigration scheme.  The main one of interest to readers of this blog will be that certain H-4 visa holders will be authorized to receive employment authorization cards (EAD cards).  These EAD cards will allow these H-4 workers to work at any US employer for the duration of the validity of the card.  The period of validity is expected to mirror the H-1 primary Beneficiary’s period of validity.

However the press release limits the work authorization to “spouses of certain high-skill workers on H-1B visas.”   The press release does not define “high-skill workers” and so it is unclear if the White House means STEM workers, all H-1B workers, or some other definition.

A 2012 U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Retrospective Review of Existing Regulations – Progress Report sought to extend employment authorization to H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants “who have begun the process of seeking lawful permanent resident status through employment and have extended their authorized period of admission or "stay" in the United States under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21).”  MU Law first noted this Report in December 2012.

That language appeared to limit H-4 EAD authorization only to spouses of H-1Bs who were stuck in their H-1B beyond six years because of retrogression.  It remains to be seen what the White House means by this latest press release.  Nonetheless yesterday’s announcement clearly is a step in a positive direction.

Monday, April 7, 2014


In a surprise to no one, USCIS announced today that it has reached the H-1B cap for both the regular and master’s cap.  The USCIS is expected to hold an H-1B lottery within the next week. 

If your H-1B petition is filed under the Premium Processing Service (PPS) you should hear of its acceptance no later than April 28.  However if your PPS petition is not accepted, it may take until mid-May before you find out that the case was not accepted under the H-1B lottery. 

Reminder:  The PPS does not give a petitioner any greater chance at winning the H-1B lottery, but it does allow for speedier notice and decision-making.

If your H-1B petition is filed under the Regular Processing path it may be until May or even June before your find out if your H-1B petition is accepted under the lottery or not.  Last year it took about 10 weeks before all H-1B petitioners were notified of their acceptance or rejection.

Friday, April 4, 2014



The H-1B cap will be reached this year on its first day of eligibility.  MU Law expects around twice as many H-1B petitions as allowed will be filed this year.  We are basing this projection on our internal H-1B cap filings, discussions with other AILA attorneys, our historical experience with H-1B numbers since the mid-1990s, and media sources.  That having been said, our projection is not a scientific one.  Indeed, no one knows exactly how many H-1Bs will be received.

The H-1B cap petitions will be divided into two categories: (1) Those who have graduated from US Master Degree programs; and (2) all other H1-B cap-subject petitions (“regular H-1B cap”).  The US Masters category has a quota of 20,000 H-1B petitions.  The regular H-1B cap has a quota of 65,000 H-1B petitions.


Since both H-1B categories will be oversubscribed, the USCIS will hold an H-1B lottery.  The H-1B lottery will be held next week.  Last year the H-1B lottery was held April 9, 2013.  Although the H-1B lottery will be held next week, the USCIS did not notify all petitioners of the outcome until June 2013.

If a petitioner wants know sooner, the H-1B may be filed via the Premium Processing Service (PPS).  The PPS does not give a petitioner any greater chance at winning lottery, but it does allow for speedier notice and decision-making.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Earlier this month the United States announced that Chile would join 37 other counties on the Visa Waiver list.  The original implementation date was May 1, 2014.  Vice President Joe Biden accelerated the implementation date to March 31, 2104. 

Chilean passport holders with both an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and an e-passport will be able to visit the United States without nonimmigrant visitor visas.  Chilean nationals seeking to enter the US for pleasure or business will no longer have to apply for a B1/B2 visa.

Chile is one of America’s most favored nations in US immigration.  Not only is Chile now the first Latin American country to qualify for the Visa Waiver program, it is only one of five countries who may avoid the onerous H-1B cap by filing a Trade Visa.  The other four Trade Visa Countries are: Canada (TN), Mexico (TN, Australia (E-3), and Singapore (H-1B1).