New USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna’s
first act as USCIS Director is to rescind a 2004 Memorandum that had eased
burdens on nonimmigrant extension petitions.
In its place, USCIS
issued a Memorandum instructing officers to revisit all prior findings of
fact and law in extension petitions. USCIS
says that this new policy is, “more consistent with the agency’s current
priorities and also advances policies that protect the interests of U.S.
Accordingly, employers and employees should expect
delays in the adjudication of extension petitions. This new Memorandum will be used as authority for increased RFE and denials.
To little fanfare, L. Francis
Cissna was finally sworn
in as Director of the USCIS. Pres.
Trump originally nominated Cissna in April.
There was little news coming out of Washington explaining the delay in
Cissna’s appointment. The lack of information
led to plenty of speculation
about the delay. Cissna served in
various capacities within the Department of Homeland Security, most recently as
the Director, Immigration Policy within the DHS Office of Policy,
Delayed appointments are nothing new
for this administration. The DHS has
been without a leader since Secy. Kelly became Pres. Trump’s Chief of Staff in July. The administration finally nominated Kirstjen
in October, more than two months since Secy. Kelly’s promotion.
“Nielsen is not a beloved figure at
DHS; just as she wasn't inside the White House. She has a very sharp-elbowed
approach to doing business and doesn't command anywhere near the respect that
her predecessor, Kelly, did, according to more than half a dozen sources who've
worked with her.”
Department of State has just issued the November 2017 Visa Bulletin. This is the second Visa Bulletin of Fiscal
Year 2018. This blog post analyzes this
month's Visa Bulletin.
2017 Visa Bulletin
Final Action Dates -- Applications
with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency
card) or Immigrant Visa appointment.
Other: The EB-2 has been current for
many years. The EB-3 is also current and
is expected to remain current for the foreseeable future.
(mainland-born): China EB-1
reverted to Current. Our sense is that
it will stay Current for much of the fiscal year. Both China EB-2 and EB-3 progressed one
month. The China EB-3 remains more
favorable than Chinese EB-2. The odd situation
of China EB-3 progressing faster than China EB-2 will remain to be the case for
the foreseeable future.
India: India EB-2 progressed about one month, which
is what we except the monthly progressions will be in FY 2018. Unfortunately, India EB-3 did not move. A few weeks ago, the DOS said that EB-3's
progression will be "limited."
MU suspects that EB-3 will not progress at any notable rate until at
least the India EB-3 date moves past the Visa Gate date of August 2007.
All Other in analysis.
Philippines: The Philippine EB-3 number essentially cleaned
out all of the 2010 through 2015 EB-3 visas in FY2017. The demand for Philippines EB-3 numbers increased
dramatically in 2016-17. This increased
demand will be the cause for slower progressions in the FY2018, probably
progressing 1-2 months per Visa Bulletin.
Effective October 1, 2017, the US
Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and the Social Security
Administration (SSA) have instituted a new
information-sharing partnership allowing foreign nationals to apply for an
EAD (Employment Authorization Document) and a SSN (Social Security Number) at
one time and on one form.
This should be helpful for those
lawfully in the US and who are eligible for work authorization via an EAD, but
who have previously not had social security numbers. H-4/EAD, L-1/EADs, and spouses and children applying
for I-485/EADs are some examples of people who will benefit from this new
EADs are documentation of the
individual’s work authorization and can be shown to employers to satisfy the
I-9 and e-verify tests. EADs permit the
foreign national to work for a finite period of time, listed on the EAD
card. SSNs are used to report wages to
the government and to determine the individual’s eligibility for certain
Under the previous system, foreign
nationals had to first obtain an EAD and then go to their local SSA Office and
apply for an SSN separately. The revised
EAD Application (Form I-765) allows
applicants to apply for an SSN or a replacement SSN card without visiting the
SSA Office. The USCIS will now transmit
the SSN data to the SSA for processing.
Applicants will receive their EAD from the USCIS and their SSN card from
the SSA within two weeks.