U.S. and Canadian Immigration and Nationality Law (Bimonthly) Newsletter and Updates.
As you may be aware, on October 23, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security announced significant proposed changes to the H-1B visa program. These changes aim to modernize the program, enhancing its efficiency and integrity, which could have considerable implications for employers and foreign nationals.
The key proposals include streamlining eligibility criteria, improving process efficiency, and providing greater benefits for both employers and workers. A pivotal change is the modification of the H-1B cap registration process to prevent abuse, allowing only one entry per individual in the lottery, regardless of the number of registrations.
Additionally, the updates include revising the criteria for specialty occupations and expanding exemptions to certain non-profits and governmental organizations. This also extends flexibilities for F-1 visa students transitioning to H-1B status. The introduction of new eligibility requirements for entrepreneurs and stronger measures against fraud and misuse, such as limiting multiple registrations for the same beneficiary and enforcing site visit compliance, underscores the commitment to program integrity.
The public comment period for these changes concludes on December 22, 2023. We understand that these updates may raise questions and concerns.
For detailed guidance and support, please feel free to contact the immigration lawyers at NPZ Law Group by e-mailing [email protected] or by calling 201-670-0006 (extensions 104 or 204). At VISASERVE - NPZ Law Group, our U.S. and Canadian immigration and nationality lawyers are equipped to assist you, your friends, colleagues, and family with complex immigration and nationality law situations. Our commitment is to provide swift and personalized assistance in navigating these new developments.
Here are this month's top stories to keep you informed:
APPROACHING GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN DEADLINE: IMPACT ON IMMIGRATION SERVICES AND TRAVEL.
As the November 17 deadline approaches, the risk of a government shutdown is increasing. A temporary funding bill passed on September 30 averted an immediate shutdown but only extended funding to mid-November. With the deadline just a week away, anxiety is growing over the potential consequences.
U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT TO PILOT STATESIDE H-1B VISA RENEWALS IN EARLY 2024.
The Department of State plans to start renewing H-1B nonimmigrant visas within the United States for specific applicants through a pilot program in early 2024. This initiative, currently under review by the Office of Management and Budget, marks a shift from the current practice where visa renewals are processed only at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.
NEW USCIS GUIDANCE ON J-1 VISAS 2-YEAR FOREIGN RESIDENCE REQUIREMENT: KEY UPDATES AND CLARIFICATIONS.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding the 2-year foreign residence requirement for the nonimmigrant exchange visitor (J) classification. To read more, please click here . . .
USCIS POLICY MANUAL UPDATE: THE KEY IMPACTS OF THE EB-5 REFORM AND INTEGRITY ACT OF 2022.
The EB-5 Regional Center Program, which has long been an avenue for foreign investors to secure a path to American residency, has seen significant changes recently, culminating in the latest update to the USCIS Policy Manual. With the introduction of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, there are substantial modifications to the framework of the program. Let's delve into the intricacies of these changes and understand their implications for potential investors.
USCIS UPDATES GUIDANCE FOR SPECIAL IMMIGRANT JUVENILE PETITIONS.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated its guidance for adjudicating Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) petitions, effective immediately. This change, aligning with the Casa Libre/Freedom House v. Mayorkas order from July 31, 2023, aims to streamline the process for certain applicants.
USCIS INTRODUCES FAMILY REUNIFICATION PAROLE PROGRAM FOR ECUADORIAN IMMIGRANTS.
USCIS has announced a new Family Reunification Parole (FRP) process for Ecuador, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s approach to create legal migration pathways and reduce irregular migration. This invitation-only process allows eligible Ecuadorian nationals, who are beneficiaries of an approved Form I-130, to be considered for parole in the U.S. while awaiting their family-based immigrant visa.
DOS VISA BULLETIN UPDATE: VISA BULLETIN FOR DECEMBER 2023 - IF YOUR "PRIORITY DATE" IS CURRENT, PLEASE LET US KNOW?
EB-1 Category: No changes. China's cutoff date is February 15, 2022, and India's is January 1, 2017. It remains current for all other countries. EB-2 Category: Minor update with China's cutoff date advancing to October 22, 2019. India's cutoff date remains January 1, 2012. The cutoff date for all other countries is July 15, 2022.
EB-3 Category: Only China sees a change, with its cutoff date moving to January 22, 2020. India’s date is May 1, 2012, and for all other countries, it's December 1, 2021.
EB-3 Other Workers: No movement. China's cutoff date is January 1, 2016; India's is May 1, 2012; the Philippines' is May 1, 2020; and for others, it's August 1, 2020.
EB-4 Category: All countries remain at January 1, 2019. The program for certain religious workers expires on November 17, 2023, unless extended by Congress.