Breaking News

 

USCIS Alert: Recent Telephone Scam

USCIS alerted the public about a new telephone scam, where scammers use a technique to display false information on the recipient’s caller ID, leading the individual to believe that the caller is a USCIS official. Please keep in mind that the USCIS will never ask for any form of payment or personal information over the phone.

 
 

Reminder to start using the new Form I-9 As of May 7, 2013

May 7, 2013

Beginning today, Tuesday May 7th, all employers must start using the revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification form (Revision 03/08/13)N for all new hires and reverifications. The revision date of the new Form I-9 is printed on the lower left corner of the form.

All employers are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for each employee hired to work in the United States. Employers should not complete a new Form I-9 for existing employees, however, if a properly completed Form I-9 is already on file.

The revised form, instructions and revised employer handbook are available online at www.uscis.gov/I-9. For more information, please call USCIS at 888-464-4218 or visit I-9 Central, a website maintained by USCIS to support Form I-9 users. USCIS has also scheduled free webinars to help employers learn about the new form. Employers may also order forms by calling USCIS toll-free at 1-800-870-3676.

 
 

CBP to Rollout New I-94 Process for Foreign Visitors

April 30, 2013 CBP (U.S Customs and Border Protection) rolled out its new procedure to process the arrival/departure records (I-94’s) for foreign visitors. Foreign visitors arriving in the U.S via air or sea will be able to access all information online via CBP I94 record page At the time of arrival, if the online service has not arrived at the port of entry, CBP will continue to issue the paper I-94. CBP hopes to complete the phase in period during the month of April and May. With this new process, on arrival, every non-immigrant traveler coming via air or sea will be issued an admission stamp on their travel document stating their date of admission, class of admission, and the date of allowed time in U.S. The travelers will also receive an information flier detailing procedure on accessing the I-94 information online.

This information is only for travelers coming via air and sea ports of entry, CBP will still issue a paper form I-94 at land border ports of entry.

 
 

State Dept. Introduces Visa Status Check Online

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs has launched "Visa Status Check" online. Users can check their U.S. visa application status at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) on the site by entering the type and case number. The service is available at https://ceac.state.gov/CEACStatTracker/Status.aspx The CEAC is available at https://ceac.state.gov/CEAC/

 
 

The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is announcing a new initiative to make available to the general public appropriately redacted copies of H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, H-2A, H-2B and permanent labor certification documents through its iCERT Visa Portal System. This new online tool, formally called the iCERT Labor Certification Registry (LCR), is a component of the Department of Labor's Open Government initiative and provides an additional level of transparency for the labor certification decisions issued by the ETA Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC). The iCERT LCR provides searchable access to copies of labor certification documents and labor condition application documents as well as the latest quarterly and annual case file datasets through a single location. Public access to the iCERT LCR will be available at http://icert.doleta.gov beginning July 1, 2013.

 
 

On Tuesday, November 29, 2011, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would eliminate the limits on the number of green cards based on employment that is available annually to each country. The "Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act" (HR 3012) passed easily with a vote of 389 to 15 and will mostly benefit highly skilled immigrants from India and China. It would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrants and increase the per-country numerical limitation for family-sponsored immigrants.
The bill tweaks the visa system to allow more highly skilled immigrants from India and China to become legal permanent residents. Because demand is highest for advanced degree holders from India and China, the per-country cap has meant delays for residents of those two nations of at least four years for a green card. By contrast, people from most other countries with advanced degrees have little wait.
Currently, 140,000 green cards are available each year for immigrants based on their job skills, with each country limited to 7 percent of those visas. Under the bill, after a three year transition, all employment based green cards will be issued on a first-come-first-served basis, with no country limits.
The legislation also includes a measure that will more than double the green cards based on family ties available for Mexicans and Filipinos, the two national groups facing the longest backlogs on the family side of the system. It raises the country limit of 226,000 family green cards each year to 15 percent from the current 7 percent.
The main beneficiaries of the bill will be individuals who are highly skilled immigrants from India and China, including many with master's degrees and doctorates in science and engineering. These countries send many people to work here who have advanced science and technology skills. In most cases, individuals from these two countries will receive their permanent green cards quicker, having worked in the US for years on a temporary visa, such as H-1B, L-1, etc.
Backers of the bill estimate that green cards for STEM grads will lead to about 50,000 new green cards a year, about half for the STEM graduate and the remainder for family members. Opponents say that estimate may under count the actual impact.
Currently, Senator Grassley has put a hold on the bill in the Senate and so, it remains to be seen what the final outcome will be. However, we remain very optimistic.