Immigration News

News

Naturalization Through Military Service
Posted: 04.15.2008

Members and certain veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to apply for United States citizenship under special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). In addition, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has streamlined the application and naturalization process for military personnel and those who recently discharged. Generally, qualifying service is in one of the following branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, certain reserve components of the National Guard and the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.

Please read the full document resource for more information.

 

USCIS Reaches FY 2009 H-1B CAP
Posted: 04.09.2008

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released today an interim final rule extending the period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) from 12 to 29 months for qualified F-1 non-immigrant students. The extension will be available to F-1 students with a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics who are employed by businesses enrolled in the E-Verify program.

Please read the article in its entirety here.

 

17-Month Extension of Optional Practical Training for Certain Highly Skilled Foreign Students
Posted: 04.07.2008

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released today an interim final rule extending the period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) from 12 to 29 months for qualified F-1 non-immigrant students. The extension will be available to F-1 students with a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics who are employed by businesses enrolled in the E-Verify program.

Please read the article in its entirety here.

 

New Addition to Resource Page --
Posted: 03.28.2008

USCIS Responses to CISO Recommendations

The Ombudsman recommends that the Transformation Program Office: (1) Publish transformation timelines, goals, and regular updates on the public USCIS website. The Ombudsman is concerned that transformation is proceeding largely without input from customers, Congress, and the public. The lack of transparency enables USCIS to modify deadlines and goals without producing meaningful results.

Please read the full document resource for more information.

 

New Addition to Resource Page--
Posted: 03.28.2008

Response to the citizenship and immigration services

Since its establishment in March 2003, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has made tremendous strides in improving the level and quality of services to its customers, while ensuring strict and continuous adherence to security measures and to the letter and spirit of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Please read the full document resource for more information.

 

New Addition to Resource Page--
Posted: 03.28.2008

ICE Publishes Supplemental Proposed Rule: Safe-Harbor Procedures for Employers Who Receive a No-Match Letter: Clarification; Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 59 / Wednesday, March 26, 2008.

Please read the full document resource for more information.

 

New Addition to Resource Page -- Visa Classification Symbols
Posted: 03.20.2008

The Department of State amends its regulations to add new classification symbols to the immigrant and nonimmigrant classification tables.

Please read the full document resource for more information.


Immigrant-worker visas could double if new bill passes
Posted: 03.19.2008

A bill introduced last week by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords would double the number of H-1B visas that allow immigrants to legally work in the United States.

The Tucson Democrat's bill, known as the Innovation Employment Act, calls for increasing the limit of H-1B visas from 65,000 a year to 130,000 a year. The bill also would eliminate a 20,000-a-year cap on visas for foreign graduate or doctoral-program graduates who study science, technology, engineering or math.

Please read the article in its entirety here.

 

USCIS Announces Interim Rule on H-1B Visas
Posted: 03.19.2008

USCIS transmitted an interim final rule to the Federal Register today that prohibits employers from filing multiple H-1B petitions for the same employee. These changes will ensure that companies filing H-1B petitions subject to congressionally mandated numerical limits have an equal chance to employ an H-1B worker. To ensure a fair and orderly distribution of available H-1B visas, USCIS will deny or revoke multiple petitions filed by an employer for the same H-1B worker and will not refund the filing fees submitted with multiple or duplicative petitions. This rule does not preclude related employers (such as a parent company and its subsidiary) from filing petitions on behalf of the same alien for different positions, based on a legitimate business need.

Please read the bulletin in its entirety here.

Petitions Filed on Behalf of H-1B Temporary Workers Subject to or Exempt from the Annual Numerical Limitation


USCIS Q&A: Interim Rule on H-1B Visas
Posted: 03.19.2008

USCIS announces interim rule on H-1B Visas Rule modifies petition selection process and prohibits multiple filings. Q&A.

Please read the bulletin in its entirety here.


Changes to the FY2009 H-1B Program
Posted: 03.19.2008

WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued an interim final rule today that prohibits employers from filing more than one petition for an H-1B visa for a single employee in a fiscal year. The change is intended to promote a fair and systematic process for H-1B petitioners. This rule ensures that companies filing H-1B petitions that are subject to numerical limits will have an equal chance to receive consideration for an H-1B worker.

Please read the bulletin in its entirety here.


April 2008 Visa Bulletin
Posted: 03.15.2008

U.S. Department of State releases Visa Bulletin for [April, 2008]

Please read the bulletin in its entirety here.

 

Immigration Head Leaving
Posted: 03.13.2008

WASHINGTON – The head of the Homeland Security agency that ushers in new citizens said Thursday he is leaving the job.

Emilio Gonzalez, director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, told The Associated Press he was announcing his plans to his agency's employees Thursday morning.

He said he has informed the White House and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff of his departure, and told some staffers Wednesday.

"My wife and I have been talking about this for a while and this is strictly family based," Gonzalez said in an interview. "I've been traveling since 1999. I've been having a part-time relationship with my family. This year is my eighth year of commuting and we thought this would be a good year to go home."

Gonzalez's resignation will be effective April 18. He is leaving just a few months after his agency drastically increased the fees it charges immigrants to apply for citizenship and other immigration benefits.

That increase triggered record-setting applications last year that deluged the agency. Many immigrants won't become citizens in time to vote in November because of numerous applications.

Gonzalez said he has been working in Washington and living in Miami since 1999.

Gonzalez said his departure is unrelated to criticism of the fee increase and the delays in processing citizenship fees in an election year. Some groups and lawmakers have said the agency should have been better prepared for the jump in applications that preceded the hike in fees.

 

USCIS Biometric Changes For Re-entry Permits and Refugee Travel Documents
Posted: 03.10.2008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued revised instructions for USCIS Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. The instructions include changes, which will become effective March 5, 2008, that require applicants for re-entry permits and refugee travel documents to provide biometrics (e.g., fingerprints and photographs) at a USCIS Application Support Centers (ASC) for background and security checks and requirements for secure travel and entry documents containing biometric identifiers. As indicated in the instructions, when the biometrics requirement becomes effective, USCIS will notify applicants of their appointment at the designated ASC after submission of the I-131 application.

Please read the full document resource for more information.

 

USCIS Background Check Policy Update
Posted: 03.01.2008

The USCIS has published a Background Check Policy Update. The questions and answers are attached.

Please read the full document resource for more information.


Immigration Court Practice Manual
Posted: 03.01.2008

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) announced today that it has issued the “Immigration Court Practice Manual.” The Practice Manual provides uniform procedures, recommendations, and requirements for persons who present cases before the immigration courts. Beginning on April 1, 2008, the Practice Manual will go into effect nationwide, and local operating procedures for immigration courts will no longer be used.

Please read the full document resource for more information.


Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey Announces Higher Civil Fines Against Employers for Immigration Violations
Posted: 02.22.2008

WASHINGTON - Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey Announced higher civil fines against employers who violate federal immigration laws. The announcement was made in a joint briefing today with Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff about newly enacted border security reforms put in place by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. Under the new rule, which was approved by Attorney General Mukasey and Secretary Chertoff, civil fines will increase by as much as $5,000. The new rule will take effect on March 27, 2008, and will be published in the Federal Register early next week.

To read the article in full, please click here.

 

Plan ahead for FY 2009 H-1B visa cap!
Posted: 02.02.2008

Petitioners may submit petitions beginning on April 1, 2008, when H-1B visas become available for FY 2009. This is the earliest date for which an employer may file a petition requesting FY 2009 H-1B employment with a start date of Oct. 1, 2008. The FY 2008 cap was met on the first day petitions were accepted; hence, wise employers start planning well in advance.  Contact the Law Offfices of Mark A. Urbanski to start your H-1B visa process right away, or to explore alternate visa categories.

Visa Bulletin for February 2008
Posted: 02.02.2008

DOS released the February 2008 Visa Bulletin. Section D addresses the unavailability of employment-based second preference visas for a specific country, effective immediately.

To read the article in full, please click here.

Immigration and the Candidates
Posted: 02.02.2008

The Washington Times and New York Times publishes editorials breaking down the candidates’ positions on the issue of immigration.

Immigration and the Candidates 

Washington Times: The Candidates and Illegal Immigration

DOS Telephone List of Key Officers
Posted: 02.02.2008

This is an unclassified list of key Department of State officers current as of 12/18/2007.

To read the article in full, please click here.

USCIS Reminds Employers to Use New Form I-9
Posted: 02.02.2008

After December 26, 2007, employers who fail to use the new Form I-9 may be subject to all applicable penalties. All employers are required to complete a Form I-9 for each new employee hired in the United States. The revision removes five documents for proof of both identity and employment eligibility, including: Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-570); Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570); Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-151); the unexpired Reentry Permit (Form I-327); and the unexpired Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571). The forms were removed because they lack sufficient features to help deter counterfeiting, tampering, and fraud. Additionally, the most recent version of the Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) was added to List A of the List of Acceptable Documents on the revised form. The revised list now includes: a U.S. passport (unexpired or expired); a Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551); an unexpired foreign passport with a temporary I-551 stamp; an unexpired Employment Authorization Document that contains a photograph (Form I-766, I-688, I-688A, or I-688B); and an unexpired foreign passport with an unexpired Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94) for nonimmigrant aliens authorized to work for a specific employer. Employers are advised to begin using the new Form I-9 (Rev. 06/05/07), immediately, and this version will be mandatory upon publication in the federal register. Click here for a copy of The Handbook For Employers.