Pearl Immigration NewsFlash
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General Release Vol. 130 (December 15, 2011)
Headlines (Details below)
DOS Announces Forward Movement in China and India EB-2 Categories
The Department of State's Visa Bulletin for January 2012 shows the China and India employment second preference cut-off date advancing at a rapid rate. The bulletin states this action is intended to generate significant levels of new filings for adjustment of status at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices, which has reported that the rate of new filings "is currently far below that which they had anticipated, prompting an even more aggressive movement of the cut-off date for January and possibly beyond." While this action increases the potential for an eventual retrogression of the cut-off at some point next year, it also provides the best opportunity to use all numbers available under the annual limit.
January Visa Bulletin: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5630.html.
Sen. Grassley Puts "Hold" on Per-Country Limits Legislation
On November 29, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 389-15 in favor of ending per-country numerical limits on employment-based visas and the Senate was expected to take action; however, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) has placed a hold on the bill. (A hold is an informal practice and the majority leader need not follow it, but a hold indicates that the opposing senator may filibuster any motion to proceed.)
Sen. Grassley said that he has "concerns about the impact of this bill on future immigration flows, and am concerned that it does nothing to better protect Americans at home who seek high-skilled jobs during this time of record high unemployment." The bill would eliminate a current provision stating that employment-based visas issued cannot exceed seven percent of the total for any one country. The measure was expected to benefit skilled Indian and Chinese workers and high-tech companies in the United States.
For the text of the House-passed bill, H.R. 3012, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr3012rh/pdf/BILLS-112hr3012rh.pdf. The companion Senate bill, introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), is S. 1857.
DOS Implements Fee Increases for Certain Consular Services
On December 6, 2011, the Department of State implemented changes to the Schedule of Fees for Consular Services, including nonimmigrant visas and border crossing cards.
The final rule on fees changes the fee charged for most non-petition-based nonimmigrant visas (Machine-Readable Visas or MRVs) and adult Border Crossing Cards (BCCs) from $131 to $140. The rule also provides new tiers of the application fee for certain categories of petition-based nonimmigrant visas and treaty trader and investor visas. Finally, the rule increases the BCC fee charged to Mexican citizens under age 15 who apply in Mexico and whose parent or guardian already has a BCC or is applying for one, from $13 to $14.
A list of Department fees can be found here: http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&rgn=div5&view=text&node=22:126.96.36.199.21&idno=22#22:188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.
ABIL Issues Tips for Travelers
If you are planning an international trip in the near future, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL) offers the following tips:
Contact your ABIL attorney for advice in specific situations.
- review travel documentation to ensure your re-entry into the United States will go smoothly;
- plan visa application appointments in advance, prepare all necessary documentation and apply early;
- if you are an AOS applicant, obtain advance parole but check with your ABIL attorney first to ensure that international travel does not bar readmission;
- apply ASAP via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (for Visa Waiver Program travelers).
Follow these links to access current processing times of the USCIS Service Centers and the Department of Labor, or the Department of State's latest Visa Bulletin with the most recent cut-off dates for visa numbers:
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The Pearl Immigration NewsFlash provides periodic alerts about noteworthy developments in business-related immigration. It is provided as information only and is not a substitute for legal counsel. If you have questions about the NewsFlash, please contact your PLG attorney or write email@example.com.
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