H1B Update

USCIS has issued the following press release regarding the return of unselected FY19 H1B cap-subject petitions:

USCIS announced on July 30, 2018, that it has returned all fiscal year 2019 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected in the computer-generated random selection process. USCIS announced on May 15, that it had completed data entry of all selected cap-subject petitions. If you submitted an H-1B cap-subject petition that was delivered to USCIS between April 2 and April 6, 2018, and you have not received a receipt notice or a returned petition by August 13, you may contact USCIS for assistance.

USCIS Grant Opportunities

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it is now accepting applications for two funding opportunities under the Citizenship and Assimilation Grant Program that will provide up to $10 million in grants for citizenship preparation programs in communities across the country.

USCIS seeks to expand availability of high-quality citizenship preparation services throughout the country with these two grant opportunities:

Citizenship Instruction and Naturalization Application Services. This grant opportunity will fund up to 36 organizations that offer both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services to lawful permanent residents. Applications are due by Aug. 8, 2018.

The Refugee and Asylee Assimilation Program. This grant opportunity will fund up to four organizations to provide individualized services to lawful permanent residents who entered the United States under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program or were granted asylum. These services will help them to obtain the skills and knowledge required for successful citizenship and to foster a sense of belonging and attachment to the United States. This grant strives to promote long term civic assimilation of those lawful permanent residents who have identified naturalization as a goal, yet may need additional information, instruction and services to attain it. Applications are due by Aug. 15, 2018.

DHS Statement on Extending TPS for Somalians

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced that they will be extended Temporary Protected Status for Somalians.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen has announced her determination that an extension of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Somalia is warranted pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act. After carefully reviewing conditions in Somalia with interagency partners, Secretary Nielsen determined the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that support Somalia’s current designation for TPS continue to exist. Therefore, pursuant to the statute, she has extended Somalia’s TPS designation for 18 months.

Individuals from Somalia with TPS will be eligible to re-register for an extension of their status for 18 months, through March 17, 2020. Prior to the conclusion of the 18-month extension, the Secretary will review conditions in Somalia to determine whether its TPS designation should be extended again or terminated.

The decision to extend TPS for Somalia was made after a review of the conditions upon which the country’s designation is based. Following careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, the Secretary determined that the conditions supporting Somalia’s designation for TPS continue to exist. Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be extended.

USCIS Updated Policy on RFE & NOID

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted a policy memorandum (PDF, 113 KB) that provides guidance to USCIS adjudicators regarding their discretion to deny an application, petition, or request without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) when required initial evidence was not submitted or the evidence of record fails to establish eligibility. See the policy here: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Laws/Memoranda/AFM_10_Standards_for_RFEs_and_NOIDs_FINAL2.pdf

AOS Filing Chart – July 2018

If USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state whether you may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications.

Otherwise, they will indicate that you must use the Application Final Action Dates to determine when you may file your adjustment of status application.

See the following link here for the month of July 2018:

https://www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo

Visa Bulletin July 2018

The Visa Bulletin provides updated priority date information for family-based and employment-based green cards. Immigrants to the US are classified into two categories – those requiring placement on a waiting list and those not through their

relationship to a US immediate relative.

Further, there are numerical quotas on the green cards that require a priority date. If the number of applicants in a year is over the available visa numbers, those applicants are placed on a waiting list and are given a priority date, which estimates when an applicant would get a visa based on the number of previous applicants on the waiting list.

Below are preference category information and visa allocations.

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES
First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. (F2B) Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older) of Permanent Residents: 23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: (F3) Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: (F4) Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

First: Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.

Third: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to “*Other Workers”
Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth: Employment Creation: 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of Pub. L. 102-395.

Below is the link for the Visa Bulletin for July 2018.

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-for-July-2018.html

For more information, contact ALO at 978-905-9992.

USCIS Update on NTA Policy

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued updated guidance (PDF, 139 KB) that aligns its policy for issuing Form I-862, Notice to Appear, with the immigration enforcement priorities of the Department of Homeland Security. A Notice to Appear is a document given to an alien that instructs them to appear before an immigration judge on a certain date. The issuance of an NTA commences removal proceedings against the alien. Under the new guidance, USCIS officers will now issue an NTA for a wider range of cases where the individual is removable and there is evidence of fraud, criminal activity, or where an applicant is denied an immigration benefit and is unlawfully present in the United States.