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NEW VERSION OF SEVERAL FORMS TO BE USED AFTER OCTOBER 1, 2003

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October 2003
NEW VERSION OF SEVERAL FORMS TO BE USED AFTER OCTOBER 1, 2003

As of October 1, 2003, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) will require that the most recent version of forms be used...

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NEW VERSION OF SEVERAL FORMS TO BE USED AFTER OCTOBER 1, 2003

As of October 1, 2003, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) will require that the most recent version of each of the following forms be used: the I-140 (Immigration Petition for Alien Worker); I-824 (Application for Action on Approved Application or Petition) - also popularly known as the following-to-join petition; I-129S (Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition); N-470 (Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes); I-102 (Application for Replacement / Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival / Departure Record (I-94)); I-526 (Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur); I-829 (Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions); and N-336 (Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings Under Section 336 of the Act). Questions as to which version of a form is most recent can be resolved by reviewing the BCIS forms and fees page online. The revision dates are printed on the bottom right of the forms.

Cases received by the BCIS on or after October 1, 2003 must use only the most recent versions of the listed forms. After October 1, 2003, any earlier versions of these forms will be deemed obsolete. The BCIS will reject these outdated applications and petitions. This means that the old forms can be used for cases that will reach the BCIS on or before September 30, 2003. If an application or petition is rejected, the petitioner or applicant must make a new filing using the newer form, and the receipt date will reflect the later filing rather than the original filing date. At best, this will delay the case. In some time-sensitive situations, the delayed filing can have serious consequences, including placing the beneficiary/applicant out of status.�It is, therefore, very important that applicants and petitioners pay careful attention to the date on the version of the form being used.

UPDATE ON PERM REGULATIONS

As discussed in previous Immigration Updates, PERM is a complete revision of the labor certification process, which would automate the process and drastically cut down processing times at the Department of Labor. Once PERM is established, all forms to be submitted would be machine readable and would also be able to be completed directly on the web. After the initial check, computers would review the application based on various selection criteria that will allow more problematic applications to be identified for an audit. Also, a certain number of cases will be selected randomly for auditing. If no audit is triggered, applications will be certified in a time expected to be less than 21 days. If a case is selected for auditing, the employer will be notified and required to submit documentation specified in the regulations to verify information in the application.

Although the new regulations promise to expedite the labor certification process, the proposed rules also contain a number of controversial provisions that are a great source of concern to the immigration law community. These provisions include great limitations on what forms of advertising are acceptable, on the job duties that can be required, and on the types of job positions that would qualify.

In a teleconference between the Department of Labor (DOL) and the DOL liaison of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the DOL projected that the final PERM regulations would be published in late fall 2003. The implementation of the regulation and the PERM program would then occur at the end of calendar year 2003.

It is difficult to be sure of the timing since, originally, PERM was to have started fall 2002, then in April 2003, and then was postponed to an expected date in August or October 2003, and now by December 2003. This December 2003 timeframe is just a prediction. DOL has indicated that the implementation of PERM will depend upon the funding for labor certification backlog reduction. The DOL has stated that PERM will continue to progress even if the backlog reduction process is stalled. They have a timeline for perfecting the PERM technology, although details of the timeline were not released. Please continue reading Immigration Update for further news on the PERM program.


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