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Immigration News Briefs

By Humera Subhani Email By Humera Subhani
April 2015
Immigration News Briefs

H-4 EAD filing to begin in May
The final rule for H4 EAD authorization was passed on February 24, 2015 and will be effective from May 26, 2015. H4 Visa holders have to fall under one of the two categories below to be eligible for EAD.
• Have an approved I-140; or
• Have been granted extension to authorized stay beyond 6 years under AC21 Act. (The American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21) allows H1B visa holders seeking lawful permanent residence (Green Card) to work and stay in United States beyond the six year limit, if their PERM/Green Card Processing is pending.)

This new rule will give eligibility for about 179,600 H4 visa holders in the first year and then an estimated 55,000 annually from next year. The final rule also allows the EAD validity date to match the H4’s period of stay, up to a maximum of 3 years. Also, proving economic need for an H4 EAD will not be required.

HB season expected to be the same
Cap-subject H1B cases can be filed, at the earliest, during the first five business days in April. It is widely predicted that for fiscal year 2016, the quota will be reached in the first five days of filing. This means that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will treat cases filed from April 1, 2015 through April 7, 2015 identically. If the number of cases filed through April 7th exceeds the allowable annual H1B limit, or cap (65,000 regular cap and 20,000 for Master’s cap), then the USCIS will stop accepting cap-subject cases. A random lottery then will be held to determine which cases will be accepted for continued processing.

USCIS issued a news release, stating that the "… USCIS will begin premium processing for H1B cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing no later than May 11, 2015." Last year, the USCIS promised to begin adjudicating premium processing cases by April 28, 2014. The fact that such petitions this year may have to wait even longer for the adjudication process to begin appears to be yet another indication that the USCIS is expecting even more cap cases in FY16 than the number filed last year. In order to be considered for the cap, USCIS has issued guidelines so that cases are not rejected for filing errors. More information can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/news/uscis-will-accept-h-1b-petitions-fiscal-year-2016-beginning-april-1-2015

Expanded DACA/DAPA programs delayed
Applicants waiting to apply for the expanded DACA program, as well as DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents), will have to wait longer, as a federal judge ordered an injunction on February 16, 2015. On March 12, the Justice Department asked a federal appeals court to lift an order by the Texas judge that blocked the programs from taking effect. If the court overturns the Judge’s ruling, the Obama administration could begin implementing the programs—but if it sides with the Texas judge, the legal battle could continue, possibly for months.

According to the USCIS website, they will not begin accepting requests for the expansion of DACA on February 18 as originally planned. The court's temporary injunction, issued February 16, 2015 does not affect the existing DACA. Individuals may continue to come forward and request an initial grant of DACA or renewal of DACA under the guidelines established in 2012.


VISA PREFERENCE NUMBERS FOR April 2015

 

FAMILY

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

01Aug07

01Aug07

2A

01Aug13

01Aug13

2B

22Aug08

22Aug08

3rd

08Feb04

08Feb04

4th

15Jun02

15Jun02

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

Current

Current

2nd

01Sep07

Current

3rd

08Jan04

01Oct14

Other

08Jan04

01Oct14

4th

Current

Current

5th

Current

Current1B

 

Visa Preference Numbers for April 2015 correct as of April 2, 2015.

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