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Immigration News Briefs

Provided by Humera Subhani Email Provided by Humera Subhani
May 2017
Immigration News Briefs

H-1B Cap Reached for Fiscal Year 2018
USCIS announced on April 10, 2017 that the annual H-1B quota for both the regular 65,000 visa petition bachelor's degree cap and the 20,000 visa petition U.S. master's degree cap has been met for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. The exact number of petitions received has yet to be announced but will likely be shared in the coming weeks once all of the petitions are counted. Due to the high number of petitions received, USCIS has not yet confirmed when it will complete its computerized random selection, or "lottery," of H-1B petitions for further processing.

Under the lottery, USCIS will first randomly select H-1B petitions for the 20,000 visas eligible under the U.S. master's cap. All unselected master's degree petitions will then become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 visas subject to the general quota. USCIS will return all unselected cap-subject H-1B petitions, including the filing fee checks, after the random selection process has been run. As this selection process takes time to complete, unselected cases may not be returned for several months.

As of April 3, 2017, USCIS temporarily suspended premium processing on all H-1B petitions. Thus, all cases selected under the lottery will be processed under the regular processing timeline.

(http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/584630/work+visas/USCIS+Reaches+FY+2018+H1B+Cap)

USCIS Memo Unnerves IT Companies
The IT community was sent in a panic on March 31, as the USCIS issued a memo that makes it harder for companies to bring foreign technology workers to the U.S. using the H-1B visa process.

The new memorandum revokes a December 22, 2000 memo issued by the USCIS Nebraska Service Center, which had stated that a computer programmer position would generally qualify as a “specialty occupation” and be eligible for approval of an H-1B petition. It now advises that computer programmers, particularly those in entry-level positions, may not be considered to be employed in a “specialty occupation,” and may not qualify for H-1B status, because a bachelor’s degree in a specific field may not be required for the position. The USCIS states that this is not a change in policy.

The changes don't explicitly prohibit applications for a specific type of job. Instead, they bring more scrutiny to those for computer programmers doing the simplest jobs.

A second memo on April 3 laid out new measures to combat "fraud and abuse." It seemed to target outsourcing companies, saying it would focus inspections on workplaces with the largest percentage of H-1B workers, and those with employees who do IT work for other companies. The Justice Department warned employers applying for the visas not to discriminate against U.S. workers.

Computer programmers made up about 12 percent of all H-1B applications approved by the Department of Labor in 2015. Of those, 41 percent were for positions at the lowest wage level, jobs that require people to perform routine tasks that require them to exercise little judgment on their own. The March 31 guidelines refer to entry-level computer programmers, defined as those who write and test code to allow computer applications and software to work properly.

(https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-03/new-h-1b-guidelines-crack-down-on-computer-programmer-jobs)

APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR May 2017

 

FAMILY

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

08DEC10

08DEC10

2A

15JUL15

15JUL15

2B

01OCT10

01OCT10

3rd

15JUN05

15JUN05

4th

08SEP03

08MAY04

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

Current

Current

2nd

22JUN08

Current

3rd

22MAR05

15MAR17

Other

22MAR05

15MAR17

4th

Current

Current

5th

Current

Current1B

 


DATES FOR FILING VISA APPLICATIONS - May 2017

 

FAMILY

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

22JUL11

22JUL11

2A

08APR16

08APR16

2B

01SEP11

01SEP11

3rd

01DEC05

01DEC05

4th

22JUN04

15NOV04

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

Current

Current

2nd

01FEB09

Current

3rd

22APR06

Current

Other

22APR06

Current

4th

Current

Current

5th

Current

Current1B

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin/2017/visa-bulletin-for-may-2017.html

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