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Immigration News Briefs

By Humera Subhani Email By Humera Subhani
April 2013
Immigration News Briefs

Many are predicting that this H-1B season will be over in a matter of weeks. This may be, in part, a reaction to the events of the prior fiscal year, and a widespread realization that extended cap-filing periods are no longer the norm.

H-1B Season in Full Bloom
April 1 marks the beginning of H-1B filing for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14). Under current regulations, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services must accept H-1B cap-subject cases during the first five business days in April. If the cap is reached or exceeded in the first five days, no more cases can be filed toward the cap until the next fiscal year. If the H-1B cap is exceeded in the first five days, the USCIS will conduct a random lottery to select which cases filed in the first five days will be processed. In the event of a lottery, the cases that are not selected will be rejected.

If the H-1B cap is not met in the first five days of filing, the USCIS continues to accept such cases until the cap limit is reached. In Fiscal Year 2013, the H-1B cap limit was reached on June 11, 2012. It can be confusing to mention FY14 early in the 2013 calendar year. FY14 begins October 1, 2013 and ends September 30, 2014. There is no way to know, with any certainty, when the FY14 cap will be reached. Many law firms, however, are seeing a substantial increase in the requests for cap-subject filings.

Government Sequestration to Cause Travel Delays
The U.S. government budget cuts, known as sequestration, have dominated news reports in recent weeks. The cuts began on March 1, 2013, and many questions remain as to the impact on government operations and services.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) addressed questions regarding how sequestration would impact visa processing at U.S. consulates abroad. While it is too early for the DOS to assess the precise impact, they are “fairly certain” that sequestration will result in reduced services at most U.S. consulates. Reduced services include adjudications on most visa applications.

The DOS referenced the significant effort expended to reduce visa processing waiting times, and predicted a possibility of significant reversals in this area. Prior to sequestration, the DOS had a surge in hiring within the visa adjudications area. They believe that this hiring has been good for the economy, facilitating travel to the United States. All such advances can be undermined by sequestration.

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) anticipates making cuts in staffing at the U.S. ports of entry (POE). The CBP anticipates as much as a 50 percent increase in waiting times at major airports. These delays relate both to CBP operations as well as those of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The delays apply to both foreign and domestic travel.

The same problems will be faced by those utilizing our major land border inspection points when traveling by car or on foot. The CBP advises travelers to allow more time in their itineraries to accommodate these delays.

 

VISA PREFERENCE NUMBERS FOR APRIL 2013

 

FAMILY

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

08Mar06

08Mar06

2A

15Dec10

15Dec10

2B

08Apr05

08Apr05

3rd

22Jul02

22Jul02

4th

01May01

01May01

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

Current

Current

2nd

01Sep04

Current

3rd

08Dec02

01Jul07

Other

08Dec02

01Jul07

4th

Current

Current

5th

Current

Current1B



 

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