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Immigration News Briefs

By Humera Subhani Email By Humera Subhani
March 2012
Immigration News Briefs March 2012 Visa Bulletin: EB2 Cutoff Moves to May 1, 2010

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for March 2012. As expected, the employmentbased, second preference (EB2) category cutoff date continues to advance. The advancement of four months for EB2 India and China brings the March 2012 cutoff date to May 1, 2010. The Visa Bulletin did not contain any predictions for cutoff date movement in upcoming months.

U.S. Consulate General in Chennai will no longer process Immigrant Visas

The U.S. Consulate General in Chennai will no longer process Immigrant Visa petitions as of January 1, 2012. The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and U.S. Consulate in Mumbai will become the only acceptance centers in India for Immigrant Visas. This change affects only the locations for processing of Immigrant Visas; it does not change the law or policy for visa processing. Applicants currently in the process of petitioning for an Immigrant Visa may contact ChennaiIVU @state.gov for clarification on their status.

Explaining the Cap-Gap Rule in Light of New H-1B 2013 Quota

Many students have inquired about the switch from F-1 status to the H-1B status and how they can use the “Cap- Gap Rule.” Although you should consult with an immigration attorney, some detail is provided below.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a regulation on April 8, 2008, that provided for automatic extension of status for certain students in order to bridge the “gap” between the end of their student status, typically Optional Practical Training (OPT), and the start of the particular government fiscal year on October 1.

An F-1 student, whose status expires after the filing of an H-1B petition requesting a change of status effective October 1, 2012, but before the requested start date, receives an automatic extension of his/her F-1 status. This extension is valid until September 30, 2012, if the H-1B petition is accepted and approved. The official start of the new 2013 fiscal year is October 1, 2012. Therefore, in order to benefit from the application of the cap gap, the petition must request a start date of October 1, 2012.

If the student beneficiary is authorized for employment (OPT), as of the date of the filing of the H-1B case, his/ her employment authorization will also be automatically extended through the entire cap-gap period. However, if the petition is denied, withdrawn, revoked, or rejected, the status and work authorization ends, but the student should be eligible for the standard 60-day grace period from the date of the triggering event or the program end date, whichever is later. Once the H-1B petition is filed, the student beneficiary should contact her/his designated school official (DSO) and provide proof of filing, such as a copy of the petition and proof of mailing. The DSO should then issue a preliminary cap-gap I-20 that extends the student’s status until June 1, 2011.

Once the USCIS issues a receipt notice (I-797), the student should return to the DSO to receive a new I-20 for the full cap-gap period. The preliminary and the final cap gap I-20 may be used as evidence of status and employment authorization, if applicable.

During the cap-gap period, the student beneficiary may also apply for the 17-month STEM extension, if otherwise eligible. However, if the petition was withdrawn, revoked, or denied, and the student has entered the 60-day grace period, s/he is no longer eligible to make an application for a STEM extension.

VISA PREFERENCE NUMBERS FOR NOVEMBER 2011

 

FAMILY

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

01Feb05

01Feb05

2A

22Jul09

08Jul09

2B

15Nov03

15Nov03

3rd

01Jan02

01Jan02

4th

08Oct00

08Oct00

 

EMPLOYMENT

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

Current

Current

2nd

01May10

Current

3rd

22Aug02

15Mar06

Other

22Aug02

15Mar06

4th

Current

Current

5th

Current

Current1B

 



 

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