Immigration Law

News Excerpt From the June 1, 2015, Bender’s Immigration Bulletin

USCIS Temporarily Suspends Premium Processing for H-1B Extensions |

From May 26, 2015 until July 27, 2015, USCIS will suspend premium processing for all H-1B Extension of Stay petitions. During this period, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, requesting an extension of the stay for an H-1B nonimmigrant. USCIS will continue the premium processing of H-1B Extension of Stay petitions filed with Form I-907 premium requests prior to May 26, 2015.

The premium processing fee will be refunded by USCIS if:

  • A petitioner filed H-1B petitions prior to May 26, 2015, using the premium processing service, and
  • USCIS did not act on the case within the 15-calendar-day period.

Premium processing remains available for all other Form I-129 H-1B petitions, including those subject to the H-1B cap that are requesting a change of nonimmigrant status or consular notification.

The temporary suspension will allow USCIS to implement the final rule concerning employment authorization for certain H-4 spouses in a timely manner and to adjudicate applications for employment authorization filed by H-4 nonimmigrants under the new regulations.

State Department Notifies Winners of Diversity Lottery

On May 11, 2015, the State Department announced that it had notified the winners of the diversity visa lottery for fiscal 2016.

More than 11 million foreign nationals submitted applications to the lottery, approximately 90,000 of which may now apply for an immigrant visa. Principal applicants must have a high school degree or its equivalent, or show they have worked for at least two of the past five years in an occupation that requires two years of training or experience.

More than 4,000 foreign nationals were each selected from Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Liberia, Ukraine, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

DHS Secretary Makes Recommendations on EB-5 Program

On April 27, 2015, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson issued a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee making a number of recommendations for the reauthorization of the EB-5 program.

Johnson recommended that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) be allowed to terminate a regional center’s designation in the event of criminal activity or national security concerns, and to deny applications based on a significant risk of fraud or abuse.

Johnson also recommended that USCIS be authorized to levy fines and temporary suspensions against regional centers, and that Congress create an “EB-5 Integrity Fund” into which regional centers would be required to pay $20,000 to underwrite audit and site visits.

The letter is reprinted at Appendix A.

BITS & PIECES

USCIS—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has released a new version of Form I-539, Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Prior versions of the form will be accepted until July 6, 2015.

DOL—The presentation for the H-2B 2015 Final Wage Rule webinar briefings, hosted on May 13, 2015 and May 15, 2015, has been posted under the Prevailing Wage Information section on the Office of Foreign Labor Certification's H-2B 2015 Interim Final Rule Web page. The page may be accessed at http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/2015_H-2B_IFR.cfm

Bender's Immigration Bulletin

[This is an excerpt from the June 1, 2015, issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.]

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