October 2010 Archives

October 28, 2010

H-1B Quota Update: October 28, 2010

New numbers from USCIS on the H-1B quota:

Out of 65,000 that USCIS may approve, CIS has received 44,300 cases. This is an increase of about 2,400 since the last announcement about a week ago.

As far as US advanced degree cases, where beneficiaries have received a US Master's or high degree, CIS announced that they have received 16,200 cases. This is an increase of about 800 cases since the last announcement.

If you are interested in filing an H-1B case before the quota is filled, please call (323) 769-8187 and ask for a free consultation with one of the attorneys at Law Offices of J Craig Fong. ---ecf

October 21, 2010

Puerto Rico Birth Certificates No Longer Valid for US Immigration

puerto-rico-flag.gifAll birth certificates issued by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico prior to 1 July 2010 have been made invalid. Persons born in Puerto Rico are US citizens, and the attorneys at the Law Offices of J Craig Fong are seeing more and more Puerto Ricans in Los Angeles and Palm Springs who wish to petition relatives.

The Vital Statistics and Records Office of the Commonwealth is now issuing new, more secure birth documents. On 30 September 2010, US Citizenship and Immigration Services stopped accepting Puerto Rican birth certificates issued before 1 July 2010. A birth certificate is necessary for immigration purposes to establish that the petitioner or applicant is a US citizen.

Natives of Puerto Rico may request a new birth certificate on line or through the mail. --jcf

October 13, 2010

H-1B Quota Update - October 8, 2010

This just in:

Regular cap count is at approximately 41, 900 and the advanced degree cap has reached approximately 15,400.

Looks like the advanced degree cap is soon to close, but perhaps the regular cap will still be available until the end of the year as it was last year. Time will tell... --ecf

October 7, 2010

H-1B Denial? H-1B Quota - Still Open, How About Re-filing?

Now is that unfortunate time of year where the attorneys at Law Offices of J Craig Fong start receiving phone calls from H-1B applicants who have received denials of their H-1B petitions. If someone has a denied H-1B, re-filing may be an option, but a previous denial definitely presents some challenges since any applicant must reveal previous denials in subsequent applicants. As I blogged about last year, there are many reasons that USCIS can find to justify a denial, however, many of the H-1B denials that I review could have been prevented if employers and applicants had a better understanding of what makes a successful H-1B case.

H-1B is a program for professional workers, and USCIS takes a very common sense approach to determining whether a job is considered a specialty occupation. First the USCIS reviews whether the nature of the job duties would normally require at least a Bachelor's degree level of training or knowledge, and secondly, whether requiring a Bachelor's degree for such position is normal to the that particular industry. Finally, USCIS will consider whether the applicant's major of study is actually applicable to the job at hand. Beyond this, USCIS relies on caselaw, statutory definitions and guidance from the US Department of Labor to determine whether your case is really H-1B caliber or not. And if so, USCIS will also make a determination whether there is a real job offer in hand and whether an applicant is qualified for such position.

At Law Offices of J Craig Fong, we don't use cookie-cutter solutions in helping H-1B employers submit their applications to USCIS. We use a individualized and highly tailored approach to understanding the job offer, the company, and the applicant's qualifications. If you are interested in a free consultation, contact us today. ---ecf

October 5, 2010

USCIS Fees to Increase on 23 November 2010

Dollar Funnel.jpgThe US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced changes in their filing fees, effective 23 November 2010.

The immigration lawyers at the Law Offices of J Craig Fong are dismayed that the cost of immigration benefits is rising the way the costs of making Hollywood movies is going up here in Los Angeles. Many clients can scarcely afford to pay the fees already being levied. One consolation is that USCIS has decreased some fees, even as it has increased others. In addition, USCIS has expanded the situations for which a fee waiver can be requested.

Some examples:

I-90 App to Replace Green Card: now $290, increases to $365
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e): now $455, decreases to $340
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative: now $355, increases to $420
I-140 Petition for Alien Worker: now $475, increases to $580
I-485 Application for Registry or Adjust Status: now $930, increases to $985
I-601 Application for Waiver: now $545, increases to $585
I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence: now $465, increases to $505
N-400 Application for Naturalization: now $595 -- no change
N-600 Application for Citizenship Certificate: now $460, increases to $600
Biometrics: now $80, increases to $85

The full list of fee changes is available from USCIS here. --jcf

October 2, 2010

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill Introduced

Everyone's been talking about immigration reform, what would it look like, when will it happen. Just this week, Senators Menendez and Leahy introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) Act of 2010 in Congress. Here are some key provisions of what is proposed in the bill:

  • Increased Border Enforcement including the hiring of 1,000 new ICE investigators each fiscal year, 250 new CBP officers at new ports of entry, and $300 million towards infrastructure improvements along the Northern and Southern borders

  • Increased Interior Enforcement aimed at the prevention of unauthorized entries and removal with fines and criminal penalties for reentry of previously removed aliens

  • Worksite Enforcement creating a mandatory employment verification system within 5 years and within 2 years, the creation of fraud-resistant, tamper resistant, and wear-resistant social security cards

  • Reform of America's Overall Immigration System establishing a new worker program through a standing commission on immigration, labor markets and the national interest and for family immigration reform aimed at reducing backlogs and fully incorporating the United American Families Act for equal treatment for permanent partners

  • Legalization of Undocumented Individuals: creating a provisional legal status for those present in the US as of September 30, 2010 , who have never committed a crime and are otherwise admissible to the United States

  • This version of CIR has yet to be debated in Congress. Check back soon for developments on CIR 2010. --ecf