October 2011

H-1B Cap Update

The USCIS started accepting H-1B petitions subject to the numerical caps starting on April 1. The number of petitions submitted through September 9 was 32,200 toward the regular cap of 65,000. The number of petitions submitted toward the 20,000 was 16,700.

Background: Anyone with an offer of employment for a "specialty occupation" (requiring a bachelor's degree or higher) may be eligible for this valuable H-1B employment visa. There is a cap of 65,000 petitions per fiscal year. Some aliens of advanced degree are provided an exemption from the cap, i.e. for the first 20,000 petitions filed for beneficiaries who have obtained a U.S. master's degree or higher.

If you are looking for an employment-based visa in order to remain in the U.S., consult with an experienced immigration attorney immediately.


USCIS Issues Policy Memo for Cohabitating Partners of Visitors Seeking Change of Status

Background: Immigration law permits a visitor to the United States to be accompanied by a spouse or child. But what about those relatives or other interested persons who are not spouses or children of the principal applicants?

New Policy: On August 26, 2011, the USCIS issued a new policy memo stating that when adjudicating a visitor's application to extend his visitor status in the United States, the USCIS will consider it a favorable factor that the applicant is seeking the extension in conjunction with a cohabitating partner or another household member. The aim would be to match the applicant's stay to match the stay of the principal non-immigrant for purposed of unity.

To review the full memo, click here:


The "O"ther Visa

One often overlooked visa for professionals or those with advanced skills is the "O"visa. The O visa comes from Section 101(a)(15)(O) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Often foreigners and their immigration attorneys reviewing possible immigration options overlook this possible visa. If an alien does not qualify for the traditional business visas, such as the L-1 or E-2, or certain employment visas such as the H-1B or H-2B, then he may still be eligible as an "Alien of Extraordinary Ability."

One primary benefit of the O-1 visa is that that applicant need not undergo the traditional labor certification process via the department of labor. Although the O-1 visa requires a job offer from an employer, the employer need not go through the rigorous prevailing wage and recruitment criteria of other employment visas.

 

In This Issue

 

Newsletter Issues

 

Updates on Recent Immigration Policies

In our last issue, we notified you of some recent changes in the immigration policies. One was that the Department of Homeland Security has begun a program of administratively closing removal cases which are low priority. Another update covered upcoming favorable policies toward business and investor visas. To review those updates, please click here.

 

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