USCIS will give priority to recent filings. USCIS says to do so will reduce the incentive to file for asylum solely to obtain employment authorization. USCIS says if the cases are processed quicker, it will allow the government promptly place such individuals into removal proceedings. USCIS will now schedule asylum interviews in the following order of priority:
First priority: Applications that were scheduled for an interview, but the interview had to be rescheduled at the applicant’s request or the needs of USCIS.
Second priority: Applications that have been pending 21 days or less.
Third priority: All other pending affirmative asylum applications will be scheduled for interviews starting with newer filings and working back towards older filings.
In addition, Asylum office directors may consider, on a case-by-case basis, an urgent request to be scheduled for an interview if such request is submitted. Source: USCIS Website
USCIS confirmed to AILA’s that it is “not anticipating any procedural changes for the FY2019 H-1B cap season.” It also does not anticipate that premium processing will be suspended for non-cap H-1B petitions, though there may be a short suspension of premium processing for H-1B cap-subject petitions. [See AILA Doc. No. 18012505.]
International students choose to study in the U.S. for many different reasons, and many choose to stay and work after they graduate from U.S. colleges and universities. The Pew Research Center analyzed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data and found that more and more high-skilled foreign graudates find jobs in the United States under the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. The OPT program provides an important opportunity for foreign graduates to work in the U.S. for up to 12 months or 36 months, depending on their field. Many students choose to take advantage of the OPT programs to utilize the skills they learned.
The Pew Research Center found that the federal government approved nearly 700,000 OPT applications between 2008 and 2014. Below are the interesting findings:
The annual number of OPT approvals rose from 28,497 in 2008 to 136,617 in 2014.
Many of those working in the U.S. under the OPT program go on to apply for H-1B visas to stay longer in the U.S.
Those with STEM majors had a higher employment rate (73%) than non-STEM majors (57%).
Foreign students from India and China accounted for more than half (57%) of all those who were approved for OPT.
International entrepreneurs who are ready to file for parole status will now be delayed until March 14, 2018. DHS further believes the IE final rule may be rescinded.
The International Entrepreneur Final Rule (IE final rule) was initially published at at 82 Federal Register 5238 on January 17, 2017 with an effective start date of July 17, 2018. Unfortunately for the ones who really want to take advantage of this new opportunity, the effective date is now delayed until March 14, 2018. The Department of Homeland Security cites President Trump’s January 25, 2017 Executive Order to improve border security and immigration enforcement as the reason of the delay. DHS is required to exercise parole authority with caution.
The IE final rule provides USCIS with a case-by-case discretionary parole authority. International Entrepreneurs who can demonstrate their parole to the U.S. would provide a significant benefit to the U.S. will be allowed an initial stay of 30 months (with the option for extension for 30 months).
Now you have your H-1b, how do you get your employer to sponsor you for an employment-based green card? The visa number backlogs vary enormously based on the applicant’s nationality. It is always better to start early.
The procedure for an employer to sponsor foreign nationals for lawful permanent residence (a.k.a. green card) is composed of three phases: the PERM labor certification, the visa petition, and the application for permanent residence.
I. PERM Labor Certification
A foreign national seeking to obtain U.S. lawful permanent residence through employment must be the beneficiary of an approved application for permanent employment certification. This application requires the employer to test the labor market to determine whether there are any qualified and available U.S. workers who are immediately available to accept the offered position of intended employment. The U.S. employer is required to obtain a prevailing wage determination (PWD) from the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC). After obtaining a PWD, the employer is required to take required recruitment steps.
II. The Visa Petition
If the PERM application is certified and the employer wishes to proceed to the next step, filing the employment-based immigrant petition (Form I-140) with USCIS, the beneficiary will be required to provide documentation to establish that he or she met the advertised requirements for the position on the date that the PERM application was filed. To file the immigrant visa petition, the employer must also establish that it has the ability to pay the beneficiary of the PERM application at least the prevailing wage as determined by the formal PWD requestor the offered wage, which may be higher than the prevailing wage.
III. Application for Lawful Permanent Residence
The last phase of the process allows the employee file his or her Form I-485, applications for adjustment of status (the application that grants permanent residence). At the end of this step, the employee will be granted permanent residence, and, shortly thereafter, be issued a “green card” as evidence of permanent residence. In the event of a backlog in the employment-based priority dates, the beneficiary and family members will not be able to file concurrent I-485 applications. They will need to wait until their priority date becomes current before they can file these applications.