What Does the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act Seek To Do

There had been many talks around the Republican-backed proposal: Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act. In a nutshell, it will significantly reduce the number of people allowed to legally immigrate to the United States. Although unlikely to pass Congress, what changes does the RAISE Act seek to bring exactly?

First, the RAISE Act seeks to eliminate the Diversity Visa Program. The Diversity Visa Program gives immigrant visas to nationals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. For a list of countries/areas by region whose natives are eligible for DV-2018 and DV-2017, please refer to the DV Instructions.

Second, the RAISE Act seeks to cap the number of refugees who may be admitted in any fiscal year to 50,000 and requiring the President to “annually enumerate the number of aliens who were granted asylum in the previous fiscal year.” Limiting refugee numbers has always been President Trump’s priority, and it is no surprise the RAISE Act mentions it.

Third, in the family-sponsored immigration arena, the RAISE Act wants to change the definition of “Child” at INA §101(b)(1) from an unmarried person “under age 21” to an unmarried person “under age 18,” and change the definition of “Immediate Relative” at INA to include only children and spouses of U.S. citizens (removes parents of adult U.S. citizens). Similarly, it seeks to only allow children and spouses of LPR (green card) holders to immigrant to the U.S. This will effectively eliminate the following current available categories: (1) unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (FB-1); (2) unmarried sons and daughters of LPRs (FB-2B); and (3) married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (FB-3); and (4) brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (FB-4). Parents of U.S. citizens will remain unaffected because under the new legislation, a new category for parents of USC citizens above the age of 21 will be created. The legislation seeks to cap the worldwide level of family-sponsored immigrants  admissions to 88,000 per fiscal year. The effort will significantly reduce the number of family based immigration and make many ineligible to reunite with their families in the United States.

All the above are part of the administration’s efforts to limit the number of immigrants to the U.S. Further, it seeks to replace of Employment-Based Immigration Categories with Immigration Points System. On the numbers, it seeks to limit the number of points-based immigrants to 140,000 (including spouses and children) per fiscal year. This so-called Points-Based System comes with an online portal and a required fee of $160. President Donald Trump has already announced his support for a the points system.

The immigration point system seeks to prioritize immigrants based on their degrees and skills. If they have equal points and equal educational attainment, they will be further ranked according to their (1) English language proficiency test scores; and (2) age, with applicants nearest their 25th birthdays ranked higher. And every 6 months, USCIS is said to invite the highest ranked applicants to file a petition for a points-based immigrant visa. If you want to see if you qualify to immigrate to the U.S., test your scores from Times.com here: http://time.com/4887574/trump-raise-act-immigration/.

Last but not least, the RAISE Act will prohibit naturalization of an individual if the person who submitted an affidavit of support on his or her behalf failed to reimburse the federal government for all means-tested public benefits received by the individual during the 5-year period immediately after the individual became an LPR. It therefore seems that, at no fault of the individual seeking naturalization, she or he might be barred from it. It is unclear whether the individual seeking naturalization is allowed to reimburse the government.

The Act does not mention temporary work visas such as H-1B and H-2 or temporary visitor (B-1/B-2) or student visas (F-1). Its focus remains on the number of available immigrant visas.

Read the full RAISE Act here: https://www.cotton.senate.gov/files/documents/170802_New_RAISE_Act_Bill_Text.pdf If interested, you can read this excellent summary of each section from American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA): 17080732

 

 

 

 

你现在抽到了H-1B签证,如何获得工作绿卡

今年10月1号就可以拿到你辛苦多年翘首以盼的H-1B签证。终于可以安心赚钱,报效父母了。但是如何可以长期永久的留在美国呢?毕竟来说,H-1B签证也只有6年期限。答案就是 – 你需要你的雇主为你申请绿卡!

大多数基于就业的请愿都需要美国劳工部 (Deparment of Labor) 的永久劳工证书和永久的全职工作机会。永久性劳动验证计划的运作通常被称为PERM Process。一旦永久劳工证书申请已经由DOL批准,雇主将需要向USCIS申请移民授权。

一般来说, 申请需要三个步骤 1) PERM永久劳工证书短缺证明; 2) I-140移民申请; 3)I-485调整身份或者领事程序申请移民签证。雇主在向劳动局提交永久劳工证书申请前,需要先证明你的岗位的工资应该是多少 (Prevaling wage determination) 。然后大约要三到四个月的时间刊登广告招聘,证明缺乏美国劳动人力 (good faith recruitment effort)。如果这些都成功了 – 表示没有其他人可以胜任你的岗位,你的雇主会提交劳工证书。劳动局通常需要六个月以及更多的时间来审批,然后才能知道结果。

永久劳工证书批准以后,雇主可以为雇员递交I-140移民赞助表格。 I-140表格一般也需要六个月左右处理,但是同时也可以要求加钱申请加速审理。这一步是没有悬念的。除非你在这个起劲啊想要转换工作,或者你被炒鱿鱼了,那你需要找一个有经验的移民律师来分析你的情况。

I-140批准后,申请者需要按照排期表排到以后才能递交I-485调整身份表格。目前的中国排期一般需要两到三年左右。美国国务院每月都更新签证排期看板。也就是说,有H-1B签证的朋友需要尽早进行绿卡申请。在递交I-485调整身份表格之后,一般六个月左右绿卡就会下来了。

estados-unidos-inmigrantes-green-card-visas.jpg

工作就业移民的绿卡有很多种,最常见的是EB-2或者EB-3. 对于在美国读书然后找到工作留下来的留学生来说,这个两种是最常见的。

  • 就业移民:第二优先EB-2。 如果您是拥有高级学位或同等学历的专业的成员,或具有特殊能力的外国人,您可以获得基于就业的第二优先签证。
  1. 在高级学位子类别下,你必须证明你申请的工作需要高级学位,并且拥有这样的学位或同等学历(学士学位以及5年的实地工作经验)。通常,像官方学术记录那样的文件证明你具有高级学位就足够了。
  2. 如果你是一个在科学,艺术或商业方面具有卓越能力的外国人,你也可以申请EB-2。特殊能力文件通常包括,学术成绩,执业专业执照,至少10年的全职工作经验,对成就的认可等。
  3. 最后的一项是,国家利益豁免(NIW)。申请人不需要劳动认证流程,如果您的工作是可以对美国做贡献的。 国家利益豁免申请人通常需要证明特殊能力以及您的就业将大大有益于国家。此外,寻求国家利益豁免的人可以为他或她自己请求,不需要雇主参与。
  • 就业移民:第三优先EB-3。 EB-3类别是为熟练工人,专业人员或其他工人设计的。
  1. 在“Skilled Worker 熟练工人”的子类别中,您必须证明您的工作需要至少2年的培训或工作经验
  2. Unskilled Worker 不熟练工人的子类别,申请人展示执行非熟练劳动力的能力。
  3. 如果您寻求成为专业人士,您必须能够证明您拥有美国学士学位或同等学历,并且学士学位是进入职业的正常要求。经验不能替代学位要求.

USCIS Confirms Lottery Selection Process for 2018 H-1B Petitions

American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA) confirmed on March 27, 2017 that USCIS will be conducting a lottery for Fiscal Year 2018 H-1B petitions. The process for receiving and receipting H-1B cap cases for 2018 will be the same as with prior years. During the period of April 3-7, 2017, if USCIS receives enough petitions to reach the 65,000 statutory H-1B cap and the 20,000 cap for petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption, a lottery will be conducted. As in the past, a random computer selection will be run first the 20,000 master’s cap petitions. Any petitions not selected for the master’s cap will then be included in the random selection process for the 65,000 regular cap.

Good luck to everyone facing the lottery this year.

2017年3月27日 - 移民局确认,2018年度收到和收到H-1B上限案件的过程将与前几年相同,包括随机抽奖。因此,如果在2017年4月3日至7日期间收到足够的请愿书达到65,000个法定H-1B上限,并且收到高等学位提交的20,000个申请人数,则会像过去一样,随机的电脑选择将首先针对20,000的高等学位请愿书。任何未被抽中的高等学位请愿书将被纳入65,000常规上限的随机选择过程中。

USCIS Bought Back Certain H-1B Visa Premium Processing After a Long Halt

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has brought back premium processing for certain CAP exempt petitions.

On April 3, 2017, USCIS halted premium processing of H-1B visa petitions, for up to six months. While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129. Prior to the halt, employers can request premium processing of H-1B petitions to ensure that USCIS will review the petition within 15 days at a cost of $1,225. Most non-premium processing types of H-1B petitions are currently averaging 6 to 8 months processing time. This suspension will apply to all H-1B regular cap and master’s cap petitions filed for the FY18 H-1B.

The only option for H-1B employers is that they may submit requests to expedite an H-1B petition if they meet the Expedite Criteria. The employer must meet one of these concerns concerns as “severe financial loss,” “emergency situation” or “humanitarian reasons.”

USCIS said the halt is necessary to adjudicate long-pending petitions before the high volume of incoming petitions. However, the plan may cause significant impact on the fee-funded USCIS’s revenue.

USCIS Report on 2015 H-1B Workers Shows Increased Number in Filing But Decreased Rate of Approval

In fiscal year 2015 (Oct 1, 2014 – Sept 31, 2015), USCIS received 348,699 H-1B petitions, a combination of initial employment, concurrent employment, requests for extension, and amended petitions. Among them, 39% were for initial employment. FY 2015 represents a 9% increase in filing form 2014. However, USCIS approved 275, 317 of all the petitions, a 13% decrease from the previous year.

USCIS also reported that 71% of all H-1B Beneficiaries (a total of 195,347) were India nationals, and the workers from the People’s Republic of China represent the second biggest group – 10% (a total of 26,669) of all beneficiaries. Workers with bachelor’s and master’s degrees made up 45% and 44% of all H-1B beneficiaries respectively. The majority of them were employed in computer-related areas with a median salary of $79,000 a year.

Read the full report here: 17022809

You Have Your H-1B Visa Now, How to Get EB-2 or EB-3

Most of the employment-based petitions require a Permanent Labor Certification (Labor Cert) from the Department of Labor and a permanent, full-time job offer. The operation of the permanent labor certification program is generally referred to as PERM. Once a permanent labor certification application has been approved by the DOL, the employer will need to seek the immigration authorization from USCIS.

Generally speaking, there are three steps before you become a permanent resident of the United States. First is that your employer must seek a PERM to show there is no Americans available for the job offered to you. Second is to submit the Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, to USCIS. Last is the filing of the Form I-485, Adjustment of Status, or Consular Processing if the applicant are outside of the U.S.

How long will the entire process take? Well, before seeking the PERM, the employer needs  to advertise the job offer to potential job seekers. After that, the Department of Labor has to adjudicate the PERM, which will take four to eight months. If the PERM is successful, and the employer files the Form I-140 immediately after, it will take another six months. However, the employer can seek premium processing to speed up the process for a fee. If the I-140 passes, the applicant now awaits the visa bulletin to update his or hers priority date. EB-2 or EB-3 of China faces a relatively long wait, but not all countries are the same. Once the priority date is current, the applicant can seek to adjust status, which will take another approximately six months to adjudicate.

Employment-Based Immigration: Second Preference EB-2

An employment-based, second preference visa is available to you if you are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability.

  • Under the Advanced Degree subcategory, you have to prove that the job you apply for require an advanced degree and you possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field). Typically, documentations like official academic record showing you have an advanced degree is sufficient.
  • If you are an alien with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, you can apply for EB-2 as well. Exceptional ability documentations generally include, academic record, license to practice your profession, at least 10 years of full-time experience, recognition for your achievements, and etc.
  • Last but not least, a national interest waiver (NIW) will waive the Labor Certification process because your admission is in the interest of the United States. NIW applicants generally need to prove the combined quality of exceptional ability and your employment will greatly benefit the nation. In addition, the alien seeking a NIW can petition for him or herself.

Employment-Based Immigration: Third Preference EB-3

The EB-3 category is designed for skilled worker, professional, or other worker.

  • Within the Skilled Worker subcategory, you must show that your job requires a minimum of 2 years training or work experience.
  • The Unskilled Worker subcategory requires the applicant to demonstrate capability of performing unskilled labor.
  • If you seek to be qualified as a professional, you must be able to demonstrate that you possess a U.S. baccalaureate degree or the equivalent, and that a baccalaureate degree is the normal requirement for entry into the occupation. There is no substitution for the degree requirement.