The Nebraska Service Center (NSC) has advised that, due to the high volume of incoming premium processing requests, H-4 I-539 and H-4 I-765 EAD applications that are concurrently filed with premium H-1B petitions before the start of USCIS’s premium processing suspension on April 3, 2017, may not be adjudicated concurrently with the Form I-129 and within the prescribed 15 days. If no notice has been received on a riding I-539 or I-765 by the end of April, applicants or their attorneys can contact the National Customer Service Center to place a service request.
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Know Your Rights – Important information is contained in this brochure should you be stopped or detained by Immigration authorities or the police.
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The April Visa Bulletin has been released. Charles (“Charlie”) Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State, provides the following analysis of current trends and future projections.
EB-1 India and China have already surpassed their per country limits of 2,800 visas, with EB-1 India using more than 9,000 numbers, and EB-1 China using more than 4,500 numbers. Charlie is watching these categories very carefully. As the availability of “otherwise unused” numbers diminishes, a Final Action cut-off date will likely be imposed for both countries at some point this summer.
The China EB-3 Downgrade Phenomenon. For the last few years, the Final Action Date for EB-3 China has been closer to “Current” than the EB-2 China Final Action Date. This phenomenon has spurred EB-2 beneficiaries to file new I-140s to “downgrade” to EB-3. Once a sufficient number of “downgrades” materialize into demand for EB-3 China numbers, EB-3 and EB-2 China come back into alignment. Historically, this realignment typically happens in May.
Despite low number usage in EB-3 China, Charlie has been reluctant to advance the Final Action Date dramatically as he expects EB-2 China downgrade demand will materialize. With EB-3 China demand still low as we enter the second half of the fiscal year, EB-3 China will advance five months in April, to August 15, 2014. This will position the EB-3 China Final Action Date 17 months ahead of the EB-2 China Final Action Date of January 15, 2013. It will be interesting to see how long this phenomenon will continue in this fiscal year before the Final Action Dates realign.
Advancement of the EB-3 Worldwide Final Action Date to February 15, 2017 is consistent with Charlie’s predictions. EB-3 Worldwide is not expected to become current in the near future, but will likely advance about one month at a time, staying about two months away from being current.
The EB-3 Philippines Final Action Date will also advance six months to September 15, 2012 for April.
EB-5 China will advance to May 22, 2014 in April. Charlie reports that if the Regional Center pilot program is reauthorized before the end of April, it will continue to advance, but it remains to be seen how quickly and to what extent it will advance.
Starting April 3, 2017, USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions. This suspension may last up to 6 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, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, which requests the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for H-1B petitions.
The temporary suspension applies to all H-1B petitions filed on or after April 3, 2017. Since FY18 cap-subject H-1B petitions cannot be filed before April 3, 2017, this suspension will apply to all petitions filed for the FY18 H-1B regular cap and master’s advanced degree cap exemption (the “master’s cap”). The suspension also applies to petitions that may be cap-exempt.