State Department’s Charlie Oppenheim’s comments on the December 2019 Visa Bulletin

Employment-Based Categories

EB-1:

Charlie is seeing low demand in the EB-1 Worldwide category. Thus, he predicts that EB-1 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico Philippines and Vietnam) will continue to advance at a pace of up to 3 months for the foreseeable future.

EB-2:

EB-2 Worldwide (including EB-2 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, EB-2 Mexico, EB-2 Philippines, and EB-2 Vietnam) remains current for December, but could retrogress as early as January 2020.

EB-3:

Although EB-3 Worldwide (including EB-3 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, EB-3 Mexico, and EB-3 Vietnam) will remain current in December, there is a real possibility that this category could have a final action date imposed as early as January 2020.

 

Family-Based Categories 

The F2A Final Action Date, which has been current since July 2019, remains current across all countries through December. The data available at this time indicates that F2A should remain current for the foreseeable future.

TPS EXTENSIONS

On Friday, November 1, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security announced a Federal Register notice extending the validity of TPS-related documentation for beneficiaries under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan through January 4, 2021.

The notice also automatically extends the validity of Employment Authorization Documents; Forms I-797, Notice of Action; and Forms I-94, Arrival/Departure Record (i.e., TPS-related documentation).

November 2019 Visa Bulletin News

Department of State’s Charlie Oppenheim’s Comments on November 2019 Visa Bulletin

 

The Employment-Based 1st preference categories (EB-1) will continue to advance at the pace previously reported, i.e.,  up to three months for EB-1 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam) and EB-1 Chinaand little if any forward movement for EB-1 India at least through January.

 

Since EB-1 China and EB-1 India will be subject to their per country limits in the foreseeable future, the only possibility of more rapid movement in these categories is if demand for visas in EB-1 Worldwide and other categories were to fall below that allowed under the overall annual limit.

 

EB-1 worldwide is experiencing low demand which could lead to a return to “current” at some point this fiscal year.

 

EB-2 Worldwide (including EB-2 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, EB-2 Mexico, EB-2 Philippines, and EB-2 Vietnam) remains current for November and is expected to remain current for the foreseeable future.

 

Charlie still expects EB-3 Worldwide (including EB-3 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, EB-3 Mexico, and EB-3 Vietnam) to remain current through at least January.

OCTOBER VISA BULLETIN NEWS

The Department of State’s Charlie Oppenheim projects that the employment-based EB1 category will move up to 3 months for the worldwide and China categories, and for India, little if any forward movement until January 2020 at the earliest.

 

Potential EB-2 movement:

Worldwide: CURRENT
China: Up to two months
India: Up to one week

 

Potential EB-3 movement:

Worldwide: CURRENT
China: Little if any forward movement
India: Little if any forward movement
Mexico: Will remain at the Worldwide date
Philippines: Up to several months

STEM OPT EMPLOYER SITE VISITS

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has started to conduct site visits of employers who employ F-1 students on STEM Optional Practical Training.  Please visit https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/employer-site-visits for details on these site visits.

 

Employers need to make sure their front line employees request identification and a business card from the ICE officer, and to have the officer wait until a designated person at the worksite is present to accompany the ICE officer during the visit, which typically lasts 1-2 hours according to recent reports.

H-1B CAP CASE NEWS

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced a notice of proposed rule-making that will require employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions to pay a $10 fee for each electronic registration they submit to USCIS. This is the new method to handle H-1B cap cases beginning in FY2021.  If the case is selected in the lottery based on this registration system, the employer will then file the H-1B petition application in its entirety with USCIS.  More information from DHS will be forthcoming.