USCIS will remain operational during the Federal Government Shutdown thanks to the healthy funding it derives from USCIS filing fees
- Good news: USCIS’ operations though the Federal Government Shutdown are expected to continue because it is funded by sources other than appropriated funds (read: H-1B and other USCIS filing fees). In fact, this funding is so substantial that USCIS expects to send home only 353 of 12,558 employees during the temporary shutdown.
- Consulates remain operational at this point.
- Unfortunately, the DOL ETA will not process any employment based labor certifications during the shut down. The PERM PLC website is also down, as is iCert.
Implementation of the Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act
Statement from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano:
“After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly. To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.”
Frequently Asked Questions
By Ashwin Sharma, Esq.
The latest H-1B numerical cap (FY 2014) opens on April 1, 2013. USCIS has indicated that it expects to receive more than 65,000 cap-subject H-1B petitions and more than 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher between April 1, 2013, and April 5, 2013. USCIS will monitor the number of petitions received and notify the public of the date on which the numerical limit of the H-1B cap has been met. This date is known as the final receipt date. If USCIS receives more petitions than it can accept, USCIS will use a lottery system to randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit. USCIS will reject petitions that are subject to the cap and are not selected, as well as petitions received after it has the necessary number of petitions needed to meet the cap.
This could be the first time since April 2008 that the H-1B cap will require a lottery. USCIS has also indicated that premium processing for H-1B petitions filed for the Cap will note begin until April 15, 2013, quite understandable considering they are expecting an avalanche of H-1B cases.
That we are at 2008 application levels and preparing for another H-1B lottery is testament to two major factors:
1. Information Technology consulting, and the large variety of industries supported by it, have largely rebounded since the 2008 economic crash.
2. There are not enough H-1B visas to meet demand. Increasing H-1B numbers was obviously not at the top of the priority list during the economic collapse, however, it must be addressed directly by any Comprehensive Immigration Reform program. Increasing the H-1B quota, along with the addition of a special category for IT workers, is a no-brainer – one of the simplest fixes Congress can make in both strengthening this country’s economy and status as a tech superpower.
- US to accept H1B applications from April 1 (news.in.msn.com)
Beginning March 4, certain immigrant visa applicants who are the spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens (immediate relatives), and have been unlawfully present in the United States, can start applying for provisional unlawful presence waivers through a new process. Read More…
USCIS Releases Latest Data on (DACA) Cases Received Through 12/13/2012 – 70% of Total Cases Cite Mexico as Country of Origin
USCIS’ Latest Data on DACA Cases indicates that as of December 13, 2012, USCIS has accepted a total of 355,889 DACA cases, of which 102,965 have been approved, and 157,151 are pending. Just over 70% of all cases received by USCIS cite Mexico as the applicants’ country of origin. The top State of applicants’ residence is California.
USCIS wants to notify customers and stakeholders that some work that USCIS performs at the four USCIS service centers (Vermont, Nebraska, Texas and California) will be transferred to a Field Office or the National Benefits Center (NBC) in order to balance the overall workload with processing capacity. The chart below summarizes these changes.
Via the USCIS’ Office of Performance and Quality (OPQ)
DACA Stage Cumulative to date (August 15 – September 13, 2012)
1. Intake Number of requests accepted for processing – 82,361
2. Biometrics Number of biometric appointments scheduled* – 63,717
3. Adjudication Number of requests ready for review** – 1,660
4. Completed Number of requests completed – 29
Systems: Lockbox Intake System, Biometrics Capture Systems, CIS Consolidated Operational Repository (CISCOR)
*The number of biometrics appointments may exceed the total number of cases due to rescheduling by the requestor
**Includes all requests having biometrics captured and before decision
FAQs updated September 14, 2012
On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and would then be eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Deferred action does not provide an individual with lawful status.
If you need further information and cannot find it on this Web page or in our Frequent Asked Questions, you may contact our National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 or 1-800-767-1833 (TDD for the hearing impaired). Customer service officers are available Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. in each U.S. time zone.
NAFSA has issued an alert that Customs and Border Protection will no longer stamp I-20s at ports of entry (POEs). USCIS is reaching out to other agencies, such as the DMV, to inform them of the change, since many agencies require the I-20 stamp prior to granting benefits.
Individuals may begin filing tomorrow
Released Aug. 14, 2012
WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) submitted a Federal Register notice announcing new forms and instructions to allow individuals to request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals from USCIS. USCIS will begin accepting completed forms tomorrow , August 15, 2012. On June 15, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines may request, on a case-by-case basis, consideration of deferred action.
Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children
Read DHS Secretary Napolitano’s Memo on Deferred Action