April 26, 2024 - Weekly Immigration News Update

Posted by Keshab R. Seadie | Apr 26, 2024 | 0 Comments

Dear Clients and Colleagues,

We hope this newsletter finds you well. In this edition, we bring you important updates on various immigration matters. Please take a moment to review the following key highlights:

H-1B CAP Gap Rule: Navigating the Transition
One of the key considerations for F-1 students seeking employment in the United States is the transition from OPT to H-1B status. The H-1B CAP gap rule allows eligible F-1 students with pending or approved H-1B petitions to remain in the U.S. during the gap between the end of their OPT and the start of their H-1B employment period, which typically begins on October 1st of the fiscal year for which the petition was filed.
However, to benefit from the H-1B CAP gap provision, students must ensure timely filing of both their OPT extension and H-1B petitions. Failure to do so could result in a gap in employment authorization, potentially disrupting career plans and legal status in the U.S.
Importance of Filing OPT On Time
USCIS strictly enforces the OPT filing deadlines, requiring applicants to submit their applications within specific timeframes outlined in the regulations. For instance, the initial OPT application must be filed within 30 days of the designated school official (DSO) entering the OPT recommendation into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record.
Moreover, F-1 students have a window of opportunity to apply for OPT, extending from up to 90 days before the academic program end date to within 60 days after the program end date. Adhering to these deadlines is crucial to avoid potential denials or delays in processing, which could hinder employment opportunities and legal status.
Challenges of Late Filings and Denials
Late filings or denials of OPT applications can pose significant challenges for F-1 students. Re-filing after a denial may encounter obstacles, including difficulties in obtaining new supporting documents such as I-20s from Designated School Officials (DSOs). USCIS denials recorded in the SEVIS system may hinder DSOs from issuing new I-20s with updated OPT recommendations, complicating the re-filing process and potentially exceeding allowed filing deadlines.
In light of these challenges, F-1 students must prioritize timely filing of OPT applications to mitigate risks and ensure continuity in their academic and career pursuits in the United States.
Navigating the intricacies of immigration regulations, particularly regarding OPT applications and transitions to H-1B status, requires careful attention to filing deadlines and compliance with USCIS requirements. By understanding the H-1B CAP gap rule and the importance of filing OPT on time, F-1 students can better position themselves for success in pursuing their educational and career goals in the United States.

USCIS to Open International Field Offices in Qatar and Turkey
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has unveiled plans to inaugurate new international field offices in Doha, Qatar, and Ankara, Turkey. This initiative aims to bolster capacity for refugee processing, enhance strategic partnerships, and facilitate interagency collaboration.
USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou emphasized the significance of these field offices, stating, “Opening these field offices establishes a USCIS presence and expertise in critical locations in the Middle East and is part of our commitment to the Biden-Harris administration's efforts to facilitate safe, lawful, and orderly migration and family reunification.”
The Biden-Harris administration has set the refugee admissions ceiling for fiscal year 2024 at 125,000 refugees. The establishment of USCIS field offices in Qatar and Turkey will fortify the infrastructure of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program in the region and provide essential support for USCIS refugee processing circuit rides.
Key Details
  • Qatar Office: Located in the U.S. embassy facility at Camp As Sayliyah, USCIS' Doha Field Office will serve as a vital resource for refugee processing in the region. Staff will also conduct scheduled appointments at the U.S. Embassy in Qatar.
  • Turkey Office: USCIS' Ankara Field Office will be situated in the U.S. Embassy Ankara, contributing to refugee processing efforts and supporting the regional infrastructure for resettlement.
Services Provided
USCIS staff at both locations will handle processing of Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, from State Department consular staff, assist with certain fraud detection-related activities, and offer other limited services. All services will be available by appointment only.
With the Doha Field Office set to open on May 7, 2024, followed by the Ankara Field Office on May 9, 2024, USCIS will expand its international presence to a total of 11 field offices worldwide. These include locations such as Beijing, Guatemala City, Mexico City, and others.
For more information about the field offices, services offered, and appointments, USCIS will update its International Immigration Offices webpage.
The opening of these international field offices represents a significant step forward in USCIS' mission to support humanitarian efforts, strengthen immigration processes, and foster collaboration with global partners.
Understanding the H-1B CAP Gap Rule and the Critical Importance of Filing OPT On Time
In navigating the complex landscape of U.S. immigration regulations, F-1 students must pay close attention to filing deadlines, especially when it comes to optional practical training (OPT) applications. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) maintains strict enforcement of these deadlines, making it imperative for students to understand and adhere to them to avoid potential complications.

Upholding Denial of Petitioner's Motion to Reopen Based on New Evidence of Son's Medical Condition
In a recent decision, the court has upheld the denial of a petitioner's motion to reopen and remand based on new evidence concerning his son's medical condition and educational impairment. The ruling, issued under INA §242(a)(2)(D), highlights the challenges individuals face in seeking relief from removal proceedings.
Case Summary
The petitioner sought to reopen his case based on new evidence regarding his son's diagnosis with a complex medical condition and educational challenges. Despite presenting this evidence, the petitioner failed to establish prima facie eligibility for cancellation of removal. The court determined that he did not demonstrate a reasonable likelihood of meeting the statutory requirement of exceptional and extremely unusual hardship in reopened proceedings.
Additionally, the court rejected the petitioner's contention that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) had applied an incorrect legal standard. As a result, the petition for review was denied.
Key Takeaways
  • Challenges in Establishing Prima Facie Eligibility: The case underscores the difficulty of proving eligibility for cancellation of removal, particularly when demonstrating exceptional and extremely unusual hardship.
  • Importance of New Evidence: While new evidence may support a motion to reopen, it must be compelling and directly relevant to the grounds for relief from removal.
  • Legal Standards: Courts rigorously assess whether the BIA has applied the correct legal standards in reviewing motions to reopen, ensuring procedural fairness and adherence to immigration law.
The court's decision reaffirms the stringent criteria individuals must meet to reopen removal proceedings based on new evidence. It underscores the complexities of navigating immigration law and the importance of thorough legal representation in such cases.

We hope you find this information valuable. If you have any questions or require legal assistance related to any of these updates, please don't hesitate to contact us. We are here to help.


Keshab Raj Seadie, Esq.
Law Offices of Keshab Raj Seadie, P.C.

Disclaimer: This newsletter is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Always consult an attorney for personalized advice.

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