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:
USCIS Releases FAQs for FY2024 Employment-Based Adjustment of Status
In a recent update, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has provided a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) addressing the key aspects of the employment-based adjustment of status process for Fiscal Year 2024.
Key Aspects of the Update:
Employment-Based Annual Limit: The Department of State (DOS) estimates the employment-based annual limit for FY2024 to be approximately 161,000.
Comprehensive Coverage: The FAQs address a range of topics including interfiling (the process of switching underlying visa petitions), retrogression (when more people apply for a visa in a category than there are visas available), Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) considerations, medical examination requirements, and more.
This information is vital for individuals and employers navigating the complexities of the employment-based visa process in the United States. The USCIS's provision of these FAQs is a step towards clarifying common queries and streamlining the adjustment of status procedure for the upcoming fiscal year.
For more detailed information and specific guidance on these topics, it is recommended to review the FAQs provided by USCIS. This will ensure a thorough understanding of the processes and requirements involved in the employment-based adjustment of status for FY2024.
The current state of H-1B visa Revalidation within the U.S
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) is planning a pilot program for early 2024 to enable certain H-1B principal visa holders to renew their visas within the United States. This initiative, which is set to begin in January 2024, aims to streamline the visa renewal process for H-1B holders, particularly addressing the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. The pilot program will initially be available to 20,000 H-1B principal applicants and will be limited to nationals of countries that are not subject to reciprocity fees, such as India.
This program marks a significant shift in U.S. visa policy, offering substantial benefits for H-1B and L-1 visa holders. It is expected to reduce processing times and eliminate the need for international travel for visa renewals. Furthermore, this program could have positive impacts on the U.S. economy, especially in sectors that rely heavily on skilled foreign workers like technology and engineering.
It's also noted that this program is seen as a starting point for a more expansive visa-renewal program that might eventually include additional visa types and more applicants.
For further details and to stay informed about any updates or changes in the policy, it's recommended to regularly check official resources or consult with an immigration expert.
USCIS Announces a Significant Increase in H-2B Visas for FY 2024
In a move that significantly impacts the landscape of nonagricultural labor in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in conjunction with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Labor (DOL), has announced a notable development regarding the H-2B visa program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024.
Additional H-2B Visas: For FY 2024, an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas will be made available. This is over and above the standard statutory cap of 66,000 H-2B visas, effectively doubling the usual number.
Temporary Final Rule: The announcement comes in the form of a temporary final rule, which has been published to address the needs of U.S. employers who rely on these types of workers.
Implications and Opportunities:
Increased Workforce: This significant increase presents a unique opportunity for businesses in various sectors, such as hospitality, construction, and landscaping, that depend on seasonal or temporary nonagricultural labor.
Potential for Economic Growth: With more visas available, industries can better meet labor demands, potentially leading to an increase in productivity and economic growth.
Advice for Employers and Applicants:
Stay Informed: Employers should keep abreast of the application process and deadlines to ensure they can take full advantage of this opportunity.
Understanding Requirements: Both employers and prospective H-2B workers should understand the visa requirements and ensure compliance with all immigration and labor laws.
This development is a clear response to the increasing demand for temporary nonagricultural labor in the U.S. It highlights the government's recognition of the vital role these workers play in supporting key industries and the overall economy.
Conditional to Permanent Green Card
Filing Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, is a necessary step for individuals who were granted conditional resident status through marriage and want to convert it to permanent residency. Here's a general guide on how to file the I-751 form:
Timing: File Form I-751 during the 90-day period immediately before your conditional residence expires. Filing early or late can cause issues.
Form Completion: Fill out Form I-751 completely. Inaccurate or incomplete forms can lead to delays or denials. The form and instructions are available on the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) website.
Supporting Documents: Gather evidence of the marriage's bona fides, such as joint bank statements, lease or mortgage documents, joint tax returns, photographs, and affidavits from people who know you as a couple.
Application Fee: Check the current filing fee on the USCIS website, as it can change. Make sure to include the correct fee with your application.
- Joint Petition: If you are still married, you and your spouse should file a joint petition. In certain cases, like divorce or widowhood, you may file a waiver to the joint filing requirement.
- Biometrics Appointment: After filing, you may receive a notice for a biometrics appointment, where your fingerprints and photo will be taken.
Interview: USCIS may require an interview, although this isn't always the case. If an interview is scheduled, attend with your spouse and bring original documents of the copies you submitted.
Legal Representation: Consider hiring an immigration attorney, especially if your case has complexities like a divorce or other issues.
Submission: Mail your completed Form I-751 with all supporting documents and the filing fee to the appropriate USCIS address, which you can find on their website.
- Status Updates and Receipt Notice: After filing, you'll receive a receipt notice extending your conditional residence for a short period. You can check your case status online using the receipt number.
- Decision: USCIS will notify you of their decision. If approved, you'll receive a 10-year green card.
Always refer to the latest instructions and forms on the USCIS website, as immigration policies and procedures can change. If you have specific questions or a complex case, consulting with an immigration lawyer is advisable.
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.