Immigration Blog

Non-Minister Special Immigrant Program for Certain Religious Workers Temporarily Expires

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The non-minister special immigrant program for certain religious workers was allowed to expire on at midnight on April 27, 2017.  Accordingly, no final action can be taken on adjustment of status cases in this category until the program is extended, and no individuals seeking admission as a non-minister special immigrant may be admitted.

May 2017 Visa Bulletin

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On April 11, 2017, the Department of State (DOS) released the May 2017 Visa Bulletin, containing dates for filing and application final action dates for the family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant visa preference categories. One day later, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determined that both family-sponsored and employment-based adjustment of status applicants must use the Final Action dates for filing in May of 2017. In this article, we will examine the relevant charts from both the May 2017 Visa Bulletin for individuals waiting to adjust status on the basis of an approved family-sponsored or employment-based immigrant visa petition.

USCIS Completes H1B Random Cap Selection Process (Lottery) for Fiscal Year 2018

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On April 17, 2017, the USCIS announced that it had completed its H1B cap random selection process for FY 2018. On April 11, 2017, the USCIS used its computer-generated random selection process, commonly known as the H1B lottery, to select petitions to meet both the 65,000 H1B cap for general-category petitions and the 20,000 H1B cap under the advanced degree exemption. The USCIS first conducted the H1B lottery for advanced degree exemption petitions. All unselected advanced degree exemption petitions were then placed in the general-category pool.

USCIS to Begin Issuing Redesigned Green Cards and EADs Beginning on May 1, 2017

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In the news release, the USCIS announced a redesign to the Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (commonly known as the “Green Card”). The USCIS also announced that it will begin issuing a redesigned Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The redesigned Green Cards and EADs, which were created as part of the Next Generation Secure Identification Document Project, will be issued beginning on May 1, 2017. In this article, we will explain the features of the redesigned Green Cards and EADs, and what their adoption will entail for permanent residents and EAD-holders going forward.

"Social Parasite Tax" in Belarus Sparks Protests Against the Lukashenko Regime

Written by Alexander J. Segal on

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Belarus moved recently to enforce its annual $250 tax on individuals who work for less than 183 days per year. The tax, colloquially called “the tax on social parasites,” triggered a new wave of protests beginning in February. Lukashenko partially backed down in the face of the initial wave of protests, agreeing to suspend the implementation of the “social parasite tax” for one year. However, many Belarusians are continuing to take to the streets to demand the resignation of Lukashenko. In this post, I discuss the developments.

President Trump to Nominate Lee Francis Cissna for Director of USCIS

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On April 8, 2017, President Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate Lee Francis Cissna as the new Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Senate will likely consider Cissna’s nomination in the coming weeks. If confirmed, he will replace Leon Rodriguez, who left office on January 20, 2017.

Bipartisan Legislation Proposed to Extend and Expand Conrad 30 Waiver Program

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On April 10, 2017, the website of Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota released a press release titled: “Kloubachar, Collins, Heitkamp Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Number of Doctors in Rural and Other Medically Underserved Areas.” The proposed legislation would extend the Conrad 30 Waiver Program until 2021 and would provide for the expansion of the Conrad 30 Waiver program beyond 30 slots “if certain thresholds are met.” The proposed legislation would also provide for employment authorization for the spouses of Conrad 30 Waiver beneficiaries.

iCERT and PERM Systems Will be Unavailable from 8:00 pm on April 21 to 6:00 am on Monday (EDT)

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On April 10, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) posted an alert stating that the iCERT and PERM systems will be unavailable from 8:00 pm EDT on Friday, April 21, 2017 until 6:00 am EDT on Monday, April 24, 2017.  The unavailability will be due to system maintenance.

EOIR Announces Swearing In of 14 New Immigration Judges

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On April 10, 2017, the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) announced that it had sworn in 14 new Immigration Judges. Chief Immigration Judge MaryBeth Keller presided over the investiture, which took place on April 7, 2017. The 14 new Immigration Judges were appointed by former Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.

USCIS Meets the Congressionally Mandated 65,000 H1B Cap for FY 2018

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On April 7, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had reached the congressionally mandated 65,000 visa H1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The USCIS also announced that it had received a sufficient number of H1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exception.

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