Wednesday, October 30, 2019, USCIS announced that it will be increasing the Premium Processing fee, effective December 2, 2019, from $1410 to $1440. The Premium Processing fee can be used to shorten the overall processing time at USCIS on certain types of Petitions, including the I-129 Petition (H-1B, O-1, L-1, TN) and certain types of I-140 Petitions. USCIS stated that it intends to use the funds generated by the fee increase to “provide certain premium processing services to business customers and to make infrastructure improvements in the adjudications and customer service processes.” Any filing postmarked on or after December 2, 2019 requesting Premium Processing must include the increased fee.
Please contact SPS Immigration if you have questions on how this may impact your immigration process.
Friday, October 11, 2019, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York temporarily enjoined the implementation of USCIS’ Public Charge Regulation. This ruling prevents USCIS from implementing or requiring the use of any new forms that require responses to the information required by the Public Charge regulations. USCIS has not yet responded how it will proceed regarding implementation of the new forms it released Wednesday, October 9th, which require responses to the Public Charge regulations. The US Department of State just announced that its implementation of the regulation remains unchanged.
Please contact SPS Immigration if you have questions about how this may impact your immigration case.
On September 19, 2019, the U.S. Senate held an unanimous consent vote on S. 386, the Senate version of H.R. 1044, Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019. The Senate bill contained several amendments to the House bill, which includes:
A set-aside provision for no fewer than 5,000 visas for shortage occupations, as defined in 20 C.F.R. 656.5(a), which would include nurses and physical therapists, for Fiscal Years 2020-2028.
Retains the H-1B internet posting requirement proposed in the Grassley Amendment to S. 386, with some change. Specifically, the H-1B internet posting requirements will not apply to an H-1B nonimmigrant who has been counted against the H-1B cap and is not eligible for a full 6-year period or an H-1B nonimmigrant authorized for portability under INA 214(n).
Retains the “do no harm” provision for all EB petitions approved on the date of enactment and the three-year transition period for EB-2 and EB-3 immigrants, but does not include EB-5 immigrants in the transition period.
The bill was blocked by David Perdue (R-GA) so the U.S Senate will now have to consider how it wants to move the bill forward, which will likely happen next week.
As background, on February 7, 2019, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019 was introduced in the House and Senate (H.R. 1044 / S. 386). This bill seeks to eliminate the per-country numerical limitation for all employment-based immigrants, and increase the per-country limitation for all family-sponsored immigrants from seven percent to 15 percent. This bill has a “do no harm” provision that states no one who is the beneficiary of an employment-based immigrant visa petition approved before the bill’s enactment shall receive a visa later than if the bill had never been enacted. The “do no harm” provision only applies to employment-based immigrants and does not apply to family-sponsored immigrants. The U.S. House passed H.R. 1044, Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, on July 10, 2019.
This bill would dramatically change the entire U.S. Permanent Residence system. Because there are no increases in the overall numbers available, or changes to how USCIS counts dependent family members, passage of this bill would impact everyone seeking permanent residence in the U.S., and will dramatically slow down the process for all. That said, it is important to remember that until this bill passes both the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. House, and is signed into law by the President, no changes have been made to our current system.
SPS Immigration will provide updates as they become available.
On September 3, 2019, USCIS announced a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require US Employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions to pay a $10 fee for each electronic registration they submit to USCIS for the H-1B cap selection process. This is just a proposal, and USCIS will accept comments from stakeholders through October 4, 2019. Until the comment period concludes and USCIS releases a final rule, no changes have been made. Additionally, USCIS has not yet announced whether it intends to implement the H-1B registration system for the upcoming H-1B cap filing season.
Please contact SPS Immigration if you have any questions regarding how this proposed rule may impact your business.
Attorney Sarah Peterson was included in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, which is regarded as a definitive guide to leading attorneys in the United States. Sarah has built her career providing informed and personalized employment-based immigration services to employers and employees, including physicians, individuals of extraordinary abilities, individuals working in the U.S. national interest, high tech workers, and many more. Please contact SPS Immigration if you have questions regarding immigration.
Attorney Sarah Peterson was quoted in Bloomberg discussing the new Labor Condition Application (LCA) secondary entity disclosure requirements. If you have questions on how this new disclosure information may be used, or how to use the H-1B program, please contact SPS Immigration.
On Friday, June 7th, USCIS announced that starting Monday, June 10, it will begin premium processing services for all FY 2020 H-1B cap subject petitions. This means that individuals who were previously not eligible to file using premium processing are now eligible to convert their case to the premium service.
USCIS also announced that it will continue to use regular mail and continue its temporary suspension of pre-paid mailers to send out final notices for H-1B petitions not requesting a change of status, through June 24th, 2019. USCIS explained that using pre-paid mailers requires a “separate and more time-consuming manual process” than its automated system using U.S. mail. USCIS indicated that it intends to resume using pre-paid mailers provided by petitioners on June 25th, 2019, but it is prudent to wait for USCIS to confirm the resumption of this practice.
If you have questions on how this impacts your H-1B cap subject petition, please contact SPS Immigration.