August Visa Bulletin: USCIS Announces Only Final Action Date Can Be Used
The August Visa Bulletin was released last week, and it contained significant retrogressions (EB-2 worldwide). Other categories have been experiencing retrogression as the fiscal year draws to a close. September 30 is the final date of the fiscal year and October 1 is the inaugural day of the new fiscal year. USCIS announced that the final action priority date cannot be used for filing adjustment of status applications. This is instead of the more friendly filing action priority date, which is usually a few months before the final action priority date. This is for employment-based and family-based adjustment of status applications.
Green Card Lawsuit Dismissed
A federal judge in Seattle has dismissed the Visa Bulletin lawsuit that ensued from the Department of State rescission of filing dates. Back in September 2015, it seemed that the Department of State had made enormous progress in modernizing the Visa Bulletin system, so that individuals (especially in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories and some FB categories) were finally able to file for their Green Cards after years of waiting. Their anticipation lasted about two weeks when the Department suddenly rescinded its October Visa bulletin posting and superseded it with a new October Visa Bulletin.
A class-action lawsuit was filed seeking a temporary injunction, but that was rejected. This most recent rejection occurred because the judge found that the original Visa Bulletin did not confer any rights upon the immigrants. Although the announcement caused a reliance for intending applicants by undergoing medical exams and paying expenses for green card applications, that was not enough. The two week blip on the radar was an inconvenience, but nothing that could create relief for the class. June’s Visa Bulletin contains severe retrogression in many employment and family categories.
May 2016 Visa Bulletin Released
The Department of State has released the 2016 May Visa Bulletin.
Employment Based-2 and Employment Based-3 categories for India moved only a few weeks. The filing date is July 1, 2009 for EB-2 India. El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have their own chargeability in the employment-based category but not in the family-based category.
Family Based-2 for all non-listed chargeabilities is June 15, 2015 (spouses of LPRs). There is no filing date for the family-based categories. That will be released later this month, according to the State Department.
Highlights from a Recent SCOPS Teleconference
Periodically, Service Center Operations Directorate has a teleconference or meeting with AILA to inquire upon important issues relating to USCIS petitions and applications. Here are some highlights from the teleconference with SCOPS earlier this month.
H-1B change of status and extension of status applications continue to take a frustratingly long time and there is little action on USCIS’ behalf to mitigate that problem. Their best advice is to file as early as possible.
If the petitioner files a Power of Attorney and includes it with the petition, the attorney can sign the forms for the petitioner on an employment-based petition.
Green Cards will not contain a hyphen. They will put a space instead, i.e. Smith Diaz instead of Smith-Diaz.
Both the Texas Service Centers and Nebraska Service Centers will follow Matter of H-V-P. This is an important AAO decision for National Interest Waiver cases.
USCIS confirmed that they adjudicate cases FIFO – First in First Out.
USCIS is actively processing U visa cases.
Prevailing Wage Delays: DOL Says Expect 75 Days Plus for Prevailing Wage Determination
Continue to expect delays in receiving Prevailing Wage Requests from the Department of Labor. The Department of Labor held a meeting and addressed the delay in returning Prevailing Wage Determinations. The Prevailing Wage Determination is the important first step for an employer to take in sponsoring for a permanent position. The Department of Labor has a stated goal of 60 days to analyze the Prevailing Wage Request and made a determination. The wage that it determines is necessary for the position is the minimum wage that the position can pay.
The Department has announced that stakeholders should expect determinations to take at least 75 days. The online system is supposed to speed up the process, but the increase in prevailing wage requests versus the stagnation of funding and resources, according to the Department of Labor, has forced the return times to lengthen.