When Immigration Matters

September Visa Bulletin and What Lies Ahead for Fiscal Year 2017

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 @ 3:47 PM

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) issues a monthly visa bulletin summarizing the availability of immigrant visa numbers.  The DOS has now issued the September 2016 Visa Bulletin.  This is the final visa bulletin for fiscal year 2016, and the new FY will begin October 1st.   

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White House Leaks President Obama's Immigration Reform Early

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 @ 3:51 PM

Extracts of President Obama's Immigration Action have been leaked by the White House.docs/White-House-Details-on-Anticipated-Administrative-Relief.pdf  Essentially, you must pass criminal and background checks, pay taxes and a fee and show the following:

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Don't Miss Fareed Zakaria's "Global Lessons: The GPS Roadmap for Making Immigration Work"

Posted by Michael Pollak on Fri, Jun 08, 2012 @ 8:33 AM

Fareed Zakaria looks at how the immigration systems work - and don't work - in Japan, Europe, Canada and the U.S. in a prime-time special: "Global Lessons: The GPS Roadmap for Making Immigration Work" on CNN at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 10

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Easier Path to Green Card for Some Illegal Immigrants Announced

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Fri, Jan 06, 2012 @ 9:33 AM

The Obama Administration announced today January 6th that it would pass legislation facilitating a path to a Green Card for some illegal immigrants. 

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Happy Thanksgiving: An Immigrant's Perspective

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Thu, Nov 24, 2011 @ 12:10 PM
                                    Dear Friends,

Thanksgiving is the time of year when we are reminded of all the things we are grateful for. This year, I am looking forward to my husband's parents ' Thanksgiving dinner.  This is a great time of year to enjoy time with family and friends, and of course, watch the Dallas Cowboys.

 

Thanksgiving is a relatively new holiday for me.  It is the holiday of my adopted home and I look forward to passing on all its family traditions to my children.  The United States is a place of improbable stories, of lives that never could have been realized anywhere else in the world.  I do not believe that my life as a lawyer amd all the possibilities that have grown from my career would have been possible in any other country. 

 

You cannot choose the country where you are born.  But  a lucky few have the opportunity to choose the country where they live.  When I was growing up, I never imagined that one day I woud be an immigrant. The United States has allowed me to shape my future and to assist many others in shaping theirs.  Thank you America for giving me this opportunity. 

 

I am so grateful for all the blessings in my life, including each of you-my family, friends, colleagues, and clients. Reflecting on the year, I can truly say that I enjoy my work, I am passionate about the causes I choose to fight, and I cherish the people I get to work with and for.

 

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you, and thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives.

 
Sincerely,

 

 

Karen-Lee Pollak

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Survey finds Immigration Inconsistent in Applying Prosecutorial Discretion

Posted by Michael Pollak on Wed, Nov 09, 2011 @ 5:13 PM

Today, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Immigration Council (AIC) released a new survey today finding that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and attorneys across the country are applying different standards on prosecutorial discretion despite the issuance of national policy memoranda this summer.  The June 17, 2011, memo outlines for ICE agents and attorneys the criteria that would make an immigration removal case a low priority for enforcement action. These criteria include ties to America including service in the U.S. armed forces, schooling, contributions to the community, and other equities for enforcement officials to consider when deciding what course of action to take in a particular case.

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Immigrant Entrepreneurs Critical For Long-Term US Economic Growth

Posted by Michael Pollak on Wed, Feb 09, 2011 @ 3:50 PM

The Brookings Institution releases report:  Immigration and High-Impact, High-Tech Entrepreneurship by David M. Hart and Zoltan J. Acs.

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USCIS Reaches FY 2011 H-1B Cap

Posted by Karen Pollak on Fri, Jan 28, 2011 @ 7:39 AM

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year (FY) 2011.  USCIS is notifying the public that yesterday, Jan. 26, 2011, is the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY2011.

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Visa Bulletin for February 2011 | Immigration

Posted by Karen Pollak on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

1.  This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during February. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.  Allocations were made, to the extent possible under the numerical limitations, for the demand received by January 11th in the chronological order of the reported priority dates. If the demand could not be satisfied within the statutory or regulatory limits, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed.  The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits.

Only applicants who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date may be allotted a number. Immediately that it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a cut-off date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new cut-off date which has been announced in this bulletin.

2. Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000.  The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620.  The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.

3.  Section 203 of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of immigrant visas as follows:

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First:  Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens:  23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second:  Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents:  114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, and any unused first preference numbers:

A.  Spouses and Children:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B.  Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older):  23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third:  Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens:  23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth:  Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens:  65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

First:    Priority Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second:  Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.

Third:  Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "Other Workers".  

Fourth:  Certain Special Immigrants:  7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth:  Employment Creation:  7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of P.L. 102-395.

4.  INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed.  Section 203(d) provides that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal.  The visa prorating provisions of Section 202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit.  These provisions apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas:  CHINA-mainland born, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.

5.  On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and "U" means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available.  (NOTE:  Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)

Family All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born DOMINICAN REPUBLIC INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st 01JAN05 01JAN05 01JAN05 01JAN05 22JAN93 01AUG94
2A 01JAN08 01JAN08 01JAN08 01JAN08 01APR05 01JAN08
2B 15APR03 15APR03 01JAN97 15APR03 01JUL92 01JUN99
3rd 01JAN01 01JAN01 01JAN01 01JAN01 22NOV92 22OCT91
4th 01JAN00 01JAN00 01JAN00 01JAN00 01JAN96 15JAN88

*NOTE:  For February, 2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01APR05.  2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01APR05 and earlier than 01JAN08.  (All 2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit; there are no 2A numbers for MEXICO subject to per-country limit.)

Employment- Based

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

CHINA- mainland born DOMINICAN REPUBLIC INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C C
2nd C 01JUL06 C 08MAY06 C C
3rd 01APR05 01JAN04 01APR05 22FEB02 08JUL03 01APR05
Other Workers 01MAY03 22APR03 01MAY03 22FEB02 01MAY03 01MAY03
4th C C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C C
5th C C C C C C
Targeted Employment Areas/ Regional Centers C C C C C C
5th Pilot Programs C C C C C C

The Department of State has available a recorded message with visa availability information which can be heard at:  (area code 202) 663-1541.  This recording will be updated in the middle of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.

Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the NACARA, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year.  This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program.  Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.

B. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY

Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a maximum of up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit immigration opportunities for persons from countries other than the principal sources of current immigration to the United States.  The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program.  This reduction has resulted in the DV-2011 annual limit being reduced to 50,000.  DV visas are divided among six geographic regions.  No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.

For February, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2011 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately  
AFRICA 26,100 Except: Egypt 20,200
Ethiopia 15,000
Nigeria 12,100
ASIA 14,850  
EUROPE 17,600  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 7  
OCEANIA 810  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 900  

Entitlement to immigrant status in the DV category lasts only through the end of the fiscal (visa) year for which the applicant is selected in the lottery.  The year of entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2011 program ends as of September 30, 2011.  DV visas may not be issued to DV-2011 applicants after that date.  Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2011 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2011.  DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2011 cannot be taken for granted.  Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

C. ADVANCE NOTIFICATION OF THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN MARCH

For March, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2011 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately  
AFRICA 31,950 Except: Egypt 24,275
Ethiopia 18,650
Nigeria 13,100
ASIA 17,200  
EUROPE 20,450  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 7  
OCEANIA 900  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 1,025  

D. RETROGRESSION OF FAMILY CUT-OFF DATES

Continued heavy applicant demand for numbers in the Family Fourth preference category has required the retrogression of the Worldwide, China-mainland born, Dominican Republic, and India cut-off date for the month of February.

It has also been necessary to retrogress the Dominican Republic F2B category for the month of February.

Further retrogressions cannot be ruled out should demand continue at the current levels for some categories and countries. 

Please Note:   Applicants entitled to immigrant status become documentarily qualified at their own initiative and convenience. By no means has every applicant with a priority date earlier than a prevailing cut-off date been processed for final visa action.  On the contrary, visa allotments are made only on the basis of the total applicants reported documentarily qualified each month, compared with the amount of available numbers.  For example, during the past month, over 17,300 of the applicants who have become documentarily qualified in the Family preference categories have priority dates earlier than the cut-off dates established for January.  Demand for visa numbers can fluctuate from one month to another, with the inevitable impact on cut-off dates.  

Following are examples of possible cut-off date actions based on demand:

Numbers
Available 
Demand with Priority Dates
Prior to the Current Cut-off
Next Month’s
Cut-off Date Will

3,000
3,000
3,000

1,000
3,000
5,000
Advance
Remain the same
Retrogress

 

Immigration questions?  We have answers.  Free consultation available | 800-969-5529

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H-1B Visa Count (January 14, 2011) | 4300 Regular Cap Visas Remain

Posted by Karen Pollak on Wed, Jan 19, 2011 @ 9:50 AM

As of December, 24, 2010, the Master's exemption number for H-1B has been reached. For the regular H-1B cap, we are in the final stretch and expect the remaining 4300 H-1B visas to be used  in the next 2-3 weeks. It reflects the sluggish economy, the high unemployment (9.6%) and the tax uncertainty.

The good news is that you can still apply for the fiscal year 2011!

More information can be found at the USCIS H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 Cap Season Page.

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