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02/08/2016: March 2016 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for March 2016. The table below shows "Final Action (Approval)" cut-off dates and movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. To see filing cut-off dates or family-sponsored categories please go to the Visa Bulletin page linked above. For historical data, predictions and more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date (Y-M-D) Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2012-08-01 153
India Second (EB2) 2008-10-15 75
ROW Third (EB3) 2016-01-01 92
China Third (EB3) 2013-06-01 243
India Third (EB3) 2004-07-15 30
Mexico Third (EB3) 2016-01-01 92
Philippines Third (EB3) 2008-03-15 67

The Department of State also updated their Visa Bulletin Predictions for the next few months.

02/05/2016: H-2B Returning Workers Exempted from the H-2B Cap for Fiscal Year 2016

"Effective December 18, 2015, H-2B workers identified as “returning workers” are exempted from the fiscal year (FY) 2016 annual H-2B cap of 66,000 visas...A returning worker is defined as an H-2B worker who was previously counted against the annual H-2B cap of 66,000 visas during FYs 2013, 2014, or 2015. - USCIS

02/04/2016: Border agent: 'We might as well abolish our immigration laws altogether'

"In a shocking reversal of policy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are being told to release illegal immigrants and no longer order them to appear at deportation hearings, essentially a license to stay in the United States, a key agent testified Thursday.

What's more, the stand down order includes a requirement that the whereabouts of illegals released are not to be tracked. 'We might as well abolish our immigration laws altogether,' suggested agent Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council." - Washington Examiner

02/01/2016: A Yahoo Employee-Ranking System Is Challenged in Court

"One of Marissa Mayer’s signature policies as chief executive of Yahoo has been the quarterly performance review, in which every employee at the company is ranked on a scale of 1 to 5. The ratings have been used to fire hundreds of employees since Ms. Mayer joined the company in mid-2012.

In a lawsuit filed in Federal District Court in San Jose, Calif., on Monday, Gregory Anderson, an editor who oversaw Yahoo’s autos, homes, shopping, small business and travel sites in Sunnyvale, Calif., until he was fired in November 2014, alleges that the company’s senior managers routinely manipulated the rating system to fire hundreds of people without just cause to achieve the company’s financial goals." - NY Times

02/01/2016: Guidance for Employers Conducting Internal Form I-9 Audits

All employers are required to complete a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification to verify their new hires' identity and employment eligibility. The Department of Homeland Security Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) partnered and published guidance for employers on internal Form I-9 audits in compliance with the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA). Download the entire Guidance for Employers Conducting Internal Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 Audits to help ensure internal audits are conducted properly and do not discriminate against employees.

01/26/2016: USCIS Message: Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week

Do not fall victim to scammers who call and say they are with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)! There has been an increase in aggressive phone scams where people call and threaten you with police arrest or deportation if you don’t pay them. Even if you do owe taxes…

  • The IRS will NEVER call and demand immediate payment over the phone.
  • The IRS will NEVER try to threaten or intimidate you, demand payment with a prepaid debit card, or ask for your credit card or debit card number over the phone.
  • The IRS will NEVER threaten to call the police or immigration agents if you don’t pay.

If you get a call like this, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by calling 800-366-4484 or visiting www.tigta.gov. Also, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

01/21/2016: United States Begins Implementation of Changes to the Visa Waiver Program

"The United States today began implementing changes under the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 (the Act). U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) welcomes more than a million passengers arriving to the United States every day and is committed to facilitating legitimate travel while maintaining the highest standards of security and border protection. Under the Act, travelers in the following categories are no longer eligible to travel or be admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP):

  • Nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country).
  • Nationals of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria.

These individuals will still be able to apply for a visa using the regular immigration process at our embassies or consulates." - Department of State

01/19/2016: In potential landmark case, Supreme Court takes up Obama's immigration plan

"Setting the stage for a potential election-year blockbuster decision, the US Supreme Court has agreed to decide a Texas case challenging President Obama’s executive action to shield from deportation more than 4 million undocumented immigrants. The president announced the controversial policy in November 2014. But before it could go into effect, Texas and 25 other states filed a lawsuit seeking to block the program." - CSMonitor

01/16/2016: Supreme Court delays decision on reviewing Obama immigration measures

"The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday deferred a decision about whether to hear the Justice Department's challenge to a federal appellate ruling blocking implementation of President Barack Obama's executive orders to shield some 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Though the immigration matter does not appear on Friday's list of cases to be heard during the current term, the nine justices still have time to add it to the docket." - Fox News

01/13/2016: USCIS I-485 Filing Visa Bulletin for February 2016

  • For Family-Sponsored Filings:
    You may use the Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart for February 2016.
  • For Employment-Based Filings:
    You must use the Application Final Action Dates chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for February 2016.

01/12/2016: New Law Increases H-1B and L-1 Petition Fees

"The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Public Law 114-113), signed into law by President Obama on December 18, 2015, increases fees for certain H-1B and L-1 petitioners. These petitioners must submit an additional fee of $4,000 for certain H-1B petitions and $4,500 for certain L-1A and L-1B petitions postmarked on or after December 18, 2015.

The additional fees apply to petitioners who employ 50 or more employees in the United States, with more than 50 percent of those employees in H-1B or L (including L-1A and L-1B) nonimmigrant status....This fee is in addition to the base processing fee, Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee, American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 fee (when required), as well as the premium processing fee, if applicable." - USCIS

01/08/2016: February 2016 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for February 2016. The table below shows "Final Action (Approval)" cut-off dates and movement from the previous month, for all major employment-based categories. To see filing cut-off dates or family-sponsored categories please go to the Visa Bulletin page linked above. For historical data, predictions and more information please refer to our Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date (Y-M-D) Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2012-03-01 29
India Second (EB2) 2008-08-01 182
ROW Third (EB3) 2015-10-01 0
China Third (EB3) 2012-10-01 92
India Third (EB3) 2004-06-15 31
Mexico Third (EB3) 2015-10-01 0
Philippines Third (EB3) 2008-01-08 68

01/08/2016: A Rush of Central Americans Compounds Obama’s Immigration Task

This recent influx is compounding President Obama’s troubles with immigration in his final year in office, as his efforts to achieve broad protections for immigrants already living in the country illegally have stalled in the federal courts and his fallback actions to try to quell a new border surge have alienated many political allies.

The new rush of Central American families began in late July, and on several recent days reached the heights of the 2014 influx. By Dec. 1, more than 17,000 migrants in families were caught along the border, more than double the number in the same period in 2014. - Bloomberg

01/05/2016: "Military age men" at San Diego's southern border

"Among the several dozen Pakistani and Afghan men who have entered the U.S. illegally, coming into San Diego from Tijuana, two were found to have ties to terrorist groups, according to a letter sent by U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter to the Department of Homeland Security.

Shigg said he believes that federal officials should be talking openly about this new development and committing more resources to keeping people from such countries in custody until they can be completely vetted." - San Diego Reader

01/05/2016: U.S. Begins Immigration Crackdown on Central Americans

The Obama administration this weekend began detaining Central Americans who have evaded deportation orders, launching a crackdown on people illegally in the country amid an increase in migrants trying to cross the southwest border.

Just before Christmas, government officials confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security was planning a clampdown on Central American migrants in January that would include women and children. The operation began in Georgia and Texas, immigration attorneys and advocates said Sunday. - WSJ

01/03/2016: Migrant Crisis Risks Eroding European Union’s Gains

The migrant crisis has divided the European Union, raised new security concerns in a region scarred by terrorism, recast an old debate about how to integrate large, often disaffected Muslim populations, and begun to reshape national politics across the bloc. While Europe remains split about how to tackle the challenge, all countries agree that the first priority this year will be to reduce the inflow to more manageable levels. - WSJ

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