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Immigration News - September and October of 2018

10/31/2018: USCIS to Expand Information Services Modernization Program to Key Locations

The Information Services Modernization Program ends self-scheduling of InfoPass appointments and instead encourages applicants to use USCIS online information resources to view general how-to information and check case statuses through the USCIS Contact Center. Recent improvements to online tools provide applicants the ability to obtain their case status and other immigration information without having to visit a local field office. - USCIS

10/26/2018: SEVP publishes 2017 international student data

Interested in knowing where international students are studying? Or where students engaged in practical training are employed? The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) published a series of data Thursday about international students studying in the U.S. during calendar year 2017. The data was extracted from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which houses information about international students and exchange visitors while they are in the U.S. - SEVP

10/12/2018: November 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for November 2018. 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 our unique Visa Bulletin Graphical Tracker, cutoff date predictions and more information please refer to the Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date (Y-M-D) Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2015-05-15 44
India Second (EB2) 2009-03-26 0
ROW Third (EB3) C Current
China Third (EB3) 2015-06-01 0
India Third (EB3) 2009-01-01 0
Mexico Third (EB3) C Current
Philippines Third (EB3) 2017-06-08 7

10/05/2018: USCIS Proposed Rule - Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to prescribe how it determines whether an alien is inadmissible to the United States under section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) because he or she is likely at any time to become a public charge. Aliens who seek adjustment of status or a visa, or who are applicants for admission, must establish that they are not likely at any time to become a public charge, unless Congress has expressly exempted them from this ground of inadmissibility or has otherwise permitted them to seek a waiver of inadmissibility. Moreover, DHS proposes to require all aliens seeking an extension of stay or change of status to demonstrate that they have not received, are not currently receiving, nor are likely to receive, public benefits as defined in the proposed rule. - DHS

10/04/2018: Federal judge blocks Trump administration from ending TPS program

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction on Wednesday evening, temporarily blocking the Trump administration from ending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for over 300,000 migrants from Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras and Sudan.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen ruled that the program's termination would result in "irreparable harm and great hardship" for its beneficiaries and their families. The TPS program protects migrants from countries enduring crises such as health epidemics, war or natural disasters. - The Hill

10/01/2018: USCIS Using Tablets to Administer the English Reading and Writing Tests for Naturalization

On Oct. 1, USCIS began using digital tablets to administer the English reading and writing tests during naturalization interviews as part of the agency’s ongoing business modernization efforts. Although USCIS applicants already use digital tablets to sign or verify parts of their applications, this new approach expands tablet usage, allowing the device to be used for a greater portion of the application process. USCIS will be able to continue using the paper process on a case-by-case basis.

While the eligibility requirements and the subject material of the naturalization test have not changed, applicants are now using a stylus on a digital tablet instead of a paper application. Immigration Services Officers (ISO) will carefully instruct applicants on how to use the tablets before administering the tests

09/13/2018: Canadian marijuana users, workers and investors risk lifetime border ban

Canadians who work in the marijuana industry — and those who invest in the booming pot sector — risk a lifetime ban on travel to the U.S., according to a senior official overseeing U.S border operations.

As Canada prepares to become the world’s only major industrialized nation to legalize retail marijuana sales starting Oct. 17, the Canadian cannabis sector is projected to generate billions of dollars of revenue in coming years and Canadians have flocked to take jobs and buy stocks in the burgeoning industry. But the move has potential to disrupt border crossings between the U.S. and Canada for travelers who run afoul of American drug laws, even if their activities are legal in Canada. - Politico

09/12/2018: October 2018 Visa Bulletin Released

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for October 2018. This is the first month of fiscal year 2019. 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 our unique Visa Bulletin Graphical Tracker, cutoff date predictions and more information please refer to the Visa Bulletin Toolbox.

Chargeability Preference Cut-off Date (Y-M-D) Movement (Days)
China Second (EB2) 2015-04-01 820
India Second (EB2) 2009-03-26 815
ROW Third (EB3) C Current
China Third (EB3) 2015-06-01 212
India Third (EB3) 2009-01-01 2192
Mexico Third (EB3) C Current
Philippines Third (EB3) 2017-06-01 212

Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5):

The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Unavailable” for October. If there is legislative action extending them for FY-2019, the final action dates would immediately become “Current” for October for all countries except China-mainland born I5 and R5, which would be subject to an August 15, 2014 final action date and Vietnam I5 and R5, which would be subject to a January 1, 2016 final action date.

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):

The final action date for this category has been listed as “Unavailable” for October. If there is legislative action extending this category for FY-2019, the final action date would immediately become “Current” for October for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which would be subject to a February 15, 2016 final action date and Mexico, which would be subject to an October 22, 2016 final action date.

09/04/2018: Green Card Tracker Updated with Data as of July 2018

green card tracker

USCIS published the pending I-485 inventory with data as of July 2018. We have now updated the green card tracker with the latest information. The I-485 tracker includes data from USCIS' pending I-485 inventory as well as DOS' pending consular processing cases.

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