- FY2015 H-1B Lottery Process Completed
- DHS to Propose Work Authorization for Dependents of H-1B Visa Holders
- Venezuelan Nationals Now Eligible for Colombian Mercosur Visa
FY2015 H-1B Lottery Process Completed
EIG reported earlier this week that the FY2015 H-1B cap had been met. USCIS recently announced that it received approximately 172,500 petitions during the FY2015 H-1B filing period. This number is more than double the amount of allotted H-1B visas available this year, rekindling the debate over U.S. immigration reform efforts.
On April 10, 2014, USCIS conducted a computer-generated lottery process to select the petitions to meet the 65,000 Regular cap and 20,000 U.S. Master’s cap, pursuant to the advanced degree exemption. Petitions filed under the U.S. Master’s cap were selected first, and all remaining, unselected petitions were then included in the lottery process for the 65,000 Regular cap limit.
USCIS has now begun issuing receipt notices for petitions that were selected under the FY2015 lottery. USCIS will return all petitions and filing fees for those petitions that were not selected under this year’s lottery.
EIG will continue to monitor developments and will provide updates as they become available. The full USCIS press release can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/news/uscis-reaches-fy-2015-h-1b-cap-0.
DHS to Propose Work Authorization for Dependents of H-1B Visa Holders
In a statement from the Office of the Press Secretary, released on April 7, 2014, the White House announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will release proposed rules that will broaden work opportunities for foreign entrepreneurs and high-skill immigrants, including their families. In particular, the proposed rules will provide for employment authorization for spouses of certain high-skilled workers on H-1B visas and increase opportunities for outstanding professors and researchers.
This announcement is particularly significant because, currently, H-4 dependents of H-1B visa holders are not authorized to work in the U.S. Opening the U.S. labor market to H-4 visa holders is expected to make the U.S. more attractive to talented foreign entrepreneurs and other high-skill immigrants who will contribute substantially to the U.S. economy, create jobs, and enhance American innovative competitiveness.
EIG will continue to monitor developments and will provide updates as they become available. The full White House press release can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/04/07/fact-sheet-strengthening-entrepreneurship-home-and-abroad.
Venezuelan Nationals Now Eligible for Colombian Mercosur Visa
Colombia recently extended the Mercosur visa privilege to Venezuelan nationals. Paraguay and Uruguay were added to the list of countries eligible for the visa last November. In addition to Venezuela, Paraguay, and Uruguay, nationals of the following countries are currently eligible for the Mercosur visa on the basis of reciprocity agreements with Colombia: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru.
Applicants for the Mercosur visa may apply in-country or abroad from a Colombian Consulate as long as he or she is a national of one of the eligible countries. The Mercosur visa grants the visa holder work authorization – with an employer or through self-employment – for up to two years. After two years, the Mercosur visa can be renewed, and the foreign national may apply for a resident visa.