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EIG Week in Review (Nov 15, 2013)

November 15, 2013

Highlights

  • December 2013 Visa Bulletin Released
  • Immigration Processing Delays in India
  • ICE Will Not Use Health Care Application Information to Deport Immigrants
  • Canada Implements Changes and Limitations to Experience Class Category 

December 2013 Visa Bulletin Released

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for December 2013.  As expected, employment-based second preference (EB-2) for India has retrogressed and is now at November 15, 2004.  While the big news is the retrogression, there is some movement in the third preference (EB-3) category, with the priority date moving up almost a year for countries excluding India.  China and Mexico EB-3 are at October 1, 2011 for December.

The complete Visa Bulletin can be found at http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_6211.html.


Immigration Processing Delays in India

On November 12, 2013, the Bangalore Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) moved to a new location:

5th Floor, TTMC “A” Block
BMTC Building,
KH Road, Shantinagar,
Bangalore – 560023

The relocation, in addition to malfunction of FRRO servers, has resulted in substantial immigration processing delays.  Foreign nationals and their employers who are applying through the Bangalore office should take this into consideration and be prepared for lengthy delays.


ICE Will Not Use Health Care Application Information to Deport Immigrants

Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for healthcare insurance under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA).  However, applicants applying for insurance under ACA are required to provide information regarding their immigration status and information about their household members in order to determine eligibility for health coverage.  In response to ACA’s application requirements, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently issued a memorandum stating that information provided by applicants seeking health coverage under ACA will not be used to trigger immigration enforcement.

The ICE memorandum, available at http://www.ice.gov/doclib/ero-outreach/pdf/ice-aca-memo.pdf, should bring peace of mind to members of mixed-status families seeking health coverage under ACA, as ICE will not use their healthcare application information to place family members at risk for deportation.


Canada Implements Changes and Limitations to Experience Class Category

On November 8, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced that it will be applying an annual cap on new Permanent Residency Canadian Experience Class (CEC) applications.  Between November 9, 2013 and October 31, 2014, CIC will accept no more than 12,000 CEC applications.  Further, starting November 9, 2013, cooks, food service supervisors, administrative officers, administrative assistants, account technicians, bookkeepers, and retail sales supervisors will no longer be eligible under CEC.  However, applications that were already submitted in these occupations will continue to be processed.

Sub-caps will also be introduced. CIC will accept 200 applications for National Occupational Classification (NOC) B occupations, which are mostly highly technical and administrative jobs or those in the skilled trades.  Managerial and professional occupations (NOC A and 0) will not be subject to sub-caps but will be subject to the overall CEC cap of 12,000.

Finally, while minimum language requirements will remain the same, they will be assessed at the outset to ensure that applicants who fail to meet the requirements are screened out earlier in the process.  These applicants will have their applications returned to them along with their processing fee.

Chris Alexander, Citizenship and Immigration Monster, stated that these changes will “reduce backlogs and processing times” and allow for CIC to “move toward a more effective and efficient immigration system.”