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Week in Review (Jan 10, 2014)

January 10, 2014

Highlights

  • February 2014 Visa Bulletin Released
  • H-1B Fiscal Year 2015 Cap Season
  • Taiwan Implements Changes to Alien Resident Certificates

February 2014 Visa Bulletin Released

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa bulleting for February 2014.  With the exception of India, all other Chargeability Areas have moved ahead in the Employment Based categories.  India EB-2 remains at November 15, 2004, and India EB-3 remains at September 1, 2003.

The February bulletin movement can be summarized as follows:

EB-1

  • All countries remain current.

EB-2

  • The world-wide quote, Mexico, and the Philippines remain current.
  • Persons in the EB-2 category born in China are current if they have a priority date of January 8, 2009 or earlier (jump of 1 month).
  • Persons in the EB-2 category in India are current if they have a priority date of November 15, 2004 or earlier (no change from January 2014 bulletin).

EB-3

  • Persons in the EB-3 category and falling into the world-wide quota are current if they have a priority date of June 1, 2012 or earlier (jump of 2 months).
  • Persons in the EB-3 category and born in China or Mexico are also current if they have a priority date of June 1, 2012 or earlier (jump of 2 months).
  • Persons in the EB-3 category and born in India are current if they have a priority date of September 1, 2003 or earlier (no change from January 2014 bulletin).
  • Persons in the EB-3 category and born in the Philippines are current if they have a priority date of April 15, 2007 or earlier (jump of 2 months).

EB-4 and EB-5

  • All countries remain current.

The complete Visa Bulletin for February 2014 can be found at: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_6242.html.


H-1B Fiscal Year 2015 Cap Season

On April 1, 2014, USCIS will begin accepting applications for cap-subject H-1B petitions.  With an annual visa cap of 65,000 and an additional 20,000 for persons with advanced degrees, this year’s cap is likely to be met not long after April 1.  In 2013, nearly 124,000 H-1B petitions were filed within a week of April 1st, prompting USCIS to set up a lottery system to select a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the respective caps.  H-1B petitions that are filed on April 1, 2014 and subsequently approved will have a start date of October 1, 2014.  Some H-1B petitions, however, are not subject to the cap.  Petitions filed for individuals who will work at institutions of higher education, affiliated nonprofit entities or research organizations, governmental research organizations, in Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or those with approved H-1B petitions under a previous year’s quota are cap exempt.

As an H-1B employer, it is important to take appropriate steps and gather proper documentation well in advance of the April 1st filing date in order to file a thorough and accurate petition.  Some of the required documents include a certified Labor Condition Application, a job description or offer letter, and the beneficiary’s academic and wage information.  If you have any questions or would like more information on the H-1B process, please contact a member of our team.

For general information about H-1B and other Temporary Worker visas, please visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1271.html.


Taiwan Implements Changes to Alien Resident Certificates

As a follow up to EIG’s December 13, 2013 Week In Review, the Taiwan government is no longer issuing single re-entry permits during Alien Registration Certificate (ARC) application periods.  This means that ARC Applicants may not be able to leave Taiwan during the process.  The Taiwan government has instead created a system whereby individuals in urgent need of travel outside Taiwan may apply for and receive an expedited ARC within five business days.  To do so, applicants must submit a signed Explanation Letter attesting to their urgent need to travel as well as a copy of their travel itinerary.

Additionally, individuals terminated from their employment may now apply for temporary ARC, valid for 90 days after their termination, and no longer have to leave Taiwan within two weeks of termination.  This temporary ARC should be filed simultaneously with the individual’s work permit cancellation application.

EIG will continue to provide further updates as more information becomes available.