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EIG Dispatch | November 20, 2015

November 20, 2015

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Department of State’s Charles Oppenheim Provides Projections for the Visa Bulletin in 2016
  • Argentina Expands Dependent Immigration Status
  • H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs Available to 16 More Countries
  • Canada: Quota Reached for Ontario Regular Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)

Department of State’s Charles Oppenheim Provides Projections for the Visa Bulletin in 2016

Mr. Charles Oppenheim, the Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division for the Department of State (DOS), has provided an analysis of trends as well as projections for 2016 with regards to immigrant preference categories. After examining the final action date movements for December 2015, and noting that there were no changes in the filing dates for either family based nor employment based visa categories, Mr. Oppenheim provided some projections for the coming months in the final action dates category.

Mr. Oppenheim has observed that EB-2 India will advance 10 months in December to June 1, 2007 and projects that the dates are likely to advance monthly, possibly by as much as 8 months.  Additionally, Mr. Oppenheim observed that EB-2 China will remain the same in December and does not anticipate much movement in this category in the next few months.

EIG will continue to keep you updated monthly as the Visa Bulletin is released.


Argentina Expands Dependent Immigration Status

Argentina has expanded dependent immigration status to include all registered partners as of October 13, 2015. This includes both domestic and same-sex partners.  Unmarried couples wishing to benefit from this new law must register in order to gain dependent immigration status. At this point, the process and requirements are somewhat unclear for registering unmarried partners abroad before dependent visas are processed.  EIG will continue to monitor this change and keep our clients informed of any process changes as they are clarified by immigration authorities.


H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs Available to 16 More Countries

On November 18, 2015 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced the addition of 16 new countries to the list of eligible countries to participate in the H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs. Additionally, the country of Moldova’s eligibility for the H-2B Visa program was revoked because it has failed to meet program standards. However, citizens of Moldova may still participate in the H-2A program.  This announcement has been published in the Federal Register and will become effective January 18, 2016.

The H-2A Visa program allows U.S. employers to hire foreign nationals for temporary agricultural work, while the H-2B Visa program allows employers to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs. The list is ever changing as DHS, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State (DOS), monitors the eligibility of the countries participating to ensure that program standards are being upheld.

The new eligible countries are as follows: Andorra, Belgium, Brunei, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, Singapore, Taiwan, and Timor-Leste.


Canada: Quota Reached for Ontario Regular Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)

Under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) individuals and their families are nominated for permanent resident status in Canada based on a pre-approved job offer in the province.  The OINP includes applicants with Master’s degrees and PhDs.  Although the program is administered by the Government of Ontario, applications are filed with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).  CIC is also responsible for setting the annual provincial nomination targets. Ontario received 2,500 nominations for 2015 and OINP announced the limit was reached on November 16, 2015.

No new employer pre-screen applications nor applications under the Master’s and PhD streams will be accepted from November 16, 2015 until January 3, 2016. These applications will once again be accepted by CIC starting on January 4, 2016. Applications received during this time will be returned to applicants.  For those with approved employer pre-screen applications, the OINP will continue to accept applications under the Foreign Worker and International Student with Job Offer streams.

OINP aims to assist employers in recruiting skilled and experienced works to the Canadian province.  The announcement that the quota was reached follows the October 29, 2015 closure of the OINP’s Investor Component. This earlier announcement was part of the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade’s effort to better respond to changing economic realities in Ontario.