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EIG Dispatch | September 11, 2015

September 11, 2015

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Changes to the Visa Bulletin and New USCIS Procedures
  • Potential Government Shutdown Will Impact H-1B and PERM Applications

Changes to the Visa Bulletin and New USCIS Procedures 

 As previously reported this week, the US Department of State (DOS) will now publish two Visa Bulletin Charts monthly. The first, includes “Application Final Action Date”, that determines when green card based visas are available. This bulletin chart is essentially a continuation of what was contained in the September 2015 (and previous) Visa Bulletins.

The newly announced second bulletin chart provides the dates of eligibility for filing green card based visa applications. An applicant whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date in the Dates for Filing Visa Applications Bulletin Chart is eligible to pre-register with the National Visa Center or file his or her adjustment of status with USCIS starting October 1, 2015. Foreign nationals waiting in high demand immigrant visa categories (i.e. EB-2 and EB-3 categories for Indian and Chinese nationals) may apply for adjustment of status and obtain the benefits associated with a pending adjustment of status application before those applications are ripe for adjudication and approval. These include the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Advance Parole (AP) documents which can be renewed until the underlying adjustment application is approved.

Going forward US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the DOS will be working together to determine the “Dates for Filing Applications” each month.

EIG will continue to monitor the progress of the monthly visa bulletins so stay tuned to the Dispatch for the latest updates on both approval and filing eligibility dates.


Potential Government Shutdown Will Impact H-1B and PERM Applications

With the coming of the new federal government fiscal year on October 1, 2015, rumors of a government shutdown are flying throughout Washington, D.C. Much like the last shutdown in 2013, a potential shutdown to the U.S. federal government would mean significant delays in the H-1B process and the PERM Labor Certification Application of many foreign nationals.

Specifically, Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) that are issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) would cease to be issued throughout the shutdown and would, in turn impact the timely filing of H-1B extensions. Furthermore, the failure to timely file an extension prior to the current H-1B expiration would signify the loss of work authorization for the foreign national and would require that he/she leaves the U.S.

The PERM process would also see delays in the issuance of the Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) by the DOL which is required in order to proceed with the filing of the PERM application. Additionally, the DOL will be unable to certify PERM Applications.

As USCIS is funded through filing fees, they will not be directly impacted by a government shutdown.

EIG will continue to monitor the potential shutdown, timely inform impacted foreign nationals, and work to ensure that those impacted do not lose work authorization.