EIG Dispatch | August 8, 2017

DC Insights: President Trump Support RAISE Act / Congress and Supreme Court Recess

Headlines: Canadian Job Match Service / Permanent Residency in Qatar / Innovation Visa Laungh in Israel

Feature Story: Visa Bulletin FAQs

DC Insights: What We Learned in the Past 7 Days

President Trump Announces his Support of the RAISE Act. President Trump announced last Wednesday that he supported the RAISE Act, a proposal introduced by Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue. As previously reported, the Act aims to curtail legal immigration by introducing a merit-based system to determine who will be admitted to the U.S. and granted permanent residency. Focusing on family-based immigration, applicants will be assessed based on skills, language ability, and education levels rather than on their relationship to individuals already in the U.S., as the current system emphasizes. The bill has been opposed by Democrats and Republicans alike, and is expected to be met with obstacles in the Senate.

Congress and Supreme Court are Currently in Recess. Congress is currently out for summer vacation and Supreme Court has been in recess since late June, after weighing in on Trump’s Travel Ban. The Supreme Court is due back in early October and will review and provide further clarifications on Trump’s Travel Ban. More activity is expected to resume again after Labor Day, when Congress returns from vacation.

Headlines: Immigration News from Around the World

Canada – New Requirement for Employers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.  Effective August 28, 2017, Canadian employers seeking to employ foreign workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are now required to use the Job Match service as part of the Labor Market Impact Assessment process (“LMIA”). The new Job Match feature compares Canadian candidates’ profiles against job postings and rates their compatibility on a scale of one to five. If a Canadian candidate is not found, the employer can then apply for a Labor Market Impact Assessment.

New Permanent Residency Law in Qatar. In a draft law approved by the Cabinet of Qatar, the Minister of Interior is authorized to approve permanent residency for foreign nationals who satisfy the requirements set in the law.  Further, the Minister of Interior may authorize permanent residency to children of women who are citizens of Qatar but who are married to foreign nationals, as well as foreign nationals who have “offered valuable services to the country and people with special capacities that the country needs.” While permanent residency status will provide for equal health and education benefits as those enjoyed by citizens of Qatar, the draft law does not mention a path to naturalization.

Israel Launches Innovation Visa for Tech Startups. The new Israeli Innovation Visa program allows foreign nationals and entrepreneurs interested in launching their innovative technological projects in Israel to obtain Israeli Innovation Visas for an initial period of 24 months. During this time, foreign entrepreneurs will be hosted by local technology firms and will be eligible for assistance by the Tnufa Program. Individuals and entrepreneurs whose ideas develop into a business will be eligible for an Expert Visa, which permits work authorization valid for up to five years. For additional information, please see here.

Feature Story: Visa Bulletin FAQs

A few weeks ago, we provided answers to the most frequently asked questions during the green card process. For many people, especially those from India and China, the most lengthy stage of the process comes in stage 2, waiting for the “priority date to become current” on the visa bulletin. This week we are delving deeper and answering your Frequently Asked Visa Bulletin questions.

What is the Visa Bulletin?
The visa bulletin is a document published online every month by the U.S. Department of State (DOS), together with USCIS. It is how the U.S. government tells those with an approved family (Form I-130) or employment-based immigration petition (Form I-140) when they are eligible to apply for a green card.

Why aren’t all categories always current?
The numbers of visas available each year for each category are limited. There are also per-country limits. Each year, for most categories, there are more green card applicants with approved family or employment-based petitions than available visas – demand is far greater than the supply. This creates a backlog and a long line of people waiting for an available visa. The more the demand exceed supply, the longer the line and the greater the backlog.

What information do I need to see if my priority date is current?
Before checking the visa bulletin, you will need to know to know several details about your approved petition.

  • The category
  • The country where the primary applicant was born.
  • The priority date

How do I use this information to tell if my date is current?
Scroll down the chart for your type of petition, and use the category and country to find the box for your petition type. The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date which is earlier than the listed date may file their green card application.

What is the difference between the “Final Action” charts and “Dates for Filing” chart?
The final action chart indicates when a green card may be issued. However, given that it takes a while for green card applications to be processed, applications can be filed in advance of this “final action date” using the “Dates for Filing” chart.

How does the government determine how far forward to move each category each month?
Essentially, the government takes the annual number of visas available for each category, divides it by 12 (supply), and moves the dates forward enough to meet the supply (demand). It is difficult to calculate how much demand will be generated by each move forward, so sometimes all visas are used up before the end of the year, making some categories “U” for “unavailable”.