June/July 2008 Immigration Update
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June/July 2008 Immigration Update

FBI Name Check Update

Previously the FBI committed itself to providing the results of name checks within a 180 day period. Failure to comply results in the adjudicator approving the I-485, 601, 687 or 698. Prior to this policy, one or more year delays were common. Fortunately, the FBI has reported that it has initiated name checks for those individuals who applied for naturalization last summer.

EB-3 Category Unavailable until October 1st 2008

As per the July 2008 Visa Bulletin, beginning July 2008 the EB-3 category will become unavailable until October 1st, 2008. The EB-3 classification includes: 1) Aliens with at least two years of experience as skilled workers; 2) Professionals with a baccalaureate degree; and 3) Other workers with less than two years experience, such as an unskilled worker who can perform labor for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. Demand for numbers, primarily for adjustment of status cases, will bring the entire Employment Third preference category to the annual numerical limit by the end of June, and as a result, the classification will become unavailable beginning in July and will remain so for the remainder of the FY-2008. Such action will only be temporary and Employment Third preference availability should return to the cut-off dates established for June in October, the first month of the new fiscal year.

Presidential Amendment of Executive Order Requires E-Verify for Contractors

The Department of Homeland Security requires the use E-Verify as the electronic employment verification system to be used by federal contractors pursuant to Executive Order 12389. However, Executive Order 13465 now requires that federal contracting agencies enter into contracts with employers who have “used the best available means to confirm the work authorization of their workforce.” This is deemed to be fulfilled by using the E-Verify system. This new rule further enforces the “immigration laws of the United States, which includes the detection and removal of illegal aliens and the imposition of legal sanctions against employers that hire illegal aliens.” E-Verify is a web-based program that allows employers to verify that the name of the employee matches the Social Security number given on the I-9 form.

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Certain I-140s

On June 16th, 2008, USCIS began accepting Premium Processing Service requests for Forms Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) filed on behalf of certain alien workers in H-1B classification. Premium Processing Service offers 15 calendar-day processing for designated employment-based petitions and applications upon request. There is a nonrefundable fee of $1000 for the service. USCIS is limiting Premium Processing Service for Form Form I-140 that are filed on behalf of aliens: 1) Who are currently in H-1B non-immigrant status; 2) Whose sixth year will end within 60 days; 3) Who are only eligible for a further extension of H-1B non-immigrant status under Sec. 104(c) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21); and 4) Who are ineligible to extend their H-1B status under Sec. 106(a) of AC21.

FY-2009 Cap-Subject H1-B Visa Update

USCIS Service Center Operations has offered the following update regarding processing H1-B Visa cases under the FY-2009 cap:

As of May 23, 2008, except where USCIS is reviewing cases it believes to be a potential duplicate filing, all receipts have been issued for the cases which were selected in the random lottery. Those cases that USCIS believes to be potential duplicate filings are being reviewed by hand, meaning they will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Those cases picked during the random selection process have met the cap limit for the year.

USCIS Centralizes Naturalization Application Processing

USCIS has centralized initial processing of all applications for naturalization (Form-400) at its National Benefits Center in Missouri. This change is part of the USCIS initiative to increase the efficiency of case management and improve customer service. This internal administrative change will not change where applicants file their naturalization applications. Applicants will continue to file their naturalization applications, including all supporting documents and fees with the USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction over their place of residence. Applicants will also continue to report to a local field office for their interview and naturalization test. USCIS will send applicants a notice when the Service Center transfers their application to the National Benefits Center for initial processing.

Applicants should continue to send their N-400 application and supporting documents to the Service Center having jurisdiction over their place of residence.

AZ, CA, HI, NV, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands:

                      California Service Center

PO Box 10400

Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-1040

AK, CO, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MO, MN, MT, NE, ND, OH, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI and WY:

Nebraska Service Center

PO Box 87400

Lincoln, NE 68501-7400

AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NM, NC, OK, SC, TN or TX:

Texas Service Center

PO Box 851204

Mesquite, TX 75185-1204

CT, DE, DC, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, VA, WV, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands:

Vermont Service Center

75 Lower Welden St

St. Albans, VT 05479-9400