USCIS Will Conduct Second Random Selection for FY 2024 H-1B Cap
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on July 27, 2023, that it will soon select, using a random process, additional registrations from previously submitted electronic registrations for the fiscal year (FY) 2024 H-1B cap.
In March 2023, USCIS conducted an initial random selection. The initial filing period for those with selected registrations for FY 2024 was April 1, 2023, through June 30, 2023. USCIS noted that only petitioners with selected registrations for FY 2024 are eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions.
USCIS said it will announce when the second selection process is completed and all prospective petitioners with selected registrations have been notified that they are eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for the beneficiary.
USCIS will update the myUSCIS accounts of those with selected registrations to include a selection notice, which includes details of when and where to file.
- USCIS alert, July 27, 2023. https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-will-conduct-second-random-selection-from-previously-submitted-fy-2024-h-1b-cap-registrations
National Security Advisor Discusses ‘Legal Pathways Initiative’ With Mexico
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan released a statement on July 28, 2023, announcing additional steps the United States is taking “to expand access to safe, orderly, legal migration pathways” following meetings in Mexico between Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and a U.S. delegation led by White House Homeland Security Advisor Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall.
Mr. Sullivan announced the United States’ “full support” for “an international multipurpose space that the Government of Mexico plans to establish in southern Mexico to offer new refugee and labor options for the most vulnerable people who are currently in Mexico. We also commit to accept refugee resettlement referrals from qualified individuals from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela who are already in Mexico.”
President Biden “has significantly expanded legal pathways to the United States, in line with the goals of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection,” Mr. Sullivan said. “We encourage migrants to use these legal pathways instead of putting their lives in the hands of dangerous smugglers and traffickers. Pursuant to our laws, those seeking to enter the United States unlawfully will continue to face strong consequences, including removal, possible criminal prosecution, and a bar on reentry.”
- Statement From National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Legal Pathways Initiative With Mexico (July 28, 2023). https://tinyurl.com/yeckx8py
State Dept. Proposes Rule Providing for Third-Party Attendance at Certain Appointments
On July 26, 2023, the Department of State (DOS) proposed a rule to allow private attorneys, interpreters, and other third parties to attend certain appointments at passport agencies and centers and U.S. embassies and consulates abroad to assist the person requesting services (the applicant/requester).
DOS said the rulemaking will apply only to appointments in support of an application for a U.S. passport, either domestically or overseas; to appointments related to a request for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States (CLN); and to other appointments for certain other services offered by American Citizens Services (ACS) units at U.S. embassies and consulates overseas (posts).
DOS will accept comments on the proposed rule until September 25, 2023.
- DOS proposed rule, 88 Fed. Reg. 48143 (July 26, 2023). https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-07-26/pdf/2023-15744.pdf
Revised I-9 Form Published August 1
On August 1, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Among the updates is a checkbox employers enrolled in E-Verify can use to indicate that they remotely examined identity and employment authorization documents under an alternative procedure authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) related to temporary COVID-19 flexibilities. Under the alternative procedure, the employer must examine and retain copies of documents and must conduct a live video interaction with the employee.
Employers who were participating in E-Verify and created a case for employees whose documents were examined during COVID-19 flexibilities (March 20, 2020, to July 31, 2023) may choose to use the new alternative procedure starting on August 1, 2023, to satisfy the physical document examination requirement by August 30, 2023. Employers who were not enrolled in E-Verify during the COVID-19 flexibilities must complete an in-person physical examination by August 30, 2023, USCIS said.
In addition to the new checkbox, USCIS said the revised Form I-9:
- Reduces Sections 1 and 2 to a single-sided sheet;
- Is designed to be a fillable form on tablets and mobile devices;
- Moves the Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification area to a separate, standalone supplement that employers can provide to employees when necessary;
- Moves Section 3, Reverification and Rehire, to a standalone supplement that employers can print if or when rehire occurs or reverification is required;
- Revises the Lists of Acceptable Documents page to include some acceptable receipts as well as guidance and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation; and
- Reduces instructions from 15 pages to 8 pages.
The revised Form I-9 (edition date 08/01/23) was published on uscis.gov on August 1, 2023. The related USCIS notice is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on July 25, 2023. USCIS said employers can use the current Form I-9 (edition date 10/21/19) through October 31, 2023. Starting November 1, 2023, all employers must use the new Form I-9.
- USCIS alert, July 21, 2023. https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-to-publish-revised-form-i-9
- “Introduction of a New Version of Employment Eligibility Verification Form,” USCIS Federal Register notice (advance copy, to be published July 25, 2023). https://public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2023-15667.pdf
- “Optional Alternative 1 to the Physical Document Examination Associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9),” USCIS Federal Register notice (advance copy, to be published July 25, 2023). https://public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2023-15533.pdf
USCIS Updates Visa Availability Approach for Managing EB-5 Immigrant Investor Petition Inventory
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on July 18, 2023, that it is updating its visa availability approach for managing the inventory of Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor.
The new approach involves grouping petitions with filing dates on or before November 30, 2019, by new commercial enterprise within the queue of petitions where the project has been reviewed and a visa is available or soon will become available. USCIS said that assigning multiple petitions associated with the same new commercial enterprise to the same adjudicator(s) will allow them to process such petitions more efficiently and reduce backlogs.
USCIS said this new approach is “effective July 2023.”
- USCIS alert, July 18, 2023. https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-updates-visa-availability-approach-for-managing-form-i-526-petition-inventory
- Update to Visa Availability Approach for Form I-526 (July 18, 2023). https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/permanent-workers/employment-based-immigration-fifth-preference-eb-5/update-to-visa-availability-approach-for-form-i-526
USCIS Updates Policy Manual on Public Charge Inadmissibility Ground
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has incorporated information into its Policy Manual on the categories of adjustment of status applicants to whom the public charge ground of inadmissibility applies “to make it easier to identify whether the public charge ground of inadmissibility applies to a specific adjustment of status category.”
USCIS said the update is intended to help applicants respond accurately to questions related to the public charge ground of inadmissibility on Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, which will provide officers with the information they need to adjudicate the application and, if applicable, make a public charge inadmissibility determination without issuing a Request for Evidence for this information.
- USCIS alert, July 20, 2023. https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-updates-policy-manual-to-make-it-easier-to-identify-who-is-subject-to-the-public-charge-ground
DHS Adds Eight Qualifying Fields to STEM Designated Degree Program List
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has amended the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List by adding eight qualifying fields of study and a corresponding Department of Education Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code for each. No CIP codes from the existing list are being removed.
The eight added fields and CIP codes are:
- Landscape Architecture (04.0601)
- Institutional Research (13.0608)
- Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering Technology/Technician (15.0407)
- Composite Materials Technology/Technician (15.0617)
- Linguistics and Computer Science (30.4801)
- Developmental and Adolescent Psychology (42.2710)
- Geospatial Intelligence (43.0407)
- Demography and Population Studies (45.0501)
The list is used to determine whether a degree obtained by certain F-1 nonimmigrant students following the completion of a program of study qualifies as a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degree as determined by DHS, as required for the F–1 student to be eligible to apply for a 24-month extension of post-completion optional practical training (OPT).
DHS noted that “[i]nterested parties, including members of the public, may nominate a CIP code for inclusion on, or removal from, the STEM list.” Nominations may be submitted by email to the SEVP Response Center at SEVP@ice.dhs.gov, with the subject line ‘”Attention: STEM CIP Code Nomination.”
- DHS notice, 88 Fed. Reg. 44381 (July 12, 2023). https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-07-12/pdf/2023-14807.pdf
August Visa Bulletin Announces Retrogressions in Several Categories
The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for August includes the following information:
- Establishment of Worldwide employment-based first preference (EB-1) final action date. An EB-1 final action date will be established for Rest of World countries, Mexico, and Philippines in August. Rest of World countries, Mexico, and Philippines will be subject to a final action date of 01AUG23. In October the category will likely return to “Current” for these countries.
- Retrogression in employment-based first preference (EB-1) for India. The EB-1 final action date for India will retrogress in August. India will be subject to an EB-1 final action date of 01JAN12. In October the final action date will likely advance.
- Retrogression in employment-based third preference (EB-3) for Rest of World countries, Mexico, and Philippines. The Rest of World, Mexico, and Philippines EB-3 final action dates will retrogress in August to 01MAY20.
- Department of State’s Visa Bulletin (August 2023). https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2023/visa-bulletin-for-august-2023.html
USCIS Expands Personalized Processing Times to Work Authorization and Travel Document Applications
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on July 12, 2023, that it is expanding myProgress (formerly known as personalized processing times) to Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. MyProgress is also available for applicants with a USCIS online account who file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, among others.
USCIS said that myProgress provides personalized estimates of wait times for major milestones, including final case decisions. USCIS noted that although estimates are based on historical patterns of cases with similar specifics, they “are not a guarantee of speed, cannot take into consideration all possible unique application processing delays, and may over- or underestimate the true processing time.”
To view estimated case timelines, applicants must first create a USCIS online account or log into their account and select their pending application. If they e-filed or linked one of the applicable forms to their online account using an online access code, they will see a myProgress tab for their application. The myProgress tab displays the estimated wait time until their case has a decision, along with a checkmark beside three milestones as they are completed:
- Confirmation that the application was received;
- Completion of the biometric services appointment (if required); and
- Decision on the pending case.
Applicants should visit the public Check Case Processing Times webpage to determine if they are eligible to file an Outside of Normal Processing Times service request, USCIS said.
- USCIS alert, July 12, 2023. https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-expands-myprogress-to-form-i-765-and-form-i-131
Don’t forget you can still watch the full 2023 Klasko Webinar Series! Watch all recordings here.
IN THE NEWS
H. Ronald Klasko | William A. Stock
Business Today announces Ron Klasko and Bill Stock in the top 10 most influential immigration business lawyers in the USA for 2023.
The Legal Intelligencer published Romina’s article on why employers navigating layoffs must consider the PERM process.
RECENT SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT
H. Ronald Klasko | Anu Nair | Alison Li
Ron, Anu, and Alison spoke in this EB-5 Affiliate Network webinar event to discuss why Chinese investors should consider rural EB-5 projects and source of funds for Chinese investors.
ICYMI: RECENT BLOG POSTS AND ALERTS
DHS Announces New Alternative For Remote I-9 Employment Verification
In this client, Grace Waweru explains the new remote alternative for E-Verify employers with good standing, announced recently by the Department of Homeland Security.
Employers Navigating Layoffs Must Consider The Perm Process
In this article, Romina Gomez urges employers to consider how layoffs can affect both the PERM process for workers and the future roles for international staffing at your company.
Rural EB-5 Projects And Source Of Funds For Chinese Investors
This blog summarizes a recent webinar event hosted by EB-5 Affiliate Network. Klasko attorneys explain the importance of source of funds, what the four main sources of funds are, and explain the benefits and advantages of investing in rural EB-5 projects.
Last month, Klasko had its annual summer event where employees enjoyed bowling at Lucky Strike! See the pictures below:
This newsletter was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Klasko Immigration Law Partners is an active member.