|H-1B Quota - Master's Cap Has Been Reached|
As of October 21, 2011, approximately 46,200 H-1B cap-subject petitions were receipted against the overall quota of 65,000.
Additionally, USCIS has receipted 20,000 H-1B petitions for aliens with advanced degrees from U.S. universities, which means that the advanced degree quota has been reached for the 2012 fiscal year. H-1B petitions for individuals with U.S. advanced degrees can continue to be filed, of course, but those visa numbers will now be counted against the overall quota of 65,000.
By way of comparison, at about this time last year, 46,800 H-1B cap-subject petitions had been receipted and 17,200
H-1B petitions had been receipted against the master's quota by 11/05/2010. The FY2011 quota was met on January 28, 2011.
There are still approximately 19,000 H-1B visa numbers available for the 2012 fiscal year; however, these numbers will likely be exhausted by the end of December.
Once the H-1B quota has been exhausted for this fiscal year, the earliest that an H-1B petition can be filed for an individual who has never held H-1B status before would be April 1, 2012. And, the earliest H-1B start date would be October 1, 2012.
However, please keep in mind that, in most cases, once an individual has an approved H-1B petition, that person is no longer subject to the H-1B quota, so H-1B "change of employer" petitions can continue to be filed even after the H-1B quota for this fiscal year has been exhausted.
New EAD Card Unveiled
On October 25, 2011, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas announced the launch of an enhanced Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and a redesigned Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-560) with new
features to strengthen security and deter fraud.
As part of USCIS's ongoing efforts to enhance the integrity of the immigration system, the state-of-the-art technology incorporated into the new documents will deter counterfeiting, obstruct tampering, and facilitate quick and accurate authentication. USCIS began issuing
the new EADs today and will begin using the redesigned certificates on Oct. 30.
The agency anticipates that more than 1 million people will receive the new documents over the next year.
The new naturaliztion certificate will make it more tamper-proof. The new EAD card will look much more like an Alien Registration Card ("green card"). An image of the new EAD card is provided here so that you can recognize it for I-9 purposes:
There has been no change in the application process for either EAD cacards or for U.S. Naturalization.
USCIS Announces Restoration of Long-Standing
I-797 Mailing Procedure
A few weeks ago the USCIS has advised that, effective Sept. 12, 2011, they would start sending original I-797 receipt and approval notices directly to applicants and petitioners. Copies of the notices were to be sent to attorneys or accredited representatives, if a Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, was on file.
Previously, the original notice had been sent to the attorney or accredited representative's address listed on the Form G-28, while a copy was sent to the address provided by the applicant or petitioner in the applicable application or petition form.
Last week the USCIS announced that it would be returning to its long-standing practice, set forth by the regulations, of sending all I-797 receipt and approval notices to the attorney of record.
The USCIS heard from stakeholders that this change had an unintended negative impact. Following a stakeholder meeting to gain an understanding of the impact, the USCIS has decided to return to its previous practice of sending the original notice to the attorney or accredited representative's address listed on Form G-28. A copy will be sent to the address provided by the applicant or petitioner in the applicable form. This change will take effect in approximately six weeks due to the need to re-program the USCIS system.