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Immigration Newsletter
March 2012 - Volume 4, Issue 2
Common Acronyms
AILA: American Immigration Lawyers Association


DOL: Department of Labor


USCIS: U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services 

Ross Silverman LLP
59 Temple Place, Suite 605
Boston, MA  02111
Phone: (617) 542-5111
Fax: (617) 542-2331
Attorneys at RS

Christine C. Gannon
Marianne Staniunas

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Spring is finally here, which means it must be H-1B time!  As many of you know, petitions for new H-1B visas for FY 2013 can be filed beginning April 1 (for an October 1, 2012 start date).  If you plan to file an H-1B petition for a new cap-subject employee, please contact the attorney you work with as soon as possible.


Impending Priority Date Retrogression for EB-2 Indians and Chinese


Last week, the State Department's Chief of Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting indicated to AILA that, in the May Visa Bulletin, the Employment-Based Second Preference (EB-2) priority dates for Indian and Chinese (PRC) nationals will retrogress to August 15, 2007.


The current priority date of May 1, 2010 remains in effect until the end of April, meaning that individuals with "current" priority dates may continue to file I-485 applications for receipt at USCIS prior to April 30. USCIS has indicated the intent to continue "pre-adjudicating" I-485 applications that are not eligible to be approved due to immigrant visa availability (or lack thereof), so that the applications can be approved as soon as visa numbers become available again.  There is a slight chance that the priority dates will advance prior to the end of this Fiscal Year, but more likely we will not see forward movement again until October 2012 (the start of FY 2013).  If you have any employees who will be affected by this retrogression, please feel free to contact the attorney you work with for more information.  

Dramatic Increase in Denials of H-1B and L-1 petitions


A recent report from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) shows that USCIS has dramatically increased the issuance of Requests for Evidence (RFEs) and denials of H-1B, L-1A and L-1B petitions in the last four years.  For example, denial rates for H-1B petitions increased from 11% in FY 2007 to 29% in FY 2009, and 63% of all L-1B petitions received RFEs in FY 2011. The report also indicates that much of the increase in denials "involves Indian-born professionals and researchers."


L-1 Visa Stamp Validity Policy Changes


Last month, the State Department published a Final Rule in the Federal Register which changed the regulations regarding the validity period that can be granted for L visa stamps at a Consulate. Previously, the regulations stated that a visa stamp could only be granted for the validity period of the USCIS-approved L petition (meaning individuals would be granted a visa stamp for a maximum of 3 years). This meant that an individual might need to return to a U.S. Consulate several times during his/her L visa period in order to obtain new visa stamps to reenter the U.S.


The new regulation allows for L visa stamps to be granted based on the visa reciprocity table for the individual's country, meaning that some individuals will be eligible for L visa stamps valid for up to 5 years, depending on their country of origin. This will save many L visa holders an extra trip to the Consulate and, for L-1B holders, could mean that they only need to visit a U.S. Consulate at the start of their L-1B period.


Visa Appointment Availability in London Before/During Olympics


The 2012 Summer Olympics will be held in London from July 27 to August 12. As a result, the U.S. Embassy in London recently announced that nonimmigrant visa services for all categories will be limited during July and August. The Embassy encourages applicants "to apply for visas during the spring and early summer as appointment availability cannot be guaranteed." Also, the embassy noted that travelers planning to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program should register with the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) now for summer travel. If ESTA registration is denied, a visa will be required.  


In the News: What's Happening at RS

New Associate Attorney: Ross Silverman is excited to announce the addition of a new Associate Attorney, Christine Capodilupo Gannon. Christi has been working with the firm since June 2011 as an Attorney Law Clerk handling employment-based cases. To learn more about Christi, visit her bio on our website.


Who's Who: We are also pleased to announce that Sharryn Ross has been listed in the International Who's Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers for 2012, and will also be included in the International Who's Who of Business Lawyers for 2013.


Walk for Hunger: On Sunday, May 6, a team of RS partners and employees will be participating as "Firm Against Famine" in Project Bread's 2012 Walk for Hunger.


Speaking Engagements:

  • March 30, 2012: Sharryn Ross will be speaking on the Department of Labor Open Forum panel at the AILA Spring Conference in Washington, D.C., discussing various issues such as recent developments with regard to prevailing wages, PERM audits, and supervised recruitment. 
  • May 4, 2012: Howard Silverman will speak to congressional staffers about prosecutorial discretion at an AILA event at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston.
  • May 9, 2012: Howard Silverman will serve as a panelist speaking about removal defense at the Massachusetts Bar Association's Criminal Immigration Conference.
  • May 18, 2012: Heidi Snyder will be co-chairing the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) 11th Annual New England Immigration Law Conference. Rhonda Tietjen will speak on a panel at the conference entitled, "Corporate Compliance: Developing Corporate Compliance Policies and I-9 Best Practices."
  • June 14 & 15, 2012: Sharryn Ross will be speaking on two panels at AILA's Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee; "Issues in PERM Audits" and the Department of Labor Open Forum.
This newsletter does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for consulting with an attorney.  Please contact us by phone or email if you have questions about any of the topics discussed here or if you have any other immigration or naturalization questions.