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Immigration Newsletter
June 2012 - Volume 4, Issue 3
Common Acronyms
AILA: American Immigration Lawyers Association


DOL: Department of Labor

DOS: Department of State


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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Over the past several years, H-1B visa numbers have remained available under the annual cap until after the start of the new Fiscal Year (October 1; as a reminder, visa petitions can be filed on April 1 for an October 1 start date).  This year, however, usage of H-1B visa numbers for FY2013 has picked up dramatically.  As of June 1, USCIS indicates it has received approximately 55,600 cap-subject H-1B petitions towards the annual cap of 65,000. Based on the number of filings in recent weeks, there is a very good chance that the cap could be met within the next week or so.  Once that happens, no new H-1B petitions (subject to the cap) will be accepted by USCIS until April 1, 2013, for a start date of October 1, 2013.


Immigrant Visa Availability:

  • EB-2 Indians and Chinese

On April 11, the Department of State (DOS) notified USCIS that all immigrant visas for EB-2 applicants born in India and China have been allocated for this Fiscal Year (which ends September 30). Therefore, no additional permanent residence cases for these individuals can be filed or approved prior to October 1 when the new visa numbers become available (with the exception that new I-485s could be filed during the remainder of April and May based on the previously-released Visa Bulletins).


In the June Visa Bulletin, DOS provided projections for EB-2 visa numbers over the coming year and estimated that, while visas will again be available beginning in October, the priority dates will not return to the April Visa Bulletin's availability date of May 1, 2010 for some time, not until the Spring of 2013 at the earliest. In the meantime, those I-485 applications that were previously filed will remain pending with USCIS, awaiting the availability of an immigrant visa number.

  • EB-1 and EB-2 Visa Availability

Also mentioned in the June Visa Bulletin is that it may be necessary for DOS to set a cut-off date for the EB-1 category at the end of the fiscal year due to high demand. Similarly, a cut-off date may need to be established for the EB-2 category for all countries other than China and India at some point in the coming months.


Reminder: Summer Brings Delays at Consulates


Employees traveling abroad this summer and obtaining new visa stamps in their passports should keep in mind that the warmer months bring delays at many U.S. Consulates and Embassies around the world. Additionally, many Consulates see an increase in visa applications towards the end of the summer as students apply to obtain their visa stamps to begin the school year, and new H-1B visa holders obtain their stamps to begin working on October 1. Therefore, travelers should schedule visa appointments well in advance of their trips to ensure an appointment will be available. We also recommend that the appointment be scheduled at the beginning of the trip to allow extra time in case of processing delays.


DOL Indicates Intent to Increase PERM Supervised Recruitment


At a Department of Labor liaison meeting with stakeholders in early April, DOL announced that employers should expect to see a dramatic increase in the number of PERM audits and Supervised Recruitment (SR) cases as part of an Integrity Review process which began in January of this year.  Specifically, DOL intends to put approximately 30% of all PERM cases filed into audit or SR. Across the country, employers and immigration attorneys have begun to see a very marked increase in audits and supervised recruitment.  

When a case is audited, DOL asks for all supporting documents regarding minimum requirements, recruitment, and results of recruitment.  After DOL reviews the response, it may choose to put a case into SR.  When that happens, the employer must re-recruit for the position, based on a case-specific process dictated by DOL (which includes the language and recruitment sources for the ads).  The purpose of SR is to assure DOL that there are no U.S. workers who are willing, able, available and qualified to do the advertised job.


USCIS Launches New (Limited) Electronic Filing System


USCIS recently rolled out a new Electronic Immigration System (ELIS), which allows certain applicants to electronically file to change or extend their nonimmigrant status. At this point, ELIS can only be used for the F, J, M, and B nonimmigrant categories. However, this is only the first phase of the program, and USCIS anticipates expanding the program to include additional application and petitions types approximately every 6 months. The ultimate goal for USCIS is to transition to a primarily-electronic filing system for all immigration benefits.  


In the News: What's Happening at RS

In the Community:

  • Lawyers for Transgender Rights: Ross Silverman proudly served as a Bronze-Level Sponsor of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition's 2012 Lawyers for Transgender Rights event on Thursday, April 12.
  • Walk for Hunger: On Sunday, May 6, a team of RS partners and employees participated as "Firm Against Famine" in Project Bread's 2012 Walk for Hunger. We are proud to have raised over $5,000 towards this great cause.

Speaking Engagements:

  • May 4, 2012: Howard Silverman spoke to congressional staffers about prosecutorial discretion at an AILA event at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston.
  • May 6, 2012: Howard Silverman spoke on a Boston Bar Association panel entitled, "Representing Clients with a Criminal Record in Immigration Bond and Removal Hearings."
  • May 9, 2012: Howard Silverman served as a panelist speaking about removal defense at the Massachusetts Bar Association's Criminal Immigration Conference.

  • May 18, 2012:  Heidi Snyder co-chaired the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) 11th Annual New England Immigration Law Conference.

  • May 18, 2012:  Rhonda Tietjen spoke on a panel at the MCLE conference entitled, "Corporate Compliance: Developing Corporate Compliance Policies and I-9 Best Practices," and wrote an article on this topic which was published for all conference attendees.

  • 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.