Immigration Update

November 2012                                                    Vol. 4 Issue11

In the November Issue
December Visa Bulletin
E-Verify Soon Mandatory
H-1B Backlogs Continue
U.S.-Canada Pilot Entry/Exit Program
Loews Hotels + Trusted Traveler Program
New and Noteworthy
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December Visa Bulletin Updates
US Visa

The Department of State released the December Visa Bulletin. The major development is the lack of movement in EB-2 India and the possibility of a cutoff date for EB-5 China in a few months. The lack of movement in EB-2 India confirms Mr. Charles Oppenheim, the Chief of Visa Control and Reporting Division, and the U.S. Department of State, comments that EB-2 India will move very slowly over the next months.  EB-1 remains current across the board. EB-3 for ROW, Mexico and Philippines are current. To read the entire bulletin, click here.


Mandatory E-Verify in Four States in 2013
Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee will see new mandates on E-Verify use in the new year.  Georgia's large businesses are already required to use the system, but come January 1, small businesses made up of 11-99 employees will have to use it as well.  On the same day in North Carolina, all employers with 100-500 employees, will be required to use E-Verify. Pennsylvania's Act 127 will take effect July 1, 2013 and will require all public works contractors and subcontractors with projects costing $25,000+ to enroll. Tennessee will conclude its phasing-in of E-Verify by requiring businesses with 6-199 employees to participate by New Year's Day.  With President Obama's reelection, we can expect a continual phasing-in of the program around the nation.


Ongoing H-1B Processing Backlogs 
USCIS has announced that they are now reviewing H-1B applications received on or before June 4, 2012.  USCIS continues to experience severe delays in processing H-1B cap and non-cap cases and have not released an estimate of when the backlog will be resolved.  The delays have resulted in the inability of beneficiaries of new H-1B petitions to start employment on October 1 as anticipated.  For those cases in which a prompt adjudication is required for travel abroad or driver's license issuance or other, we are recommending utilizing premium processing to ensure timely adjudication. 
U.S. - Canada Border Program Begins

Phase 1 of the Entry/Exit pilot program has started. Now through January 31, 2013, the DHS and Canada Border Patrol Services will be taking biographic information from foreign nationals and legal permanent residents crossing at select ports.  The data collection is expected to facilitate an exchange of travelers' information between the two countries and improve the flow of traffic and border security.  Participating ports include: Pacific Highway, Blaine, WA / Pacific Highway, BC; Peace Arch, Blaine, WA / Douglas (Peace Arch), BC; Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, Lewiston, NY/ Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, ON; and Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls, NY / Niagara Falls Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls, ON. For more information, click here.


Trusted Traveler Program Gains Momentum

Loews Hotel & Resorts has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security to encourage enrollment in the Trusted Traveler Program.  The Global Entry program allows frequent, low-risk travelers the  benefit of expedited screening and processing through TSA.  Loews is the first hotel brand to offer this service to travelers.  AMEX and Centurion also promote this program among its members.  To read more, click here.




    I recently attended the Jax Chamber's 32nd annual Leadership Trip to Cincinnati. With the theme "Making Things Happen," the trip focused on learning how Cincinnati's top area leaders addressed Downtown revitalization, economic development, public-private partnerships, education reform and sports and entertainment marketing. The Jax Chamber plans to take the knowledge and information received to inspire Jacksonville to implement economic developments in this region.


  This will be the last Immigration Update for 2012. We will be back in January of 2013. As always we will continue to cover all the relevant information on immigration policy and reform that affects you and your business. On behalf of Marks Gray and the Immigration & Naturalization practice team, I would like to wish you and yours a very happy and safe holiday season.

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Giselle Carson
Attorney at Law
Marks Gray, P.A.
1200 Riverplace Blvd., Suite 800
Jacksonville, FL 32207
(904) 398-0900
If you need assistance with any immigration-related issues, please contact Giselle Carson or Thyra Reveron at (904) 398-0900.

Marks Gray, P.A. is dedicated to customer service. We monitor proposed and current developments in the law. The contents of this newsletter are not intended as legal advice related to individual situations. If you have any questions about your particular situation, please contact a lawyer.