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  • Ashenberg Law Group

April 2022 Newsletter

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1. April 2022 Visa Bulletin: Advancement in EB-2 for India Nationals

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) released the Visa Bulletin for April 2022, which shows slow advancement in EB-2 and no advancement in EB-3 employment-based categories, and no movement in family-based categories. The cutoff dates for issuance of employment-based immigrant visas are as follows:

  • EB-1: All countries are current.

  • EB-2: China remains at March 1, 2019; India advances to July 8, 2013. All other countries are current.

  • EB-3 Professional and Skilled Workers: China remains at March 22, 2018; India remains at January 15, 2012. All other countries are current.

USCIS will accept all family-based and employment-based adjustment of status applications based on the “Dates for Filing” charts.

The April 2022 Visa Bulletin can be found here.

2. USCIS Extends Flexibility for Responding to Agency Requests

On March 30, 2022, USCIS announced that it is extending its flexibility for applicants and petitioners responding to a Request for Evidence (RFE), Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOIR), Notice of Intent to Terminate (NOIT) regional investment center, as well as filing date requirements for Notice of Appeal or Motion, etc., dated between March 1, 2020 and July 25, 2022, inclusive, USCIS will consider responses submitted within 60 calendar days after the response date set forth in the notices.

USCIS’ alert can be found here.

3. USCIS Announces New Actions to Reduce Backlogs, Expand Premium Processing, and Provide Relief to Work Permit Holders

On March 29, 2022, USCIS announced a trio of efforts to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the overall legal immigration system. USCIS will set new agency-wide backlog reduction goals, expand premium processing to additional form types, and work to improve timely access to employment authorization documents (EADs).

To reduce the agency’s pending caseload, USCIS is establishing new internal cycle time goals. USCIS also intends to begin its phased implementation process by expanding premium processing availability to certain Forms I-539, I-765 and I-140 in FY 2022. USCIS recently also has begun streamlining many EAD processes, including extending validity periods for certain EADs and providing expedited work authorization renewals for healthcare and childcare workers.

USCIS’ alert can be found here.

4. USCIS Completes the FY 2023 H-1B Initial Electronic Registration Selection Process

On March 29, 2022, USCIS announced that it has received enough electronic registrations to reach the H-1B regular cap of 65,000, and the H-1B U.S. advanced degree exemption (i.e. master’s cap) of 20,000, for the FY 2023 H-1B Cap Season.

USCIS has also completed the random selection process for properly submitted and timely filed registrations, and has notified all prospective petitioners with selected registrations that they are eligible to file an H-1B cap petition for the specified beneficiary.

A Petitioner with a valid selected registration notice must file their H-1B cap-subject petition for the named Beneficiary during the listed filing window beginning on April 1, 2022, and at the Service Center indicated on that notice, or USCIS will reject or deny the petition.

USCIS’ alert can be found here.

5. USCIS Updates Guidance on Employment Authorization for E and L Nonimmigrant Spouses

On March 18, 2022, USCIS updated guidance in its Policy Manual to address the documentation that certain E and L nonimmigrant spouses may use as evidence of employment authorization based on their nonimmigrant status.

As of January 30, 2022, USCIS and CBP has begun issuing Forms I-94 with new Class of Admission (COA) codes for certain E and L spouses, including E-1S, E-2S, E-3S, and L-2S.

Starting April 1, 2022, USCIS will mail out a notice to E or L spouses over the age of 21 who has an unexpired Form I-94 from an approved Form I-539 that USCIS issued before January 30, 2022. This notice, along with an unexpired Form I-94 reflecting E-1, E-2, E-3, E-3D, E-3R, or L-2 nonimmigrant status, will serve as evidence of employment authorization.

USCIS’ alert can be found here.

6. USCIS Urges Eligible Individuals to Consider Applying for Adjustment of Status in the EB-2 Category Based on the April Visa Bulletin Date for Filing for India

Due to changes in the April Visa Bulletin, on March 17, 2022, USCIS urged noncitizens with an approved immigrant visa petition in the EB-2 category (chargeable to India and with a priority date earlier than September 1, 2014) to consider applying for adjustment of status in April.

Applicants should include Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record with the green card application to save time.

USCIS’ alert can be found here.

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