March 2020 Newsletter
1. Continuation of EB-1 Worldwide Backlog, Mainland China Moved Forward 10 Days; EB-2 Rest of the World (ROW) Continues to be “Current”, Mainland China Moved Forward 1 Month; EB-5 Mainland China Moved Forward 6 Months
The U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) most recently released Visa Bulletin for March 2020 shows a continuation of worldwide backlog for EB-1, and cutoff dates for issuance of an EB-1 immigrant visa for Mainland China born applicants moved forward 10 days to June 1, 2017. On the other hand, the Visa Bulletin for March 2020 shows that EB-2 for Rest of the World (ROW) is “current”, and cutoff dates for issuance of an EB-2 immigrant visa for Mainland China born applicants have moved forward 1 month to August 15, 2015. In a pleasant surprise, the Visa Bulletin for March 2020 shows that cutoff dates for issuance of an EB-5 immigrant visa for Mainland China born applicants moved forward 6 months to May 15, 2015. Apart from F2A Spouses and Minor Children of Green Card Holders, USCIS will accept Mainland China born adjustment of status applications for all other family-based cases and employment-based cases based on the “Dates for Filing” charts.
The March 2020 Visa Bulletin can be found here.
2. H-1B Work Visa: E-Registration Began Yesterday at Noon EST!
What is H-1B
Starting yesterday (March 1, 2020) noon EST, and up until March 20, 2020 noon EST, employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions for FY 2021 must complete an electronic registration for each beneficiary. Petitioners will be required to pay a $10 fee for each electronic registration they submit to USCIS for the H-1B cap selection process. Remember, only those with selected registrations will be eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions! FY 2021 H-1B Key Dates March 1: H-1B e-registration period opens at noon EST. March 20: H-1B e-registration period closes at noon EST. March 31: Date by which USCIS intends to notify selected registrants. April 1: The earliest date that FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions may be filed. ALG attorneys have extensive experience working on H-1B cases, so feel free to reach out to us. The next 2 weeks will be the last chance for you to prepare for and participate in the FY 2021 H-1B cap-subject lottery!
3. DHS to Implement Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule Nationwide
On February 22, 2020, USCIS announced that it will implement the public charge ground of inadmissibility on February 24, 2020, including the State of Illinois following another judicial victory lifting the injunction in that state on February 21, 2020. The public charge inadmissibility rule is to ensure that those seeking to come to or remain in the U.S. do not depend on public resources to meet their needs, and to ensure that U.S. immigrants are equipped to be self-sufficient and can live in the U.S., independent of government assistance. The final rule that was issued in August 2019, and originally scheduled to be effective in October 2019, was fourfold, where it: 1) redefined certain terms critical to the public charge determination such as “public charge” and “public benefit”; 2) explained the factors that DHS will consider in the totality of the circumstances when making a public charge inadmissibility determination; 3) addressed USCIS' authority to issue public charge bonds in applications for adjustment of status; and 4) required aliens seeking an extension of stay or change of nonimmigrant status demonstrate that they have not received public benefits over the designated threshold since obtaining the nonimmigrant status. Under the final rule, USCIS will look at the factors required under the law by Congress, like an alien’s age, health, income, education and skills, among others, in order to determine whether the alien is likely at any time to become a public charge. USCIS will apply this Final Rule to all applications and petitions postmarked (or submitted electronically) on or after February 24, 2020. USCIS’ alert can be found here.
4. USCIS Measures in Response to the 2019 Coronavirus
On February 5, 2020, USCIS announced that it is actively monitoring the effects of the public health emergency related to the 2019 coronavirus outbreak on agency operations. USCIS’ field offices in Beijing and Guangzhou are temporarily closed to the public until further notice. All affected appointments have been or will be rescheduled for a later date. If you are currently in the U.S. and are sick or start to feel symptoms of being sick, please reschedule your appointment following instructions on your appointment notice. There is no penalty for rescheduling your appointment. USCIS’ alert can be found here.