USCIS posts Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding Waivers of Inadmissibility
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today posted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register that would reduce the time U.S. citizens are separated from their spouses, children, and parents (i.e. immediate relatives) who must obtain an immigrant visa abroad to become lawful permanent residents of the United States. This rule would allow certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to apply for a provisional waiver of the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility while still in the United States if they can demonstrate that being separated from their U.S. citizen spouse or parent would cause that U.S. citizen relative extreme hardship. The proposed rule will not alter how USCIS determines eligibility for a waiver of inadmissibility or how an individual establishes extreme hardship.
March 2, 2012. H-2B Final Rule Stakeholder Briefings.
The Department of Labor has published in the Federal Register a notice announcing three public webinars and one in-person briefing to educate stakeholders, program users, and other interested members of the public on the changes to the H-2B program made by the H-2B Final Rule published on February 21, 2012, in advance of the Final Rule's effective date of April 23, 2012. There is no pre-registration for the public webinars. Each will be accessible to the public on a first-come, first-served basis on the date(s) specified. USDOL is currently accepting registration requests for the April 17, 2012 in-person stakeholder briefing. Please read the instructions for accessing the Department's H-2B Final Rule public webinars and in-person briefing here. To read the Federal Register notice, please click here.
In addition, the Department of Labor has re-activated the H-2B.Regulation@dol.gov e-mail box to solicit questions from the public in advance of these briefing sessions.
March 01, 2012.
The Department of Labor has posted a new Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) regarding the Permanent (PERM) Program advising employers of the abbreviations for the following territories, when filing the application electronically: American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau. This FAQ is available here and on the FAQs page of the OFLC website under the heading PERM Program and subheading Filing-How to File.
March 01, 2012.
The OFLC PERM, H-2A, H-2B, Prevailing Wage, and LCA program disclosure data files for Quarter 1 of FY 2012 are now available in Microsoft Access. Click here to access the disclosure files and corresponding record layouts. Historical OFLC program disclosure files for prior fiscal years are available on our Foreign Labor Certification Data Center website at www.flcdatacenter.com.
February 29, 2012.
To assist H-2A employers in preparing their agricultural job offers and applications, the Department of Labor has posted a sixth round of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) providing clarifications on several H-2A issues raised recently. These FAQs are available here and on the FAQs page of the OFLC Web site under the heading for the H-2A Program.
February 29, 2012.
To assist H-2A employers in preparing their agricultural job offers and applications, the Department of Labor has posted a fifth round of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) providing clarifications on several H-2A issues raised recently, including the transportation requirement. These FAQs are available here and on the FAQs page of the OFLC Web site under the heading for the H-2A Program.
February 29, 2012.
H-2A Handbook Revised: To continue to assist H-2A employers in preparing their agricultural job offers and applications, the Department of Labor has revised its Employer Guide for Participating in the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Program. This guide summarizes and explains key regulatory requirements for a U.S. employer to participate in the H-2A Program, including what documents to file, important timeframes and deadlines, helpful filing tips, and how to contact the OFLC Chicago National Processing Center for further assistance. Please click here to obtain a copy of the new employer guide or go directly to the H-2A Program webpage.
February 21, 2012.
Temporary Non-Agricultural Employment of H-2B Aliens in the United States. The Department has published in the Federal Register a Final Rule amending the regulations governing the labor certification process for the temporary employment of H-2B foreign workers in the United States, codified at 20 CFR part 655, and enforcement of employer obligations under the H-2B program, codified at 29 CFR Part 503. The new regulations will be effective as of April 23, 2012. To read the full text of the Final Rule, please click here.
The above from USDOL, ETA website.
November 17, 2009
USDOL Issues H-2A Interim Final Rule and Request for Further Comments
USCIS to Accept New H-2B Fiscal Year 2009 Petitions
WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today reopened the fiscal year 2009 H-2B petition filing period and will immediately accept new H-2B petitions.
Although on Jan. 7, 2009, USCIS announced it accepted and approved a sufficient number of H-2B petitions to meet the congressionally mandated annual cap of 66,000, the Department of State received far fewer than expected requests for H-2B visas and as a result, has issued only 40,640 H-2B visas for fiscal year 2009 to date. This means that there are approximately 25,000 visas that may go unused, as they have not been granted. Because of the low visa issuance rate, USCIS is reopening the filing period to allow employers to file additional petitions for qualified H-2B temporary foreign nonagricultural workers.
The normal (non-premium processing) adjudication time frame for H-2B petitions is 60 days. USCIS will make visa numbers available to petitions in the order in which the petitions are filed. However, because H-2B petitions (Form I-129) for fiscal year 2009 visas must be received, evaluated, and adjudicated on or before the fiscal year 2009 deadline of Sept. 30, 2009, USCIS cannot guarantee approval of any H-2B petition on or before the Sept. 30, 2009 deadline. Employers therefore are encouraged to file as soon as possible and to request premium processing by filing a Form I-907 and submitting the $1000 premium processing fee, which will allow for expedited adjudication.
To qualify for a fiscal year 2009 H-2B cap number, employers must:
• Submit the Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker to USCIS with all required documents, including an approved Alien Employment Certification from the U.S. Department of Labor that is valid for the entire employment period stated on the petition.
The petitioner must also indicate an employment start date before Oct. 1, 2009.
Petitions received on or after Oct. 1, 2009, and/or requesting a starting date on or after Oct. 1, 2009, will be considered towards the fiscal year 2010 H-2B cap and are subject to all eligibility requirements for fiscal year 2010 H-2B filings, including 8 CFR 214.2(h)(6)(iv)(D), which requires that the start date listed on the petition be the same as the starting date authorized on the temporary labor certification.
The H-2B program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs for which there is a shortage of available U.S. workers. Typically, H-2B workers fill labor needs in occupational areas such as education, construction, health care, landscaping, manufacturing, food service/processing, and resort/hospitality services.
For more information about this reopening of the H-2B fiscal year 2009 filing period, please see the related list of questions and answers. More information about the H-2B visa program is available in the USCIS guide, “How Do I Hire a Foreign National for Short-Term Employment in the United States,” please see Related Links on the right of this page or by calling USCIS’ National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.
Read the US CIS FAQ's HERE Read the US CIS Press Release HERE July 9, 2009 WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomes the recommendations released today by an independent and bipartisan task force on immigration at the Council on Foreign Relations. The task force, led by former Governor Jeb Bush (R -FL) and former Clinton Chief of Staff Mack McLarty, presented their recommendations during a panel discussion this morning. The task force warned that the current broken immigration system risks serious damage to U.S. national interests.
"This is a promising sign that comprehensive immigration reform is possible," said Bernie Wolfsdorf, president of AILA. "This proves that the political landscape regarding immigration reform is changing and that consensus is possible across party lines."
The panel also recommended "earned legalization, not amnesty" for an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants now living in the United States, requiring those who wish to stay to work, pay taxes, learn English, pass background checks, pay fines and wait their turn behind legal immigrants. It also called for strong border enforcement and a mandatory work document verification system based on fingerprints or eye scans which AILA would support only as part of a comprehensive reform of our immigration laws.
July 2, 2009 The U.S. Department of Labor has posted the following regarding H-2A regulations on their website: June 29, 2009:Suspension Enjoined On June 29, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued a preliminary injunction against the Department's Final Suspension of the December 2008 Final H-2A Rule. As a result of this court action, and unless and until additional court action takes place, the Suspension is no longer in effect; the December 2008 Final Rule remains in effect.
June 25, 2009
Click HERE to view the positive comments made by President Barack Obama and The White House regarding Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
DOL Publishes Final Rule Reinstating H-2A Regulations
The Department of Labor published a final rule, effective on June 29, 2009, that suspends the H-2A final rule published on December 18, 2009. DOL is republishing and reinstating regulations in place on January 16, 2009, for 9 months, after which the Department will either have engaged in further rulemaking or lift the suspension.
Momentum for Immigration Reform Continues to Build
AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 09052030
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Sens. Menendez, Gillibrand, Kennedy and Schumer introduce "The Reuniting Families Act" in the Senate
White House announces meeting on immigration reform with Congressional leaders for June 8
WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomes several developments today that signal that immigration reform is gaining momentum!
AILA commends US Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) for introducing legislation today that seeks to restore America's commitment to family unity. The Reuniting Families Act would help legal immigrants reunite with their families and end decade-long waiting times for legal immigrant visas. "This is momentous day for all Americans who understand the dire need for immigration," said Charles H. Kuck, president of AILA. "This important legislation promotes timely reunification of families by recapturing unused visas and eliminating the tragically long family immigration backlogs."
The legislation would reinforce our commitment to families and reduce current wait times in the family immigration system by:
Helping an estimated 322,000 spouses and children under the age of 21 of lawful permanent residents who are waiting in line to reunite with their families by reclassifying them as immediate relatives
Addressing the decades-long backlogs for certain countries by raising the per-country immigration limits from 7 percent to 10 percent of total admissions
Protecting widows, widowers and orphans by allowing them to continue to wait in line for a visa after the death of the sponsoring relative.
Recapturing an estimated 400,000 family-sponsored and employment-based visas that went unused between 1992 and 2007.
Respecting the contribution of Filipino World War II veterans by reducing their children's waiting times for an immigrant visa.
Promoting family unity by allowing more people who are already eligible for an immigrant visa to efficiently use our legal family immigration system.
Providing equal treatment for stepchildren and biological children by allowing stepchildren under the age of 21 to immigrate upon their parents' marriage (current age limit is 18).
In addition to this important legislation, the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee today launched an aggressive effort to press for passage of comprehensive immigration legislation, with Subcommittee Chairman Charles Schumer, D-NY, saying conditions are ripe for Congressional action. Schumer also announced an agenda of hearings for the coming months and said he is "cautiously optimistic that we can pass strong, fair, practical and effective immigration reform this year."
Further, a report released today by the nonpartisan Police Foundation criticized efforts to have local law enforcement agencies enforce federal immigration laws. The group said the report "finds that immigration enforcement by local police undermines their core public safety mission, diverts scarce resources, increases their exposure to liability and litigation, and exacerbates fear in communities already distrustful of police."
Also, the National Foundation of American Policy released two studies earlier today. One study titled, "Common Sense, Common Interests," recommends combining fully portable work permits - not tied to a specific employer - with bilateral administrative agreements. The second study, "A Commission to Regulate Immigration? A Bad Idea Whose Time Should Not Come," concludes that creating a commission to establish the annual level of temporary visas and green cards for high and low-skilled workers would result in unaccountable officials with the enormous power to change the law based on little more than their personal preference.
And finally, the White House today announced that it will hold a high-level meeting with Congressional leaders on June 8th to discuss plans for immigration reform.
These important developments all keep the momentum building towards an immigration overhaul that is desperately needed by our country. AILA pledges itself to working closely with Congress and the Administration to make sure that immigration reform moves forward to a successful conclusion in the months ahead!
April 30, 2009 All Signs Point to Immigration Reform this Year: AILA Optimistic that the President and Congress will Push for CIR this Year "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 09043010 (posted Apr. 30, 2009)" FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 30, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is encouraged by events of the past 24 hours as President Barak Obama renewed his Administration’s pledge to pursue comprehensive immigration reform, the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) announced its intention to recalibrate its worksite enforcement actions to focus more on criminal prosecutions of employers who knowingly hire unauthorized workers, and the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship led by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), commenced hearings to examine common sense solutions to fixing America’s broken immigration system.
AILA commends Chairman Schumer for sounding the starting gun with an outstanding first hearing. Two expert-laden panels of witnesses made a highly compelling case – covering the moral, economic, business, labor, security and law enforcement angles - for the need to advance immigration reform legislation this year. “The stars seem to be aligning for a major push toward comprehensive immigration reform this year,” said Charles H. Kuck, president of AILA. “Momentum continues to build as more and more of our elected leaders understand that tackling and solving our current immigration crisis will only help strengthen America’s economy and security. The events over the past two days signal that this Administration and Congress get it and will not let this opportunity to finally bring the nation’s legal immigration system into the 21st century pass them by.”
AILA is pleased that DHS is taking steps to restore balance and rationality in its enforcement priorities. Mr. Kuck expressed hopes that the new DHS statement of policy addresses pivotal due process concerns, saying “a retooling of enforcement activities must, first and foremost, ensure the right to counsel of any employees caught up in these actions, and limit or eliminate the abusive practice of transferring detainees away from their communities, families and attorneys. These are indispensable elements of a fair and just system.”
December 18, 2008 U.S. Department of Labor publishes new H-2A and H-2B regulations.
December 19, 2008 U.S. Department of Homeland Security publishes new H-2A and H-2B regulations.