U.S. Immigration Alerts – October 6th
State Dept. Moves Many Filing Dates Back From Previously Released October Visa Bulletin; Lawsuit Filed
On September 24, 2015, the Department of State issued an update that supersedes the previously released October Visa Bulletin. By moving many filing dates back, the update radically changed the recently announced benefit offered by a revised procedure for determining immigrant visa availability and filing adjustment of status applications. The revised process allows foreign nationals who have immigrant visa petitions based on family or employment to file adjustment of status applications once their priority dates are listed on a separate chart on the monthly Visa Bulletin, “Dates for Filing Applications.” In the prior version of the October Visa Bulletin, these dates were significantly earlier than the priority dates available for final adjudications.
With the latest change for October, the Department of State moved the dates back substantially. In a statement announcing the change, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explained that following consultations with the Department of Homeland Security, the dates for filing applications for some categories in the family-sponsored and employment-based preferences were adjusted “to better reflect a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process.”
The change means that potentially thousands of applicants who had already gathered documents, prepared applications, paid for medical examinations, and incurred other costs based on the previous dates now may have to wait many months to take the next steps in their green card cases, unless the situation changes. An informal survey of immigration lawyers revealed that about 80-90% of people who were eligible to apply for adjustment of status under the original Visa Bulletin were adversely affected by the changes announced by USCIS and DOS.
A class action challenging the new change was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle on September 28, 2015. The complaint notes that in the absence of relief, plaintiffs and class members, “who have spent thousands of hours and millions of dollars preparing adjustment applications in reasonable reliance on the binding agency policy statements DOS published, will be irreparably harmed and left without any remedy for Defendants’ unlawful actions.” The complaint asks the court to declare, among other things, that the September 24 revision of the October 2015 Visa Bulletin constitutes unlawful agency action in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. The Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL) filed a declaration supporting the complaint, and individual ABIL lawyers also filed declarations as experts. ABIL also plans to file an amicus brief in the litigation.
Below are a few examples of the extreme changes:
- EB-2 China: Moved from 5/1/2014 to 1/1/2013 (1 year 5 months)
- EB-2 India: Moved from 7/1/2011 to 7/1/2009 (2 years)
- EB-3 Philippines: Moved from 1/1/2015 to 1/1/2010 (5 years)
- FB-1 Mexico: Moved from 7/1/1995 to 4/1/1995 (3 months)
- FB-3 Mexico: Moved from 10/1/1996 to 5/1/1995 (1 year 5 months)
The Visa Bulletin indicates when immigrant visas are available based on priority date. The priority date is the date on which the applicant’s relative or employer filed the immigrant visa petition on the applicant’s behalf. In case of employer sponsorship through labor certification, the priority date is the date the labor certification was filed with the Department of Labor. Certain immigrants may also “recapture” earlier priority dates established by other immigrant visa petitions on their behalf.
The class action complaint is at: http://americanimmigrationcouncil.org/sites/default/files/docs/lac/Visa%20Bulletin%20Complaint.pdf. The USCIS announcement is at: http://www.uscis.gov/news/dos-publishes-updated-visa-bulletin-october-2015. The latest chart, along with information on when to file, is available at: http://www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo.
USCIS Resumes Final Adjudications of Employment-Based Adjustment Applications After Brief Suspension
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on September 24, 2015, that it had suspended through September 30, 2015, the adjudication of all employment-based Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) adjustment applications pending with USCIS through that date, because the Department of State reported that the statutory cap was reached for the employment-based preference categories for fiscal year (FY) 2015.
USCIS resumed final adjudication of employment-based adjustment applications on October 1, 2015, when visa numbers were again available. USCIS noted that applicants filing an I-485 on or after October 1 should review the “When to File” section on the Visa Bulletin Info Web page to determine whether they are eligible.
The announcement is at http://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-suspends-final-adjudication-employment-based-adjustment-applications-remainder-fy-2015. The Visa Bulletin Info Web page is at http://www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo.
White House Announces New Measures Under Citizenship Initiative
The Obama administration recently announced several new measures as part of its citizenship initiative. For example, on September 19, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting and processing credit card payments for the naturalization application and biometrics fee. Previously, the fees could only be paid with a check or money order.
USCIS also said it is entering into a formal partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the Farm Service Agency to provide temporary office space for USCIS officers in agricultural and rural communities that have significant numbers of immigrants but are not located near a USCIS office. Services under this pilot program will include biometrics collection, interviews for applications or petitions, informational appointments, and general presentations on immigration benefits.
USCIS also has begun live question-and-answer sessions on Twitter with USCIS experts answering non-case-specific questions.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics estimates that 8.8 million permanent residents (green card holders) are eligible to apply for citizenship. A recent analysis showed that the median time spent as a permanent resident before becoming a U.S. citizen was seven years. USCIS noted that green card holders who meet all eligibility requirements may apply for citizenship after five years, or after three years if they are married to a U.S. citizen.
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U.S. Offices - Holiday Closing
FLG Awarded 2014 Excellence Award by INSZoom
FLG Volunteers at Gleaners Community Food Bank
Troy Office - Holiday Closing
Please note that Fakhoury Law Group and Fakhoury Global Immigration will be closed on Friday, July 4th in observance of the Independence Day holiday.
Regular business hours will resume on Monday, July 7th.
Rami D. Fakhoury Named Michigan Super Lawyer
TROY, Michigan (May 20, 2014) Fakhoury Law Group is pleased to announce that Managing Director, Rami D. Fakhoury has been selected for the Michigan Super Lawyer’s list. This honor is bestowed upon lawyers who demonstrate excellence in the practice of law and is limited to no more than five percent of the attorneys in Michigan. As a result of his selection, Mr. Fakhoury will be listed in Michigan Super Lawyer’s magazine, Crain’s Detroit Business supplement, and Super Lawyer’s Business edition.
Rami Fakhoury is the Founder and Managing Attorney of Fakhoury Law Group, PC (FLG), a Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent®rated business immigration firm. Passionate about immigration law, Mr. Fakhoury is currently assisting the State of Michigan in developing immigration-friendly reform policies to attract business and professionals to Michigan. It is this same vision of global access and mobility that caused Mr. Fakhoury to pioneer establishing an office in Mumbai to better service FLG’s Indian IT and Engineering clients. “Global mobility permits individuals to have the ultimate choice of life and work. In short, immigration is the business of fulfilling destiny!” says Fakhoury.
Mr. Fakhoury’s knowledge of immigration and foresight into immigration trends and policy has earned him widespread recognition. Mr. Fakhoury was selected as Immigration Attorney of the Year (2011) by Detroit Lawyer Monthly, and is designated Top Lawyer in DBusiness and Hour magazines. He has also been listed in the International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers for two consecutive years. In 2009, Mr. Fakhoury became an Equity Partner of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL), the largest and most prestigious global immigration consortium, and has written numerous papers, articles and books on the subject of immigration.
Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.
For more information, contact Syeda Fatmi at 248.643.4900.
Troy Office - Holiday Closing
Please note that Fakhoury Law Group and Fakhoury Global Immigration will be closed on Monday, May 26th in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.
Regular business hours will resume on Tuesday, May 27th.
If you have any emergency issues, please contact Amy Orlowski at email@example.com.
The Forum for Expatriate Management event What’s Trending in Global Mobility? An Analysis of 2014 Trends and Insights”
The Detroit Chapter of the Forum for Expatriate Management is pleased to announce our next Global
Mobility event entitled “What’s Trending in Global Mobility? An Analysis of 2014 Trends and Insights”.
Fakhoury Law Group Aids Governor in Plan to Revitalize Detroit
In recent weeks, Troy-based Fakhoury Law Group, along with Global Detroit, have worked closely with the Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning in its development of a proposal on Investor Visa options as a viable strategy to help revitalize Detroit’s ailing economy. >>Click here to Read More
H-1B Cap Season
The H-1B category is the nonimmigrant visa category used heavily by U.S. employers to bring in professional workers. There is a limit with respect to the number of new H-1B visas issued each fiscal year of 65,000. >>Click here to Read More