Key Immigration Developments as We Approach the July 4th “Official Start of Summer” Season:
June 29, 2009
• The Majority of I-140 Petitions May Now Be Filed by Premium Processing
Starting today, June 29, 2009, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has restored Premium Processing for most I-140 Employment Based Immigrant Visa Petitions. The USCIS will also provide petitioners who file Premium Processing cases specific contact information including a dedicated phone number and e-mail address to enable efficient communication on the case matter. Employees may pay for the $1000 Premium Processing filing fee. The USCIS currently processes I-140 visa petitions in about 4-10 months.
Premium Processing is available for the following I-140 case types: (1) EB-1 Individuals of Extraordinary Ability; (2) EB-1 Outstanding Professors and Researchers; (3) EB-2 Members of Professions with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability not seeking a National Interest Waiver; (4) EB-3 Professionals; (5) EB-3 Skilled Workers; and (6) EB-3 Workers Other than Skilled Workers and Professionals.
Premium Processing still is not available for (1) EB-1 Multinational Managers and (2) EB-2 Members of the Professions with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability who seek a National Interest Waiver.
Filing or upgrading a pending case to Premium Processing may be beneficial to employers in certain instances. For example, employers with H-1B workers who are affected by visa retrogression may be able to file for and obtain three year H-1B visa extensions on behalf of their H-1B workers with an approved I-140 visa petition, rather than file for and obtain one year H-1B extensions beyond the typical six year maximum period of allowable H-1B stay.
• Continued Use of I-9 Form with 02/02/09 Revision Date
The USCIS has announced that it will continue to accept the older version of Form I-9 (showing a February 2, 2009 revision date) beyond its previously announced expiration date of June 30, 2009.
• Fiscal Year H-1B Visas Still Available
The government recently announced that, as of June 19, 2009, approximately 44,500 H-1B cap-subject petitions had been received by USCIS and counted towards the 65,000 annual quota. The government also announced that approximately 20,000 of the visas set aside for those with advanced degrees had been filed.
We will continue to keep you updated and will plan to provide case by case, cost/benefit strategic analysis with Premium Processing options. Please contact us with any questions.
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