Shihab Immigration News: December 2014

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Gus M. Shihab
Our purpose is to bring you the latest and most relevant immigration news. Immigration law is in constant flux, and laws are constantly being revised. President Obama recently announced major changes he is introducing through executive action. We've covered everything you need to know about his plan and more. Be sure to check out our blog to stay on the cutting edge of current immigration news.

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Every month we release updates to our website's Processing Times page. There you will find an analysis of the current Visa Bulletin, the most recent USCIS petition processing time postings, and almost anything else you need to know to stay up to date on this subject. Be sure to contact us if you have any questions. 

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The H-1B visa is one of the most used categories by employers. This is no surprise: those that qualify are some of the most sought after and skilled workers globally. However, as is the case with many visas, the demand exceeds supply. In the case of the H-1B, only about one in three qualifying cap-subject petitions are selected. The selection process is random chance (with an advantage for those with Master's degrees or an equivalent). However, if the employer/petitioner is among certain non-profits or research institutions, the alien's petition is cap-exempt. For reasons such as this (and more): the H-1B process, while attractive, is far from a safe bet for obtaining a nonimmigrant visa.

Read more here.

Contributed by Adam Eric Shor, Esq.



The PERM process is the means in which the Department of Labor ensures that immigrants coming to work permanently in the United States are not displacing U.S. Workers. Most employment based immigrant visa petitions for highly skilled foreign workers must pass this test. However, the process has not been reexamined for nearly a decade, which is a problem because the current process relies on assumptions that no longer hold true in today's employment conditions.    

Luckily, changes are forthcoming under the President's immigration executive action plan. However, these changes would not be effective until Spring 2015 at the earliest. One of the most confusing aspects of the PERM process is how to process it for traveling employees. However, this firm's experience yields some answers.


Read more here.

Contributed by MaryLou Ranney, JD

Problems with my Visa Stamping?


During the visa stamping process, a consular officer may suspect a problem with the visa application.  The problem may stem from a review of documents and statements made in the underlying employment based petition, from information the consulate gathered through cross agency data sharing, or from statements uttered by the foreign national herself during the consular interview. When such problems arise, the consular officer has four options: 1) issue what is known as a 221(g) letter; 2) return the approved visa petition to the USCIS with a request to revoke the approval; 3) request an investigation be launched by the consulate, by one or more agencies in the United States such as the USCIS ; or 4) issue a visa application denial.  


Read more here


Contributed by Gus M. Shihab, Esq.

The EB-5 investor category is perhaps too popular for its own good. Petitions are expected to overtake visa availability relatively early  in the fiscal year, which will likely result in the creation of a priority date cut-off. The cut-off is likely to only affect mainland Chinese applicants, because they constitute as much as 80% of the petitions. Because of regulations that will come into effect once the visas are depleted, there may be far reaching implications in the world of investor visas--and also for economic development in many parts of the United States. This issue is serious enough to warrant Congressional action, but unfortunately this doesn't seem likely. Attempting to file an EB-5 petition before the visas run out this year is a very good idea.

To read more, click here.  


The provisional waiver is a way for someone who entered the country illegally to avoid being barred from it for three to ten years, which is the usual punishment. 


The government is willing to grant this provisional waiver if it can be shown that forcing the alien to leave for an extended period of time will cause "extreme hardship" for qualifying U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. While better definitions for extreme hardship are on the way under the President's immigration executive action, petitioners need to rely on trial and error to determine what the government is looking for to show this hardship. Nonetheless, there are some tried and true avenues of showing "extreme hardship." 


To read more, click here.

Contributed by Ian Vita, Esq.