The laws concerning immigration are constantly updated. Our April newsletter recaps the major changes regarding visas and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) procedures.
Change of Classification for Israeli Nationals
Beginning May 1, Israeli nationals who are lawfully in the U.S. with a nonimmigrant status will be able to petition for an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. The visa is available for foreign individuals who make substantial investments in a U.S. business or for employees of businesses that make such investments. The individual can self-petition, or their employer can petition on their behalf, by submitting Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker to the USCIS. The treaty investor’s, or employee’s, spouse and unmarried children 21 years of age and younger can also petition to have their classification status changed.
H-1B Petition Caps Reached for FY 2020
The USCIS announced that it has received the maximum number of regular H-1B petitions for fiscal year 2020, which was set at 65,000. The USCIS will not be accepting additional petitions for the regular H-1B visa.
The USCIS is currently reviewing petitions filed for persons with a master’s degree or higher to determine if the “masters cap” has also been reached. For 2020, the USCIS can accept 20,000 advanced degree H-1B petitions.
The USCIS will still submissions for petitions exempt from the caps, which include:
- Extension requests for current H-1B workers
- Change of term requests for current H-1B workers
- Employer change requests for current H-1B workers
- Concurrent employment requests for current H-1B workers
Employer Data Hub Launched
In an effort to increase transparency about H-1B visa program usage and decision rates, the USCIS released its H-1B Employer Data Hub. The site allows members of the public to access information about H-1B petitions that have been filed since fiscal year 2009. Users will be able to download CSV files to see how many petitions were approved and denied, as well as which employers filed petitions in a given year. The file type will allow users to conduct their own analysis of H-1B data. Individuals can get more information about the hub and the data contained within it by visiting the USCIS’s Understanding Our H-1B Employer Data Hub page.
The USCIS will provide quarterly and annual updates to information on the site.
The USCIS Changes its InfoPass Appointment Process
In February, the USCIS announced that it will begin eliminating the InfoPass self-scheduling appointment process and will implement its Information Services Modernization Program (InfoMod). The agency stated that many of the individuals who were scheduling in-person appointments could have gotten the information online or by calling the USCIS Contact Center. The high number of in-person appointments created an increased workload on adjudicators and took time away from individuals who required in-person support.
Under the InfoMod initiative, appointments will be granted to individuals whose situations truly need person-to-person services, including:
- Issuing emergency documents
- Providing ADIT stamps
- Conducting in-person interviews
The InfoMod program has not yet been implemented everywhere, but individuals can call the USCIS Contact Center for assistance in areas where InfoPass is no longer available. If the representative feels the individual’s situation requires face-to-face services, they will transfer the call to a representative who can help schedule an appointment.
Call Panteva Law Group, LLC for Legal Guidance
If you have questions about the recent changes in immigration law, contact our attorney at Panteva Law Group, LLC. We have extensive experience helping individuals and businesses achieve their goals, and we can guide you through complex immigration processes.
We are prepared to provide the professional support you deserve. Call us at (312) 471-0014 or contact us online.