Department of State Posts FY 2012 Diversity Visa Lottery

Guidelines.

Sep 24, 2010: Rules and guidelines for the 2012 Diversity

Immigrant Visa program have just been published by the U.S.

Department of State. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, a total of 50,000

Diversity Visas will be made available to people from countries

with low rates of immigration to the U.S.

The annual DV Lottery program gives permanent visas to people that

meet a few simple eligibility requirements. These requirements

include:

1) Applicants must be natives of a country whose natives

qualify.

2) Applicants must have either a high school education (or its

equivalent) or two years of work experience within the past five

years that requires at least two years of training or

experience.

For FY 2012, natives of the following countries are not eligible

for the lottery program, because these countries have sent more

than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the past five years:

BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN

REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA,

MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED

KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories,

and VIETNAM.

Please note that people born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and

Taiwan are eligible. Learn more online at: http://bit.ly/aoHduH

Department of State Issues Updated Travel Warning for US

Citizens Traveling to Mexico.

Sep 22, 2010: Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of State

issued an updated travel warning to U.S. citizens planning to

travel to and live in Mexico. According to the Department of State,

while most victims of criminal violence in Mexico are Mexican

citizens associated with criminal activity, the current situation

poses serious risks to U.S. citizens in the region as well.

As of September 10, the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey has removed all

minor dependents of U.S. government personnel and family members in

other areas of northern Medico had also been previously authorized

to depart.

While millions of U.S. citizens do safely visit Mexico each year,

the Department of State does strongly urge U.S. citizens to

understand the risks involved in travel to Mexico, how to best

avoid dangerous situations and who to contact if they become a

victim of crime or violence.

ICE Serves Hundreds of Notices of Inspection to U.S.

Companies.

Sep 17, 2010: This week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement

(ICE) served hundreds of Notices of Inspection (NOI) to U.S.

companies. These NOIs were served as part of the Obama

administration's campaign to target the employers of illegal

immigrants. The NOIs give employers three days to submit their I-9

documentation for inspection. In certain cases, an extension may be

granted.

So far this year, 147 employers have been either criminally

convicted or cited with worksite violations. Fines for knowingly

hiring an illegal immigrant can be from $1,100 to $16,000 per

unauthorized worker, making it pertinent that employers follow

regulations and ensure proper validation of employees in their

organizations.

Relief Offered to Certain Haitian F-1

Students.

Sep 15, 2010: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has

just announced a new special relief program for some F-1 Haitian

students who have been the victims of severe economic hardship

because of the January earthquake in Haiti. This new relief applies

to students who were lawfully present in the U.S. at the time of

the January earthquake and are enrolling in an educational

institution that is listed as certified by ICE's Student and

Exchange Visitor program (SEVIS)

The new relief program will allow eligible Haitian F-1 students to

work in the U.S., work an increased number of hours during their

school term and reduce their course load, if necessary, while still

maintaining F-1 status.

“We want to ensure that students from Haiti, who were here at

the time of January's tragic events, are able to concentrate on

their studies without the worry of financial burdens created by the

devastation of the earthquake,” said Louis Farrell, director,

SEVIS. “These students have the full support of SEVP and

designated school officials for assistance.”

How Puerto Rico's New, More Secure Birth

Certificates Will Affect the I-9 Process.

Sep 10, 2010: On July 1, 2010, the Vital Statistics Office of

the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico started issue new certified copies

of birth certificates to U.S. citizens born in Puerto Rico. This

process began due to a change in Puerto Rico's birth

certificate law and enabled a higher level of security in the

issuance process of birth certificates.

As of September 30, 2010, all certified copies of birth

certificates issued before July 1, 2010 will be invalid, stated

USCIS in an official memo. Please note, however, that this new

regulation should not affect citizenship status of people born in

Puerto Rico; it only affects whether or not a certified copy of a

birth certificate is considered valid.

All forms of certified copies of Puerto Rico-issued birth

certificates will be acceptable on the Form I-9 up to September 30.

However, after that date, only Puerto Rico birth certificates

issued on or after July 1 will be acceptable as proof of identity

on the I-9 form.

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