U.S. Immigration Updates – Week of December 11, 2023


Department of State: January 2024 Visa Bulletin

On December 11, the Department of State (DOS) issued the Visa Bulletin for January 2024. The new bulletin shows significant movement in the EB-1 category.

EB-1: The Final Action Date for EB-1 India advances by three years and eight months to September 1, 2020 while the Date of Filing advances a year and a half to January 1, 2021.  For EB-1 China, the Final Action Date advances four and a half months to July 1, 2022, and the Date of Filing advances five months to January 1, 2023. For all other areas of chargeability, the EB-1 remains current.

EB-2: For EB-2 China, the Final Action Date advances to January 1, 2020. For EB-2 India, the Final Action Date advances to March 1, 2012. For all other areas of chargeability, the EB-2 advances to November 1, 2022.

EB-3: For EB-3 India, the Final Action Date advances one month to June 1, 2012. For EB-3 China, the Final Action Date advances seven months to September 1, 2020. For all other areas of chargeability, the EB-3 advances eight months to August 1, 2022.

EB-4: For EB-4, all areas of chargeability advance to May 15, 2019.

EB-5: For EB-5 China, the Unreserved Final Action Date advances to December 8, 2015. For EB-5 India, the Unreserved Final Action Date advances to December 1, 2020.

SOURCE: Visa Bulletin For January 2024 (state.gov)


Department of State: Final Rule Eliminates Informal Evaluations of Immigrant Visa Applicants’ Family Members

Effective January 8, 2024, the Department of State (DOS) is amending its immigrant visa regulations by removing the section allowing a consular officer to conduct an informal evaluation of the family members of an immigrant visa applicant to identify potential grounds of ineligibility.

DOS explained that the existing regulation was promulgated in 1952, when a consular officer could more readily assess a family member’s potential qualification for a visa without a formal visa application. “Assessing eligibility for an immigrant visa is now a more complex task and not one which can be accomplished accurately with an informal evaluation,” DOS said.

SOURCE: DOS Final Rule, 88 Fed. Reg. 85109 (Dec. 7, 2023)


Department of Labor Continues to Look at Possibly Expanding the List of Exempt PERM Schedule A Occupations

The Department of Labor’s (Department) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is considering updating Schedule A of the permanent labor certification process at 20 CFR 656.5 in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations. For this reason, the Department has issued a Request for Information (RFI) so that the public may provide input on whether Schedule A serves as an effective tool for addressing current labor shortages, and how the Department may create a timely, coherent, and transparent methodology for identifying STEM occupations that are experiencing labor shortages in keeping with its requirements under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., to ensure the employment of foreign nationals does not displace U.S. workers or adversely affect their wages and working conditions. Information received from the public will help inform decisions regarding how to improve Schedule A and ensure that its purpose is met.

SOURCE: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaViewRule?pubId=202310&RIN=1615-AC70.


Department of Homeland Security: New Fee Schedule Will Not Be Issued Until April 2024

On January 4, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM or proposed rule) 88 FR 402 that proposed to adjust the fees charged by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for immigration and naturalization benefit requests. This rule would rescind and replace the changes made by the August 3, 2020, rule and establish new USCIS fees to recover USCIS operating costs. DHS solicited public comment on the NPRM, which DHS intends to consider and address in a final rule. USCIS projects that its costs of providing immigration adjudication and naturalization services will exceed the financial resources available to it under its existing fee structure. DHS proposes to adjust the USCIS fee structure to ensure that USCIS recovers the costs of meeting its operational requirements. Final Action on the proposed rule is scheduled for April 2024.

SOURCE: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaViewRule?pubId=202310&RIN=1615-AC68

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