USCIS: H-1B Initial Electronic Registration Selection Process Completed
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received enough electronic registrations during the initial registration period to reach the fiscal year (FY) 2024 H-1B numerical allocations (H-1B cap), including the advanced degree exemption (master’s cap). USCIS has randomly selected from the registrations properly submitted to reach the cap and have notified all prospective petitioners with selected registrations that they are eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition for the beneficiary named in the applicable selected registration.
Registrants’ online accounts will now show one of the following statuses for each registration (that is, for each beneficiary registered):
· Submitted: The registration has been submitted and is eligible for selection. If the initial selection process has been completed, this registration remains eligible, unless subsequently invalidated, for selection in any subsequent selections for the fiscal year for which it was submitted.
· Selected: Selected to file an H-1B cap petition.
· Denied: Multiple registrations were submitted by or on behalf of the same registrant for the same beneficiary. If denied as a duplicate registration, all registrations submitted by or on behalf of the same registrant for this beneficiary for the fiscal year are invalid.
· Invalidated-Failed Payment: A registration was submitted but the payment method was declined, not reconciled, disputed, or otherwise invalid.
SOURCES: USCIS Newsroom, March 27, 2023: https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/fy-2024-h-1b-cap-season-updates
DOS: April Visa Bulletin Shows Worldwide EB-4 Backlog of 5+ Years; EB-2 Retrogression
According to the Department of State’s (DOS) Visa Bulletin for April 2023, the EB-4 category, which includes special immigrant religious workers, now has a worldwide backlog of 5+ years. Also, the EB-2 final action dates for Rest of World, India, Mexico, and the Philippines have retrogressed several months to keep number use within the FY 2023 annual limit.
Previously, DOS was applying the per-country limit to the EB-4 subcategory, which made the “North Central American” (NCA) countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras oversubscribed, but preserved religious worker current priority dates for all other chargeability areas. DOS has now announced that it interprets the limit to apply to the family/employment-based system as a whole and not within each category, meaning that because the NCA countries are not oversubscribed in the total family/employment system, DOS cannot set a cutoff for them just in the EB-4 category.
DOS is no longer including a separate column covering applicants chargeable to El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras in the charts titled, “Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases” and “Dates for Filing of Employment-Based Visa Applications,” for applicants who are seeking an immigrant visa in the EB-4 category. Final action and filing dates for applicants from these three countries are now provided in the column headed “All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed.”
The Rest of the World, Mexico, and Philippines EB-2 final action dates were retrogressed to 01JUL22, and the India EB-2 final action date was retrogressed to 01JAN11. “This situation will be continually monitored, and any necessary adjustments will be made accordingly,” the bulletin states.
SOURCES: ABIL Immigration Insider, March 26, 2023; and https://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/Bulletins/visabulletin_April2023.pdf and https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/permanent-workers/employment-based-immigration-fourth-preference-eb-4
USCIS Ends Certain COVID-19 Flexibilities
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that certain flexibilities first introduced in March 2020 to address the COVID-19 pandemic ended on March 23, 2023. USCIS previously notified the public that barring any changes presented by the pandemic, the extension of these flexibilities announced on January 24, 2023, would be the last.
USCIS said it “retains discretion to provide certain flexibilities on a case-by-case basis upon request, for applicants or petitioners affected by an emergency or unforeseen circumstance, such as natural catastrophes (hurricanes, wildfires, severe weather, etc.), national emergencies (public health emergencies), or severe illness (including COVID).”
USCIS also noted that flexibilities regarding reproduced signatures first announced on March 20, 2020, became policy as announced on July 25, 2022.
SOURCES: ABIL Immigration Insider, March 26, 2023; and https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-announces-end-of-covid-related-flexibilities
CBP Issues Reminder About New EADs
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Carrier Liaison Program recently issued a reminder that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began producing redesigned employment authorization documents (EADs) on January 30, 2023. CBP said that the redesigned work permit cards will be issued concurrently with existing card stock until it is depleted.
All previously issued cards remain valid until their printed expiration dates, CBP said.
SOURCES: ABIL Immigration Insider, March 26, 2023; and https://www.aila.org/infonet/cbp-liaison-program-message-on-new-ad-cards
June 23 Is Deadline for Employers to Download Old E-Verify Case Info
On June 24, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will dispose of E-Verify records that are more than 10 years old (those last updated on or before December 31, 2012). E-Verify employers have until June 23, 2023, to download case information from the Historic Records Report if they want to retain information about these E-Verify cases.
Employers who have not already done so must record the E-Verify case verification number on the corresponding Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, or attach a copy of the case details page to the Form I-9. Employers should retain the Historic Records Report with the Forms I-9, USCIS said.
SOURCES: ABIL Immigration Insider, March 26, 2023; and https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/national-media-release/cbp-highlights-top-2022-accomplishments