Tag Archives: uscis

VAWA Reauthorized: What are the implications for immigration matters?

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was originally passed in 1994. It was created to improve the criminal justice response to victims of domestic and sexual violence. VAWA created the first U.S. federal legislation to acknowledge domestic violence and sexual assault crimes and provide federal resources to combat them. VAWA expired in December of 2018.

On March 10, 2022, the reauthorization of VAWA was passed by Congress as a part of the Omnibus Fiscal 2022 spending package. This bill will reauthorize the program through 2027. You can check out the major provisions of the reauthorization here.

 

Getting a Green Card under VAWA

According to USCIS, under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), you may be eligible to become a lawful permanent resident if you are the victim of battery or extreme cruelty committed by:

  1. A U.S. citizen spouse or former spouse;
  2. A U.S. citizen parent;
  3. A U.S. citizen son or daughter;
  4. A lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or former spouse; or
  5. An LPR parent.

You may self-petition under VAWA by filing a Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360) without your abusive family member’s knowledge or consent. A person who files a VAWA self-petition is generally known as a VAWA self-petitioner. If your self-petition is approved and you meet other eligibility requirements, you may be able to become a lawful permanent resident.

 


The renewal of VAWA authorizes appropriations of $60 million per fiscal year through 2027 to cover legal assistance for victims of domestic violence; including legal assistance services provided by a licensed attorney, an accredited Board of Immigration Appeals representative, an accredited representative for Veterans’ Administration claims, an attorney or lay advocate in Tribal court, or a person with a demonstrated expertise in providing legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

 


Please note that Challa Law Group offers immigration legal assistance to survivors of domestic abuse pro bono, meaning without charge.

Please contact us at info@challalaw.com with any questions or inquiries on how we can help.

 

USCIS Urges Eligible EB-2 Individuals from India to File Adjustment of Status in April

The April Visa Bulletin brought a big jump forward in the employment-based, second preference (EB-2) category from India; from September 1, 2013, to September 1, 2014.

On March 17, 2022, USCIS released an alert encouraging individuals in the EB-2 category from India that have a priority date earlier than September 1, 2014, to file their adjustment of status in April and include their medical examinations (I-693) in the original filing.

USCIS mentions that they continue to encourage eligible applicants in EB-3 category to interfile to the EB-1 or EB-2 category if they meet these criteria:

  1. A visa is unavailable to them in the EB-3 category
  2. They have a pending or approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers
  3. A visa is available in the EB-1 or EB-2 category

Please reach us at info@challalaw.com with any questions.


AILA Doc. No. 22031704.

Congress Pushes on DHS to Improve the USCIS Contact Center

On February 28, 2022, 47 members of Congress wrote a letter to Secretary Mayorkas (Department of Homeland Security) and Director Jaddou (Citizenship and Immigration Services) urging them to make improvements to the USCIS Contact Center. The letter specifically mentions the barriers posed by the shift from InfoPass to InfoMod in conjunction with scheduling in-person appointments at field offices. They state that navigating the new three-tiered system has caused extensive wait times, unreasonable callback windows, and significant customer dissatisfaction.

Another grievance the letter refers to is the fact that members of an attorney’s legal staff are not allowed to receive updates through the new contact center; if not the beneficiary, only the attorney of record can raise an inquiry or speak to USCIS officers. The letter goes on to mention that as USCIS’ pending caseload has increased 85% from 2015 to 2020, improvements to the contact center will reduce the burden on the agency itself and improve overall customer satisfaction.

In summary, the letter asks for:

  1. Reinstating InfoPass or another online appointment self-scheduling system
  2. Providing accurate and accommodating callback windows
  3. Allowing law firm staff other than the attorney on record to make requests
  4. Making public the criteria for granting appointments through InfoMod
  5. Offering walk-in availability for urgent requests at local USCIS offices

Questions? Email info@challalaw.com

Information from AILA Doc. No. 22030300.

 

USCIS Announces H-1B Cap Registration Period

USCIS Announces H-1B Cap Registration Period

USCIS announced that the H-1B cap registration period will open on March 1, 2022 and will close on March 18, 2022. USCIS will make the selections by March 31, 2022. Selected registrations may apply for the H-1B, which allows the beneficiary to begin working on October 1, 2022, the start of the new fiscal year.

Challa Law Group will continue to offer a tiered approach to registration. Read more about which option is right for your company: Planning for the H-1B Cap Registration System.

From USCIS (January 29, 2022): 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that the initial registration period for the fiscal year 2023 H-1B cap will open at noon Eastern on March 1 and run through noon Eastern on March 18, 2022. During this period, prospective petitioners and representatives will be able to complete and submit their registrations using our online H-1B registration system.

USCIS will assign a confirmation number to each registration submitted for the FY 2023 H-1B cap. This number is used solely to track registrations; you cannot use this number to track your case status in Case Status Online.

Prospective H-1B cap-subject petitioners or their representatives are required to use a myUSCIS online account to register each beneficiary electronically for the selection process and pay the associated $10 H-1B registration fee for each registration submitted on behalf of each beneficiary. Prospective petitioners submitting their own registrations (U.S. employers and U.S. agents, collectively known as “registrants”) will use a “registrant” account. Registrants will be able to create new accounts beginning at noon Eastern on Feb. 21.

Representatives may add clients to their accounts at any time, but both representatives and registrants must wait until March 1 to enter beneficiary information and submit the registration with the $10 fee. Prospective petitioners or their representatives will be able to submit registrations for multiple beneficiaries in a single online session. Through the account, they will be able to prepare, edit, and store draft registrations prior to final payment and submission of each registration.

If we receive enough registrations by March 18, we will randomly select registrations and send selection notifications via users’ myUSCIS online accounts. We intend to notify account holders by March 31.

An H-1B cap-subject petition, including a petition for a beneficiary who is eligible for the advanced degree exemption, may only be filed by a petitioner whose registration for the beneficiary named in the H-1B petition was selected in the H-1B registration process.

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Connecting with Challa Law Group

Send your resume to info@challalaw.com to determine whether you may be a good candidate for a waiver of the labor market test!

Join us on Wednesdays for a live webinar at 12 PM ET on critical immigration updates

Don’t miss out on the immigration news! You can sign up for our mailing list or follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, or LinkedIn. You can also join our Telegram community.

Contact us at info@challalaw.com or 804-360-8482 to get your case started today.

DHS Expands STEM OPT Fields to Attract Global Talent

In order to maintain global competitiveness, the Department of Homeland Security has announced several policy guidance shifts to encourage those in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields to contribute to the U.S. economy. DHS announced 22 additional fields of study that now qualify for the STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) program going forward, which allows students to work in a field that is directly related to his or her degree. Related to that announcement, DHS also issued new guidance for how USCIS evaluates O-1A petitions for individuals of “extraordinary ability” in STEM fields, as well as how certain individuals may qualify for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) for employment-based permanent residence. This would allow certain noncitizens with advanced degrees or exceptional ability to petition for an employment-based category without obtaining certification from the Department of Labor. USCIS claims this will make it easier for individuals such as STEM graduates and entrepreneurs to obtain lawful permanent residence status.

From USCIS, 1/21/2022

DHS Expands Opportunities in U.S. for STEM Professionals: Department adds Twenty-Two New Fields of Study and Takes Additional Steps to Attract Critical STEM Talent

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced 22 new fields of study have been added to the STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) program to enhance the contributions of nonimmigrant students studying in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and support the growth of the U.S. economy and innovation.

“STEM innovation allows us to solve the complex challenges we face today and make a difference in how we secure and protect our country,” said Secretary Mayorkas.  “Through STEM education and training opportunities, DHS is expanding the number and diversity of students who excel in STEM education and contribute to the U.S. economy.”

The STEM OPT program permits F-1 students earning bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees in certain STEM fields to remain in the United States for up to 36 months to work in their field of study.  Adding 22 fields of study will ensure the U.S. economy benefits from students earning degrees in the United States in competitive STEM fields.  Information on the new fields of study will be communicated to schools and students through a Federal Register notice.

DHS is also updating and issuing new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy manual guidance.  USCIS is updating guidance to clarify how certain STEM graduates and entrepreneurs can use the national interest waiver for employment-based immigrant visa classification as an advanced degree professional noncitizen or noncitizen of exceptional ability.

Certain noncitizens with an advanced degree or exceptional ability can self-petition for employment-based immigrant visa classification, without testing the labor market and obtaining certification from the Department of Labor, if USCIS determines the waiver of the labor market test to be in the national interest.  The updated guidance clarifies how to use the program, making it easier for noncitizens with needed skills, such as STEM graduates and entrepreneurs, to embark on a pathway to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the United States.

USCIS is also issuing a policy manual update related to O-1A nonimmigrant status for noncitizens of extraordinary ability in the fields of science, arts, education, business, or athletics.  This update explains how USCIS determines eligibility for O-1A petitioners and, for the first time, provides examples of evidence that might satisfy the criteria, including for individuals working in STEM fields.

The 22 new fields of study are bioenergy, general forestry, forest resources production and management, human-centered technology design, cloud computing, anthrozoology, climate science, earth systems science, economics and computer science, environmental geosciences, geobiology, geography and environmental studies, mathematical economics, mathematics and atmospheric and oceanic science, general data science, general data analytics, business analytics, data visualization, financial analytics, other data analytics, industrial and organizational psychology, and social sciences, research methodology, and quantitative methods.

Connecting with Challa Law Group

Send your resume to info@challalaw.com to determine whether you may be a good candidate for a waiver of the labor market test!

Join us on Wednesdays for a live webinar at 12 PM ET on critical immigration updates

Don’t miss out on the immigration news! You can sign up for our mailing list or follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, or LinkedIn. You can also join our Telegram community.

Contact us at info@challalaw.com or 804-360-8482 to get your case started today.

USCIS Announces Green Card Goals and Interfiling Guidelines

USCIS Announces Green Card Goals and Interfiling Guidelines

USCIS updated the Green Card for Employment-Based Immigrants page with an alert about green card processing, noting the “exceptionally high number” of visas available and the Department’s goal for using all visa numbers prior to the start of the new fiscal year on October 1, 2022. On the same page, USCIS also noted updated guidelines for requesting a transfer of underlying basis, also commonly known as “interfiling” for Form I-485. USCIS notes the requirements for requesting a transfer of basis and establishes an address to where the requests should be directed.

From USCIS:

ALERT: There are an exceptionally high number of employment-based visas available this fiscal year (October 2021 through September 2022).

There are an exceptionally high number of employment-based visas available this fiscal year (October 2021 through September 2022). In partnership with the U.S. Department of State, we are committed to attempting to use all these visa numbers. There are many more visas available in the first (priority workers) and second (workers with advanced degrees or of exceptional ability) employment-based categories than pending adjustment of status applications pending with USCIS.

If you are eligible, please consider applying in the first or second employment-based preference categories. If you have a pending adjustment of status application based in the third employment-based preference category but also have a pending or approved petition and an available visa in the second employment-based preference category, we strongly encourage you to request that USCIS “transfer the underlying basis” of your pending application to the second employment-based preference category.

For more information, please see the section called “Transfer of Underlying Basis” below.

Transfer of Underlying Basis

You may be eligible to request to transfer the underlying basis of your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to a different employment-based immigrant category based on another Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers. USCIS may, in its discretion, grant a transfer request, if:

  • You have continuously maintained eligibility for adjustment of status;
  • Your adjustment of status application based on the original Form I-140 is still pending;
  • You are eligible for the new immigrant category; and
  • You have a visa immediately available in the new immigrant category.

You must request in writing that USCIS transfer your pending Form I-485 from one basis to another category. For Fiscal Year 2022, USCIS has created a new point of contact that should be used to request a transfer of the underlying basis of employment-based Form I-485s. Through September 30, 2022, you may submit your written request, with a completed I-485 Supplement J, Confirmation of Bona Fide Job Offer or Request for Job Portability Under INA Section 204(j)(if required), to the following address:

U. S. Department of Homeland Security
USCIS Western Forms Center
10 Application Way
Montclair, CA 91763-1350

USCIS strongly encourages applicants to send their transfer requests to the above address.  If you have already submitted a transfer of underlying basis request to a USCIS office, you should not submit a new request to this address. All requests to transfer the underlying basis already received or that will be received this fiscal year at a USCIS office will be processed as usual by the USCIS office with jurisdiction over your pending Form I-485.

The purpose of the Supplement J is to confirm the validity of the job offered to you in the petition you want to use as the basis for your transfer request.

  • If you are requesting to transfer your underlying basis to a previously filed and approved Form I-140, you must submit I-485 Supplement J with your transfer request.
  • If you are requesting to transfer your underlying basis to a Form I-140 that remains pending, you do not need to submit I-485 Supplement J.

USCIS does not provide a written response to transfer requests.  However, USCIS will issue receipt notices for the Supplement J.

You do not have to submit a new adjustment of status application or filing fee with a request to transfer the underlying basis of your Form I-485 from one petition to another. For more information on transferring the underlying basis of your Form I-485, see theUSCIS Policy Manual.

NOTE: If you are requesting a transfer of underlying basis that is not a transfer from one employment-based petition to another employment-based petition, you should continue to submit your transfer request, in writing, to the USCIS office with jurisdiction over your pending application.

Connecting with Challa Law Group

Join us on Wednesdays for a live webinar at 12 PM ET on critical immigration updates

Don’t miss out on the immigration news! You can sign up for our mailing list or follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, or LinkedIn. You can also join our Telegram community.

Contact us at info@challalaw.com or 804-360-8482 to get your case started today.

USCIS Selects Third Round of H-1B Registrations for FY 2022

From USCIS, 11/19/2021

USCIS Conducts Third Random Selection from Previously Submitted FY 2022 H-1B Cap Registrations

We recently determined that we needed to select additional registrations to reach the fiscal year (FY) 2022 H-1B numerical allocations, including the advanced degree exemption. On Nov. 19, we selected from among previously submitted electronic registrations using a random selection process. The petition filing period based on registrations selected on Nov. 19 will begin on Nov. 22, 2021, and close on Feb. 23, 2022. Individuals with selected registrations will have their myUSCIS accounts updated to include a selection notice, which includes details about when and where to file.

In July 2021, we conducted a second random selection from among properly submitted electronic registrations for the FY 2022 H-1B numerical allocations. The petition filing period based on registrations selected in July ended on Nov. 3, 2021.

We conducted an initial selection in March 2021. The initial filing period for those with selected registrations for FY 2022 was from April 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021. Per regulation, we take into account historical data related to approvals, denials, revocations, and other relevant factors to calculate the number of registrations needed to meet the H-1B numerical allocations for a given fiscal year. Only those petitioners with selected registrations for FY 2022 are eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions.

An H-1B cap-subject petition must be properly filed at the correct service center and within the filing period indicated on the relevant registration selection notice. Online filing is not available for H-1B petitions. Petitioners filing H-1B petitions must do so by paper and must include a printed copy of the applicable registration selection notice with the FY 2022 H-1B cap-subject petition.

Registration selection only indicates that petitioners are eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions; it does not indicate that the petition will be approved. Petitioners filing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must still submit evidence and establish eligibility for petition approval based on existing statutory and regulatory requirements.

For more information, visit the H-1B Cap Season page.

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Connecting with Challa Law Group

Join us on Wednesdays for a live webinar at 12 PM ET on critical immigration updates

Don’t miss out on the immigration news! You can sign up for our mailing list or follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, or LinkedIn. You can also join our Telegram community.

Contact us at info@challalaw.com or 804-360-8482 to get your case started today.

 

USCIS Issues Policy Guidance on Automatic EAD Extensions for Dependent Spouse (H-4, E, L)

USCIS Issues Policy Guidance on Automatic EAD Extensions for Dependent Spouse (H-4, E, L)

USCIS reached a settlement agreement as a result of recent litigation (Shergill, et al. v. Mayorkas) targeting the delayed processing times for EAD applications and extensions. Previously USCIS prohibited H-4 spouses from benefiting from automatic employment authorization extensions while their EAD applications were pending. Following the settlement agreement, USCIS released new guidance allowing H-4 spouses automatic EAD extensions and clarifying that L and E spouses will now enjoy automatic work authorization incident to status. The L and E dependent spouses will no longer have to apply for employment authorization unless they prefer to have the document for identity verification and other related purposes.

While the new guidance is effective immediately, the settlement agreement notes a maximum 120-day timeline for implementing the changes. USCIS will continue to issue E and L dependent spouses EADs upon filing Form I-765. Individuals may want to continue filing I-765 since EADs are acceptable for I-9 purposes as List A documents, demonstrating employment authorization and identity.

Under the new guidance, what is acceptable evidence of work authorization for I-9 purposes?

  • A document combination to include:
    • an unexpired Form I-94 indicating nonimmigrant status (H-4, E, or L)
    • Form I-797C (receipt notice) showing a timely-filed EAD renewal application stating “class requested” as “(a)(17),” “(a)(18),” or “(c)(26),” and
    • The facially expired EAD issued under the same category (that is, indicating Category A17, A18, or C26).

Note: DHS will modify Forms I-94 for L and E dependents to distinguish spouses from children. Only once those changes are made will the revised Form I-94 be acceptable as a List C document and EAD extensions will no longer be required for L and E dependent spouses. The evidence of employment authorization must have a notation indicating the individual is an E or L dependent spouse. Prior to that change taking place, L and E dependents should follow the same guidelines outlined above for EAD applicants.

My E or L EAD extension is still pending. Can I start working again?

    • E and L dependent spouses are employment authorized incident to status and therefore will no longer have to file Form I-765 once the I-94 has been updated, but may continue to file if they choose to receive an EAD.
    • However, the updated guidance states: “Therefore, until USCIS is able to issue alternative evidence of employment authorization for this group, they will likely continue to request an EAD through the Form I-765 process to meet Form I-9 requirements.”
    • To utilize the I-94 without an EAD as evidence of work authorization, the guidance from USCIS states that the I-94 must bear a notation indicating the individual is a qualifying E, or L spouse. CBP and USCIS could take up to 120 days to modify the I-94s.
    • Until that time, E and L spouses should follow the same guidelines as H spouses with EAD extensions pending.

My H-4 and H-4 EAD extension are still pending. Can I begin working again?

    • If the spouse filed an I-539 application to extend H-4 status concurrently with an EAD application, the H-4 spouse would only qualify for the auto-extension of the EAD if they have time remaining on their existing I-94.

CHALLA TIP: If the primary H-1B has already been approved and extended (perhaps after a premium upgrade), the H-4 dependent spouse can depart the country and then re-enter on the H-4 visa, using the H-1B approval notice to obtain an I-94 with longer validity. The individual would then be eligible for an automatic extension of up to 180 days or the earlier of the scenarios described below. Check out our Travel FAQs & New Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements before planning your trip.

When will the automatic extensions be valid? 

  • Automatic extensions for H-4, E, or L dependent spouses will be applicable if they properly file an application to renew their EAD before the expiration date (if applicable) and they have an unexpired I-94 showing their valid status.
  • The automatic extension will continue until the earlier of:
    • The end date on the Form I-94 showing valid status
    • The approval or denial of the EAD renewal application, or
    • 180 days from the date of expiration of the previous EAD

Wondering if you qualify for an automatic extension? Email us at info@challalaw.com with your questions.

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Connecting with Challa Law Group

Join us on Wednesdays for a live webinar at 12 PM ET on critical immigration updates

Don’t miss out on the immigration news! You can sign up for our mailing list or follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, or LinkedIn. You can also join our Telegram community.

Contact us at info@challalaw.com or 804-360-8482 to get your case started today.

DHS Adds Countries to H-2A and H-2B Eligibility List

From DHS, 11/09/2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State (DOS), has announced the lists of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in the next year. The notice listing the eligible countries will be published in the Federal Register on Nov. 10, 2021.

For the next year, the secretary of homeland security, with the concurrence of the secretary of state, has decided to:

  • Add Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Cyprus, the Dominican Republic (currently only eligible for  the H-2A program), Haiti, Mauritius, and Saint Lucia to the list of countries eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs; and
  • No longer designate Moldova as an eligible country for the H-2A visa program because it no longer meets the regulatory standards for that program. However, Moldova’s eligibility for the H-2A program remains effective until Jan. 18, 2022.

DHS maintains its authority to add countries to the eligible countries lists at any time, and to decide not to redesignate any country at the end of the one-year period following the date of publication of a country’s last designation in the Federal Register, should DHS and DOS determine that a country fails to meet the requirements for continued designation. Examples of factors that could result in the exclusion of a country or the removal of a country from the list include fraud, abuse, denial rates, overstay rates, human trafficking concerns, and other forms of noncompliance with the terms and conditions of the H-2 visa programs by nationals of that country that are contrary to U.S. interest.

The H-2A and H-2B visa programs allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, respectively. Typically, USCIS approves H-2A and H-2B petitions only for nationals of countries that the secretary of homeland security has designated as eligible to participate in the programs. However, USCIS may approve H-2A and H-2B petitions, including those that were pending as of the date of the Federal Register notice, for nationals of countries not on the list on a case-by-case basis only if doing so is determined to be in the interest of the United States.

Effective Nov. 10, nationals of the following countries are eligible to receive H-2A and H-2B visas:

Andorra Fiji Malta Saint Lucia
Argentina Finland Mauritius San Marino
Australia France Mexico Serbia
Austria Germany Moldova* Singapore
Barbados Greece Monaco Slovakia
Belgium Grenada Mongolia** Slovenia
Bosnia and Herzegovina Guatemala Montenegro Solomon Islands
Brazil Haiti Mozambique South Africa
Brunei Honduras Nauru South Korea
Bulgaria Hungary The Netherlands Spain
Canada Iceland New Zealand St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Chile Ireland Nicaragua Sweden
Colombia Israel North Macedonia Switzerland
Costa Rica Italy Norway Taiwan***
Croatia Jamaica Panama Thailand
Republic of Cyprus Japan Papua New Guinea Timor-Leste
Czech Republic Kiribati Paraguay* Turkey
Denmark Latvia Peru Tuvalu
Dominican Republic Liechtenstein Philippines** Ukraine
Ecuador Lithuania Poland United Kingdom
El Salvador Luxembourg Portugal Uruguay
Estonia Madagascar Romania Vanuatu

*Moldova and Paraguay are eligible to participate in the H-2A program but they are not eligible to participate in the H-2B program. Moldova’s eligibility for the H-2A program remains effective until Jan. 18, 2022.

**Mongolia and the Philippines are eligible to participate in the H-2B program but are not eligible to participate in the H-2A program.

***Regarding all references to “country” or “countries” in this document, it should be noted that the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, Pub. L. No. 96-8, Section 4(b)(1), provides that “[w]henever the laws of the United States refer or relate to foreign countries, nations, states, governments, or similar entities, such terms shall include and such laws shall apply with respect to Taiwan.” 22 U.S.C. § 3303(b)(1). Accordingly, all references to “country” or “countries” in the regulations governing whether nationals of a country are eligible for H-2 program participation, 8 CFR 214.2(h)(5)(i)(F)(1)(i) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(6)(i)(E)(1), are read to include Taiwan. This is consistent with the United States’ one-China policy, under which the United States has maintained unofficial relations with Taiwan since 1979.

This notice does not affect the status of H-2 beneficiaries who currently are in the United States unless they apply to extend their stay in H-2 status on the basis of a petition filed on or after the date of publication of the Federal Register notice. Similarly, this notice would not affect the eligibility of an H-2 beneficiary to apply for an H-2 visa and/or seek admission to the United States based on an H-2 petition approved prior to the date of publication of the Federal Register notice. It does apply to nonimmigrants changing status in the United States to H-2A or H-2B. Each country’s designation is valid from Nov. 10, 2021, until Nov. 9, 2021.

For more information on these programs, see the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers and H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers pages on the USCIS website.

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Connecting with Challa Law Group

Join us on Wednesdays for a live webinar at 12 PM ET on critical immigration updates

Don’t miss out on the immigration news! You can sign up for our mailing list or follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, or LinkedIn. You can also join our Telegram community.

Contact us at info@challalaw.com or 804-360-8482 to get your case started today.

Market Analyst H-1B Denied? You May Be Able to Appeal 

Market Analyst H-1B Denied? You May Be Able to Appeal 

From USCIS, 10/28/2021

USCIS reached a settlement agreement (PDF, 268.06 KB) [PDF] in the case of MadKudu Inc., et al. v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, et al., No. 20-cv-2653 (N.D. Cal.). On Oct. 19, 2021, the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, San Jose Division, granted final approval of the settlement agreement. This agreement outlines new, overarching guidance for adjudicating pending or future H-1B petitions for market research analysts.

Additionally, the agreement allows class members to submit a Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, to request that certain denied Forms I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, seeking H-1B classification for a market research analyst be reopened and adjudicated per the terms of the settlement agreement. No fee will be charged for such a request. Class members have until April 26, 2022 to submit a Form I-290B.

Class members eligible to submit a Form I-290B are those that:

  • Filed a Form I-129 H-1B petition between Jan. 1, 2019 and Oct. 19, 2021, for a market research analyst.
  • USCIS denied the petition based on a finding that the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) entry for a market research analyst did not establish that the occupation is a specialty occupation, and thus did not satisfy 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(A)(1).
  • If not for this finding, the petition would have been approved.
  • There is any amount of time remaining on the period specified in the certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) originally submitted with the underlying Form I-129 at the time that the Form I-290B is filed.

Class members whose eligible Form I-129 was denied may submit their Form I-290B (without fee) on or before April 26, 2022, to have their reopening request and, if eligibility is established, their underlying I-129 H-1B petition adjudicated per the terms of the settlement agreement.

USCIS will make a decision on all eligible, timely-filed reopening requests within 90 days of receipt of the physical file at the adjudicating office. USCIS will attempt to prioritize reopening requests for petitions with LCAs expiring less than 90 days after the Form I-290B is properly filed with USCIS.

If USCIS determines that the underlying petition is not eligible for this reopening process, in accordance with the bullets above (for example, you are not a class member eligible to submit a Form I-290B under the settlement agreement), we will reject the Form I-290B.

Filing Instructions 

All Forms I-290B must be submitted to the Nebraska Service Center, on or before April 26, 2022, at the addresses below.

USPS FedEx, UPS, and DHL Deliveries
USCIS Nebraska Service Center
Attn: Madkudu Project
P.O. Box 87129
Lincoln, NE 68701
USCIS Nebraska Service Center
Attn: Madkudu Project
850 ‘S’ Street
Lincoln, NE 68508

When submitting Form I-290B, you should:

  1. Include a cover sheet to clearly identify that the Form I-290B is filed by a claimed member of the class.
  2. Indicate on the cover sheet and Form I-290B the name of the office (name of the Service Center or Administrative Appeals Office (AAO)) that made the last adverse decision.
  3. Demonstrate class membership by submitting a copy of USCIS’ denial of the underlying H-1B petition (if you appealed to, and had your appeal dismissed by the AAO, you should submit a copy of the AAO decision instead of, or in addition to, the service center denial). The denial of the original H-1B petition should show that:
    • The petition was filed on or after Jan. 1, 2019, through Oct. 19, 2021, (for cases in which the denial does not include the filing date of the petition, you should submit a copy of USCIS’ receipt notice for the petition).
    • USCIS found that the job fell within the market research analyst occupation;
    • USCIS considered the OOH entry for market research analysts;
    • USCIS found that the market research analyst occupation was not a specialty occupation under the first regulatory criterion at 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(A)(1); and
    • The sole basis for the denial was that the position was not within a specialty occupation.
  4. Demonstrate (for example, by submitting a copy of the LCA filed with the denied petition) that there is any amount of time remaining on the period specified in the certified LCA at the time that the I-290B is filed.
  5. State in the reopening request that you request reopening.
  6. Provide a receipt number for the underlying Form I-129 petition.
  7. Confirm that the offer of employment as stated in the underlying Form I-129 petition remains valid.
  8. Indicate if you want a new start and/or end date for the validity period (as long as the new date(s) falls within the period in the certified LCA previously submitted with the petition).

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