20 April 2016
Category News Room
20 April 2016,
 0

H-1B Lottery Update

On April 13th, USCIS announced that it received more than 236,000 H-1B petitions during the cap filing period held between April 1st and 7th, up from the nearly 233,000 petitions filed last year. USCIS completed a computer-generated selection process to select 65,000 petitions under the regular cap and 20,000 petitions under the advanced degree cap. The advanced degree selection process was held first, with unselected petitions becoming part of the regular cap lottery.

Any petitions not selected in the lottery will be returned together with the filing fees. For those petitions that were selected, we anticipate receiving receipt notices from USCIS in mid to late May. For those petitions that were filed with Premium Processing, we anticipate receiving receipt notices over the next couple of weeks. USCIS announced in March that it would begin reviewing Premium Processing cases no later than May 16th.

May 2016 Visa Bulletin has been published – USCIS will continue to accept applications based on the first chart.

On April 12th, the DOS released the May 2016 visa bulletin.  There has been no movement in the final action dates chart for EB-2 or EB-3 China, and EB-3 China remains almost a year ahead of EB-2 China (15 August 2013 vs. 01 September 2012). EB-2 and EB-3 India see slight forward movement (22 November 2008 and 01 September 2004, respectively), as does EB-3 Philippines (8 August 2008). As with months past, USCIS has indicated it will only allow applications to be filed based on the first chart.

Important Reminder: Register your company with Dunn & Bradstreet now to avoid an RFE.

USCIS utilizes information provided on the Dunn & Bradstreet website as a means to verify business existence.  In recent months, we have noticed USCIS is becoming more diligent about confirming the information contained in the petition matches the information provided in the Dunn & Bradstreet registry.  USCIS has begun issuing RFEs requesting business existence documents when company information on Dunn & Bradstreet does not match the information provided in petition filings.  While there is no requirement that a company be registered with Dunn & Bradstreet, we encourage you to register your company as soon as possible to avoid an RFE.  If your company is already registered, we encourage you to verify that the information provided (e.g., legal name of company, current address) is current and update it if it is outdated.  The Dunn & Bradstreet website may be accessed here.

Canada implements its own “visaless” traveler system.

Earlier this year, Canada announced the commencement of a new virtual entry clearance system called eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) that became active on March 15, 2016.  As a result of a busy upcoming travel season and lack of advance notice, the government backtracked and indicated adherence with the program is not required until Fall of this year.  The program is required for any individual seeking to enter Canada who does not require a visa, although U.S. citizens are exempt from eTA.  Thus, individuals who possess a visa do not need an eTA.  You may apply for an eTA through this website – it only takes a few minutes and costs $7 CAD.

 

** This newsletter/memo is provided for informational and discussion purposes only.  It does not act as a substitute for direct legal contact on an individual basis **

 

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