Archives for December 2014

“Cap” Count Update for H-2B Status

There is a statutory numerical limit or ‘cap’ on the number of aliens who may be issued an H-2B status during a fiscal year. The H-2B cap set by Congress is 66,000 per fiscal year; 33,000 to be allocated during the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 – March 31) and 33,000 to be allocated during the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – September 30). Any unused numbers during the first half will be made available to use during the second half of the fiscal year.

As of November 17, 2014, USCIS has receipted 12,658 beneficiaries toward the 33,000 H-2B cap for the first half of FY2015. This includes 11,128 approved and 1,530 pending beneficiaries.1

It is important to check up on the cap count regularly for an updated count.

Reforms to the Employment Visa System as per President Obama’s Immigration Executive Action

Among the proposed changes to the current immigration system, is the one to help U.S. high skilled businesses in being able to hire foreign workers and retain them permanently.

Key administrative reforms include:

I. Simplify Immigrant Visa allocation by working with the Department of State in order to ensure all visas are issued to eligible individuals.

II. Simplify the current Visa Bulletin system in order to determine when immigrant visas are available in a fiscal year.

III. Reduce waiting times for immigrant visas to become available and improve on visa processing.

IV. Expand the degree programs available for OPT (Optional Practical Training).

V. Enhance opportunities for foreign inventors, researchers and founders of start-up enterprises wishing to conduct research and development to create jobs in the United States by granting them National Interest Waivers and as a result, green cards, or through investment.

VI. Efficient adjudications of L-1B petitions by providing further guidance on the definition of “specialized knowledge.”

VII. Finalize the rule to provide employment authorization documents (EAD) to dependents of H-1B’s, i.e. H-4s who are in route of obtaining lawful permanent resident status.

VIII. Flexibility on ‘portability’ when pending for employment-based permanent resident status.

IX. Modernize the PERM program in order to obtain a Labor Certification.

Sources

1. https://www.immigrationpolicy.org/special-reports/guide-immigration-accountability-executive- action?utm_source=AILA+Mailing&utm_campaign=c2b3d967aa-AILA8_11_26_14&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3c0e619096-c2b3d967aa-290883813

2. https://www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction

3. “The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions Announced November 20-21, 2014,” AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14112446 (Posted 11/24/14).

4. “AILA’s Take on President Obama’s ‘Immigration Accountability Executive Action’ Plan,” AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14112448 (Posted 11/24/14).

5. Johnsen, Jeh C., Memorandum on “Policies Supporting U.S. High-Skilled Businesses and Workers,” AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14112009 (Posted 11/20/14).