The Department of Homeland Security may test a “Known Employer” pilot program to streamline processing of certain types of employment-based immigration applications submitted by eligible U.S. employers. Expected to launch by late 2015, the program is designed to:
More information about the pilot program is expected in the coming months. Stay tuned!
Advancement of 2-4 weeks is expected in the family-sponsored categories.
On January 1, California enacted Assembly Bill 60, allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses California. While having an AB 60 driver’s license is an important benefit for some individuals, we recommend that undocumented individuals consult with a licensed and trusted attorney before applying for an AB 60 driver’s license to avoid potential pitfalls.
The benefits of obtaining an AB 60 driver’s license:
The risks of obtaining an AB 60 driver’s license:
The Mexican government will now issue birth certificates to Mexican citizens at its consulates in the United States. This new option will ease the burden on immigrants gathering these necessary documents to apply for DACA, DAPA, U.S. work permits, driver’s licenses, etc. Birth certificates from some rural villages where documents are not digitally recorded may not be available, but consulates expect that they will be able to issue birth certificates for most birthplaces in Mexico.
Until now, Mexico had required its citizens to obtain birth certificates from specific government offices in Mexico. Many immigrants living in the U.S. faced hurdles when obtaining these documents from regional offices in Mexico. The consulates’ new procedure will streamline the document-gathering process for such immigrants. This is a significant step forward for Mexicans trying to obtain legal status.
Attention employers and professionals: H-1B visa numbers will become available again soon! The H-1B classification is the most popular temporary work status for professional positions. This news is important for both employers who plan on hiring foreign-national professionals and foreign-nationals who have a U.S. job offer and a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent work experience). The application should be submitted April 1, 2015 (the government will reject applications submitted earlier.) If approved, work authorization will begin October 1, 2015. It is important to prepare these applications packages thoroughly. To ensure timely filing of an H-1B application and avoid a rush service fee, we should start by January 20, 2015.
The government will hold a lottery to determine which applications will be adjudicated for one of the coveted H-1B visa numbers. In recent years, 30%-50% of applications were rejected after losing this lottery. As the economy improves and demand for H-1B visas increases, the odds of obtaining an H-1B visa number will decrease. If your employee is in a temporary work status that will end in the next few years, it may be advisable to apply for an H-1B visa this year.
We recommend that you request premium processing. For an additional fee, the application is more likely to be adjudicated by a more senior officer, and a decision will be made in approximately 1 month. (Last year, some H-1B applications were not adjudicated by the October 1 start date. Many of these applicants ended up requesting premium processing anyway.) Anecdotal evidence suggests that premium processing results in a higher chance of winning the H-1B visa number lottery—though officially premium processing should not affect the lottery.