Newsletter 21: November 2014

This is an exciting time for immigrants!

Obama Announcement Imminent on Immigration Executive Action

We have just learned that President Obama plans to announce executive action on immigration reform as early as next week, opening many windows of opportunity.
A 10-point executive action to fix our immigration system could be announced as early as Friday November 21, or in the following weeks.

This move comes after the House of Representatives failed to pass the immigration bill approved by the Senate. President Obama’s executive order may bring much relief to those seeking stability on their immigration status in the U.S.

The President’s new immigration initiatives could significantly expand options for millions of employees, businesses, and families.

The most significant immigration initiatives may include:

  • Tech Workers: A new immigration option for 500,000 tech professionals and their spouses.
  • 5 Million Undocumented: Work authorization and a shield against deportation for up to five million undocumented immigrants.

The new policies still face challenges, including threats from some in Congress to thwart the president’s immigration plans. Nonetheless, President Obama and his top aides have said that the executive order will not be reversed unless Congress passes a comprehensive immigration reform bill that the president agrees to sign.

The proposed immigration reform is an exercise of executive powers by President Obama. If a different president is elected and takes office in 2017, s/he could end this policy. Thus, the window of opportunity to apply could be limited.

We are closely monitoring the President’s actions on this important reform and will keep you updated as new developments come to light.

CBP Designates Ports of Entry for First-Time Canadian TN and L-1 Applicants

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has designated 14 ports of entry for optimized processing of first-time Canadian TN and L-1 applications. Canadian professionals, managers, and executives can take advantage of more efficient processing at certain ports in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Quebec, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Washington, and Montana. First-time applicants are not required to use the designated ports, which boast a more streamlined application process and shorter processing times. Choosing the right port of entry is a crucial part of any immigration strategy. The experienced immigration attorneys at Dayzad Law Offices can help applicants select the best ports of entry for smooth and successful applications.

LGBT Applicants May Seek “Safe” Third Country Venue for Immigrant and Fiancé/e Visa Processing

The National Visa Center (NVC) has agreed to facilitate communication between consular posts and LGBT applicants seeking venues for immigrant and K-1 fiancé/e visa processing. In response to requests from the American Immigration Lawyers Association, NVC agreed that when an applicant fears disclosing his or her sexual orientation in the home country, it is appropriate for the applicant to request processing at a U.S. consulate in a “safe” third country. NVC warns that there is no guarantee that a particular post will accept a case for processing. Nonetheless, NVC’s willingness to help LGBT applicants is a positive step toward safe immigrant and fiancé/e visa processing for LGBT families.

Visa Predictions: Some Preference Categories to Stall, While Others May Expect Forward Movement

We all watch the Visa Bulletin closely to see when a visa number becomes available to apply for a green card. The dates in the Visa Bulletin are driven by supply and demand for visa numbers and are based on a number of variables. Predictions from the Department of State’s Visa Control and Reporting Division suggest no movement in the India EB-2 category for the foreseeable future. A one or two week movement per month is expected for EB-3 India. Visas are currently available for all EB-5 applicants from China, but the Department of State predicts that it will have to establish a cut-off date in the coming months. Meanwhile, the predictions suggest that we will see a cut-off for EB-2 China earlier than EB-3 China for a few months, until the increased demand for EB-3 China will trigger an adjustment to the cut-off date. EB-2 China is expected to progress by three to five weeks per month. Cut-off dates for EB-3 Mexico and EB-3 Philippines are expected to remain the same. Finally, modest forward movement in the family-based preference categories of a few weeks to two months per month is possible. We monitor closely when visa numbers become available for our clients so they can apply for green cards during their window of

Immigration News in Brief

  • Increased PERM Filings Affect Processing Times: The Department of Labor has released some new statistics regarding its labor certification (PERM) program. The labor certification is the first step of the employment-based green card process. Competing for top talent, employers have increased labor certification applications 3.5% since last year. Currently, the average processing time is 6 months for non-audited applications and 18 months for audited applications.
  • Improved Visa Validity for Chinese Nationals. Effective immediately, Chinese visitors, students, and cultural exchange participants have the benefit of 5 or 10 year visas, instead of a one year, single entry visa.
  • Dayzad Law Offices Celebrates Halloween. Dayzad Law Offices was full of tricks AND treats this Halloween as we held our first annual costume contest — and had a lot of laughs.

Note: This publication serves only as general information and is not a substitute for consultation with an attorney who can assess the specifics of your case and inform you of the constant changes in law and policy. No attorney-client relationship is formed by the transmission of this information until a legal service contract has been signed by both of us.

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