Note: Updated to reflect the Department of Homeland Security’s notice on 9/15/2022 regarding the next phase of premium processing for petitioners who have a pending Form I-140, Immigrant Petition, under the EB-1 and EB-2 classifications.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expanding the availability of premium processing for certain pending, employment-based (EB) immigrant petitions, according to its recent alert. The changes specifically affect:

  • EB-1 multinational executives and managers; and
  • EB-2 professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking a national interest waiver (NIW).

This is the third phase of the previously announced plan to expand premium processing. The agency aims to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the immigration system.

Continue Reading Need a Decision Faster? DHS Expands Premium Processing for Certain Employment-Based Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated the website information for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status in January 2022 to include information related to green card availability and a process referred to as a “transfer of underlying basis.”

Each year, approximately 140,000 US employment-based immigrant visas (green cards) are made

On December 23, 2021, the Department of State announced that consular officers are now authorized to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain temporary work visa applicants who have petitions approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  This authorization will expire on December 31, 2022.  Interviews may be waived for temporary workers applying for the following visa types:  H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q.  As the authorization requires a USCIS-approved petition, it does not appear to apply to individual visa applications submitted pursuant to approved “L” blankets.  In order to qualify, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

Continue Reading State Department Will Waive Interviews for Many Temporary Work Visa Applicants

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced its preliminary fiscal year (FY) 2021 agency statistics and accomplishments.  Over the years, the agency consistently has reported on substantially similar metrics that align with its mission, along with policy, legislative and regulatory items that comport with the strategic direction of the Administration.

Continue Reading USCIS Announces Fiscal Year 2021 Accomplishments

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published details in the Federal Register about how it will implement the temporary “safe haven” program, also called Deferred Enforced Departure – (DED), for certain Hong Kong residents in the United States. The notice also provides instructions for employers regarding acceptable documentation to hire workers under this program.

Continue Reading U.S. Government Issues New Details of Safe Haven Program for Hong Kong Residents

The U.S. government administers an annual Diversity Immigrant Visa Program that, historically, offers one of the most expeditious paths to legal permanent residency and the American dream. Registration is currently open through November 9, 2021. The application is submitted electronically and registration is open to candidates around the globe, including to foreign workers in the United States who seek a “fast-track” to permanent residency.

Continue Reading Registration for U.S. Diversity Visa Program Open Until November 9

What’s the State of Play Today?

  • Low unemployment rates and a shortage of STEM talent continue to drive visa sponsorship of foreign workers by US employers.
  • H-1B visas have a ceiling of six years, unless workers are sponsored by their employers for “green cards” early in the process (typically by year four).
  • Many employers, particularly in the tech arena, are offering foreign workers “green card” sponsorship as of the start date with the company as a recruitment incentive.
  • Companies sponsoring workers for employment-based green cards are required to show as part of the application process that they couldn’t find any qualified American workers to fill the job, a job market testing program known as “PERM” sponsorship.
  • A major technology company agreed on October 19, 2021 to pay a financial penalty of up to $14.25 million, which includes $4.75 million to the US government and up to $9.5 million to eligible victims of alleged discrimination.
  • The government’s suit claimed that the company had illegally reserved jobs for foreign workers it was sponsoring for permanent residence instead of searching for and considering available US workers.
  • The Department of Justice complaint alleged that the company improperly deviated from normal recruiting standards by requiring applications for PERM-sponsored roles to be mailed to the company rather than, as was the standard practice for general recruiting, submitted online.
  • The complaint further alleged that the company did not post these positions on its careers website, as was its standard practice for general recruiting, which appeared to result in very low numbers of US worker applications for the PERM roles.
  • The Department of Labor (DOL) also executed a settlement with the company based on its audit of certain of the company’s pending PERM applications, in which the company agreed to engage in additional notice and recruitment for US workers and as a result of which the company will face ongoing audits by DOL.
  • As part of the settlements, the government will monitor the company’s PERM program for the next three years, and DOL will conduct additional audits of the company’s PERM filings.


Continue Reading Sponsoring Foreign Workers for Green Cards in 2021: Top 10 Issues for Employers to Validate in the Wake of a $14.25 Million Financial Settlement