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1. USCIS Releases Tips on Filing I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker - USCIS released a Q&A on ways to ensure that an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker will not be rejected.
2. USCIS Is Reissuing Advance Parole Documents To Correct Date - USCIS is reissuing Advance Parole documents because some were mailed to applicants with an incorrect issue date; all advance parole documents continue to be valid because the expiration dates remain accurate.
3. DHS Adds 11 Countries to Designated List for Participation in H-2A, H-2B Programs - DHS has designated 39 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B nonimmigrant programs.
4. DOL Releases List of Important E-Mail Addresses - The e-mail addresses pertain to PERM system, labor condition application and prevailing wage, and H-2A/H-2B issues.
5. ICE Updates List of SEVP-Approved Schools - ICE released an updated list of schools approved under the Student and Exchange Visitor Program.
6. AAO Processing Times Released - The chart shows Administrative Appeals Office processing times by case type.
7. USCIS Issues Q&A on Filing Instructions for E-2 CNMI Investors - The E-2 CNMI investor rule has not been finalized, so USCIS is not yet accepting petitions.
8. ABIL Global: UK Identity Cards for Foreign Nationals - The credit card-sized ICFN is designed to be carried with the migrant at all times.
9. New Publications and Items of Interest - New Publications and Items of Interest
10. Recent News from ABIL Members - Recent News from ABIL Members
11. Government Agency Links - Government Agency Links
 

 
 
1. USCIS Releases Tips on Filing I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
 

On January 21, 2010, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a Q&A on ways to ensure that an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) will not be rejected. Some tips include:

  • Use the most current edition of the form, although older editions may be accepted.
  • Make sure you follow the instructions carefully regarding which location to file your I-140 petition.
  • Select only one visa preference category in Part 2 of the I-140. (USCIS will reject the I-140 petition if Part 2 is left blank or if more than one visa preference category is selected in Part 2.)
  • Respond to all questions and provide information in all of the "answer" and "check" boxes. Write "none" or "n/a" in an answer box if a question does not apply to you.
  • Print or type information using black ink only. Do not "highlight" or "background shade" your entries.
  • Make sure the petitioner signs the I-140.
  • Include the correct fee specified in the form instructions. If you file the petition with other related applications for the beneficiary, attach the fee to the petition by paper clip or staple, and indicate the name of the applicant on the payment document (i.e., in the memo field).
  • Submit one check per application. If more than one petition or application is filed using a single check, and any of the forms are found to be improperly filed, all forms will be rejected.
  • Submit Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative, if applicable (with original signatures of both the representative and the applicant or petitioner).
  • For petitions that are filed electronically, send the supporting documentation to the address identified in the directions for e-filing Do not submit any other paper-filed applications or petitions with the supporting documentation for the electronically filed I-140.

Other questions and answers include what to do if an incorrect visa category is selected in Part 2; what to do if the petitioner wants to request consideration of multiple visa categories on behalf of a worker; how to file an I-140 that requires a Department of Labor-approved labor certification; and how to organize the evidence with the I-140 petition.

The memo also includes tips for various types of I-140s, such as aliens of extraordinary ability; outstanding professors or researchers; multinational executives or managers; aliens of exceptional ability; members of the professions holding an advanced degree; and national interest waivers. 

Among other things, the memo discusses how a successor employer can establish a successor-in-interest relationship with a predecessor employer in order to use that employer's approved labor certification when filing an I-140 on behalf of the beneficiary named on the labor certification; and tips on "porting" to a different employer if a beneficiary's I-140 is still pending. 

The memo is available at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=cfe8745543256210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=68439c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD. 

 
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2. USCIS Is Reissuing Advance Parole Documents To Correct Date
 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on January 27, 2010, that it is reissuing Advance Parole (Form I-512) documents because some documents were mailed to applicants with an incorrect issue date of January 5, 1990. All affected documents have been identified and USCIS will automatically reissue those documents.

USCIS said all advance parole documents continue to be valid because the expiration dates remain accurate. Therefore it is not necessary for applicants to contact USCIS regarding their pending applications unless their application is outside the normal processing time of 90 days. 

Those who need to travel urgently and have received a document with an invalid issue date may travel using the incorrectly dated document, USCIS said. U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) has been alerted, and travelers may be questioned about the issuance date. USCIS advises printing the notice to share with CBP if necessary. The notice is available at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=95641a510c076210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=68439c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD. 

 
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3. DHS Adds 11 Countries to Designated List for Participation in H-2A, H-2B Programs
 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated 39 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B nonimmigrant programs. DHS said that the 28 countries designated in its December 2008 notices continue to meet the standards and therefore should remain on the list. With the concurrence of the Department of State, DHS has added 11 countries to the list for the first time, including Croatia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Serbia, Slovakia, and Uruguay. The other 28 countries are Argentina, Australia, Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Moldova, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

The notice is available at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-960.pdf. 

 
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4. DOL Releases List of Important E-Mail Addresses
 
The Department of Labor recently released a list of important e-mail addresses pertaining to the PERM system, labor condition applications and prevailing wages, and H-2A/H-2B issues. The list is available at http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=27762.
 
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5. ICE Updates List of SEVP-Approved Schools
 
On January 20, 2010, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released an updated list of schools approved under the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. The list is available at http://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/ApprovedSchools.pdf.
 
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6. AAO Processing Times Released
 
The American Immigration Lawyers Association has released a chart showing Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) processing times by case type, as of January 4, 2010. The chart is available at http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=31122.
 
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7. USCIS Issues Q&A on Filing Instructions for E-2 CNMI Investors
 

The Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (CNRA) extends certain provisions of U.S. immigration law to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) for the first time. The transition period for this change began on November 28, 2009. Under the CNRA, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is establishing an E-2 CNMI investor classification, to allow foreign nationals who were admitted as long-term investors under the CNMI immigration laws to remain in the CNMI through the transition period.

The E-2 CNMI investor rule has not been finalized, so USCIS is not yet accepting petitions. The program will be in effect only during the transition period, scheduled to expire on December 31, 2014. The E-2 CNMI investor classification and related visas will expire that day, although USCIS noted that the Department of Homeland Security may extend the transition period. 

A related Q&A on filing instructions is available at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=e2546f4affa66210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=68439c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD. 

 
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8. ABIL Global: UK Identity Cards for Foreign Nationals
 

In November 2008, the United Kingdom (UK) Border Agency (UKBA) set out its plan to introduce a requirement for all non-British or European Economic Area (EEA) nationals applying for leave to enter or remain in the UK to register biometric data as part of their visa applications. An applicant's biometric data and permission to enter or remain in the UK is recorded in an Identity Card for Foreign Nationals (ICFN), replacing the vignette sticker placed in the migrant's passport as a certificate of permission to enter or remain in the UK.

All relevant applicants and their dependents must now attend an appointment in person to give facial and fingerprint information, which is encoded on a secure readable microchip embedded within the ICFN. The credit card-sized ICFN is designed to be carried with the migrant at all times, and presented with the migrant's passport upon entry into, and exit from, the UK and without which the migrant may be refused entry. The information stored on the ICFN is designed to be scanned upon entry to the UK and by UKBA staff performing compliance visits, and is heralded as a key tool in the detection of forged travel and ID documents and ultimately a step closer to the UKBA's goal of eliminating undocumented work in the UK. 

ICFN scheme extended to skilled workers under Tier 2 of the Points Based System. The ICFN scheme initially applied only to those applying to remain in the UK under the student category and the spouse, unmarried partner, same-sex partner and civil partner category, which the UKBA asserts are the high-risk immigration routes for identity fraud and visa abuse. Between December 2009 and March 2009, the UKBA extended the requirement for an ICFN to include migrants applying to remain in the UK as students under Tier 4 of the Points Based System (PBS), and to non-PBS categories, including post-graduate doctors and dentists, academic visitors (extending beyond six months in total), domestic workers in private households, UK ancestry, and the sole representatives of overseas business categories. 

On September 24, 2009, the UKBA announced that starting in January 2010, all foreign nationals applying for an extension of their immigration permission (leave to remain) as a skilled worker under Tier 2 and their dependents in the UK would require an ICFN as part of their application. On December 10, 2009, the UKBA announced that the requirement would be implemented from January 6, 2010. Employers therefore had less than one month over the holiday period to assist any employees in the UK with leave to remain as a work permit holder nearing expiration with the submission of an extension application prior to the implementation date. Any applications submitted on or after January 6, 2010, would require in-person biometrics appointments as part of the application process. 

The UKBA has confirmed on its Web site that it intends to further extend ICFNs to all highly skilled migrant applications submitted in the UK under Tier 1 of the PBS later in 2010. 

 
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9. New Publications and Items of Interest
 

Global Workforce Impact Survey. Western Union and The Economist have published the "Western Union Global Workforce Impact Survey." The report notes that nearly one out of six people worldwide has migrated, representing a vast mobile workforce. This includes 740 million who are traveling within their own country, and 200 million who are moving across international borders.1 With more people on the move, the report says, international migration is increasingly recognized as central to economic vitality and global competitiveness. Varying immigration laws among countries often limit a company’s ability to hire the necessary talent, the report notes: "With an eye fixed on the future, businesses increasingly see open immigration policies as enabling them to expand quickly when the economy turns around." The report calls for policymakers to address these business needs by developing flexible immigration policies that minimize the barriers to mobility and address concerns about the impact of foreign workers on domestic wages, working conditions, and opportunities. The survey of 501 senior executives was designed to provide new insight into business attitudes and practices toward cross-border workforce supplies. More than three out of four (76 percent) respondents believe that foreign workers have a positive impact on the economy.

The report is available at http://corporate.westernunion.com/global_migration.html. 

 
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10. Recent News from ABIL Members
 
Charles Kuck (bio: http://www.abil.com/lawyers/lawyers-kuck.cfm) was featured recently on CNN in an interview/commentary on letting Haitians stay in the U.S. via temporary protected status. The video is available at http://newsroom.blogs.cnn.com/2010/01/24/letting-haitians-stay-in-the-united-states/.
 
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11. Government Agency Links
 

Follow these links to access current processing times of the USCIS Service Centers and the Department of Labor, or the Department of State's latest Visa Bulletin with the most recent cut-off dates for visa numbers:

USCIS Service Center processing times online: https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplay.do 

Department of Labor processing times and information on backlogs: http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/times.cfm 

Department of State Visa Bulletin: http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_1360.html 

 
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