Minutes ago, USCIS announced that starting May 26, 2015, it will suspend the "premium processing" service for all H-1B petitions requesting an extension of stay for the H-1B worker.
The announcement states that this action is necessary so that USCIS can efficiently implement the H-4 Work Authorization rule, also scheduled to take effect on May 26.
Since the 90-day processing time for the H-4 work authorization does not begin until USCIS adjudicates the underlying H-1B and H-4 extension, USCIS clearly expects a significant number of concurrently filed H-1B/H-4 extensions requesting premium processing in an effort to expedite issuance of the H-4 Employment Authorization Card (EAD).
According to the announcement, this action only affects extension requests filed on or after May 26, 2015. USCIS will continue to premium process extension petitions file before May 26. The announcement also makes clear that premium processing is still available for all other H-1B petitions, including those requesting a change to H-1B status or consular notification.
As always, please contact us with any questions.
The Department of State has released the June 2015 Visa Bulletin, a monthly report detailing the current cutoff dates for the filing or approval of green card applications in the various U.S. permanent visa categories. A person who is otherwise eligible to apply for or be granted a green card in the U.S., must have a current priority date as specified in the Visa Bulletin.
The June 2015 Visa Bulletin shows continued forward movement in nearly all categories, but last month’s warning for nationals of the Philippines came to pass as the family-based first (FB-1) preference and the employment-based third (EB-3) preference each retrogressed significantly as described below.
As of June 1, 2015, the priority date in the employment-based second (EB-2) preference category for Chinese nationals will advance one year to June 1, 2013, while the priority date in the EB-2 category for Indian nationals will advance nearly six months to October 1, 2008.
The priority dates in the employment-based third (EB-3) preference for all countries except India, China, and the Philippines will advance six weeks to February 15, 2015, and remain nearly current. EB-3 India again advanced only one week to January 22, 2004. The good news continues for nationals of China as the EB-3 priority date advanced again to September 1, 2011.
The bad news continues in June for nationals of the Philippines. The EB-3 priority date for the Philippines will move backward again over two years to January 1, 2005, and the notes to the bulletin indicate that there could be further regression in the coming months. In addition, the FB-1 priority date for nationals of the Philippines will retrogress nearly five years to March 1, 2000.
As has been the case for several months, most family-based preference categories will advance at least a few weeks, although, somewhat unexpectedly, the priority date in the family-based fourth (FB-4) preference for Mexican nationals will move backward slightly to March 1, 1997.
You can view the visa bulletin in its entirety below. Please contact us with any questions.
News and Updates
Immigration law news and updates from the attorneys at Steel & Glassman