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DHS Announces that 24 of the 27 Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries Have Met e-Passport Requirements

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on October 26, 2006 that 24 of the 27 Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries have met the October 26, 2006 deadline by satisfying the requirement for issuing e-Passports. These requirements mandate that passports contain a contactless chip with the passport holder's biographic information and a biometric identifier (e.g., a digital photograph of the holder). DHS announced in July 2005, that passports issued by VWP countries on or after October 26, 2006, must comply with these requirements in order to be valid for entry into the United States without a visa, i.e., under the visa waiver program.

Will Bush's Fence Work? Will it even be built?

President Signs Secure Fence Act of 2006

On 10/26/06, President Bush signed into law the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (H.R. 6061), legislation which authorizes 700 miles of fencing along the Southwest border with Mexico. This event raises a number of issues. Will this fence work? Does this fence get to the heart of the problem? Will the fence even be built?

In signing Fence law, President Bush stressed need for new temporary worker plan to "reduce pressure on our border".

In signing the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (H.R. 6061), legislation, President Bush stressed that the fence with Mexico is at most only part of the solution to the illegal immigration problem, and that a temporary worker plan is needed to "reduce pressure on our border". President Bush stated:

New Passport Requirement for Air Travel to United States as of January 23, 2007

The Departments of State and Homeland Security have announced that beginning on January 23, 2007, it will be required "for citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda to present a passport to enter the United States when arriving by air from any part of the Western Hemisphere". The Press Release appears below.

DOL issues Guidance regarding the Re-Instatement of certain Backlog Center Cases which were erroneously withdrawn

The Department of Labor (DOL) issued a statement on or about November 15, 2006, providing guidance, regarding how certain cases in the Backlog Centers which were inadvertently withdrawn (as being "re-files due to technical problems) would now be reinstated. The Statement is reproduced below.

Employers' immigration pains

The LA Times reports:

The raid of six Swift & Co. meat packing plants last week spotlighted the fine line employers face because of increased government scrutiny: Make sure your employees are in the U.S. legally, but don't push too hard to find out.

This time, federal inspectors detained 1,300 Swift workers suspected of providing stolen Social Security numbers to the company. But four years ago, the company's requirement that Latino job applicants provide proof of their legal status led to a $200,000 fine for discrimination.

Somalia and Sri Lanka: $5.215 million to be made available for urgent refugee and migration needs

According to Presidential Determination No. 2007–8 of December 14, 2006:

Pursuant to section 2(c)(1) of the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962, as amended, 22 U.S.C. 2601(c)(1), I hereby determine that it is important to the national interest that up to $5.215 million be made available from the U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund for the purpose of meeting unexpected urgent refugee and migration needs resulting from conflicts in Somalia and Sri Lanka. These funds may be used, as appropriate, to provide contributions to international, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations and, as necessary, for administrative expenses of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge signs on to travel lobby

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has signed up with a travel industry lobby group to prepare a package of "big and bold" reforms to U.S. visa and border rules.

The aim of the reforms is to make it easier for global travelers to visit the United States.

» original article

American Embassy in Japan Can No Longer accept I-130 Immigrant Visa Petitions

In the wake of the enforcement of the Adam Walsh Protection Act , the American Embassy in Japan, as well as all other Embassies and Consulates, can No Longer accept I-130 Immigrant Visa Petitions.

USCIS Announces H-1B Cap REACHED

The USCIS has announced that the H-1B cap for regular cases was reached on April 2, 2007, i.e., the first day that the filing was permitted.  This means that petitions for regular cases will go into a random selection lottery.  The USCIS does not yet know whether the Master's cap was reached or not.  The USCIS notice appears below, and as an attached PDF file.

State Department Announces Update to July Visa Bulletin: NO Employer Based Visa Numbers will be made available until Oct 2007

Incredibly, the U.S. Department of State has announed today, July 2, 2007, that it is updating its Visa Bulletin for July 2007.  The July Visa Bulletin was the visa bulletin which all of a sudden declared most of the Employer Based visa categories to be current.  Now, today, the State Depatment has announced that it unexpectedly used "almost 60,000 Employment numbers" in June, and as a result the State Department is changing the July numbers.  Specifically, the State Department has announced that all numbers for the Employment-based preference cases have been used up for this fiscal year (FY-2007), and that new Employment-based preference numbers will only be made available for the next fiscal year (FY-2008), beginning October 1, 2007.

This is a truly incredible turn of events:  one moment the State Department announces that most of the Employment-based preference categories will be current in July, and the next moment they announce that all of the Employment-based preference categories are unavailable in July--even before any new cases were filed in July.  In other words, this was a pure miscalculation on the part of the State Department, and was not based on any deluge of filings on July 2--since the numbers were cut off before anyone even filed in July.

USCIS "is rejecting applications to adjust status (Form I-485)" for all non-current categories under the NEW July Visa Bulletin

As a result of the State Department updating its July 2007 Visa Bulletin on July 2, 2007, declaring all Employment-based preference categories to be unavailable, the USCIS has now announced that it "is rejecting applications to adjust status (Form I-485) filed by aliens whose priority dates are not current under the revised July Visa Bulletin."  The USCIS Press Release is as follows:

Search for H1B Visa Employers

You can search for "H1B Visa Employers" using this database, which was compiled by Antao & Chuang, Attorneys at Law from government sources. This database identifies those U.S. employers who have filed for H-1B visas in the past, or who have at least started the process by filing for the LCA. If you find an employer you are interested in, you can then contact them to inquire as to whether they have any current job openings in your field. Please tell your friends about this valuable resource.

Use this form to search for H1B Visa employers.

"FMG Friendly" Employers

Foreign Medical Graduates ("FMGs") should be aware that there are "FMG Friendly" employers, and "FMG Unfriendly" employers. This database (compiled by Antao & Chuang, Attorneys at Law from government sources) identifies those U.S. employers who have filed for H-1B visas for foreign medical graduates in the past (or at least started the process by filing for the LCA), and who can therefore be deemed "FMG Friendly". Please tell your colleagues about this valuable resource.

Use this form to search for "FMG Friendly" employers in a given state.

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