In this issue
- An Update on B-1 in lieu of H-1B Visa
- DHS Partners With Loews Hotel & Resorts
- Warnings about the 'green card lottery'
- Joint U.S.-Canada Entry/Exit Pilot Begins
- EB-2 Priority Dates Become 'Current' in November, Except for China and India
- E-Verify Mandated in Four States in 2013
- New Publications and Items of Interest
An Update on B-1 in lieu of H-1B Visa
The Department of State has recently sent a cable to its visa-issuing posts around the world that supersedes the June 21, 2012 cable on the continued validity of the B-1 in lieu of H-1B visa. The new cable, reminds consular officers that although the visa is still under interagency review, they should not hesitate to issue it in appropriate circumstances. This cable emphasized the requirement that applicants must have either a bachelor's degree in a speciality field, or the equivalent experience, and the activities to be undertaken must also be of H-1B calibre.
DHS Partners With Loews Hotel & Resorts
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano recently announced a new partnership between the Department of Homeland Security and Loews Hotels & Resorts to promote the Department's expedited traveller programs, which includes CBP's Global Entry and the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) Pre™.
Through the new partnership, Loews Hotels offers its YouFirst Platinum loyalty rewards members complimentary enrolment in the Global Entry program. CBP will review the applicant's information; conduct an in-person interview at a CBP enrolment center, including providing fingerprints; and complete a background check.
CBP has also worked with American Express and United Airlines, which provide reimbursements for their top-tier customers, and continues to partner with other private-sector entities to expand the network of Global Entry members.
Currently available at 30 U.S. airports, Global Entry streamlines the screening process for trusted travellers through biometric identification and reduces average wait times by 70 percent, according to DHS, with more than 75 percent of travellers using Global Entry processed in under five minutes. More than a million people are enrolled in Global Entry, and these travellers have used its automated kiosks more than three million times.
The TSA Pre™ pre-screening initiative allows eligible passengers to volunteer information about themselves to expedite their screening. Eligible passengers enter a separate security lane where they undergo expedited screening, and may pass through screening technology without removing shoes, light outerwear, belts, laptops, or 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels from their carry-on. To be eligible, participants must be U.S. citizens travelling through one of the 25 participating U.S. airports and members of CBP Trusted Traveller programs or select frequent flyers of participating airlines. More than 2.8 million passengers have received expedited screening through TSA Pre™ security lanes since the initiative began in October 2011, DHS said.
The announcement is available here.
Warnings about the 'green card lottery'
The US Embassy, London has posted a notice to potential DV FY2014 entrants, stressing in the strongest possible terms that applicants should note and retain the confirmation number that is generated when the application is filed. From that note: '[The confirmation number] will be needed in order to check whether you have been selected for the program, and it cannot be retrieved at later stage. You cannot check your DV entry status without your confirmation number and it cannot be retrieved later under any circumstances.' The status of applications can be checked beginning, May 1, 2013.
Joint U.S.-Canada Entry/Exit Pilot Begins
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have begun the Phase I pilot of the Entry/Exit program, as outlined in the Beyond the Border Action Plan.
Routine biographic information will be collected under the pilot until January 31, 2013. In October, both agencies began exchanging this information so that recording an entry into one country becomes a record of exit from the other country. The pilot will not affect regular port operations in any way.
As part of the pilot, DHS and CBSA will exchange routinely collected data on third-country nationals (those who are citizens of neither Canada nor the United States), permanent residents of Canada, and lawful permanent residents of the United States at the following four ports of entry:
- Pacific Highway, Blaine, Washington/Pacific Highway, British Columbia;
- Peace Arch, Blaine, Washington/Douglas (Peace Arch), British Columbia;
- Lewiston-Queenston Bridge, Lewiston, New York/Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, Ontario;and
- Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls, New York/Niagara Falls Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls, Ontario.
DHS said the coordinated entry/exit system will help the U.S. and Canada identify persons who overstay their lawful periods of admission; better monitor the departure of persons subject to removal orders; and verify that residence requirements are being met by applicants for continued eligibility in immigration programs.
DHS noted that the process of sharing personal information will be in accordance with each country's privacy laws and policies. It will also be consistent with the Beyond the Border Action Plan's Joint Statement of Privacy Principles and a Letter of Intent agreed to by DHS and CBSA.
The announcement is available here.
EB-2 Priority Dates Become 'Current' in November, Except for China and India
The Visa Bulletin for November 2012 shows that the employment-based second preference (EB-2) immigrant visa priority dates have become "Current" for all countries except China and India. For China in November, the EB-2 priority date cut-off is September 1, 2007; for India, the cut-off date is September 1, 2004. The November Visa Bulletin is available here.
E-Verify Mandated in Four States in 2013
Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee have all passed mandatory E-Verify laws, the final provisions of which take effect in 2013:
- Georgia: Larger employers already must use E-Verify, but HB 87 requires all Georgia employers with more than 10 employees to use E-Verify by July 1, 2013.
- North Carolina: Similarly, larger employers already must use E-Verify, but HB 36 requires employers that employ between 25 and 100 employees to use E-Verify by July 1, 2013.
- Pennsylvania: Effective January 1, 2013, the Public Works Employment Verification Act (SB 637) requires contractors and subcontractors performing public works projects for Pennsylvania worth at least $25,000 to use E-Verify for newly hired employees.
- Tennessee: The Tennessee Lawful Employment Act (HB 1378) requires employers with 6 to 199 employees to use E-Verify (or otherwise verify the work authorization of new hires) by January 1, 2013. Larger employers are already required to do so.
New Publications and Items of Interest
Green Card Stories. The immigration debate is boiling over. Americans are losing the ability to understand and talk to one another about immigration. We must find a way to connect on a human level. Green Card Stories does just that. The book depicts 50 recent immigrants with permanent residence or citizenship in dramatic narratives, accompanied by artistic photos. If the book's profiles share a common trait, it's a mixture of talent and steely determination. Each of them overcame great challenges to come and stay in America. Green Card Stories reminds Americans of who we are: a nation of immigrants, from all walks of life and all corners of the earth, who have fuelled America's success. It tells the true story of our nation: E pluribus unum--out of many, one. For more information or to order, visit www.greencardstories.com.
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: