United States: Business Immigration Weekly For March 6, 2017

Last Updated: April 11 2017
Article by Esther Contreras

STATUS OF SECOND TRAVEL BAN EXECUTIVE ORDER 

President Trump issued a second, more tailored, executive order instituting a travel ban on nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Iraq was removed from the list of countries from the first travel ban. This second travel ban was quickly blocked by a Hawaiian federal judge and remains suspended.

SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO I-9 HANDBOOK (M-274) FOR EMPLOYERS

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently issued an updated M-274 Handbook for Employers (https://www.uscis.gov/i-9). In addition to I-9 Central (https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central), the Handbook is one of the key Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, resources available to employers. The new version of the Handbook incorporates many significant changes including changes in immigration law and policy and the new version of the Form I-9 that was effective January 2017.

One of the major changes deals with the implementation of the High Skilled Worker Final Rule that became effective on January 17, 2017. This Rule allows Employment Authorization Documents with the following eligibility codes: A03, A05, A08, A10, C08, C09, C10, C16, C20, C22, C24, C31 and A12 or C19 an automatic extension of employment authorization for 180 days after the expiration of the card. In order to benefit, the following conditions must be met: 1) the employee has timely filed an application for a renewal of the document (except some Temporary Protected Status applicants); 2) the application is still pending with the government; and 3) the eligibility code is one of the codes listed above. Ffor the most updated list, please go to the www.uscis.gov website. For specific information on how to complete the Form I-9 in these cases, go to the M-274, page 17.

VISA BULLETIN FOR APRIL 2017 

The Department of State (DOS) released the most recent Visa Bulletin. Below is a summary of green card Final Action Dates and Dates For Filing dates for employment-based immigrant visa categories for the month of May.

PLEASE NOTE: Per a new USCIS policy, a week after the Department of State (DOS) issues its monthly Visa Bulletin indicating immigrant visa availability for the next month, the USCIS will make its own separate determination on green card availability. If green cards are available for a certain category, the USCIS will post its own notice on its website at: www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo to alert immigrants applying in those categories with more availability, that they may use the Dates for Filing chart and not the Final Action Date chart. Thus immigrants may no longer rely on the DOS Visa Bulletin, but must wait one week after its publication and then look to the USCIS to see whether a green card is available to them.

Green Card "Dates for Filing" Availability Dates

Individuals with priority dates prior to the dates listed in the chart below are eligible to file their green card applications during the current month.

Employment
based
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT
2nd CURRENT 01MAR13 22APR09 CURRENT CURRENT
3rd CURRENT 01MAY14 01JUL05 CURRENT 01SEP13
Other Workers CURRENT 01AUG09 01JUL05 CURRENT 01SEP13
4th CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT
Certain Religious Workers CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
CURRENT 15JUN14 CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
CURRENT 15JUN14 CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT

Green Card Approval "Final Action Dates"

Individuals with priority dates prior to the dates listed in the chart below have a green card available to them during the month of March, therefore, the US government may take final action on their case.

Employment
based
All Charge-
ability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT
2nd CURRENT 15JAN13 CURRENT 22JUN08 CURRENT CURRENT
3rd 15FEB17 15AUG14 15FEB17 24MAR05 15FEB17 15SEP12
Other Workers 15FEB17 01MAR06 15FEB17 24MAR05 15FEB17 15SEP12
4th CURRENT CURRENT 15JUL15 CURRENT 15JUL15 CURRENT
Certain Religious Workers CURRENT CURRENT 15JUL15 CURRENT 15JUL15 CURRENT
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
CURRENT 22MAY14 CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
CURRENT 22MAY14 CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT CURRENT

Month-to-month availability of immigrant visas varies and depends on many factors. The entire Visa Bulletin can be viewed at: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin.html

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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