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    by , 10-14-2008 at 01:27 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Really good news. I don't have the link yet, but here's the text from the USCIS press release:

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has increased the maximum
    period of time a Trade-NAFTA (TN) professional worker from Canada or Mexico may remain in the
    United States before seeking readmission or obtaining an extension of stay. This final rule changes the
    initial period of admission for TN workers from one to three years, making it equal to the initial period
    of admission given to H-1B professional workers. Eligible TN nonimmigrants may now be allowed to
    receive extensions of stay in increments of up to three years instead of the prior maximum period of
    stay of one year.

    The TN nonimmigrant classification is visa category available to eligible Mexicans and Canadians
    with at least a bachelor's degree or appropriate professional credentials who work in certain qualified
    fields pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Qualified professions
    identified within NAFTA include, but are not limited to, accountants, engineers, attorneys,
    pharmacists, scientists, and teachers.

    This final rule will ease administrative burdens and costs on TN workers. It will also benefit U.S.
    employers by increasing the amount of time TN nonimmigrants will be able to work for them before
    having to seek an extension of status. Spouses and unmarried minor children of TN nonimmigrants in
    their corresponding nonimmigrant classifications will also benefit from the new regulation.

    This improvement to the TN nonimmigrant category was initially announced by Homeland Security
    Secretary Michael Chertoff and Department of Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez on Aug. 10,
    2007. The effort is one of the 26 initiatives identified by President Bush's Administration to address
    current immigration challenges using the tools and authorities available under existing law.

    by , 10-14-2008 at 12:59 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    The new bulletin is here. Here are the highlights:

    Family 1st - Advancement of worldwide, China and India numbers by two weeks to 1 May 2002. Mexico moves up a week to 15 September 1992 and the Philippines moves up a month to 1 May 1993.

    Family 2A - Worldwide, India, China and the Philippines numbers advance five weeks to 8 February 2004. Mexico jumps ten weeks to 15 July 2001

    Family 2B - Worldwide, India and China numbers advance one month to 15 January 2000. No movement for Mexico and stuck at 22 April 1992. The Philippines advance five weeks to 15 June 1997.

    Family 3rd - One week advance for Worldwide, India and China to 1 July 2002. No movement for Mexico and stuck at 15 September 1992. One week advance for the Philippines to 8 May 1991.

    Family 4th - Worldwide numbers advance three weeks to 15 November 1997. China moves five weeks to 8 June 1997. India advances four weeks to 22 July 1997. Mexico moves one week forward to 22 January 1995. The Philippines moves up to weeks to 22 March 1986.

    Employment 1st - All categories remain current.

    Employment 2nd - Worldwide, Mexico and the Philippines remain current. India moves forward two months to 1 June 2003. China moves forward two months to 1 June 2004.

    Employment 3rd skilled/professional workers - Worldwide and Filipino numbers move up five months to 1 May 2005. China jumps forward four months to 1 February 2002. India moves up three months to 1 October 2001. Mexico advances two months to 1 September 2002.

    Employment 3rd unskilled - All numbers advance two weeks to 15 January 2003.

    Employment 4th - The "other religious workers" category is listed as unavailable probably because Congress had not extended the category when the numbers were set. I presume the category will be current against next month.

    EB-5 remains current.
  3. November VB

    Modest Progress for the November Visa Bulletin:

    EB1 - all Current
    EB2 - all Current, except China (June 1, 2004) and India(June 1, 2003)
    EB3 - all May 1, 2005, except China(Feb 1, 2002) and India(Oct 1, 2001) and Mexico (Sep 1, 2002).

    The VB also includes a note cautioning against much future movement in the next few months:

    The level of demand being received from Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Offices indicates that they have a significant amount of cases with priority dates that are earlier than the established cut-offs. This is likely to result in slow forward movement of the cut-off dates for most Employment categories during the next few months. Sudden changes in the CIS demand patterns could result in fluctuations in the monthly cut-off dates, and retrogressions cannot be ruled during FY-2009.


    by , 10-13-2008 at 05:17 PM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Whether John McCain really meant it or was just trying to sway right wing anti-immigrant Republicans when he said he would no longer support his immigration reform bill, Hispanics are not giving him the benefit of the doubt.
  5. Hard Times for PERM Cases

    by , 10-13-2008 at 05:00 AM (Joel Stewart on PERM Labor Certification)
    Along with the financial, political and other crises that we face, labor certification has finally landed on hard times.

    For many years, there was a low unemployment rate in most parts of the US, and job offers went unanswered in the SWAs and traditional recruitment like newspapers. Only the very highly paid positions were in demand.

    Now with unemployment rising, the number of job seekers has grown, and some employers placing PERM applications are receiving larger numbers of applications.

    At the same time, DOL's stepped up scrutiny of PERM applications, which began in late 2007, is in full swing, with processing times growing. Routine audits may now take between a year and a year and a half, and motions to reconsider may take as long as two years or more.

    For those of you who are "old timers," this is reminiscent of pre-PERM times, when applications for labor certification routinely lasted many years. Under current trends, one might wait six months for an initial decision, another 1.5 years for a decision on a response to an audit, and another 1-2 years for a response to a motion to reconsider.

    Another adverse factor is that DOL is targeting employers whose cases should be processed by "supervised recruitment." Although "supervised recruitment" is not objectionable per se, it is an additional step that might add to the processing time

    Thus the prospect of 3-5 year wait for labor certification approval has become a reality for some, and labor certification approval should be more difficult due to an expanding pool of US workers.

    DOL and the Immigration Bar are battling out a battle of ethics, regarding the attorney's role in labor certification processing, so practitioners should be careful that especially in hard times, with more job applicants for Employers to consider, great care should be taken so that each application is handled with great propriety.
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