Immigration updates — Visa bulletin for March 2010

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By Michael Phulwani

The following information is provided by the Visa Office regarding  the cut-off dates for the month  of  March 2010.

Family preferences

F1-Family first preference: Unmarried sons and daughters over the age of 21 years of US citizens. The cut-off date has moved forward by three (3) weeks for most of the countries, including India to June 22, 2004.

F2A – Family second preference: Spouses and minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents. The cut-off date has moved forward by four (4) weeks for most countries, including India to April 1, 2006.

F2B- Family second preference: Unmarried sons and daughters over 21 of permanent residents. The cut-off date has moved forward by four (4) weeks for most of the countries, including India to February 1, 2002.

F3-Family third preference: Married sons and daughters of US citizens and their spouses and children. The cut-off date has not moved at all and remains the same for most of the countries, including India at May 22, 2001.

F4-Family fourth preference: Brothers and sisters of US citizens. The cut-off date has moved forward by eight (8) weeks for most of the countries, including India to January 15, 2000.

Employment preferences

EB1 – Priority workers: The cut-off date for this category for all countries, including India is current.

EB2 – Advanced degree holders: The cut-off date for this category for most countries is current and for India it has moved forward by one (1) week to February 1, 2005.

EB3 – Professional skilled workers: The cut-off date for this category has moved forward by ten (10) weeks to December 15, 2002 for most of the countries and for India it has moved forward by one (1) week to July 1, 2001.

EB3 – Other workers: The cut-off date for this category has not moved at all and remains the same at June 1, 2001 for most of the countries, including India.

EB4 (Certain special immigrants), EB4 (Certain religious workers), EB5 (Targeted employment programs) & EB5 (Pilot programs) is current for all countries, including India.

Characteristics of specialty occupation workers
(H-1B) – Part I

USCIS issued a report on Characteristics of Specialty Occupation Workers (H-1B) from October 2007 to September 2008. The report contains information on the countries of origin, occupations, educational levels, and compensation of aliens issued H-1B visas during FY 2008. This is the first part of a two-part article on this report.

Highlights

* The number of H-1B petitions filed decreased 5 percent from 304,488 in Fiscal Year 2007 to 288,764 in Fiscal Year 2008.
*l The number of H-1B petitions approved decreased 2 percent from 281,444 in Fiscal Year 2007 to 276,252 in Fiscal Year 2008.
* Approximately 54 percent of all H-1B petitions approved in Fiscal Year 2008 were for workers born in India.
*l Two-thirds of H-1B petitions approved in Fiscal Year 2008 were for workers between the ages of 25 and 34.
* 43 percent of H-1B petitions approved in Fiscal Year 2008 were for workers with a bachelor’s degree, 41 percent had a master’s degree, 11 percent had a doctorate and 5 percent were for workers with a professional degree.
*l Almost half of H-1B petitions approved in Fiscal Year 2008 were for workers in computer-related occupations.
* The median salary remained at $60,000 in Fiscal Year 2008, the same as in Fiscal Years 2006 & 2007.

Background

An H-1B temporary worker is an alien admitted to the United States to perform services in “specialty occupation.”

The H-1B nonimmigrant classification is a vehicle through which qualified aliens may seek admission to the United States on a temporary basis to work in their fields of expertise. Prior to employing an H-1B temporary worker, the US employer must first file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor (DOL) and then file an H-1B petition with USCIS. However, while USCIS is responsible for evaluating an alien’s qualifications for H-1B classification, approval of an H-1B petition does not guarantee admission of the alien to the US in H-1B status. That vital role rests with the US Department of State (DOS), who determines after the H-1B petition has been approved by USCIS whether a prospective alien employee can apply for a visa at a US Embassy or Consulate abroad, and with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), who at a port-of-entry determines if the alien  is admissible to the US; as a visa alone does not guarantee entry into the United States.

The LCA specifies the job, salary, length and geographic location of employment. In addition, the employer must agree to pay the alien the greater of the actual or prevailing wage for the position. Once DOL approves the LCA, the US  employer  may  file the H-1B petition with USCIS.

To be concluded…

Michael Phulwani is a prominent attorney admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey and India. He practices immigration and nationality laws and visa matters in the USA and abroad. He is a frequent lecturer on immigration laws and co-hosts several TV and radio programs on immigration. In this column, Phulwani will discuss frequent problems relating to immigration legislation and answer questions from our readers. All questions should be forwarded to Michael Phulwani, 888 Maywood Avenue, Maywood, NJ 07607.

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