Labor Immigration Law

United States Labor Immigration Law News and Analysis

Archive for May, 2013

June 2013 Visa Bulletin – EB-2 India Remains Unchanged at September 1, 2004; Significant Forward Movement in EB-3

The U.S. State Department has just released the June 2013 Visa Bulletin which is the ninth Visa Bulletin for the FY2013 fiscal year.   The major headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the lack of movement (again) in EB-2 India and the very significant forward movement in the EB-3 category for most countries (with the exception of India and Philippines which moved very slightly forward).

Summary of the June 2013 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based (EB)

Below is a summary of the June 2013 Visa Bulletin with respect to employment-based petitions:

  • EB-1 remains current across the board.
  • EB-2 for ROW, Mexico and Philippines are all current.    EB-2 India remains unchanged, again, at (the severely retrogressed) September 1, 2004.   EB-2 China moves forward by two (2) months to July 15, 2008.
  • EB-3 ROW, China and Mexico move forward by nine (9) months to September 1,  2008.  EB-3 Philippines moves forward by only one (1) week to September 22, 2006, while EB-3 India  moves forward by only two (2) weeks to January 8, 2003.
  • The “other worker” category moves forward by nine (9) months for ROW and Mexico to September 1, 2008.  It moves forward by one (1) week to September 22, 2006 for Philippines and moves forward by seven (7) weeks to October 22, 2003 for China.  It moves forward by two (2) weeks for India to January 8, 2003.

Summary of the June 2013 Visa Bulletin – Family-Based (FB)

Below is a summary of the June 2013 Visa Bulletin with respect to family-based petitions:

  • FB-1 continues to move forward, although slowly.  FB-1 ROW, China and India all move forward by three (3) weeks to April 22, 2006.   FB-1 Mexico moves forward by only one (1) week to August 15, 1993 and FB-1 Philippines moves forward by seven (7) months to January 1, 2000.
  • FB-2A moves forward by three (3) months to June 8, 2011  for ROW, China, India, and Philippines.  FB-2A Mexico moves forward by three (3) months to May 8, 2011.
  • FB-2B ROW, China and India all move forward by seven (7) weeks to July 8, 2005.  FB-2B Mexico moves forward by six (6) weeks to June 15, 1993 while FB-2B Philippines moves forward by seven (7) weeks to November 1, 2002.

Again: No Progress in EB-2 India – Confirms Our Expectations for a Very Slow Forward Movement in the Future?

Unfortunately, the June 2013 Visa Bulletin does not bring any news for us to report in connection with EB-2 India.   Yes, we realize we are repeating what we have been reporting over the past several months, but again this month the EB-2 India cutoff dates remain unchanged.     We are into the last quarter of the fiscal year, and the continued lack of any movement in EB-2 India this month is a strong indication that there is simply too high of a demand in the EB-2 India category and that the Department of State would move the cutoff dates forward very slowly in order to allow USCIS to approve the (high) number of EB-2 cases filed and pending.

Significant Forward Movement in EB-3
The June 2013 Visa Bulletin brings some notable forward movement in the EB-3 category for most countries.    According to the State Department, this has been done in an attempt to generate demand so that the annual numerical limits may be fully utilized, and such movements may continue for the next few months.   Once the number of EB-3 filings increases to show that the available visa numbers for the year will  be utilized, the EB-3 forward movement would slow down or stop.   Since the last two months have advanced the EB-3 dates significantly, resulting in a high demand, it is possible to see slowdown in the EB-3 movement in the next few months.
Further Updates and News

We invite you to subscribe to our free weekly immigration newsletter to receive timely updates on this and related topics.  We also invite you to contact us if our office can be of any assistance in your immigration matters or you have any questions or comments about the June 2013 Visa Bulletin.  Finally, if you already haven’t, please consider our Visa Bulletin Predictions tool which provides personalized predictions and charts helping you understand when a particular priority date may become current and what are the movement patterns.

No comments

2013 CBO Report on Immigration Population in the United States

Yesterday, May 8, 2013, the Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) released an updated report to Congress analyzing the current immigration population in the United States.   The report is interesting not only in the context of the ongoing debate on the proposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) bill which is currently in Congress but also to get a current glimpse of the trends of composition of the immigrant population in the United States.   We are happy to provide  a summary of the report findings.

Size and Composition of the Foreign-Born Population

In 2012, about 40 million foreign-born people lived in the United States, making up about 13 percent of the U.S. population—the largest share since 1920. The number of immigrants was about the same in 2011, the latest year for which certain data on immigrants are available. Of that total in 2011, naturalized citizens (foreign-born people who have fulfilled the requirements for U.S. citizenship) accounted for about 18 million, and noncitizens (foreign-born people authorized to live and work in the United States either temporarily or permanently and people who are not authorized to live or work in the United States) accounted for about 22 million. About half of the noncitizens were people without authorization to live or work in the United States, either temporarily or permanently.   See chart.

In 2011, about 37 percent of foreign-born people in the United States were from Mexico or Central America; the next-largest group came from Asia and constituted about 28 percent of the total foreign-born population.  Of noncitizens unauthorized to live in the United States, an estimated 59 percent were from Mexico, and an estimated 14 percent were from El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras.   See chart.

Lawful Permanent Residents

From 2000 to 2012, more than 13 million people were granted lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in the United States, an average of about 1 million per year. Lawful permanent residents are permitted to live, work, and study in the United States, and receiving LPR status is an important milestone on the path to U.S. citizenship. Roughly two-thirds of new LPRs were immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or were admitted under family-sponsored preferences.

Demographic Characteristics of the Foreign-Born Population

In 2012, about 1 in 4 people in California and about 1 in 5 people in New York and in New Jersey were born in another country. However, in another 31 states, taken together, only about 1 person in 20 was foreign born. See chart.

Between 1999 and 2012, the share of the population constituted by foreign-born people increased in all but two states and, for the nation as a whole, rose by 2.8 percentage points, to roughly 13 percent.   See chart.

Level of education is somewhat less, on average, among foreign-born people than among native-born people, and it varies considerably depending on immigrants’ country of origin. In 2012, 27 percent of the foreign-born population between the ages of 25 and 64 had not completed high school, compared with 7 percent of the native-born population. More than half of the people from Mexico and Central America, 54 percent, had not finished high school, but only about 9 percent of the people from Asia and 5 percent of the people from Europe and Canada had less than a high school education. In addition, about 55 percent of the people from Asia had at least a bachelor’s degree, as did 51 percent of the people from Europe and Canada; just 33 percent of the native-born population had earned at least a bachelor’s degree.   See chart.

Labor Market Characteristics

An interesting analysis focused on the ability to seek/find employment and on the salaries received by various segments of the immigrant population.   For example, foreign-born men are more likely to be working or looking for work (that is, to be
in the labor force) than are native-born men; foreign-born women, however, are less likely than native-born women to be in the labor force.

The differences in educational attainment and participation in the labor force (as well as in groups’ concentration in particular occupations) were reflected in differences in annual earnings. The amount and distribution of annual earnings were similar for naturalized and native-born citizens, but earnings tended to be much lower among noncitizens. The amount of annual earnings among foreign-born workers also varied greatly by their country of origin. For example, in 2011, the median annual earnings of male workers from Mexico and Central America was $24,000—whereas among male workers from Asia, the median was $50,000; among their counterparts from Europe and Canada, it was $55,000; and among native-born male workers, $46,000. Among female workers from Mexico and Central America, median annual earnings were $17,000—whereas among their counterparts from Asia, the median was $30,000; among those from Europe and Canada, it was $35,000; and among native-born female workers, $32,000.

Conclusion

The CBO report is very interesting as it raises some questions with respect to the demographics and labor market participation of the individuals who would be covered under the proposed CIR.   Also, this report is likely to be used by all sides in the CIR debate as to why certain parts of the proposed reform should be kept or changed, depending on the political standpoint of those making the argument.

We continue to monitor closely developments in Congress related to Comprehensive Immigration Reform and we expect a lot of activity over the next days and weeks.   Please feel free to subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to obtain developments on this and related topics. If our office can be of any help, please feel free to contact us.

No comments

Current PERM Processing Times (April 1, 2013)

Our office handles a substantial number of ETA Form 9089 – Permanent Labor Certification (“PERM”) applications and we are closely monitoring the current PERM processing times not only for the benefit of our clients but also to be able to predict longer-term trends in PERM processing.

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) has provided an update on the current PERM filing and processing statistics in addition to the processing dates as of April 1, 2013.

Current PERM Processing Times

Most notable is the slight delay in the processing time for regular PERM applications — to approximately four months.  The processing times, as reported by DOL, are as follows:

  • Regular processing: December 10, 2012.  DOL is processing PERM applications with priority dates of about December 10, 2012.  Accordingly, regular PERM processing times should be around four to five months.   Our office has experienced PERM approvals consistent with this timeline and we can confirm it.
  • Audited applications: June 30, 2012.  DOL is processing PERM audits which have a priority date of June 30, 2012.  This processing time has remained steady over the past few months.   Accordingly, audited PERM applications are processed approximately eight to nine months after the initial PERM was filed and the priority date established.
  • Appealed applications (requests for reconsideration to the Certifying Officer):  April 4, 2013.  DOL is processing PERM appeals (requests for reconsideration to the certifying officer) which were appealed in April 2013.  There is continued notable improvement in this category in comparison to prior months.    Accordingly, PERM requests for reconsideration are processed within approximately one or two months  after PERM appeal (motion for reconsideration to the Certifying Officer) is filed.
  • “Government error” appealed applications. DOL has indicated that PERM appeals in this category are reviewed on a 30-45 day timeline.   However, after filing an appeal, DOL does not make an indication whether a PERM appeal is accepted to be processed under the  “government error” queue or under the regular appeal queue.   As a result, DOL has indicated that the only way to know whether a PERM appeal has been accepted for processing under the “government error” queue is to wait for 45 days for response.  If the PERM appeal is reviewed within this time, this would be an indication that a PERM appeal has been accepted (and reviewed) under the “government error” queue.  If no response is received 45 days after filing of a PERM appeal, then this should be an indication that the PERM is pending under the regular appeals queue.

Conclusion

The April 2013 PERM processing times report shows steady trend in the regular and appealed PERM processing times, and a notable (and welcome) improvement in the PERM appeal (motion for reconsideration) processing times.   We hope that DOL would be able to continue to improve the PERM processing times over the next weeks and months.  We also hope the improvements in PERM audit and appeal processing times would continue in the fall and spring.

Our office has developed a great practice handling PERM filings and/or audit/appeal responses so please do not hesitate to contact us if we can help you.  Also, we will continue monitoring the PERM processing times and analyze any updates.  Please visit us again or subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to ensure that you obtain this and related immigration-related news and announcements.

No comments

Reminder: New Form I-9 Becomes Mandatory May 7, 2013

Many of our readers and clients are already aware and are using the new Form I-9, but it is worth sending another alert to remind that the revised Form I-9 (revision date 03/18/2013) becomes the only acceptable version after May 7, 2013.

Please see our recent alert about the changes to the Form I-9.   Among the most notable changes in the new edition of the Form I-9 are:   improvements to include new fields (such as passport, telephone and email of the worker), reformatting to reduce errors, and clearer instructions to both employees and employers.

Those employers who are still using a Form I-9 edition other than revision date 03/18/2013 should immediately start using the new form for hiring and re-verification, when applicable.  USCIS has also updated the Handbook for Employers, Guidance for Completing Form I-9 to reflect the changes to Form I-9.

Conclusion

The newest version of Form I-9 represents the most significant revision of the Form since its last major revision in November 1991. Capitol Immigration Law Group is happy to answer any questions and will host a Form I-9 training seminar to assist employers with navigating and understanding the new Form I-9. Please feel free to subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to obtain developments on this and related topics. If our I-9 compliance practice group can be of any help, please feel free to contact us.

No comments