U.S. State Department Announces the Latest Green Card Lottery

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) recently published instructions for the 2018 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (also known as the “DV Lottery” or “Green Card Lottery”). The Green Card Lottery makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas (green cards) each fiscal year to qualified applicants who meet the eligibility requirements and who are from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. Qualified applicants are chosen by random drawing.

Immigration Penalties Adjusted for Inflation, Increases to Take Effect August 1

On June 30 and July 1, 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) each published separate interim final rules in the Federal Register to increase immigration-related penalties as an adjustment for inflation. The new penalties were calculated pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, which also requires the agencies to make subsequent annual adjustments for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. The penalty increases are significant and underscore the importance for employers of ensuring that their immigration programs are fully compliant with regulatory requirements.

Changes to the Visa Waiver Program Become Law

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016” (H.R. 2029) into law. The law includes several important changes to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) that are fundamentally identical to the VWP changes that the U.S. House of Representatives passed last month. The VWP allows eligible citizens of specified countries to enter the United States for tourism or business and remain for 90 days or less without B-1 or B-2 visitor visas.

H-1B Cap Count: “Master’s Cap” Reached and New H-1B Visa Availability Almost Exhausted for Fiscal Year 2012

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated the count of H-1B visa petitions received and counted towards the H-1B cap for fiscal year 2012. The H-1B cap is only relevant for new H-1B petitions where the individual does not currently possess an H-1B visa. As of October 21, 2011, USCIS has received approximately 46,200

DOL Processing Times for Prevailing Wage Requests for PERM – Delays Continue

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced that it would temporarily suspend its processing of prevailing wage requests for permanent labor certifications (PERMs) in order to comply with a court order, issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, implementing the court’s August 30, 2010 decision in CATA v. Solis.