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H-1B Count Shows Slowness In Petitions; DOL Releases PERM Processing Times; New Changes In VISA Fees For DOS; Proposed Large Fee Changes By USCIS

by Alan Lee, Esq.

The H-1B cap count as of June 11, 2010, is now 31,600, of which 22,200 are counted against the general 65,000 cap and 9400 against the U.S. Masters or higher 20,000 cap. The previous count on May 28, 2010 was 29,500, which was 20,800 against the general cap and 8700 against the U.S. Masters cap. This means that H-1B filings averaged 1054 for each of the two weeks from 5/28/10-6/11/10. The figures indicate that the H-1B cap quota will be available for quite some time to come.

The Department of Labor's latest data on processing times for adjudicating PERM labor certification applications showed that regular PERM applications which were filed in August 2009 are now being reached; audited cases with filing dates of May 2008 are now being worked upon; standard appeals of December 2007 filings are being considered; and government error cases are current. (Audited cases are ones in which the Department of Labor requires more information from the employer, Appeals are those which were designated as either appeals or motions to reconsider, and Government Error cases are in classes in which the Department of Labor has already acknowledged there was error in its prior actions).

Non-immigrant visa fees for applicants applying at consular posts of the U.S. Department of State changed as of June 4, 2010. All non-petition non-immigrant visas, eg. B-1, B-2, except of the E category are now $140; E visas for treaty traders or treaty investors are now $390; K visas for fiancées or applicants married to U.S. citizens are $350; and the various worker visas, H, L, O, P, Q, R are now $150.

Concomitant with Department of State changes in fee, U.S.C.I.S. proposed fee increases of its own on June 11, 2010, to take effect after the appropriate time for public comment. Among its new fees for previously uncharged services are an immigrant visa fee of $165 which it will coordinate with the Department of State for collection, a new I-924 form for those seeking regional center designation under the immigrant investor pilot program of $6,230, and a $615 fee for any doctor applying to be placed on the list of civil surgeons authorized to provide immigration medical examinations. Notable increases of current fees are I-526 immigrant petitions by alien entrepreneurs moving from $1,435 to $1,500 and subsequent I-829 petitions by entrepreneurs to remove the conditional basis of residence status from $2,850 to $3,750; I-130 petition for alien relative from $355 to $420; I-131 application for travel document from $305 to $360; I-140 immigrant petition for alien worker from $475 to $580; I-290B notice of appeal or motion from $585 to $630; I-485 adjustment of status application from $930 to $985 and biometrics fee from $80 to $85. (The biometrics fee must be added onto the I-485 fee in most situations). Comments are due by July 26, 2010, should be identified by "DHS Docket No. U.S.C.I.S.-2009-0033," and submitted by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Chief, Regulatory Products Division, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 111 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., Room 3008, Washington, DC 20529-2210. To ensure proper handling, please reference DHS Docket No. USCIS-2009-0033 on the correspondence. This mailing address may also be used for paper, disk, or CD-ROM submissions.
  • Hand Delivery/Courier: Regulatory Products Division, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 111 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., Room 3008, Washington, DC 20529-2210. Contact Telephone Number (202) 272-8377.

About The Author

Alan Lee, Esq. The author is a 30+ year practitioner of immigration law based in New York City. He was awarded the Sidney A. Levine prize for best legal writing at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1977 and has written extensively on immigration over the past years for the ethnic newspapers, World Journal, Sing Tao, Pakistan Calling, Muhasha and OCS. He has testified as an expert on immigration in civil court proceedings and was recognized by the Taiwan government in 1985 for his work protecting human rights. His article, "The Bush Temporary Worker Proposal and Comparative Pending Legislation: an Analysis" was Interpreter Releases' cover display article at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in 2004, and his victory in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in a case of first impression nationwide, Firstland International v. INS, successfully challenged INS' policy of over 40 years of revoking approved immigrant visa petitions under a nebulous standard of proof. Its value as precedent, however, was short-lived as it was specifically targeted by the Administration in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.