Immigration Update

Mar 13, 2024 | Immigration Updates

In this edition, find the latest news on H-2B Cap, Visa Final Action Dates, H-1B Registration, and much more!

USCIS Reaches H-2B Cap for Second Half of FY 2024, Announces Filing Dates for Supplemental Visas

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on March 8, 2024, that it has received enough petitions to meet the H-2B cap for the second half of fiscal year (FY) 2024, which ends September 30, 2024. USCIS also announced the filing dates for supplemental H-2B visas for the remainder of FY 2024 made available under the FY 2024 H-2B supplemental visa temporary final rule.

March 7, 2024, was the final receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date on or after April 1, 2024, and before October 1, 2024. USCIS said it is rejecting new cap-subject H-2B petitions received after March 7, 2024, that request an employment start date within that range.

USCIS said it continues to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap. This includes petitions for:

  • Current H-2B workers in the United States who wish to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;
  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
  • Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam (until December 31, 2029).

Below are the filing start dates for each of the remaining supplemental visa allocations under the rule:

  • For employers seeking workers who are nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica, regardless of whether such nationals are returning workers: USCIS will begin accepting petitions for employers requesting an employment start date from April 1, 2024, to September 30, 2024, on March 22, 2024.
  • For employers seeking returning workers for the early second half of FY 2024 (April 1 to May 14): USCIS will begin accepting petitions for the additional 19,000 visas made available to returning workers regardless of country of nationality on March 22, 2024.
  • For employers seeking returning workers for the late second half of FY 2024 (May 15 to September 30): USCIS will begin accepting petitions for the additional 5,000 visas made available to returning workers regardless of country of nationality on April 22, 2024.

USCIS said it will stop accepting petitions under the temporary final rule received after September 16, 2024, or after the applicable cap has been reached, whichever occurs first.

USCIS previously announced that it received enough petitions to reach the cap for the additional 20,716 H-2B visas made available for returning workers for the first half of FY 2024 with employment start dates on or before March 31, 2024.

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Visa Final Action Dates Advance in April, Non-Minister Religious Workers Category Set to Expire

The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for April 2024 notes that little to no additional forward movement in final action dates for visa categories is expected in the coming months because the final action dates for many categories advanced for April 2024, in many cases by several months to a year.

The bulletin also notes that the non-minister special immigrant program (EB-4 SR category) expires on March 22, 2024, absent congressional reauthorization. If extended, the category will be subject to the same final action dates as the listed EB-4 categories per applicable foreign state of chargeability, the bulletin states.

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H-1B Registration Glitch Causes Missing Signatures on Form G-28 PDFs

According to reports, some practitioners have reported signatures missing on Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative (PDF version), for H-1B registrations.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association said that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has advised that any legal representative affected not submit registrations until further notice.

Certain Updated Forms Take Effect April 1 With No Grace Period

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a reminder that under the new fee final rule effective April 1, 2024, the new 04/01/24 editions of several forms will be required, including:

Note: USCIS will only accept the 04/01/24 edition of these forms if they are postmarked on or after April 1, 2024.

USCIS explained that although it usually provides “a grace period when publishing new forms, the forms listed above include changes necessary for us to administer the new fees.” Beginning April 1, 2024, applicants and petitioners must submit the 04/01/24 edition of these forms with the appropriate fee listed on the USCIS Fee Schedule G-1055. USCIS said it will reject earlier versions of the above forms.

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Eligible Ukrainians Can Apply for Re-Parole

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on February 27, 2024, that eligible Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members who are physically present in the United States can now be considered for re-parole to continue to temporarily remain in the United States.

Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members who were paroled into the United States on or after February 11, 2022, can apply for re-parole under this process, USCIS said. The agency will consider these applications “on a discretionary, case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit,” as with any parole application.

If USCIS approves the re-parole application, the applicant may then file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, in category (c)(11) to apply for a new Employment Authorization Document as proof of employment authorization consistent with the re-parole period.

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