USCIS to Allow Change of Status for F-1s with H-1B Number

April 25th, 2008

According to the April 18, 2008, notice from USCIS regarding F-1s who received an H-1B visa number but who did not designate change of status because of the cap-gap:

“USCIS has determined that it will allow petitioners of F-1 students whose H-1B petitions were randomly selected to receive an H-1B visa number for FY2009 following the closure of the filing period, to now request a change of status on behalf of qualified beneficiaries, if such requests are received within 30 days of the issuance of the receipt notice.” 

Coalition Opposes SSA No-Match Rules

April 25th, 2008

The Low Wage Immigrant Worker Coalition (LWIW) has filed the following comments in the Federal Register in opposition to the recently published Social Security no-match rule published by US DHS:

“The LWIW Coalition opposes the implementation of the DHS rule on the following grounds: the rule does not address the serious issues that were raised by the court in its order granting the preliminary injunction in AFL-CIO, et al. v. Chertoff, et al., No. 07-4472-CRB (N.D. Cal. filed on Aug. 29, 2007); DHS has failed to demonstrate that the Social Security Administration (SSA) no-match letter is an effective immigration enforcement tool; hundreds of thousands of lawfully authorized workers will lose their jobs; the SSA will be overburdened by the rule; and the rule will have a detrimental impact on the economy.”

USCIS Announces H-1B Lottery Completed

April 15th, 2008

On April 14, 2008, USCIS conducted two computer-generated random selection processes for the H-1B bachelor’s and master’s caps.  USCIS received approximately 163,000 petitions between April 1st and April 7th, the period of eligibility for the fiscal year 2009 cap.  It will return those petitions that do not receive a number and generate a receipt for those that do by June 2, 2008.  It expects to adjudicate the petitions within eight to ten weeks.  It will conduct premium processing for those cases that filed under such processing.  Also, it will retain “wait-listed petitions”, to replace petitions that are denied, withdrawn or found ineligible under the cap.  USCIS will notify petitioners if their petitions are wait listed.

USCIS Publishes Rule Eliminating the H-1B Cap-Gap and Extending OPT

April 6th, 2008

The following is from a DHS press release of April 4, 2008: 

“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released today an interim final rule extending the period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) from 12 to 29 months for qualified F-1 non-immigrant students. The extension will be available to F-1 students with a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics who are employed by businesses enrolled in the E-Verify program. … Another aspect of the rule responds to the situation in which an F-1 student’s status and work authorization expires before he or she can begin employment under the H-1B visa program. The interim final rule addresses this problem by automatically extending the period of stay and work authorization for all F-1 students with pending H-1B petitions.” 

There are still questions about petitions filed requesting consular processing, as opposed to change of status, for beneficiaries in OPT status whose 60-day grace period will end before October 1, 2008.  Hopefully, USCIS will allow these beneficiaries to change the requested form of processing to “change of status.”