- The Department of State recently released the February 2023 Visa Bulletin. In addition to the final action dates and dates for filing charts for employment-based immigrant visa and adjustment of status cases, it contains notes on the diversity visa lottery. EB-2 and EB-3 India and China final action dates and dates for filing remain unchanged in February. The EB-1 cut-off date for India and China and the EB-2 cut-off date for all other countries of chargeability also remain unchanged. For February 2023, employment-based applicants must use the dates for filing chart for adjustment of status applications.
- Beginning January 30, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) is implementing the final phase of its premium processing expansion for I-140 petitions under the EB-1 and EB-2 classifications. This phase will apply to initial petitions and to pending petitions filed under the E13 multinational executive and manager classification and the E21 classification for a member of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking a National Interest Waiver. The announcement also included estimated timelines for the expansion of premium processing for certain Form I-765 applications for F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training (“OPT”) and STEM OPT, as well as certain I-539s filed by students and exchange visitors.
- USCIS recently provided Q&As from an interagency engagement on international student issues, including questions on maintaining F-1 status, F-1 reinstatement, OPT employment, Form I-765, USCIS’ SAVE system, and more.
- USCIS announced that Ukrainian and Afghan parolees with certain classes of admission are employment authorized incident to their parole. Specifically, employees whose unexpired Form I-94 contains the class of admission of UHP or OAR may present it as an acceptable List A receipt that temporarily shows identity and work authorization for Form I-9 purposes. Further, employees whose unexpired Form I-94 (1) contains the class of admission of DT, (2) has been issued between February 24, 2022, and September 30, 2023, and (3) indicates Ukraine as the country of citizenship may present it as an acceptable List A receipt that temporarily shows identity and work authorization for Form I-9 purposes. Within 90 days of hire (or in the case of reverification, the date employment authorization expires), the employee must present either (1) an unexpired Employment Authorization Document or (2) an unrestricted Social Security card and a List B identity document from the Form I-9 List of Acceptable Documents.
- The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently updated its processing times for permanent labor certification (“PERM”) applications and prevailing wage requests. As of December 31, 2022, DOL is adjudicating ETA 9089 PERM applications filed in or before April 2022 and processing PERM prevailing wage requests filed in or before January 2022.
- Due to operational impacts caused by the surge of COVID-19 infections across China, the U.S. Mission China announced that all routine visa services at the U.S. embassy and consulates in China are temporarily suspended. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing and U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai are providing passport and emergency citizen services only. Additionally, the U.S. Consulates General in Wuhan, Shenyang, and Guangzhou are only providing emergency consular services until further notice. The announcement stated that some visa appointments previously scheduled at U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai will be preserved, but all other nonimmigrant and immigrant appointments at the embassy and consulates in China have been canceled. Applicants will be contacted if their visa appointment is impacted.
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