Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.

 

October 28‚ 2011

Immigration News Update for October 2011


2013 Diversity Lottery Deadline Approaches

The deadline for electronic submissions is fast approaching for the U.S. Department of State’s 2013 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2013), also known as the Green Card Lottery. The Diversity Lottery Program provides a path for foreign nationals to become permanent residents of the United States regardless of whether they have a family member or an employer willing to sponsor them. The State Department opened online registration October 4, 2011. Individuals who meet the eligibility requirements and submit an application during the appointed time will be entered into a lottery from which 55‚000 green card entries will be selected. Please note that the 2012 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program had 14.8 million entrants for 55‚000 permanent resident visas. Applications must be submitted electronically by 12:00 noon EST on Saturday‚ November 5‚ 2011. The electronic form must be submitted online at https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/. There is no fee. Entries may not be submitted through the U.S. Postal Service. Please note that selection in the lottery does not guarantee the applicant a green card; applicants must still meet all standards for admissibility and be able to process their green cards within the allotted time. Immediate family members of successful lottery applicants are eligible for green cards as well, provided they meet the same admissibility standards.

Lottery visas are apportioned to foreign nationals hailing from the following six geographic regions: Africa; Asia; Europe; North America; Oceania; and South America‚ Central America, and the Caribbean. To qualify‚ a foreign national must claim nativity or country of birth in an eligible country and meet certain education or work experience requirements. The purpose of the program is to diversify and encourage immigration from countries that send lower numbers of immigrants to the United States. Not all countries in the six eligible regions fall within the Green Card Lottery program. Because each of the following countries has sent more than 50‚000 immigrants to the United States in the past five years, natives of these countries are NOT eligible for the lottery: Bangladesh, Brazil‚ Canada‚ China (mainland-born)‚ Colombia‚ Dominican Republic‚ Ecuador‚ El Salvador‚ Guatemala‚ Haiti‚ India‚ Jamaica‚ Mexico‚ Pakistan‚ Peru, Philippines‚ Poland‚ South Korea‚ United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories‚ and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR‚ Macau SAR‚ and Taiwan are eligible and for DV-2013, natives of South Sudan and Poland became eligible, while Bangladeshi natives are now ineligible. To fulfill the education/work experience provisions‚ an applicant must have either a high school education or its equivalent‚ or two years of work experience in the last five years in a job that requires at least two years of training or experience. More specific qualifications and registration instructions for DV-2013 can be found at http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1318.html.


FY2012 H-1B Cap Reached for Advanced Degree Petitions

Each year, USCIS exempts 20,000 petitions from the regular H-1B cap filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. advanced degrees. On October 21, 2011, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the numerical limit for these “U.S. Masters” H-1B petitions had been met. Unless otherwise exempt from the cap, additional petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries who have received a U.S. master’s degree or higher will be counted against the regular cap. As of October 21, USCIS had received 46,200 eligible H-1B petitions towards the regular cap of 65,000. Based on current usage, it is possible that the H-1B cap may be reached on or before the end of this calendar year, so we encourage cap-subject employers who are considering first-time H-1B filings to make a decision as soon as possible and to file new H-1B cases well before the end of 2011.

Please contact a member of the Mintz Levin Immigration Section for additional information regarding the H-1B visa program, or if you have a particular candidate in mind for H-1B sponsorship.


 

 

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