Breaking News 07.27.2017

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Certain H-1B Cap-Exempt Cases

This morning, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will resume premium processing for certain cap-exempt H-1B petitions effective immediately.

Premium processing will resume for cap-exempt petitions if the H-1B petitioner is:

· An institution of higher education;

· A nonprofit related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education; or

· A nonprofit research or governmental research organization.

Similarly, premium processing will also resume for cap-exempt petitions where the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution, organization or entity.

Effective immediately, cap-exempt petitioners eligible for premium processing can file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service either together with an H-1B petition or separately for an H-1B petition that is currently pending.

USCIS announced on March 3, 2017 that it would suspend premium processing for "up to six months" on all H-1B petitions, though last month premium processing was reinstated for petitions covered under the Conrad 30 program and interested government agency (IGA) waivers.

For the time being, premium processing remains suspended for all petitions under the H-1B annual "regular cap" of 65,000 visas per year, as well as petitions filed under the "master's cap" of 20,000 visas for beneficiaries with a U.S. master's degree or higher.

In the same press release, USCIS stated its plans to resume premium processing of other H-1B petitions "as workloads permit."

Eight-Month Delay, Possible Rescission for USCIS International Entrepreneur Final Rule

On Tuesday, July 11, The Department of Homeland Security announced it would "temporarily delay" the effective date of the International Entrepreneur Final Rule in order to provide an "opportunity to obtain comments from the public regarding a proposal to rescind the rule" based on President Trump's Executive Order 13767, ("Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements"). The Rule, which was set to go into effect July 17, 2017, has been pushed back to an effective date of March 14, 2018 to accommodate the notice and comment period. Written comments must be received by DHS on or before August 10, 2017.

The Rule, announced in November 2014 as one component of President Obama's Immigration Accountability executive actions and published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2017, provided for qualified foreign entrepreneurs to be granted temporary parole to the U.S. in order to build and scale their businesses. Foreign entrepreneurs wishing to enter or remain in the country to build their business operations would need to meet certain criteria, reviewed by DHS on a case by case basis, to show potential for job creation as well as adding significant public benefit to the United States. DHS previously estimated that 2,940 entrepreneurs would be granted parole to the U.S. each year. The future of the International Entrepreneur Final Rule will become clearer following the public notice and comment period.

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