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Editor's Comments of the Day
The INS has released questions and answers on its intepretation of the "American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act" (AC21). The INS notes the increase in the cap and the additional categories of employers, institutions of higher education and related or affiliated nonprofit entities and nonprofit or government research organizations, exempt from the cap. The INS also clarifies that it interprets the provision increasing the number of H-1Bs for FY99 to "a number equal to the number of aliens issued such a visa or provided such as (sic) status," as "forgiveness for the number of H-1B petitions approved in excess of the FY99 cap due to counting errors." It is not the intention of the INS to recapture numbers for cases approved in FY00 toward the FY00 cap. The provisions of AC21 were efffective upon enactment except for the increase in the ACWIA fee from $500 to $1000 which is effective December 17, 2000. To take advantage of the eligibility provisions, an alien must have been issued an H-1B visa or accorded H-1B status, must have been lawfully admitted to the United States, must be the beneficiary of non-frivolous petition filed while the alien is in a period of stay authorized by the Attorney General and must not have been employed without authorization. INS is currently drafting implementing regulations, but it is unlikely they will be published before March 2001. Since the Department of State issues immigrant visas, INS will not address the matter of lifting the per country limits on employment based visa numbers. AC21 does provide that H-1B status can be extended beyond the six-year limit if the alien cannot be issued an immigrant visa due to the per country cap. H-1B status can also be extended beyond the six-year limit if more than 365 days have passed since the filing of a labor certification or immigrant visa petition. Since H-4s are not addressed directly INS is still studying the issue of whether or not they are also eligible for these extensions. The INS notes that it is the "sense of Congress" that adjustment applications be completed in no more than 180 days and nonimmigrant petitions in no more than 30 days, but makes no guarantee that it will be able to process petitions in these time frames.
INS News of the Day
INS Issues Guidance on AC21
The INS has released questions and answers about the implementation of the "American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act" (AC21) including their interpretation of the increase in the cap, limitations on the portability provisions and a reminder that the increase in the ACWIA fee to $1000 is effective on December 17, 2000.
Prosecutorial Discretion Guidelines
A fact sheet by the INS outlines the factors that can be taken into account when deciding
whether to exercise prosecutorial discretion favorably and the impact of prosecutorial
Immigration News of the Day
Inquiry Grows in Laundering of Money
The New York
Times [registration required] reports that a Congressional inquiry has
found that it is "relatively easy" for foreigners to hide their identities and form shell companies in the US that can launder money through American banks.
Plan to Test New Citizens Rankles Many
According to the Washington Times
the INS has begun the significant, far-reaching process of creating the nation's first
standardized English and civics test for residents seeking to become US citizens and
plans to have a "pilot test" ready by 2003.
ILW.COM Highlights of the Day
Are you Using Case Tracking Yet?
Read what immigration attorneys have to say about this system.
ILW.COM Chats and Discussions of the Day
Chat with Laurence Johnson
Chat with attorney Laurence Johnson on Thursday, November 30, 2000, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern (New York) time. Questions will be accepted starting 15 minutes before the beginning of the chat.
Classifieds of the Day
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Wanted: Legal Assistants Growing downtown (New York City) immigration/general practice law firm has openings for Legal Assistants with: *good communication skills *pleasant and mature personality *second language and labor cert. experience a plus. Please fax resume to 212-964-9525 ATTENTION: OFFICE MANAGER or e-mail to email@example.com.