NEW! Retiree visa proposed in Immigration Reform legislation

The 2013 US immigration reform legislation introduced as S.744 on 4-16-2013 includes a NEW! visa for retirees to come and live in the US for extended periods. Section 4504 of the “JOLT” act (a segment of the larger legislation) provides:
(a) an alien who, after the date of the enactment of the JOLT Act of 2013:
(i)(I) uses at least $500,000 in cash to purchase 1 or more residences in the
United States, which each sold for more than 100 percent of the most recent ap
praised value of such residence, as determined by the property assessor in the city
or county in which the residence is located;
(II) maintains ownership of residential property in the United States worth at least $500,000 during the entire period the alien remains in the United States as a nonimmigrant described in this subpara-graph; and
(III) resides for more than 180 days per year in a residence in the United
States that is worth at least $250,000; and

(ii) the alien spouse and children of the alien described in clause (i) if accom-
panying or following to join the alien.

(b) VISA APPLICATION PROCEDURES
(1) submit petition to [CIS] that demonstrates… the alien—
(A) has purchased a residence in the criteria set forth above.
(B) is at least 55 years of age;
(C) possesses health insurance coverage;
(D) is not inadmissible …
(E) will comply with the terms set forth above
(2) An alien who is issued a visa …under this section
(A) shall reside in the United States at a residence that meets the criteria for more than 180 days per year;
(B) is not authorized to engage in employment in the United States, except for em-
ployment that is directly related to the management of the residential property described …[above];
(C) is not eligible for any form of assistance or benefit described in section 403(a) of
the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996…;and
(D) may renew such visa every 3 years under the same terms and conditions.’’.

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Stay Tuned for further developments!

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Highlights of the Immigration Reform agreement

The bill is yet to be drafted, introduced, passed by both houses of Congress and take effect but briefly here are key provision concerning family and employment immigration changes outlined to occur. Basically the backlogs in EB categories should be eliminated or substantially reduced, the H1-B program is made more difficult altho the cap is increased, and E-verify will be phased in as mandatory:

• The bill amends the existing category for married sons and daughters of citizens of the United States to include only sons and daughters who are under 31 years of age.
• The bill repeals the Diversity Visa Program. Aliens who were or are selected for diversity immigrant visas for fiscal years 2013 or 2014 will be eligible to receive them.
• On the employment green card categories, the bill exempts the following categories from the annual numerical limits on employment-based immigrants: derivative beneficiaries of employment-based immigrants; aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics; outstanding professors and researchers; multinational executives and managers; doctoral degree holders in any field; and certain physicians..
• The bill then allocates 40 percent of the worldwide level of employment-based visas to : 1) members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent whose services are sought in the sciences, arts, professions, or business by an employer in the United States (including certain aliens with foreign medical degrees) and 2) aliens who have earned a master’s degree or higher in a field of science, technology, engineering or mathematics from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education and have an offer of employment in a related field and the qualifying degree was earned in the five years immediately before the petition was filed.
• The bill increases the percentage of employment visas for skilled workers, professionals, and other professionals to 40 percent, maintains the percentage of employment visas for certain special immigrants to 10 percent and maintains visas for those who foster employment creation to 10 percent.
• The bill creates a startup visa for foreign entrepreneurs who seek to emigrate to the United States to startup their own companies.

There are also changes in the H-1B visas to increase the capped numbers but at the same time discourages its use by requiring wages even higher than the prevailing wage which already is higher than the typical starting wage an employer can pay a US worker and by requiring advertising at this higher wage before filling an H-1B position.

The bill is also making E-verify mandatory.

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NEW! “CIV” i.e. Customer Identification Verification required at district offices

As of May 6, 2013 when an applicant for a benefit or interview goes to the local CIS district office they will be photographed and fingerprinted (aka biometrics taken) when they appear. It’s a new security measure. It does not pertain to Infopass appointment visitors just applicants or peititioners who are meeting with a CIS officer for a scheduled interview or to be issued documentation of an immigration benefit. Nor does it pertian to guests of the actual applicant or petitioner just the actual applicant or petitioner him or her self. Although biometrics may already have been taken, for example, in the adjustment process at an Application Support Center (ASC) at the start of the process, shortly after filing the application, the applicant still will be photographed and fingerprinted again at time of appearing at the district office for scheduled interview near the conclusion of the process.

Under this new process, CIS staff will take two fingerprints and a photograph of the individual and input this information into the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology’s (US-VISIT’s) Secondary Inspections Tool (SIT). SIT is a Web-based application that processes, displays and retrieves biometric and biographic data. US-VISIT also links databases associated with border inspections and security. After identity verification is satisfactorily completed, individuals will proceed to their interviews or be issued their immigration documents.

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H-1B cap hit; STEM advisory re

USCIS announced it has received sufficient petitions under the FY2013/13.. It will first conduct a lottery to select the 20 thousand Advanced degree petitions “exempt from the cap” then another lottery to select 65,000 under the cap. US Master’s or higher degree petitions not selected in the draw for the first 20,000 will get another chance in the drawing for the 65,000.

Because CIS uses a lottery to select among even “timely filed” petitons, this shows why STEM extensions alone should not be relied upon to wait to file H-1B but that H-1B is most wisely filed at first opportunity so that if not selected in first year eligible you have a 2nd try in the subsequent capped year.

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I-94 automation i.e. no more paper I-94 cards….

Issuance by CBP of a paper I-94 “card” upon entry and inspection is being phased out. Instead the arriving traveler will get an admission stamp in his or her passport. If a paper copy of the I-94 (record of admission) is needed for verification of alien registration, immigration status or employment authorization, it can be obtained at www.cbp.gov/I94. For more information, check out the CBP.gov website which publishes “Fact Sheet”s.

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