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June 29, 2018

Employment-Based Immigration News Update in June 2018

By Michael H. Joseph

What are our Westchester Immigration Attorneys reviews/highlights for the immigration news in June 2018?

USCIS Publishes Report on FY17 H1B Petition Filings

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published the annual report for fiscal year (FY) 2017 that details characteristics of H1B Petitions. FY17 ran from October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017. The report provides data related to H1B Petitions filed during FY17, including the number of petitions filed and the number of approvals issued.

The report indicates that there were 403,675 H1B petitions filed in FY17, which increased by 1.24 percent from FY16.  Interestingly, the report also states that the number of petitions approved increased by 5.9 percent FY16.

An increase in the overall number of approvals may seem surprising, given the release of the March 31, 2017, memorandum that brought into question whether the position of a computer programmer qualifies as a ‘specialty occupation’ for H1B purposes.  It seems that the memo significantly challenges relating to getting H1B petitions approved for more junior level positions.

Information Technology Positions Among Most Prevalent Approved H1B Occupation

The report shows that 69.8 percent of approvals in FY17 were for computer-related occupations.  The total number of approved computer-related H-1B petitions was 254,592, an increase over the 237,837 in FY16.  The data also shows that 75.6 percent of total H1B petitions in FY17 were for beneficiaries whose country of birth is India, a slight increase from the previous fiscal year.  Overall, the median yearly salary of approved petitions increased from $82,000 in FY16, to $85,000 in FY17.

June 2018 Visa Bulletins: Almost No Movement of Cutoff Dates

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) released the June 2018 Visa Bulletin. As expected, there is virtually no movement in any of the employment-based categories.  In the employment-based, second preference (EB2) category, India’s cutoff date inches forward to December 26, 2008. This is a mere four days past last month’s cutoff date.

The only other movement is that, in the employment-based, fifth preference (EB5) category, the cutoff dates for China and Vietnam advance by one-week., to August 1, 2014.

The cutoff dates for all other employment-based categories remain unchanged from the May 2018 Visa Bulletin.

Memo of Understanding between USCIS and DOJ to Better Detect Fraud and Abuse

The Employee Rights Section (IER) of the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the information sharing for interagency referrals. This apparently is designed to better detect and eliminate fraud and abuse within the US immigration system. The MOU does not represent any change in immigration rules or regulations.  Rather, it is part of the continued effort to target bad actors.

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