Latest News & Updates

Department of Labor Issues FY 2009 Annual Foreign Labor Certification Report

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) just issued its 2009 Annual Report on Foreign Labor Certification. The figures are intriguing and noteworthy, but not surprising. In 2007, there were very few audits issued and most cases were quickly certified, often just days from the date of filing. From FY2007 to FY2008, the number of audits rose and there was a staggering 42% decrease in cases certified. From FY2008 to FY2009, there was another significant decrease of 40% in certified cases. Indeed, the total number of permanent labor certification cases approved in FY2009 was 29,502. California was the largest draw, with 6,155 cases; New York was a distant second with 3,093. Interestingly, the DOL report does not spend much time discussing the increase in audits. It does, however, acknowledge that the enhanced audit effort has led to longer processing times. While the increase in audits is certainly a significant factor in the dramatic decrease of certified cases, it is not the only culprit. The financial crisis that took hold in the United States in 2008 and continued through 2009 was a major contributor. The large number of unemployed looking for positions resulted in many tests of the labor market finding qualified and available U.S. workers for specified positions. When a test of the labor market for a specified position turns up a willing and qualified U.S. applicant, it may prevent a bona fide permanent labor certification from being filed for a minimum period of six months.
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2012 Diversity Visa Lottery

The U.S. Department of State's 2012 Diversity Visa Lottery online registration process begins at 12:00 p.m., Eastern on Tuesday, October 5, 2010. It will be available until 12:00 p.m., Eastern on Wednesday, November 3, 2010. Paper entries will not be accepted; applications must be submitted electronically. The electronic entry form is available at: www.dvlottery.state.gov. The Department of State’s Diversity Immigrant Visa Program provides 50,000 diversity visas every year. These visas are selected through a lottery system from entries by persons who meet stipulated eligibility requirements from countries with lower levels of immigration to the United States.
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USCIS Announces Fee Increases

September 23, 2010
News & Updates, USCIS
Today the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that it will raise the filing fees for most immigration benefits. The new fees will take effect on November 23, 2010. The final rule announcing the fee increases will be published in the Federal Register on September 24, 2010. The final fee increases are very similar to what was initially proposed by USCIS in June. The fees for most petitions will increase by a weighted average of 10%. The filing fee for an I-129 petition will be raised by five dollars, while the filing fee for the I-140 Immigrant Visa Petition increases by $105. Some petitions, including the N-400 naturalization application will have no fee increase. In addition to the increase in filing fees for standard forms and applications, USCIS will increase the fees for its premium processing service. The premium process fee (currently set at $1000) will go up to $1225. The USCIS attributes this increase to the change in the Consumer Price Index since the premium processing fee was first introduced in 2001.
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