THE OH LAW
Oh Attorney Blog
The Oh Law Firm and its Lawyers are not responsible for reliance
by the reader on this information as each individual situation
may be unique and different. The readers are advised to seek
legal counsel from a qualified immigration attorney. The information
stated here is subject to change.
The posting in the Breaking News requires visitors'
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without closely following previous postings will result in reading
it out of context. The laws, policies, and practices of agencies
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into the immigrant communities up to the minute news,
especially inside information of agencies' decision making. Just
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01/18/2019: USCIS Reminder of SAVE
and SAVE Program Services in Operation During Partial Government
- USCIS announces that SAVE
and SAVE program services remain operational during the current
partial lapse in annual appropriated funding. SAVE users should
continue to submit cases to verify an applicant's immigration
or citizenship status. Additionally, you can sign up for a webinar,
access publications, and use the SAVE Agency Search Tool. SAVE CaseCheck also remains available for benefit applicants to
follow the status of their verification case. SAVE program services
information and the latest news are available on the SAVE
01/18/2019: Demand of 20 Bi-Partisan U.S. Senators
to Rescind New Policy of Accrual Unlawful Presence for Foreign
Students and USCIS Director Response
- Currently, this controvertial
new policy has been challenged in several fronts, including the
Congress and the federal court. On November 20, 2018, 20 leading
U.S. Senators wrote a letter to the DHS to rescind the new policy
and the USCIS Director responded to the demand on January 2,
2019 defending the new policy. Accordingly, thus far political
pressure has not worked to pressure the USCIS to chand the new
policy, at least until now. However, in a federal court, the
DHS just responded to the multiple academic institutions motion
for preliminary injunction and the foreign student community
is watching carefully the development in their fights in the
01/17/2019: February New I-485 Filing
Available Charts of the USCIS
- For Employment-Based I-485,
use "Final Action Dates" Charts in the Visa Bulletin.
- For Family-Based I-485, use
"Filing Dates" Charts in the Visa Bulletin.
01/17/2019: Potential SCOTUS (Supreme
Court of the United States) Conference Tomorrow of DACA Case, DHS v.
Regents of the University of California, 18-587
- SCOTUSblog reports that the Supreme Court of the Unites States
has some chance to pick up this important case for immigrant
community within this week (meaning tomorrow), to decide: (1)
Whether the Department of Homeland Securitys decision to
wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy is
judicially reviewable; and (2) whether DHS decision to
wind down the DACA policy is lawful.
- This case involves challenges
to Trump administration policies, involving the unusual procedure
of requesting cert before judgment that is,
seeking Supreme Court review before the relevant court of appeals
has ruled in the case.
01/17/2019: Effective 01/19/2019,
New Designation of Countries Whose Workers are
Eligible for H-2A and H-2B Temporary
Worker Visa Applications
- Current list will expire
on 01/18/2019, tomorrow, and new designation will take effect
from day after tomorrow. The DHS has designated 84 countries
for H-2A program and 81 countries for H-2B program. This designation
will remain valid until January 18, 2020.
- Every year, DHS has been
designating a list of countries whose nationals are eligible
for H-2A and H-2B nonimmigrant visa applications. It means that
unless they are listed here, the nationals of other countries
are not available for these H-2A or H-2B visa applications.
01/16/2019: USCIS Revises Policies
and Procedures for Secure Identity Documents and Seeks Public
- USCIS is issuing revised
policy guidance today to address the general policies and procedures
related to secure identity documents issued by the agency. Secured
documents include employment authorization documents (EAD), travel
documents, permanent resident cards (Green Cards), and naturalization
and citizenship certificates and others. .Stakeholders may review
and comment on the revised policy guidance through Jan. 30, 2019.
01/15/2019: Matthew Oh Unavailable
for the Week of 01/13/2019
- Dear readers, I am still
acceable to the phone messages and our website update system,
but temporarily unable to take calls from the visitors. I will
be available beginning from next week. Again, we will keep our
visitors updated with the development of immigration news during
this difficult time of challenge. Thank you for your patience.
01/15/2019: Employers, USCIS Advises
on 01/15/2019 Unavailability of E-Veryfy Program
and Support Services During Temporary Suspension
- Employers, please keep in
this in mind, but employers must still complete their Form I-9
Hriring Requirement. Please visit USCIS.Gov/i-9-Central
01/14/2019: Draft of "Final Rule"
of H-1B Cap Pre-Registration Submitted to the OMB Last Friday,
- USCIS appears to accelerate
implementation of this rule. This final rule making process is
handled as "economically significant" rule making process
which can be completed in a very short period of time. After
considering the comments received from the public for its "proposed
rule," they have very quickly drafted the "final rule"
and submitted to the OMB on 01/11/2019. As we reported earlier,
the purpose of this H-1B cap reform is to implement the President's
Buy American and Hire American Executive Order to reform H-1B
cap selection process to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded
to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries, and
to streamline the process for administering the H-1B cap and
increase the probability of the total number of petitions selected
under the cap filed for H-1B beneficiaries who possess a masters
or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education
each fiscal year. The draft of the final rule has yet to be made
public. As soon as it is made available, we will swiftly report
- The period of comment for
the "proposed rule" ended on 01/02/2019. They received
874 comments altogether when the period ended. In less than 10
days from the date comment period was over, the USCIS submitted
the draft of final rule last Friday.
01/12/2019: OFLC Updates, 01/11/2019,
Processing of H-2B
Non-Agricultural Temporary Workers
- As reported repeatedly, the
iCERT received "unusual" massive H-2B labor applications,
including 186 applications that filed more than same application
mutiple times. The OFLC updates
their processing including the report of such abuses. They select
and process the selected cases in a matter which is described
in the latest update. However, for the future, in light of the
unprecedented demand for H-2B labor certifications, the OFLC
is considering rulemaking
changing the process by which applications are ordered for processing,
including randomization and other methods. In the interim, the Department welcomes comments
and suggestions from the public on these matters. Comments and
suggestions should be directed to the H2BReform.Comments@dol.gov.
01/11/2019: February Visa Bulletin
01/11/2019: Indian Media's Articulated
Summary of Anticipated Tough Year 2019 Against Foreign Workers
- This morning, an Indian media,
"India Abroad," reported on 01/11/2019 that more restrictions on legal immigration can be
expected in 2019" against high-tech foreign workers and
the same media also reported another article on 01/01/2019 on "Latest overhaul of H-1B visa
program to affect Indian tech professionals" with summary
of the proposed regulation of pre-registrtion requirement for
H-1B cap selection system. This H-1B cap program reform is currently
stalled by the partial government shutdown and it may or may
not be enacted timely to implement the new H-1B cap selection
system this year. However, this reporter very much agrees with
these Indian media reports, which our readers may as well review
01/09/2019: Continuing Partial Government
Shutdown, Stalled Rule-Making Activities, and Stalled Employment-Based
Immigration Proposed Rules
- Current partial government
shut-down not only hits the lives of government employees and
their families, but also innumerable people who suffer in their
- When it comes to the employment-based
immigration programs, there are some immigrants and employers
who rather benefits from it, including stalled H-4 EAD rescission,
pre-registration of H-1B cap selection rule for FY 2020 cap season,
expansion of public benefits inadmissibility throughout various
nonimmigrant and immigrant proceedings, etc.
- Currently, demand for H-2B
non-agricultural temporary workers has been rising extremely
high because of the country's rising shortage of the workers
in this sector. Additionally, the demands for high-skilled workers
have been rising high as well in high-tech, finance, and other
sectors. Apparently, the Trump Administration has been more or
less slowing down some negative rule-making processes in part
affected by the current shortage of workers in these sectors.
The Trump Administration should thus reconsider their proposed
negative proposed rule-making plans against the immigrant and
nonimmigrant worker programs and abandon their plan to remove
H-4 EAD program and some of other plans to restrict foreign worker
01/09/2019: OFLC Issues H-2B
Labor Certification Processing Announcement
After Receiving Approximately 5,276 H-2B Applications Covering
More Than 96,400 Worker Positions in About Two Days for 33,000
Workers Cap under the Rule
- The employers who have filed
the H-2B labor certification applications during the last two
days should review this announcement of the OFLC as to how the
agency will select, review, process, and make a decision from
01/07/2019: OFLC Issues "Last
Status Update" Today on the iCERT
System Operation Status
- OFLC has consistently been
open for service since 2:00 p.m. EST and successfully handled
the submission of approximately 5,021 H-2B applications covering
more than 92,400 workers positions for an April 1, 2019,
start date of work within the first two hours of operation. Application
filing services through the iCERT system will remain open and
the OFLC will continue to closely monitor the situation.
- This report means that there
were fairly smaller number of H-2B applications were received
during the second hour (3:00 pm - 4:00 pm). It may imply that
revised iCERT sysem may operate smoothly without crash. What
01/07/2019: OFLC Issues Update
of Operating Status of the iCERT System
- At 3:00 P.M. (EST)
- The iCERT system has now
successfully handled the submission of approximately 4,749
H-2B applications covering more than 87,900 workers positions
for an April 1, 2019, start date of work within the first one hour of operation. Application filing services through
the iCERT system will remain open and the OFLC will continue
to closely monitor the situation.
01/07/2019: OFLC 2019 iCERT System FAQs Round 2
Emergency Procedures for Filing Electronic H-2B
Applications in the iCERT System Hereon
When iCERT System Reopens Today
- Very important step-by-step
instructions for H-2B non-agriculatural temporary labor certification
application filers when the iCERT site reopens today!
01/07/2019: OFLC 2019 iCERT System FAQs Round 1
of 01/06/2019 Re: Passwords and Other Q&A When iCERT Reopens
- The FAQ indicates that most
of the account holders do not have to change their passports,
but there will be a few employers who whill have to pay passwords.
01/07/2019: iCERT Users, Do Not Lock-In
ICERT Site Until After 3:00 P.M.
(EST) Today, Other Than H-2B Temporary
Labor Certification Filers
- The iCERT site site will
re-open at 2:00 p.m. today, but iCERT site alerts that employers other than H-2B application
filers should not lock in the ICERT Site at 2:00 p.m. to avoid
a potential crash of the site, affecting all the employers again.
01/07/2019: Practical Freeze of Federal
Rule Making Reports, Forcing the People in the Dark of the Update
of Government Policies, During the Partial Government Shutdown
- Political leaders of both
parties keep calling the nation to the hardships which the government
employees suffer and the numbers are only over 800,000. Really?
Only 800,000 people suffer? What about their family members?
What about the people who are left in the dark as to what the
government departments are doing and what rules and policies
they are making since federal register site is officially practically frozen. This is ridiculous and not acceptable.
01/04/2019: USCIS 01/04/2019 Civics Test Answer Updates
for Naturalization Applicants!
- Are you preparing for the
naturalization test? As you study for the U.S. history and government
(civics) test, make sure that you know the most current answers to these questions. Periodically, answers to the civics
test change to reflect the results of federal and state elections
and appointments or to clarify content and ensure consistency
in terminology. The revised answers to the questions herein
are effective immediately.
01/04/2019: OFLC Advises Non H-2B
Filers Not to File Temporary Labor Applications " Until After
3:00 PM (EST)" Monday 01/07/2019!!
- Today phone conference indicates
that when iCERT site start opening again at 2:00 P.M. (EST) next
Monday, there will be "montains" of H-2B applications
are likely to flood into the iCERT system (which amounted to
H-2B applications for 97,800 workers on the first date before
crash when the involved cap was only 33,000!). Adding other case
loads from other types of applications including H-1B LCA etc
will deteriorate the situtation, likely causing another system
crash. Accordingly, OFLC issues the following advise: Temporary Labor Certification Filers
Other Than H-2B Non-Agricultural Temporary Labor Applications
Do Not, Repeat "DO NOT" File Applications Until After
3:00 PM or Later When iCERT System Reopens on Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
this alert includes H-1B LCA Filers. This will help to potentially
avoid another crash of the iCERT system.
01/03/2019: iCERT System "Tentatively"
Scheduled to Run Again Effective Monday, 01/07/2019 2:00 P.M.
- OFLC announces that the iCERT system for application
processing is tentatively scheduled to open at 2:00 p.m. EST
on MONDAY, JANUARY 7, 2019. The Department is currently testing
the system to process a record number of applicants. DOL has
made 50 servers available for processing, more than eight times
as many as available for processing on January 1, 2019.
- To offer a further detailed
update, senior leaders of the Employment and Training Administration
will be conducting a conference call FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2019
at 2:00 p.m EST. to provide a further update on the status of
the iCERT system. The conference call can be accessed by calling
1-888-946-6304 and using participant code 9462870.
- For the past several days,
employers and foreign workers have suffered a tremendous hardship
because of the shut-down of the iCERT system temporary labor
certification applications for H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, and other programs.
Announcement states it would reopen "tentatively,"
without clarifying what tentatively means. Employers may find
it out using conference calls tomorrow.
01/02/2019: OFLC Updates the Sources
of Current iCERT Outage
- It states that within the
first five (5) minutes of opening the semi-annual H-2B certification
process on January 1, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor iCERT
system had an unprecedented demand for H-2B certifications with
more than 97,800 workers requested in pending applications
for the 33,000 available visas. With more than thirty (30) times the user demand
on the iCERT system compared to last year on January 1, the iCERT
system experienced a system disruption. Read on! They
will update the situation tomorrow.
01/02/2019: Federal Register Publishing
& Operation Currently Crippled by the Ongoing Partial Government
- One more area where the public
is affected and forced to live in the dark on the government
01/02/2019: iCERT System Down Since
Yesterday and Pending Further Notice
- Temporary labor certification
filings, including LCA for H-1B, are currently frozen and until
further notice. OFLC intends to update the status at the mid-night
- PERM site is however in normal operation at this time.
01/01/2019: H-1B Cap Pre-Registration
Proposed Rule w/558 Comments Received as of 12/31/2018
- The comment period will end
at the end of the day of tomorrow, 01/02/2019. The total comments which OIRA received was 558 as of yesterday. It thus
appears that the total number of comments may not exceed 650
in toto. Let's see how quickly the USCIS could complete review
of comments to finalize the rule-making process as quickly as
possible. Immigration stakeholders endeavor to delay implementation
of this pre-registration rule after the FY 2020 H-1B Cap Season.
01/01/2019: Irish "E-3 Visa"
Legislative Bill Failed to Pass in the 115th Congress
- We reported on 12/14/2018
that this bill, H.R. 7164, was introduced in the House. This
bill was successful to pass in the House, but unfortunately,
the Senate failed to pass this bill before it left the Hill.
this bill failed to pass in the Senate thanks (??) to Senator
Tom Cotton. For the reason, this Irish E-3 visa bill is practically
dead in that the 115th Congress closed at the end of December
2018 and unless this bill is reintroduced in the new 116th Congress
(2019-2020) that opens on January 2019 and passed by the Congress,
H.R. 7164 is considered practically dead, to the greatest disappointment
to the Irsh communities in and outside of the United States.
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