Zhang & Attorneys, LP’s Attorneys Discussed Issues with DOL and USCIS Officers in Nashville, TN
Author: Attorney Jian Joe Zhou
Attorneys Jerry Zhang, Jian Joe Zhou and Lynn Greening met with high-ranking officers from DOL and USCIS on Friday, June 15, during the 2012 annual conference of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in Nashville, TN.
AILA is the largest nationwide association for immigration lawyers and has been very active in advocating a fair and reasonable immigration system for immigrants. AILA has a close relationship with government agencies such as the Department of Labor (DOL) and US Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS). Members of AILA can use a liaison channel to communicate with DOL and USCIS officers for complicated and troubled cases in the system. Attorneys at Zhang & Attorneys, LP, have been members of AILA for years and the firm has sent delegations to AILA annual meeting every year.
During the June 14th meeting, DOL officers disclosed the most recent trends regarding PERM and LCA practices. Specifically, DOL is tightening its review of PERM cases, and in particular those positions with a high unemployment rate (as determined by DOL analysts using data including national, local, and industrial specific unemployment rates as well as local layoff notices) may be requested to undergo Supervised Recruitment. Once Supervised Recruitment is ordered, the employer must repost advertisements with content approved by DOL, and all applications will first be sent to DOL. DOL will then forward applications to the employer for the review and recruitment process. Once the recruitment period ends, the employer is required to submit all recruitment results and all resumes received, to DOL. The supervised recruitment procedure also has very strict rules regarding documentation. For example, under supervised recruitment the employer is required to use certified mail with required return receipt to contact all applicants, and the employer must submit all evidence of contacts to DOL. Further, supervised recruitment significantly delays the processing time for the petition. The denial rate after the supervised recruitment has been around 70% in the past, however, the total case pool is rather limited.
DOL officers also disclosed that on average auditing cases has taken around 220 days in the fiscal year of 2012, down from an average of 628 days during previous years.
USCIS officers also provided the most recent updates on all aspects of operations and case adjudication. The associate director of USCIS reported that the three most significant tasks that USCIS will undertake include:
1) USCIS hiring of new staff to match the increase in petition/application numbers.
2) USCIS transition into an electronic operation system. So far USCIS has enabled the online filing and submission of applications for changing/extending F, M, B, and J status. Applicants can submit PDF versions of their supporting documents online, and USCIS will issue RFEs (if any) online. The first online change of status application was adjudicated by the USCIS within 10 days, even with an RFE procedure. The applicant submitted RFE response through online submission as well.
3) USCIS push for better consistency in their adjudication.
USCIS officers also announced that USCIS would accept I-485 application flings without medical exam result for cases filed from now before July 1, 2012, accommodating those could not get medical result in time to meet June 30 deadline to file I-485 prior to worldwide EB-2 retrogression starting July 1, 2012
USCIS and DOL officers also answered particular questions raised by attorneys at the open forum session. A USCIS officer is also expected to make an announcement of significant, groundbreaking importance regarding the Dream Act, which brings legalization channels for those high school graduates that were brought to the US illegally by their parents.
About the Author:
Attorney Jian Joe Zhou is a Co-managing Attorney at Zhang & Attorneys L.P.. Joe is one of the leading practitioners in PERM and pre-PERM labor certification petitions, especially in assisting small and mid- sized businesses in PERM filings. With more than 12 years of experience in employment and business immigration law practice, Joe is an expert in PERM, EB-1, NIW, and EB-5 immigration petitions, as well as in H, L, and E worker visas. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Founded in 1996, Zhang & Attorneys, L.P. offers legal services to clients nationwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled thousands of immigration cases.
At Zhang & Attorneys, L.P., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, PERM, and I-485 cases. In the past sixteen years, we have successfully helped thousands of clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a free evaluation.
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