Utah Governor Nominated Ambassador to China

Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, a Republican, has been nominated by President Obama as ambassador to China. Huntsman, 49, learned to speak Mandarin Chinese during his days as a Mormon missionary in Taiwan. He and his wife Mary Kaye have seven children, one of whom was adopted from China. Huntsman previously served as ambassador to Singapore and… Continue reading Utah Governor Nominated Ambassador to China

H1N1 Flu and China/U.S. Travel

Summary Currently neither the U.S. government, the Chinese government, or the World Health Organization is discouraging travel between the U.S. and China. However, travelers to China need to be aware of the possibility of travel delay, including quarantine by the Chinese government. U.S. Government Sources: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that it does… Continue reading H1N1 Flu and China/U.S. Travel

Public Radio Picks up SAO Story

“Marketplace,” a business show on public radio, has picked up on the security advisory opinion (SAO) story. A reporter in New Delhi met with several H-1B workers who have been stuck abroad for up to 4 months waiting for SAO checks.

China Forces Dozens of Mexican and Canadian Travelers into Quarantine

May 4: The Wall Street Journal reports that the A/H1N1 flu outbreak is leading to a potential diplomatic row between China and Mexico. Chinese health authorities are rounding up and quarantining scores of Mexicans — only one of whom is thus far reported to be sick –as they fly in on business and holiday trips. Update May… Continue reading China Forces Dozens of Mexican and Canadian Travelers into Quarantine

Beijing Tightens Visa Controls as Anniversary Approaches

South China Morning Post Kristine Kwok in Beijing Updated on Apr 29, 2009 Mainland authorities have once again tightened visa procedures for foreigners in the run-up to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic, travel industry sources said yesterday. The latest curbs have raised concerns that the central government is reintroducing the… Continue reading Beijing Tightens Visa Controls as Anniversary Approaches

USCIS Focuses Fraud Investigations on Small Companies

I previously reviewed a September 2008 USCIS report, entitled H-1B Benefit Fraud & Compliance Assessment, finding that small companies are more likely than large companies to violate the rules related to employing workers with H-1B visas. In January 2009, I reported that USCIS had implemented the report’s recommendations by closely scrutinizing small companies filing H-1B petitions,… Continue reading USCIS Focuses Fraud Investigations on Small Companies

Gazing Into the Crystal Ball–Part III–Changes in Fingerprint Procedures for Visa Applicants

In August 2008, I reported that the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, planned to outsource part of the U.S. visa application process—fingerprinting would be done by private contractors at a separate facility. This began on April 6. Before going to the visa appointment at the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, applicants must first make… Continue reading Gazing Into the Crystal Ball–Part III–Changes in Fingerprint Procedures for Visa Applicants

USCIS Says Annual H-1B Visa Cap Not Yet Reached

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced yesterday that the annual H-1B visa cap of 65,000 new H-1B petitions had not yet been reached. In fact, USCIS has only reached “about half” that number of petitions, according to a USCIS spokesman. As background, H-1B visas are temporary work visas for professionals. There is an annual… Continue reading USCIS Says Annual H-1B Visa Cap Not Yet Reached

Free DVD—Travel USA 101

America welcomes you! The American Chamber of Commerce-China, with the participation of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, has released Travel USA 101, a Chinese-language DVD explaining how travelers to the U.S. can apply for visas, and the best places to visit, shop, and party in the U.S. If you would like a copy of the… Continue reading Free DVD—Travel USA 101

EB-5 Regional Centers Stay Alive … for the Moment

On March 11 the President signed the Fiscal 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, H.R. 1105, extending the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Pilot Program.  This is the Pilot Program that allows USCIS to receive, process, and adjudicate Forms I-526, Immigrant Petitions by Alien Entrepreneur, affiliated with Regional Centers relying on “indirect” job creation analysis. The law also gives USCIS the power to… Continue reading EB-5 Regional Centers Stay Alive … for the Moment

Advice for Dealing with Long SAO Waits

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, nonimmigrant visa applicants are now waiting for 12-14 weeks for Visas Mantis security advisory opinions (SAOs). This SAO is a security check to ensure that science and technology students and professionals seeking U.S. visas aren’t likely to try to illegally export U.S. technologies. These waits are terribly disruptive to business and… Continue reading Advice for Dealing with Long SAO Waits

How Many Chinese are Unauthorized Immigrants in the U.S.?

According to a new study by the Department of Homeland Security, as of January 2007 there were 11.8 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. Among them, 290,000 were born in China. This is a 49% increase in the number of Chinese unauthorized immigrants since 2000. China ranks fifth on the list of source countries for… Continue reading How Many Chinese are Unauthorized Immigrants in the U.S.?

Gazing into the Crystal Ball–Part II: Future Changes in U.S. Visa Processing

Last year I wrote a post about possible future changes in U.S. visa processing. The State Department has now released more information about their plans, allowing a clearer glimpse at the future of visa processing. A Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) has been created by the State Department with the goal of supporting “an Internet-based,… Continue reading Gazing into the Crystal Ball–Part II: Future Changes in U.S. Visa Processing

The Case of Zhao C: What It Means for U.S. Immigrant Visa Applicants

Many Chinese have followed with interest the case of Zhao C. This young man had used “C” as his given name for his entire life, but when he needed to update his national ID card to a second-generation version, the local Public Security Bureau refused to use that name on the grounds that it was… Continue reading The Case of Zhao C: What It Means for U.S. Immigrant Visa Applicants

USCIS Increases Scrutiny on Small Companies Filing H-1B Petitions

I previously reported on a September 2008 USCIS report, entitled H-1B Benefit Fraud & Compliance Assessment, finding that small companies are more likely to violate H-1B visa rules. USCIS apparently now has begun making procedural changes consistent with the report. The American Immigration Lawyers Association believes that USCIS has in some cases made overly broad requests… Continue reading USCIS Increases Scrutiny on Small Companies Filing H-1B Petitions

Average Bonds at ICE Field Offices

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has released information about average bonds for noncitizens detained at ICE field offices. Los Angeles sets the lowest average bonds, while New York’s average is the highest. What the table doesn’t show is the odds of being detained in each office’s district. For example, according to anecdotal evidence, Los Angeles… Continue reading Average Bonds at ICE Field Offices

5 U.S. Ambassadors to China

Five former U.S. ambassadors to China appeared together in a program for the first time on December 9, 2008. The program featured ambassadors Winston Lord (1985-89), James Lilley (1989-91), J. Stapleton Roy (1991-95), James R. Sasser (1996-99), and Joseph Prueher (1999-2001). In an exchange moderated by National Committee president Stephen Orlins, the ambassadors candidly reflected… Continue reading 5 U.S. Ambassadors to China