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

Who Are the U.S. Visa Officers?

Eilene Zimmerman, Hiring Window Open at the Foreign Service, New York Times (Dec. 20, 2008): Applying for a job with the State Department involves written and oral examinations. Those who pass the oral exam become conditional officers and receive a ranking score based on oral-exam performance and language skills. The higher the rank, the sooner… Continue reading Who Are the U.S. Visa Officers?

Immigrant Widows Left in Limbo

Everybody loves a love story – everybody it seems, except the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In our post-9/11 world, immigration has become increasingly tough on, of all groups, widows. A foreigner who marries a U.S. citizen is entitled to become a U.S. resident. But as CBS’ 60 Minutes reports, USCIS wants to deport several… Continue reading Immigrant Widows Left in Limbo

Record Number of Chinese Students in U.S. Universities

In academic year 2007/08, there were 81,127 students from China studying in the United States, up 19.8% from the previous year. That makes China the second-leading place of origin for students coming to the United States, following India (94,563). These figures were released in a study called Open Doors: Report on International Educational Exchange, published… Continue reading Record Number of Chinese Students in U.S. Universities

Son of an African Immigrant Elected President

      Following Barack Obama’s landslide win in the presidential election, headlines in many newspapers read like this one from the New York Times: Election Unleashes a Flood of Hope Worldwide. It strikes me that part of the optimism is due to Obama’s compelling personal story as the son of an African immigrant as well… Continue reading Son of an African Immigrant Elected President

USCIS Finds Small Companies More Likely to Violate H-1B Rules

H-1B Benefit Fraud & Compliance Assessment, a study published by U.S. Citizenship and Immigraton Services last month, finds that small companies are more likely to violate the rules related to H-1B temporary work visas. This finding is unsurprising because–as my clients constantly remind me–the rules are hyper technical. They consist of hundreds of pages of… Continue reading USCIS Finds Small Companies More Likely to Violate H-1B Rules

EB-5 Investor Visa Update from USCIS

On Sept. 22, 2008, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released a powerpoint presentation with updates on the EB-5 investor visa program for Fiscal Year 2008. Here are the highlights: 12 new EB-5 regional centers were approved. 1017 Forms I-526, Immigrant Petitions for Alien Entrepreneurs, were filed. 350 Forms I-829, Petitions by Entrepreneurs to Remove Conditions,… Continue reading EB-5 Investor Visa Update from USCIS

U.S. Visa Invitation Letters for Sale—$16,000 a Piece

  The U.S. State Department has announced it is searching for Philip Ming Wong, a fugitive who has been indicted for his role in a visa fraud scheme. “Operation Shell Games” Targeted Brokers Who Supplied Chinese Citizens with False Documents and Fraudulent Visa Applications  United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello and Diplomatic Security Service (DSS)… Continue reading U.S. Visa Invitation Letters for Sale—$16,000 a Piece

Gazing into the Crystal Ball: Possible Future Changes in U.S. Visa Processing

If you had just one chance to gaze into a crystal ball, you probably wouldn’t use the opportunity to learn about the future of U.S. visa processing in China. So you’ll have to settle with glimmers of the future from a recently published U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, Border Security: State Department Is Taking… Continue reading Gazing into the Crystal Ball: Possible Future Changes in U.S. Visa Processing

Got a Tip?

Got a tip?  Some aspects of U.S and China visa policy and practice are local and/or not made public by government agencies. If you have a tip, share it here. [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email–will not be published’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Title for Your Tip’ type=’text’/][contact-field label=’Details of Your Tip’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

EB-5 News: Philadelphia Convention Center Investment Plan Falls Through

According to the below news story, CanAm has signed up 150 Chinese seeking EB-5 visas to invest in a company that would loan money to the Philadelphia Convention Center. The investors already deposited their money–$500,000 each–in escrow, apparently as long as a year ago. The only problem is that the Convention Center doesn’t want to… Continue reading EB-5 News: Philadelphia Convention Center Investment Plan Falls Through

Security Advisory Opinions Taking Longer

According to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, “[t]he average processing time for [security advisory opinion] clearances has increased to 6-7 weeks.” The increased processing time will apparently affect U.S. Consulates worldwide because it is due to a shortage of personnel in Washington, DC.

Update: Consular Recommendations to Revoke Visa Petitions

Our law firm is often retained to represent clients where a U.S. Consulate has returned the visa petition to USCIS to consider revocation. This process is slower and less transparent than it should be. Still, this update explains that recently there have been some minor improvements in the process. These improvements were mentioned by Jonathan… Continue reading Update: Consular Recommendations to Revoke Visa Petitions