Beware Of Immigration Scams
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently
issued a warning to those who are looking to immigrate to the United States
and those who help them: be on the lookout for scammers. The perpetrators
have most recently been imitating government officials in an attempt to
try to extract money and information from their victims.
Most often, the victim will receive a phone call or email from someone
pretending to be an immigration official, informing them that there is
a problem with their immigration application, which can only be resolved
by filling out a form that asks for sensitive personal information and
by paying an additional fee.
Do not provide any personal data or payment if contacted by phone or email
under any circumstances! These are in no way affiliated with the USCIS. If you receive one of these
phony emails or phone calls, report it immediately to the Federal Trade
Commission. If you receive any emails, USCIS has asked that you forward
it to their Webmaster at
firstname.lastname@example.org, it will be reviewed and then forwarded to the proper authorities.
How Do I Know It’s a Scam?
There is one easy way to tell if what you’ve received is a scam:
if you are being asked for payment or sensitive information via the phone
or via email, it’s a scam. USCIS needs additional information or
payment on any pending application, they will contact you and your attorney
by regular mail. The letter will be printed on official USCIS letterhead
and will contain contact information should you desire to speak with an
agent regarding your case.
If you have any questions regarding your pending applications, you can
contact the USCIS customer service line by dialing 800-375-5283 or you
can make an InfoPass appointment online.
Avoid being scammed by speaking with a reputable and knowledgeable Williamson
County immigration lawyer. An attorney will be able to advise you as to
whether a request is legitimate, and help you report any fraudulent activity
to the proper authorities. A qualified attorney can also help you respond
to legitimate request made by USCIS.
2017 USCIS H-1B Cap Lottery Completed
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
announced on April 7, 2016, that it had received over 236,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period
for the 2017 fiscal year.
A computer-generated random selection process has been completed to select
enough petitions to meet the 65,000 H-1B regular cap and 20,000 U.S. Master’s
cap quota. All unselected petitions will be rejected and returned with
USCIS will begin premium processing on selected petitions by May 16, 2016.
Petitions that are exempt from the cap will continue to be accepted, including
petitions filed on behalf of individuals who have been counted against
the cap in prior years. The following types of petitions will continue
to be accepted:
- H-1B extensions petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers;
- H-1B amended petitions seeking to change the terms of a current H-1B worker’s
- Petitions to change a current H-1B employer;
- Petitions requesting authorization for a current H-1B worker to concurrently
work in a second H-1B position;
- Petitions filed by cap exempt employers.
Oral arguments began this morning, April 18, 2016, before eight sitting
United States v. Texas, a lawsuit brought to determine the legality of President Obama’s
2014 executive actions on immigration. Expanded Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful
Permanent Residents (DAPA) are the executive actions at issue. On November
20, 2014, President Obama announced a new Deferred Action program to benefit
parent of U.S. citizens and lawful resident of the United States who have
been residing in the U.S. since 2010. In addition, the President announced
an expansion of the Deferred Action program for Dreamers. If
found to be legal, these executive actions would open up eligibility for
work authorization and deferred action for many living in the U.S.
EXPANSION OF OPT FOR STEM STUDENTS
On March 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced
an expansion Optional Practical Training (OPT) work authorization for
F-1 students pursuing studies in science, technology, engineering and
mathematics. Effective May 10, 2016, international students in STEM field
may request 24 months of work authorization to pursue training in a position
directly related to the student’s program of study. The former 17-month
STEM OPT regulations will remain in effect until May 9, 2016.
H-1B PETITIONS MAY BE FILED WITH USCIS BEGINNING APRIL 1, 2016
The H-1 B filing season for petitions subject to the Fiscal year 2017 cap
will begin on April 1, 2016. The H-1B program enables U.S. employers to
hire foreign workers in specialty occupations. There is a cap on the number
of H-1B visa that may be granted, U.S. employers are encouraged to apply
within the first week of April to have a chance at obtaining one of the
65,000 visas available. Individuals with a U.S. master’s degree
or higher may file under the master’s cap. The first 20,000 H-1B
petitions filed for those with a U.S. master’s degree or higher
are exempt from the 65,000 cap.
As was the case for the last 3 years, USCIS expects that during the first
five business days of this year’s program they will received more
than 65,000 petitions. If more than 65,000 petitions are received in the
first five business days, USCIS will conduct a lottery, randomly selecting
petitions until the cap is reached. All petitions not selected will be rejected.
In addition, USCIS has announced that premium processing for H-1B cap subject
petitions will begin no later than May 16, 2016.