Last week USCIS held a nationwide teleconference with practitioners and professionals involved with immigration. This is what we learned:
1. "Straight H-1B Extensions" (extensions which are filed with the same employer) should be filed with the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) starting September 1st, 2016. They are directing the applications to the NSC in an effort to get them decided more quickly. However, cap exempt employer extensions should still be filed at the California Service Center.
2. USCIS assured us that they are well aware of the problem that many states will not issue driver licenses to H-1B holders who are awaiting approval of their H-1B extension. These workers qualify for an automatic extension based on a timely filing, but do not have a current I-94 while waiting for USCIS to process the extension. They stated that this is one of the reasons they are re-routing applications to the NSC, in order to be processed more quickly.
3.USCIS stated that they understand that cap exempt institutions, like schools and universities, are having major challenges getting H-1Bs for their professors within their strict deadlines. Again, their response to this was that they are trying to expedite processing times to the best of their ability by shifting workload to Service Centers with more available officers.
4. H-4 employment authorization applications do not have to be filed at the same time as their H-1B counterparts, and can be filed all the way up to 120 days before the principal H-1B’s expiration date.
Unfortunately, there were no real solid answers to direct questions, mostly just reassurance that USCIS sees that the processing delays are causing additional issues and is actively working on it.
The world of immigration never slows down. We will continue to stay ahead of all the changes and keep you up to date.
Mason Ellis | Training Specialist
CORPORATE IMMIGRATION COMPLIANCE INSTITUTE
7007 College Blvd., # 460, Overland Park, KS 66211 USA
Phone :: 913.317.6200