The April Visa Bulletin outlines four new visa categories for the year ending April 2021. These four new visa classes include LPR, PRK, EMOL and SPQC. These are the same as the existing EAD and EPC classifications but the classification names have been changed to reflect the actual business classification for the year. The classification structure is intended to allow employers to remain current with their recruitment practices. It is recommended that employers review their strategies to remain in compliance with changes in these four visa classifications by the end of the year. The bulletin also emphasizes that it is important for employers to check the regulations for each visa classification carefully and to consult with their legal advisors so that they can remain compliant.
There are many categories in the current April Visa Bulletin that remain unchanged from the previous year. These include CIV, EMOL and SPQC. In addition, there are three types of leave accreditation status that remain unchanged as well:
Both the permanent resident and the non-immigrant alien category continue to apply to applicants for extensions of their visas. The extension types, which include stayat-for-absence and discretionary leave, must be filed with the USCIS by the final date for the application due on any given date. Applicants will be required to file a form for the extension in their country of origin or a designated country of destination, depending on their status. For example, applicants in the United Kingdom must file an application form for an indefinite stay and those in Mexico must file a form for deferred entry.
There are three categories of temporary workers that are subject to the numerical limitations specified in the USCIS guidelines. These are: skilled workers, non-skilled workers, and seasonal workers. Applicants who wish to remain in one of these worker categories must file a form for the second preference category, regardless of their original visa status. The same holds true for retired or existing U.S. citizens who are applying for a visa to cover an immediate need. However, the priority date applies to the retiree or former worker and not to anyone in the second preference category.
The April Visa Bulletin also indicates the latest conditions applicable to the employment-based preference immigrants category. These include revised specifications for determining the principal applicant's eligibility to apply for an immigrant status and to adjust the beneficiary's employment authorization status. These conditions have been incorporated into the USCIS manual for Employment-Based Preference Immigrants. Specifically, the revised section 203A states that the principal applicant no longer needs to have a published work agreement or other formal documentation proving his or her ability to get a specific job. The beneficiary, on the other hand, must now present a copy of a finalized I-9 or employment confirmation to the consul or immigration officer at the point of entry.
The final section of the April Visa Bulletin deals with revised specifications on the types of visas applicable to spouses of lawful permanent resident workers who are not qualifying as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or eligible employment-based preferences. This section clarifies that immediate family members, including children, are not eligible for the employment-based green card. Also, spouses who accompany their husbands or wives do not need to be eligible for immigrant visas, but are still subject to the conditions and deadlines specified in the remainder of the manual. The revised section also indicates that the spouses may reapply if they meet the criterion for I-estation after six months from the date of the initial application. For spouses who are not eligible for the green card under the employment-based preferences, the Bulletin indicates that they may file for adjustment of status under the provisions of the USCIS employment qualified worker program.
After being approved for a visa, any person may file for adjustment of status under the provisions of the USCIS employment qualified worker program either by filing an online form or by submitting a request in person. If a person is unable to meet the final action dates specified in the initial application for adjustment of status, he or she may file for reconsideration in the same way as the original application. A request for reconsideration must be filed with the USCIS by the applicant no later than six months from the date of application. After receipt of the notice of reconsideration, the applicant must again file an application for adjustment of status.
One of the most important requirements for adjustability of status is the date of eligibility for the immigrant visas that are subject to the April Visa Bulletin. The final deadline for filing an application for adjustment of status is the cutoff date chart established in the Instructions to the Instructions for Adjustment of Status (IAAS). However, there have been instances where the final deadline for filing an application has been extended due to a change in the number of visas available or due to a lack of support for one or more of the underlying reasons. In such cases, the applicant may re-apply for adjustment of status but is advised against doing so until the earlier of the six-month period mentioned in the Instructions to the Instructions for Adjustment of Status (IAAS).
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