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Immigration Updates for Summer 2006

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Immigration Updates for Summer 2006

June 27, 2006

H-1B Advanced Degree Exemption
There is still some availability to obtain new H-1B visas for foreign nationals with U.S. Master's degrees or higher – about 8,000 visas remain. With June graduations, however, we anticipate demand for these visas. Recruiters and hiring managers should be in close contact with HR and immigration counsel during the summer.

Regular H-1Bs and Update on Immigration Legislation
It is doubtful the government will provide for any more H-1B visas this year. The proposed legislation to increase the number of H-1B visas available each fiscal year, among numerous other unfavorable immigration provisions, appears to have stalled permanently in the Senate. Comprehensive immigration reform does not appear likely this term.

Labor Certifications
It is possible that longtime pending labor certification applications which have been sitting at the Backlog Elimination Centers will move one step forward towards adjudication. U.S. Department of Labor representatives last week related that the BEC's are slated to enter preliminary data on these cases by the end of July for all pending RIR and traditional labor certifications. We are monitoring all our cases closely for follow up in early August if we do not receive "45 Day" letters from the BEC's asking employers to confirm they want to move forward with these cases.

Non-immigrant Visa Acquisition Delays in India
Visa Acquisition in India (required for first time trips outside the U.S. after changing nonimmigrant status) is taking much longer than before. Indian national employees should keep HR informed of travel and plan accordingly. U.S. Consulates in India have created new, complex and onerous processing requirements that are not necessarily accurately expressed on the consular websites. Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai procedures and documentary requirements are distinct for each consulate.

AILA Backgrounder
For those interested, we have attached a primer on general immigration terms and adjudication processes from our national organization, as we believe immigration will remain hot in our press.

We hope you find this information useful. Please contact us if we may be of assistance.
Happy Summer.

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