Hello everybody. This is Cyrus Mehta. Welcome to this week's edition of immigration matters.
INS continues to maintain a strong silence on the H-1B count for this year. Apart from a comment to the effect that "It's a mess" no one at INS will provide any concrete information, even though the agency has been heavily pressured by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Congress, the media and others to keep the public informed regarding the status of its count review.
Several assumptions can be made from INS's refusal to comment. In a worse case scenario, it could mean that H-1Bs will cease to be available for the rest of this fiscal year in the next few weeks.
Another reason for INS's silence is because it may have erroneously issued between 4,500 and 20,000 H-1B visas in excess of the cap of 115,000 in the previous fiscal year. Sources within the INS state that the error in the count may be nearer to 20,000 than 4,500. The INS has proposed engaging an outside auditor to clarify the extent of the miscount. If more H-1Bs were authorized than allowed by the cap, solutions range from subtracting the numbers from this year's allocations or from unused allocations in previous year or to do nothing at all. The American Immigration Lawyers Association opposes taking numbers from this year' allocation, because the INS has no statutory authority to undertake such an action.
Probably, the INS needs to clear up the mess from last year before it can possibly announce this year's usage of H-1B numbers. Many immigration attorneys feel that there were more H-1B's being used last year at this time, as opposed to this year, because of the frenzy to fix the Y2K computer bug. As this problem has been taken care of now, there is much less of a demand for programmers needing to resolve the Y2K computer problem. However, there's still a demand for programmers in other areas such as E-commerce and internet development.
In another development, the INS is proceeding with adjustment to permanent residence cases filed after August 31, 1998, that have been on hold to wait for CIA security check clearance. CIA checks would now be handled on a post-audit basis: in other words, if an adjustment case is approved and CIA later informs INS of a problem that would have made the individual ineligible for adjustment, INS will look at instituting rescission proceedings to take away the green card.
I hope you found this segment informative and helpful. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Cyrus D. Mehta at 212-686-1581. The number once again is 212-686-1581. You could also e-mail us at email@example.com
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This is Cyrus Mehta wishing you a wonderful weekend. See you again in two weeks.