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American news

Posted at 17 March 2017 23:03 (UTC)

H-2B Cap for FY 2017 Met

H2b cap

The congressionally mandated H-2B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2017 has been met, according to USCIS. The final receipt date for new H-2B worker petitions requesting employment start dates before October 1, 2017 was March 13, 2017 and USCIS has reportedly received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the cap.

The H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals overseas to fill temporary jobs in non-agricultural fields of work and the cap is in place because there is a numerical limit on the number of foreign nationals who may be issued an H-2B visa per year. Because the cap for FY 2017 has officially been met, USCIS will now begin rejecting new H-2B petitions received after March 13, 2017, requesting an employment start date before October 1, 2017.

Petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated cap will however continue to be accepted. The following types of petitions are considered to be exempt:

  • H-2B workers with a current status in the U.S. petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers.
  • Fish roe processors, technicians, and/or supervisors of fish roe processing.
  • Workers performing labor or services from November 28, 2009 until December 31, 2019, in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam.

More information on the H-2B program and how the cap count works can be found on the USCIS website.


Canadian news

Posted at 10 March 2017 08:03 (UTC)

Quebec: Request to exempt 2015 & 2016 intake applicants on Modifications to the weighting of QSWP

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Please support a petition started by a group of applicants (June 2016 and August 2016 intake) and aspirants from across the world for QSW program whose cases are now either being processed or about to start.

The recent changes have shattered our dreams, goals, planning, hope and most importantly faith in Quebec Government.

Please sign the petition here: 

American news

Posted at 05 March 2017 23:03 (UTC)

Who will be benefitted with the new merit-based immigration system proposal from Trump?

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Trump introduced the idea of a merit-based immigration system in USA after invoking the memory and words of late President Abraham Lincoln, saying, “Lincoln was right and it is time we heeded his words.” He pushed for a merit-based immigration system that could benefit the high-tech professionals from countries like India.

Trump in his speech mentioned that he believes that real and positive immigration reform is possible as long as it focuses on the goals to improve jobs and wages for Americans to further strengthen the country’s security and to restore respect for laws. Indian IT Professionals account for the largest number of foreign nationals who are coming to the US on H-1B visas. Indians also feature among the largest number of foreign workers coming to USA as scientists, doctors, engineers and other highly skilled professionals.

Trump’s Merit-Based Immigration System would Benefit IT Professionals from India

US President Donald Trump’s proposal for the merit-based immigration system has a major potential to be beneficial for Indians, a large number of whom have high levels of education and skills. But the implementation of the proposal with finer details will decide how fruitful this will turn out to be. Any drastic reform of the immigration process will definitely be a very difficult undertaking by Trump.

New US Immigration System based on Education, Skill Levels, Language and employability

In case of Canada, the applicants for immigration are given points for different qualifications like education, skill levels, and employability, language and family ties. They would have to meet a minimum score to be allowed to immigrate. At present, the immigration system of the USA restricts the number of people who will be able to emigrate from each country to seven percent of the total number allowed in except for immediate relatives of citizens. This has led to waiting of several years for Indians to get their green cards.

New Merit-Based Immigration System by USA

Under this merit-based immigration system, immigrants are selected on the basis of their merits and skills. Trump was seen showing much interest in the merit-based immigration system of Canada. Trump reported said that switching away from America’s current system of lower- skilled immigration and instead adopting a merit-based system will surely have many benefits both for USA and many other nations. Trump believes that the real and positive immigration reform is possible as long as US focuses on certain facts in order to improve jobs and wages for Americans and strengthen USA’s security for the restoration of respect for the country’s laws.

New Merit-Based US immigration System may not get support from Republicans

This merit-based system is always not accepted by all. In fact, many Republicans who fear of economic harm are very skeptical about this system proposed by Trump. But this system has high possibility to work. Indians would be highly benefited for they are highly skilled and skills are what draw them to USA. Moreover, the country USA itself will be benefited as far as the country’s strong security is concerned.

New Merit-Based Immigration System will benefit Skilled Professionals, Make easier for Family Based Sponsorship for Vis

US citizens may sponsor immediate family members for visas that are not subject to any caps. Their siblings and adult children get preferences under a program that provide a limited number of visas. Trump so far did not mention about how the system will be implemented. Trump’s assertion is based on the view that the current system allows people to immigrate to the US without any regard to their professional skills which causes harm to the country. It creates oversupply of low-skilled workers. Hence this system would allow only skilled ones to enter the country which would further help to tighten USA’s security.


American news

Posted at 04 March 2017 22:03 (UTC)

USCIS Will Temporarily Suspend Premium Processing for All H-1B Petitions


Starting April 3, 2017, USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions. This suspension may last up to 6 months. While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker which requests the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for H-1B petitions.

Who Is Affected

The temporary suspension applies to all H-1B petitions filed on or after April 3, 2017. Since FY18 cap-subject H-1B petitions cannot be filed before April 3, 2017, this suspension will apply to all petitions filed for the FY18 H-1B regular cap and master’s advanced degree cap exemption (the “master’s cap”). The suspension also applies to petitions that may be cap-exempt.

While premium processing is suspended, we will reject any Form I-907 filed with an H-1B petition. If the petitioner submits one combined check for both the Form I-907 and Form I-129 H-1B fees, we will have to reject both forms.

We will continue to premium process Form I-129 H-1B petitions if the petitioner properly filed an associated Form I-907 before April 3, 2017. Therefore, we will refund the premium processing fee if:

  1. The petitioner filed the Form I-907 for an H-1B petition before April 3, 2017, and
  2. We did not take adjudicative action on the case within the 15-calendar-day processing period.

This temporary suspension of premium processing does not apply to other eligible nonimmigrant classifications filed on Form I-129.

Requesting Expedited Processing

While premium processing is suspended, petitioners may submit a request to expedite an H-1B petition if they meet the criteria on the Expedite Criteria webpage. It is the petitioner’s responsibility to demonstrate that they meet at least one of the expedite criteria, and we encourage petitioners to submit documentary evidence to support their expedite request.

We review all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and requests are granted at the discretion of the office leadership.

Why We Are Temporarily Suspending Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions

This temporary suspension will help us to reduce overall H-1B processing times. By temporarily suspending premium processing, we will be able to:

  • Process long-pending petitions, which we have currently been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years; and
  • Prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240 day mark. 


Canadian news

Posted at 02 February 2017 22:02 (UTC)

There is no new Canadian Visa Lottery Program, Despite Widespread Rumours


A widespread rumour that Canada is due to begin a new immigration lottery, similar to the DV visa lottery in the United States, is untrue. The story stems from an article published online that citizens from 16 countries could apply as of March 1, 2017.

The government of Canada has not made any public announcement that such a lottery will open, and there is no reason to believe that such a program will be launched. The story being circulated appears to be fraudulent.

The false story lists a range of eligibility requirements for interested citizens of Oman, Ethiopia, Philippines, Ghana, Guyana, Jamaica, Nigeria, Gambia, Cameroon, Kenya, Pakistan, Zambia, Thailand, Uganda, Fiji, and Lesotho.

The story does not cite a government source. Indeed, it incorrectly names the department overseeing immigration to Canada as 'Canadian Immigration and Citizenship' (the correct name is Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada).

The eligibility requirements, the list of eligible countries, the dates, and process guidelines all appear to be completely made up.

Readers are encouraged to treat news of a general visa lottery in Canada for citizens of the aforementioned countries as untrue. Moreover, do not engage the services of any individual, entity, or group that tells individuals that they can assist with an application to this fake program.

For more information about how you can protect yourself from immigration fraud, please see the Canadian government's website.


American news

Posted at 25 January 2017 12:01 (UTC)

Trump expected to order temporary ban on refugees


U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign executive orders starting on Wednesday that include a temporary ban on most refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria and six other Middle Eastern and African countries, say congressional aides and immigration experts briefed on the matter.

Trump, who tweeted that a "big day" was planned on national security on Wednesday, is expected to ban for several months the entry of refugees into the United States, except for religious minorities escaping persecution, until more aggressive vetting is in place.

Another order will block visas being issued to anyone from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, said the aides and experts, who asked not to be identified.

In his tweet late on Tuesday, Trump said: "Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!"

The border security measures probably include directing the construction of a border wall with Mexico and other actions to cut the number of illegal immigrants living in the United States.

The sources say the first of the orders will be signed on Wednesday. With Trump considering measures to tighten border security, he could turn his attention to the refugee issue later this week.

Stephen Legomsky, who was chief counsel at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Obama administration, said the president had the authority to limit refugee admissions and the issuance of visas to specific countries if the administration determined it was in the public’s interest.

"From a legal standpoint, it would be exactly within his legal rights," said Legomsky, a professor at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. "But from a policy standpoint, it would be terrible idea because there is such an urgent humanitarian need right now for refugees.”

The Republican president, who took office last Friday, was expected to sign the first of the orders at the Department of Homeland Security, whose responsibilities include immigration and border security.

Canadian news

Posted at 21 January 2017 03:01 (UTC)

Canadian Immigration Facebook Groups


Hi There,

There are a number of Facebook groups related to Canada Immigration which may be of some help for members of MyImmiTracker, these groups may help stay up-to-date on news and PNP openings. 

1. Ontario PNP

2. Saskatchewan PNP
3. Nova Scotia PNP

4. New Brunswick PNP

5. Quebec Skilled Worker Program

6. FSW & CEC - Inland/Outland Applicants Converge Here - Canada

Hope this helps!


Canadian news

Posted at 20 January 2017 04:01 (UTC)

New Brunswick Notifies Applicants of Processing Delays in its Provincial Nominee Program

New brunswick day

The New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP) is experiencing delays in the processing of applications. The delays are attributed to a "significant number of applications," the province explained on its website.

The update added that the program continues "to prioritize applications from individuals who are working in New Brunswick or have a local job offer." Applicants who have an application currently in process are urged not to contact the province regarding the status of their application. Such inquiries will not be answered and will increase delays, the province explains. Finally, the update stated that all applicants would receive communication from the NBPNP once a decision is made on their application, although no time frame was given for this communication.

The NBPNP includes the Express Entry Labour Market Stream (EELMS), the Skilled Worker with Family Support Stream, the Skilled Worker with Employer Support Stream, and the Business Applicants Stream (currently paused). The processing delays appear to apply to all these streams. Eligible individuals in the Express Entry pool may submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) under the EELMS, if they are also eligible for this stream. Successful applicants under this stream receive an enhanced provincial nomination certificate, and consequently an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence in a subsequent draw from the pool.

The remaining three categories operate independently of the Express Entry immigration selection system. The Skilled Worker with Family Support Stream targets individuals who have worked in New Brunswick and have close family ties to the province through a relative. Eligible individuals with an offer of full-time permanent employment from an employer in New Brunswick may apply for permanent resident status through the Skilled Worker with Employer Support Stream. The Business Applicants Stream, which is not currently receiving applications, provided a route to permanent resident status for eligible individuals who intend to open and operate a business in New Brunswick.


American news

Posted at 18 January 2017 01:01 (UTC)

Trump says he will add further restrictions to H1B and L1 visa schemes


President elect Donald Trump has vowed to put an end to what he calls H-1B and L-1 visa “abuse” in a bid to tackle what he sees as the loss of ‘American’ jobs.  Fortunately it seems that he has not raised any concerns about the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa scheme and E-1 Treaty Trader visa scheme.  Some would say that complaining about the H-1B and L-1 visa scheme is somewhat hypocritical as Trump companies have recruited thousands of foreign workers in the US. Despite this throughout his election campaign Trump vowed to take a hardline stance on US immigration if he were elected.

In a YouTube video posted on Monday, November 21, detailing his 100-day plan following his inauguration as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, January 20, 2017, Trump said: “On immigration, I will direct the Department of Labor to investigate all abuses of visa programmes that undercut the American worker.”

While Trump, or his campaign team, failed to elaborate on which employment visas would be targeted specifically, a number of visa programmes face potential restrictions. Currently, US-based companies can recruit temporary skilled foreign workers on H-1B (highly-skilled graduates), unskilled workers on H-2A visas (agricultural workers), H-2B (seasonal, non-agricultural workers both skilled and unskilled) and L-1A (executives and managers being transferred to the US) and L-1B (specialized skills employees being transferred to the US) visas.

However, Vivek Wadhwa, a distinguished fellow at Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering, told CNN money that he was ‘encouraged’ by what Trump didn’t say, stating: “What he didn't say was that he was going to close the door to skilled immigrants.”

Todd Schulte, executive director of the tech-backed immigration lobbying firm, said that Trump’s plans would result in a ‘brain drain.’ He said: “Setting aside the emotional toll this would take on the country’s immigrant community, these changes could result in a massive brain drain for industries like tech that rely heavily on foreign workers.”

Sanwar Ali, Editor of News has the following comments about Trump, US Visa, Steve Bannon and Neo-Nazi Supporters

Every system of immigration control will have some level of abuse.   Trump and his supporters intentionally downplay the benefits of skilled immigration and exaggerate problems in the L-1 and H-1B visa system.  Currently the system of US immigration control allows USCIS to look at and prevent abuses in the system.  Is there really any need to add yet another layer of bureaucracy to the US visa system we wonder?

There is continuing concern about undue influence from extremists amongst the Trump team.  Donald Trump’s much criticised chief strategist and Senior Counsellor Steve Bannon was the former Director of Breitbart News.  While director of far right Breitbart News the website referred to prominent American Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer as a leading “intellectual” of the alt-right movement.   At the recent annual conference of Richard Spencer’s neo-Nazi National Policy Institute, Mr Spencer as well as making numerous racist and anti-semitic remarks had the following to say:

“Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”

This was followed by “sieg heil” and various Nazi salutes from the audience.

About seventy years after the end of the Second World War and the collapse of Nazi Germany American Neo Nazis would appear to be on the ascendant.  Donald Trump was elected partly thanks to the “alt right” which is surely as many have commented “Neo-Nazis in suit and ties”.  It is worrying that some of these people think that they have some influence over US immigration policy.

Trump targets H-1B visas in particular

Trump has targeted the H-1B visa programme in particular, describing it as a ‘threat to the American worker.’ In recent years, the H-1B visa programme has been blamed for a number of high profile job losses among American workers amidst claims that companies recruit cheaper foreign labour to replace them.  Some would say that this ignores the large number of jobs created by companies bringing in foreign workers from abroad.

Reports of American workers being fired and forced to train their replacements or face bad references or loss of severance packages, have been rife across mainstream media. However, pro-immigrant groups could be forgiven for labelling Trump a hypocrite.

It’s well documented that Trump recruits thousands of foreign workers on H-2B visas at his Mar-a-Lago club, Trump Tower facilities and numerous other businesses that he owns. In an interview with the Hindustan Times in October, Trump said that he ‘understands the need for skilled workers and has utilised visa programmes himself.’

However, Trump went onto say: “At the same time we have to take care of American jobs and I have always said America first at all levels.”

Back in December 2015, Trump told the far right Breitbart News: “If I am president, I will not issue any H-1B visas to companies that replace American workers and my Department of Justice will pursue action against them.”

The comments made to Breitbart News came following revelations that Disneyland Orlando had replaced 250 American workers by bringing in personnel from India on H-1B visas via outsourcing giants HCL and Cognizant.

Meanwhile, Nasscom president R Chandrashekhar, warned Trump that ‘blind patriotism’ wouldn't help Trump’s vision of creating more jobs for US workers. In fact, it would have the opposite effect.

He said: “Trump is pro-business in his basic approach and as a businessman he will recognise that the only way you can create jobs in the US is for US corporates to be economically competitive. We hope Trump will understand that blind protectionism is not something that will create jobs, on the contrary it will lead to loss of jobs.”

Disneyland Orlando investigated about H-1B Visas

The US Labor Department launched an investigation into the displacement of workers at Disneyland Orlando, as well as the loss of American jobs at a Californian utility company where a number of Indian workers were also recruited. Trump has threated similar investigations once he assumes office.

As a close and trusted adviser to Trump, anti-immigration Attorney General Jeff Sessions is also pushing for further restrictions to be imposed on exploited visa programmes, especially the H-1B. When serving as a Senator, Sessions introduced a Bill with a view to making it ‘prohibitively expensive’ for American employers to recruit foreign workers via certain visa schemes.

Sessions also co-sponsored legislation with a view to reducing the annual cap on H-1B visas from 85,000 (including the 20,000 issued to overseas nationals already residing in the US as students) to 50,000.

H-1B and L-1 visa fees increase mainly affected Indians

In December 2015, the US moved to increase fees for the H-1B and L-1 visas to $4,000 and $4,500 respectively – up from $2,000 and $2,500, a move which provoked a backlash from Indian IT companies who accused the US of targeting them specifically.

In May 2016, India and the US held ‘secret talks’ at World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss the fees. However, the two countries failed to come to a resolution.

With Trump elected as president, it’s likely that fees applied to these visa programmes will be increased further. However, as reported by previously, despite the initial fee increases last December, India still receives the highest number of H-1B and L-1 visas.

Nevertheless, there is huge bipartisan support for introducing measures that will stop the displacement of American workers as a result of recruiting H-1B visa holders.

Democratic Senator, Dick Durbin, echoed Sessions’ sentiments that writing to the departments of Justice, Labor and Homeland Security in 2015 was the correct move in terms of combating H-1B visa abuse and similar investigations are likely to be a feature of the Trump administration.

Canadian news

Posted at 13 January 2017 07:01 (UTC)

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program Updates


January 12, 2017


The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) has fulfilled its 2016 federal nomination allocation.

The OINP will continue to process applications.  Any additional nominations will go towards Ontario’s 2017 allocation.

The OINP will continue to introduce online application systems in 2017 to make it easier for clients to apply and improve processing times.

Please monitor this OINP update webpage for news, announcements and new developments in the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program

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