Helping clients navigate immigration issues and the complex legal process.

www.pineslaw.com

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January 2024 Update


WELCOME TO PINES LAW GROUP!


  • New Rules for 2025 H1B Visa Lottery - What to Know
  • State Dept. to Process Domestic Visa Renewals for First Time in Nearly 20 Years
  • USCIS Fee Increases Could Be Finalized in Coming Weeks



Welcome to our new and expanded immigration law firm. We are now the Pines Law Group which means, more than ever, we are committed to providing the best possible legal advice in all areas of immigration law. We hope to continue to serve our clients making their immigration goals realities with our experienced team.


And we are focusing this newsletter on the up and coming 2025 H-1B visa lottery.

If you are an employer in need of prospective foreign employees, now is the time to plan because the

2025 H-1B visa lottery is about to begin. You should prepare to be ready as soon as the registration period begins on March 1. This year new regulations are coming into play that will limit multiple applications by same parties (petitioner employer/beneficiary). This is meant to reduce the "fraud and abuse" that has happened in the past, ensuring that each beneficiary has an equal chance of selection. This means applicants will have a higher opportunity to get a visa slot. We have a useful article below.


Plus, the State Department will be doing something at the end of this month that they haven't done for nearly two decades. They've set up a pilot program for H-1B domestic visa renewals. There are specific requirements to be eligible for the program. Why is that important? We have the information from the USCIS below.


It is clear that 2024 could well be a pivotal year when it comes to immigrants and the rules for immigration. A bipartisan group of Senators appear to be negotiating some version of immigration reform. We have heard this so many times before, that we will wait for more conclusive details.

In the meantime, another hike in immigration filing fees is coming in the near future. Below is a preview of what is coming in term of filing fee increases.


Next seminars: 

January 29, 2024 at 9:30am, Miami Springs. Foreign Investment for Immigration Purposes. 

To register: click here.

January 31, 2024 at 9:30am, Coral Gables. Visas para Inversionistas Extranjeros (en español). To register, click here.

If you should need help with immigration issues, upcoming immigration benefits and/or business-related visas, our firm can be of service.



En Español:

Bienvenido a nuestro nuevo y ampliado bufete de abogados de inmigración. Ahora somos Pines Law Group, lo que significa que más que nunca, estamos comprometidos a brindar el mejor asesoramiento legal posible en todas las áreas de la ley de inmigración. Esperamos continuar sirviendo a nuestros clientes haciendo realidad sus objetivos de inmigración con nuestro equipo con amplia experiencia.

 

Y estamos enfocando este boletín en la próxima lotería de visas H-1B del 2025.

Si usted es un empleador que necesita posibles empleados extranjeros, ahora es el momento de planificar porque la lotería de visas H-1B 2025 está a punto de comenzar. Debes prepararte para estar listo tan pronto como comience el período de registro este próximo 1 de marzo. Este año entran en juego nuevas regulaciones que limitarán las solicitudes múltiples por parte de las mismas partes (peticionario, empleador/beneficiario). Con ello se pretende reducir el "fraude y el abuso" que se ha producido en el pasado, garantizando que cada beneficiario tenga las mismas posibilidades de selección. Esto significa que los solicitantes tendrán una mayor oportunidad de obtener una oportunidad para la visa. Tenemos un artículo útil a continuación.

 

Además, el Departamento de Estado hará algo a finales de este mes que no ha hecho en casi dos décadas. Han establecido un programa piloto para las renovaciones de visas H-1B dentro de EE.UU. Existen requisitos específicos para ser elegible para el programa. ¿Por qué es importante? Tenemos la información del USCIS a continuación.

 

Está claro que 2024 podría ser un año crucial en lo que respecta a los inmigrantes y las reglas para la inmigración. Un grupo bipartidista de senadores parece estar negociando alguna versión de la reforma migratoria. Hemos escuchado esto tantas veces antes que esperaremos detalles más concluyentes. Mientras tanto, se avecina otro aumento en las tarifas de registro de solicitudes de inmigración en un futuro cercano. Aquí debajo lo que se anticipa en términos de aumentos en las tarifas de registro.

 

Mis próximo seminario:

January 29, 2024 at 9:30am, Miami Springs. Foreign Investment for Immigration Purposes. 

To register: click here.

January 31, 2024 at 9:30am, Coral Gables. Visas para Inversionistas Extranjeros (en español). To register, click here.


Si necesita ayuda con asuntos de inmigración y / o visas relacionadas con negocios, nuestra firma lo puede asistir. 

New Rules for 2025 H1B Visa Lottery - What to Know

The 2025 H-1B visa lottery is about to begin, and now is the time to start preparing. This year new regulations are coming into play that will limit the number of applications submitted by the same parties (petitioner employer/beneficiary). This means applicants will have a more accurate opportunity to get a slot. 


The proposed changes are expected to reduce “fraud and abuse” and ensure that each beneficiary has an equal chance of selection. In previous years, beneficiaries who had multiple registrations from different employers had an increased chance of selection. The proposed new selection process will be based on each unique beneficiary identified in the entire registration pool as opposed to each registration.

For more on the new rules, click here.

State Department to Process Domestic Visa Renewals for First Time in Nearly 20 years

For the first time in nearly two decades, the Department of State will process domestic visa renewals for certain H-1B visa applicants as part of a pilot program.


Beginning the week of January 29, 2024, the Department will launch this voluntary program for approximately 20,000 eligible participants who meet the requirements listed in the Federal Register.


There are a number of requirements so be sure to see if you're eligible.

For example,

  • Seek to renew an H-1B nonimmigrant visa only (no other visa classifications, including H-4 visas for dependent spouses and children, will be processed through this pilot program);
  • Prior H-1B visa that is being renewed was issued by U.S. Mission Canada with between January 1, 2020 - April 1, 2023; or by U.S. Mission India, issuanced between February 1, 2021 - September 30, 2021; 
  • Are not subject to a nonimmigrant visa issuance fee (commonly referred to as a “reciprocity fee”);
  • Are eligible for a waiver of the in-person interview requirement;
  • Have submitted ten fingerprints to the Department in connection with a previous visa application;


To read full story, click here.

USCIS Fee Increases Could Be Finalized in Coming Weeks

As a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, we want to provide you with this update and something we are keeping an eye on. We will keep you informed as this new increase takes effect.


The USCIS Final Fee Rule could be published as a final rule within the next few weeks. The White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) received the final rule containing the new fees on Monday, January 8, 2024. The Administration may prioritize finalizing this rule as it has been eight years since the last fee increase. USCIS has said a significant increase in immigration fees is necessary to more fully recover operating costs and better manage its workload. Based on past fee rules, once it is published in the Federal Register, it will likely take effect at least 60 days later.


As background, on January 4, 2023, USCIS issued a proposed rule on adjusting the fee schedule (https://www.aila.org/library/uscis-proposed-rule-adjusting-fee-schedule), which included increasing application fees by a 40% overall weighted average increase.


When the proposed rule was released, AILA and the American Immigration Council submitted a joint comment (https://www.aila.org/library/comment-on-uscis-proposal-to-raise-filing-fees) highlighting that employers would be required to pay more than:

  •  70% more for H-1B petitions

  •  129% more for O-1 petitions

  •  201% more for L-1 petitions

  •  a $600 surcharge for Forms 1-129 and I-140

  •  Over 2,000% more for the H-1B electronic registration system fee

  •  130% more for AOS, AP and EAD applications when filed together.

Contact your legislators

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R - D1) 

202-225-4136

Rep. Neal Dunn (R - D2)

202-225-5235

Rep. Kat Cammack(R - D3)

202-225-5744

Rep. John Rutherford (R - D4)

202-225-2501

Rep. Al Lawson (D - D5)

202-225-0123

Rep. Michael Waltz (R - Dist. 6)

202-225-2706

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D - D7)

202-225-4035

Rep. Bill Posey (R - D8)

202-225-3671

Rep. Darren Soto (D - D9)

202-225-9889

Rep. Val Demings (D - D10)

202-225-2176

Rep. Daniel Webster (R -D11)

202-225-1002

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R - D12)

202-225-5755

Rep. Charlie Crist (D - D13)

202-225-5961

Rep. Kathy Castor (D - D14)

202-225-3376

Rep. Scott C. Franklin(R - D15)

202-225-1252

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R - D16)

202-225-5015

Rep. Gregory Steube (R - D17)

202-225-5792

Rep. Brian Mast (R - D18)

202-225-3026

Rep. Byron Donalds (R - D19)

202-225-2536

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D - D20)

202-225-1313

Rep. Lois Frankel (D - D21)

202-225-9890

Rep. Ted Deutch (D - D22)

202-225-3001

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D - D23) 

202-225-7931

Rep. Frederika Wilson (D - D24)

202-225-4506

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R - D25)

202-225-4211

Rep. Carlos Gimenez(R - D26)

202-225-2778

Rep. Maria Salazar (D -D27) 

202-225-3931

__________________ 

Sen. Rick Scott (R) 

202-224-5274

 

Sen. Marco Rubio (R) 

202-224-3041

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Elizabeth C. Pines

epines@pineslaw.com

www.pineslaw.com
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