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  • Article: THE NEW VISA CHARTS – A PRIMER IN INTERPRETING THEM, HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE, USE IN FORECASTING DEMAND, HOW THE NEW SYSTEM WILL WORK, AND THEIR ADDITIONAL BENEFITS TO ALL. - Part 2 of 5. By Alan Lee, Esq.

    THE NEW VISA CHARTS – A PRIMER IN INTERPRETING THEM, HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE, USE IN FORECASTING DEMAND, HOW THE NEW SYSTEM WILL WORK, AND THEIR ADDITIONAL BENEFITS TO ALL. - Part 2 of 5.

    by


    Part 2 - Historical perspective

    The Visa Office has historically been half blind in assessing visa demand, operating on incomplete data and educated guesswork as to how many people will be immigrating in the different categories. As a result, visa movements in categories have up to now oscillated wildly with startling advances and earth shattering retrogressions in available dates and even gone to “unavailable”, the death knell for those seeking to file an I-485 or have the I-485 or immigrant visa application finally approved. In the meantime, available immigrant visas in the hundreds of thousands have been squandered over the years at the end of government fiscal years because of inability to accurately assess visa demand. Last year, news sources such as Politico and The Wall Street Journal reported that 200,000 visas could be recaptured and when asked by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Charlie Oppenheim, the Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U. S. Department of State, stated that there were approximately 220,000 family and employment based visas that had gone unused, most of which were attributable to the period between 1992 and 1997. Those immigrant visas are likely forever lost unless a law is passed by Congress to recapture them in a future year. (There is a movement at present to recapture visa numbers administratively, but such action is legally controversial). Given the level of partisanship in Washington today, agreement on a recapture bill is not expected in the near future. The failings described above are not to be attributed to any faults of the Visa Office or Mr. Oppenheim, who have been forced to operate under the present system.

    Relief has only been made possible by President Obama’s November 20, 2014, Immigration Accountability Executive Actions, and the White House briefing on that date outlined the actions to be taken including visa modernization with a view to making optimal use of the numbers of visas available under law and to allow those individuals caught in the quota backlogs to file in advance for adjustment of status. These thoughts were further brought out in the White House paper, “Modernizing & Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st Century” in July 2015 in its recommendation on updating the monthly visa bulletin:

    Later this year, State, in consultation with DHS, will revise the monthly Visa Bulletin to better estimate immigrant visa availability for prospective applicants, providing needed predictability to nonimmigrant workers seeking permanent residency. The revisions will help ensure that the maximum number of available visas is issued every year, while also minimizing the potential for visa retrogression. These changes will further allow more individuals seeking LPR status to work, change jobs, and accept promotions. By increasing efficiency in visa issuance, individuals and their families who are already on the path to become LPR’s will have increased security that they can stay in the United States, set down roots, and more confidently seek out opportunities to build lives in our country.

    (Part 3 will follow tomorrow and focus on the use of the new charts in forecasting visa demamd.)

    Part 1 can be found here.

    Reprinted with permission.


    About The Author

    Alan Lee, Esq. the author is an exclusive practitioner of immigration law based in New York City with an AV preeminent rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory for 20+ years, registered in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, on the New York Super Lawyers list (2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-2015), and recognized as a New York Area Top Rated Lawyer. He has written extensively on immigration over the past years for Interpreter Releases, Immigration Daily, and the ethnic newspapers, World Journal, Sing Tao, Epoch Times, Pakistan Calling, Muhasba and OCS; testified as an expert on immigration in civil court proceedings; and is a regular contributor to Martindale-Hubbell's Ask-a-Lawyer program. His article, "The Bush Temporary Worker Proposal and Comparative Pending Legislation: an Analysis" was Interpreter Releases' cover display article at the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in 2004; his 2004 case in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Firstland International v. INS, successfully challenged Legacy INS' policy of over 40 years of revoking approved immigrant visa petitions under a nebulous standard of proof, although its central holding that the government had to notify approved immigrant petition holders of the revocation prior to the their departure to the U. S. for the petition to be able to be revoked was short-lived as it was specifically targeted in the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 (which in response changed the language of the revocation statute itself). Yet Firstland lives on as precedent that the government must comply with nondiscretionary duties established in law, and such failure is reviewable in federal courts. His 2015 case, Matter of Leacheng International, Inc., with the Administrative Appeals Office of USCIS (AAO) set nation-wide standards on the definition of "doing business" for multinational executives and managers to gain immigration benefits.


    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

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