IMMIGRATION ALERT: Recent News from DOS, DOJ, and INS
Department of State: * Nationals of the twenty-six countries subject to additional DOS consular scrutiny are experiencing lengthy delays in the processing of nonimmigrant visa applications. For example, the U.S. Consulate in Paris is unable to specify how long its additional administrative processing will take for these cases, and the previously indicated time frame of 30 days is no longer applicable. Some consular posts are experiencing delays of greater than two months in the processing of nonimmigrant visas to foreign nationals from a country subject to additional scrutiny. * Effective July 25, 2002, the new Form DS-158, Contact Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant, is required of all F (academic students), M (vocational students) and J (exchange visitors) visa applicants. * DOS recently initiated an electronic system that tracks the status of Section 212(e) J-1 visa waiver cases. You may access the new system on the DOS website at www.travel.state.gov/jvw.html. Department of Justice/Immigration and Naturalization Service: * INS is expected to publish today a long-awaited interim regulation allowing concurrent filing of I-140 immigrant visa petitions and I-485 adjustment of status applications. When published, the interim rule will amend the INS regulations by allowing for concurrent filing when an immigrant visa is immediately available. Provisions of the interim rule also permit a pending employment-based I-140 immigrant visa petition to be joined by an I-485 application to adjust status to permanent residence (along with applications for employment authorization and advance parole). This measure should save significant time in the lengthy process of obtaining permanent residence status (green card). * DOJ recently announced an extension of El Salvador’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for a 12 month period ending September 9, 2003, and of Montserrat’s TPS designation for a 12 month period ending August 27, 2003. Other Agency News: * Treasury Department recently announced proposed regulations to require financial institutions to obtain identification from customers opening new accounts. The proposed regulations would require “non-U.S. persons” to verify their identity by providing an identification number from a government-issued document. * Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rescinds its earlier guidance on remedies for undocumented workers in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, 122 S. Ct. 1275 (2002). However, the EEOC indicates that it will not inquire into a worker’s immigration status on its own initiative. * Social Security Administration (SSA) is presently soliciting comments on its proposed Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS) that will enable an employer to verify its employee’s name and social security number (SSN) against SSA records prior to the employer’s submission of wage and tax data to the SSA on Form W-2. The objective is to lower the incidence of amended reporting that is required to correct SSN “mismatches.” SSA plans to conduct a pilot program with a limited number of test employers followed by national implementation. The comment period ends in mid-August.
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