Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) allows nationals of designated countries to remain and work legally in the United States until they can safely return home. Countries are designated for TPS when a temporary negative condition occurs, including an environmental disaster. Due to the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010, Haiti has been designated for TPS for an 18-month period. In order to qualify for this status, among other criteria, applicants must prove that they have continuously resided in the U.S. since January 12, 2010 and have been physically present since January 21, 2010.
Currently there is a statutory cap of 65,000 H-1B visas per year. Exempt from this cap are 20,000 applicants with advanced degrees from the United States. On December 21, 2009, the USCIS received enough H-1B visa applications to meet the statutory cap for the 2010 fiscal year. The USCIS has also received sufficient applications for the advance degree exemption. H-1B visa petitions will be accepted for the 2011 fiscal year on April 1, 2010 for an October 1, 2010 start date.
H-1B visa applicants that will be performing labor or services limited to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) are exempt from the numerical limitations for H-1B visa classification. The exemption came into affect with the implementation of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 on November 28, 2009. The exemption lasts until December 31, 2014.