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The USCIS National Stakeholder Meeting on September 30 transcript is available now. Here’s the question about I-140′s that we were most interested in.

Question: In TSC and NSC, there is dramatic delay for last July/August concurrently filed I-140. At the same time, TSC quickly approved many non-concurrently filed I-140 with application mailing dates later than last August and even in 2008. So far, the average waiting time for concurrent filers > 300 days and for non-concurrent is around 80 days, according to some voluntary tracking data. Is that delay caused by the Plus Pilot program installed in TSC in Feb 2008, under which the entire I-140 and I-485 package is reviewed by one officer? If so, does that mean I-140s won’t be processed and approved until the petitioner’s Priority Date becomes Current? A delay of processing, and then denial, in I-140 adjudication could cause serious could cause serious problems for I-485 portability.

Response: Visa availability has been the primary focus at the Texas Service Center and the Nebraska Service Center for concurrent filings and stand alone I-485s. In recent weeks, we have identified I-140 petitions that have been held up because of visas are not available. These filings are placed in the workflow by I-140 processing date within the range of those that were processed after having been filed independent of an adjustment application. The instance of delayed I-140 adjudication should decrease significantly. Petitions that are outside of the posted processing dates can be raised to our attention through the 1 800 customer service number.

First of all, USCIS never really addressed the question. Just gave a diplomatic “politiician” answer to this question, as always. So, USCIS, WHY is there such discrepancy between NSC and TSC when it comes to processing I-140? WHY are concurrent versus non-concurrent petitions being treated differently? And, WHY are petitions being processed based on priority date? And, WHY is there no movement in the processing dates? USCIS has no answer to all that.

I am bit worried about the In recent weeks….The instance of delayed I-140 adjudication should decrease significantly part. Well, how recent? Because I haven’t seen a thing change as far as processing I-140′s is concerned. On the positive side, at least they made it clear that anyone whose petitions fall within the posted processing dates can call the 1-800 number. I might be reading in this response too much, but it sounds to me like a quick cover-up response that wasn’t even thought through.

Question: The Ombudsman 2008 Annual Report mentioned that USCIS was going to reinstitute Premium Processing for certain I-140 petitions. Has that happened yet? What additional steps could USCIS take to resume Premium Processing of I-140 for all petitioners by relaxing the restrictions on eligibility?

Response: Premium processing for those I-140 petitions meeting the below criteria began on June 16, 2008:

  • Are currently in H-1B nonimmigrant status;
  • Will reach the end of their 6th year of their H-1B nonimmigrant stay in 60 days;
  • Are only eligible for a further H-1B extension under AC21 §104(c)2 upon approval of their Form I-140 petition; and

Are ineligible to extend their H-1B status under AC21 §106(a)3.
USCIS expects that adding other classifications to Premium Processing Service at this time would exceed USCIS’ capacity to provide timely Premium Process Service. USCIS will continue to evaluate whether it is able to process other groups of cases beyond this limited classification of petitions and will provide notification of any further availability of Premium Processing Service for Form I-140.

If you know how to read into USCIS talk, you know what this soup for you baby..premium processing is not happening in the near future…

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