The year 2011 has been one of many ups and downs for the US immigration. There were many notable changes that were brought about during the year 2011 and many were hot topics for debates all over the world. USCIS is the prime authority that caters to the immigration needs of the people. It has also witnessed remarkable changes over the past year in the way of new policy changes and increased facilities for applicants.
New US immigration acts/laws and policies
Help Haiti Act of 2010
This was successfully implemented in the beginning of the year 2011 by the USCIS to help the nationals who were affected by the natural disaster. As per the newly enacted law, USCIS was conferred with the authority to grant the status of permanent residence to certain categories of orphaned children who were paroled into the US.
Protection for Victims of Human trafficking
This allowed non-immigrant visa holders, who became victims of human trafficking, in the category of A-3 and G-5 visas to retain their status and work legally in the US. This was really helpful as the battered victims could continue to work even as their cases against their employers were still pending.
Some other changes are
Changes in US immigration Forms
Single card for both employment and travel authorization – Form I-485
Certain category of applicants who are filing in to adjust status or become permanent residents will be issued with a single card that will resemble an EAD but have an additional text – ‘serves as I-512 Advance Parole’
Centralized filing of Form I-130
From August, all the applicants who are submitting this form were requested to do so only at the USCIS lockbox facility at Chicago. This was brought about to increase the efficiency of the filing process and flexibility of the USCIS to manage its workload.
Other changes were
Extensions of existing privileges
Apart from the above mentioned, yet other changes in the US immigration system was the addition of certain countries to the eligible list for H-2A and H-2B programs, reaching the H-1B cap for 2011 and closing of its Vietnam office. Hope the ensuing year i.e the year 2012 is favorable for the US immigration and the people.