The Department of State announced that the United States and Japan have established a new J-1 Exchange Program – the Japanese Specialist Program. The new program specifically facilitates the exchange of Japanese language and culture specialists to observe U.S. educational methods and to share their knowledge of Japanese educational methods with U.S. colleagues.

The program

Chinese students make up the majority of international students in the United States. However, the number of Chinese students in U.S. universities has dropped from a high of 370,000 in 2019 to about 290,000 today.

Part of the drop has been attributed to the Trump Administration’s 2020 executive order suspending entry of certain students and

Premium processing will become more expensive starting on February 26, 2024. According to USCIS, it is raising the fees to adjust for inflation.

The newly generated income, estimated to be approximately $185 million, will be used to respond to adjudication demands and reduce processing times throughout the agency.

USCIS has been rolling out premium

On October 30, 2023, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order regarding the “Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence.” The Executive Order (EO) directs departments and agencies throughout the government, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State (DOS), to develop plans and policies to establish

USCIS has issued new policy guidance explaining how it determines whether a beneficiary has met the two-year home residence requirement applicable to nonimmigrant exchange visitors in J status.

Individuals in J status come to the United States to participate in an approved program for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research

By September 30, 2023, Congress will again have to fund the government. Despite ongoing efforts by the administration and Congress, indications are that a shutdown may occur at the beginning of the fiscal year, on October 1. Should a shutdown occur, it will affect a number of immigration- and visa-related agencies and processes.

USCIS

Because

As the United States carries out projects funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act, the manufacturing industry must prepare to face staffing challenges in meeting future demand. Immigration can help address the demand. Please see our full article here.

As part of the Biden Administration’s initiative to retain high-skilled foreign nationals in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it is adding eight new fields as qualifying fields of study for STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) Optional Practical Training (OPT).

STEM OPT is a 24-month extension of Optional Practical Training

The Department of State has delayed the effective date of the increase in consular fees from May 30, 2023, to June 17, 2023 (to provide a 60-day delay after the final rule was received by Congress).

The most relevant fee increases remain:

Visa TypeCurrent FeeRevised Fee
Non-petition-based nonimmigrant visas: B/1-B/2, F, M

On May 30, 2023, fees for nonimmigrant visas at all consulates abroad will increase. The increase can be avoided if the visa fee is paid on or after October 1, 2022, and before May 30, 2023, and an interview is scheduled within 365 days of payment. The interview need not take place during the 365