In ancient legend, Pegasus is the “mythical creature who sprang from the blood of Medusa’s neck.” In famed contemporary artist Damien Hirst’s version, Pegasus is a flying horse encrusted completely with crystals residing in the Brasserie of Light, the Martin Brudnizki-designed restaurant in the British department store Selfridges. The sculpture, standing at twenty-four feet with a thirty-foot wingspan, is Hirst’s largest artwork in London, but isn’t the first time he has used this mythical creature in his work. Businessman Richard Caring says of his latest restaurant in Vogue UK: "The Brasserie of Light is a new look spectacle where the input of Damien Hirst, Martin Brudnizki and the absolute strength of Selfridges; this mix has resulted in what I believe to be something very beautiful. It is about light, make-believe and dreams." Hirst explains: “I love the myth of the Pegasus and this is such an exciting project and I love the scale of it. I hope it’s going to look like something beautiful from another world.”
Today, USCIS officially announced April 1, 2019 as the start date of FY 2020 H-1B cap season. USCIS also explained changes to the H-1B application process itself, including how premium processing will work, the agency’s new H-1B data hub, and an update to the order in which cap cases are selected.
Rather than fully suspending the premium processing requests, the agency has decided to offer it in two phases: first to FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status, and then secondly to all other FY 2020 cap-subject petitions. Premium processing for the first phase will commence on May 20, 2019.
Applicants wishing to use premium processing for their H-1B petitions requesting a change of status may concurrently file Form I-907 with the H-1B petition on April 1. These petitions will not be processed by USCIS until after all data entry on cap cases has been completed, around May 20, 2019. Petitioners may also convert cases filed as a change of status and picked in the H-1B lottery to premium processing after May 20, 2019 if they prefer. The rest of the FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions will likely be able to upgrade to premium processing in June 2019.
H-1B Data Hub
The new H-1B Employer Data Hub — available on April 1st — will allow the public to search for H-1B petitioners by fiscal year, NAICS industry code, company, name, city, state, or zip code. The hub is meant to allow members of the public to calculate approval and denial rates as well as review which employers are using the H-1B program, therefore increasing transparency between the agency and the public.
As previously noted, the Department of Homeland Security has reversed the order in which USCIS will select petitions. The purpose of the reversal is to increase the chances that more advanced degree H-1B petitions will be selected in any lottery.
Director L. Francis Cissna, of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), recently informed senior staff members that the international division of USCIS operating in more than twenty countries will likely shut down by the end of the year, cutting a key support system for those applying overseas to relocate to the United States. The move to shut down is allegedly intended to provide more resources to handle the lengthy backlog in asylum applications domestically, but it could come at the expense of legal migration.Read More
Last night we were able to get a preview of the Vessel, the centerpiece of the newly-opened Hudson Yards. The largest private real estate development in American history, Hudson Yards consists of a vast network of residences, office space, shops, restaurants, and Instagram-worthy immersive art exhibits. The Vessel is a piece of interactive artwork designed by Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio to be a focal point where visitors can “enjoy new perspectives of the city and one another from different heights, angles and vantage points.” Its spiral staircase is comprised of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs—almost 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings—which all translate to a nearly one mile vertical climb. Heatherwick says: “We tried to see how we could make something that feels particular and doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.” It is certainly unique, and after that climb, you will definitely need a snack! Hudson Yards officially opens today and visitors will need tickets to climb the Vessel.
US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the agency will resume premium processing for all H-1B petitions effective today, Tuesday, March 12. This will be welcome news to many after USICS expanded the premium processing suspension to all H-1B petitions in September 2018. In February 2019, the agency resumed premium processing only for H-1B petitions filed on or before December 21, 2018.Read More
US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) reportedly spends $300 million per year on paper and their alleged mismanagement of paper-based applications as well as clerical errors in processing paper-based evidence has caused serious consequences for certain immigrants. The agency has repeatedly failed to come up with a viable electronic-based filing system, which ultimately might improve processing efficiency and times, despite spending over a billion dollars over a thirteen-year time period.Read More
New York City has only five statues honoring female historical figures. (There are 145 male historical statues.) The five statues include Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, and the American author Gertrude Stein, pictured above at Bryant Park. Stein’s placement near the New York Public Library reflects her significant literary contributions, including plays, librettos, film scripts, and novels, as well as her influence on American writers. But Stein (and the others) won’t be alone for too much longer. This week during the start of Women’s History Month, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray announced four more permanent monuments (along with the previously announced statue of Representative Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress) that will honor "the trailblazing women who have helped shape New York City." The statues will depict Billie Holiday, the iconic singer; Elizabeth Jennings Graham, who fought racial segregation in 19th century New York City; Dr. Helen Rodríguez Trías, a leader in pediatrics and public health; and Katherine Walker, one of the first female light house keepers who is credited with saving at least fifty people. "We cannot tell the story of New York City without recognizing the invaluable contributions of the women who helped build and shape it," McCray told reporters at a press conference. “In honoring these four trailblazers today, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to see powerful women who made history receive the recognition they deserve."