On November 2nd, 2009, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final regulation removing HIV from the list of communicable diseases of public health significance. The effective date of this final regulation is January 4, 2010. After the regulation becomes effective, HIV will no longer be a ground of inadmissibility to the United States. Additionally, the HIV test will be removed from the routine medical examination required for lawful permanent resident status. The USCIS has issued a memorandum stating that any application for permanent resident status which would be denied based solely upon an applicant’s HIV status should be held in abeyance until the implementation of the final regulations. However, since the HIV test will remain part of the medical examination procedure for permanent resident status until January 4, 2010, applicants with HIV may want to hold off filing for adjustment of status until the new rule becomes effective. However, even after the new rule becomes effective, all applicants (including those with HIV) will have to prove that they are not likely to become a public charge. USCIS is permitted to look at many factors when determining whether a person will become a public charge, including a person’s health.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced updates on the status of the FY 2010 H-1B Quota. As of November 13, 2009, approximately 55,600 H-1B cap-subject petitions had been filed. USCIS has approved sufficient H-1B petitions for aliens with advanced degrees to meet the exemption of 20,000 from the fiscal year 2010 cap. Any H-1B petitions filed on behalf of an alien with an advanced degree will now count toward the general H-1B cap of 65,000. USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.