14 August 2020

H-1B 2nd Lottery Conducted Allowing Filings to Begin Monday August 17th

On Friday August 14th, attorneys and employers were surprised to find emails from their myUSCIS account notifying them that action had been taken on their case. Upon logging in, it became clear that USCIS performed a second H-1B lottery for those H-1B registrations that were submitted, but not previously selected.  We began hearing rumors of a second lottery earlier this week via social media, but those rumors were never corroborated.  This second lottery is unprecedented and is likely due to the fact that many companies did not file H-1B petitions for previously selected registrations as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employers will have between August 17, 2020 and November 16, 2020 to file an H-1B petition based on the selected registration. If your H-1B registration was selected in the second lottery, contact your attorney immediately for instructions on how to move forward.

Krystal Alanis

713-457-5703

krystal@rnlawgroup.com

4 August 2020

Join Me for a Free Webinar: “How to Avoid I-9 Fines Like a Pro”

Join our free webinar “How to Avoid I-9 Fines Like a Pro” on Wednesday, August 26th, 2020 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm CST. Register here! https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8397197209336468235

All employers are required to complete Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of hired workers. Mistakes on this seemingly simple 2-page form can lead to hefty civil fines if an employer is hit with an I-9 audit by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

ICE has quadrupled the number of I-9 audits issued between 2017 and 2019. Employer compliance is key to avoid I-9 civil fines for substantive paperwork violations, which range from $234 to $2,332 per violation. Fines for knowingly hiring or continuing to employ unauthorized workers range from $583 to $4,667 for first time offenses.

Our webinar will provide your business with essential information to avoid I-9 fines like a pro!

Specifically, this webinar will include: Continue reading

23 July 2020

Green Card and EAD Production Delays and How to Contact the Ombudsman’s Office for Assistance

In June 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reduced its capacity to print secure documents, including Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) Cards, aka Green Cards, and Employment Authorization Documents (EAD). The printing delay came after USCIS ended a contract with an outside company responsible for printing these cards. According to USCIS, it intended to hire federal employees to replace the contractors, but its financial situation resulted in a hiring freeze that has impacted the printing of these secure cards. Continue reading

6 July 2020

ICE Modifies Temporary Exemptions for F-1 and M-1 Students Taking Online Courses During the Fall 2020 Semester

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)  previously implemented a temporary exemption regarding online courses for the spring and summer semesters in order to ease the online class restrictions for those in the United States on a student visa. This policy permitted F-1 students to take more online courses than normally permitted by federal regulation to maintain their non-immigrant status during the COVID-19 pandemic because many schools moved to online courses.

SEVP has now announced modifications to these temporary exemptions for F-1 and M-1 students who are taking online classes due to the pandemic for the fall 2020 semester. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will publish the procedures and responsibilities in the Federal Register as a Temporary Final Rule.

The modified temporary exemptions for the fall 2020 semester will now include the following: Continue reading

22 June 2020

President Trump Issues Executive Order Expanding Entry Restrictions to Include H-1B Workers Through 2020

On Monday June 22, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order suspending entry into the United States of certain temporary foreign workers. The suspension is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on June 24, 2020 and will expire on December 31, 2020 (and may be continued as necessary).

Non-Immigrant Visa Categories the Suspension Applies To:  Continue reading

22 January 2020

Join Me For a Free Webinar: PERM Labor Certification – Navigating the Crucial First Step of the Green Card Process

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. invites you to join our Webinar: “PERM Labor Certification – Navigating the Crucial First Step of the Green Card Process” on Wednesday, February 12th, 2020 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm CST. Sign up here today! 

PERM Labor Certification is often the first of three steps to the employment based green card process. Properly navigating this first step with your immigration attorney is crucial to a successful green card process for your employees.

For employers seeking to sponsor an employee for permanent residence in the United States, this webinar will provide insight into the maze of the PERM Labor Certification process. Specifically, this webinar will include:

• The importance of properly drafting the PERM job description
• Best practices for setting employer minimum education, experience, and special experience/skill requirements for the sponsored position
• How to properly document employee qualifications
• An overview of PERM recruitment requirements
• A discussion on Department of Labor PERM Audit Triggers
• A look at DOL processing times and what that means for certain employees on temporary work visas
• Also included: Difference between the EB-2 and EB-3 preference category and what that means for your employee, and Ability to Pay analysis

Speakers:
Krystal Alanis:  Partner & PERM Practice Manager
Amanda Cardwell: Associate Attorney
Camille Joson: Associate Attorney

This Webinar is made available by Reddy & Neumann, P.C. for educational purposes only. Information provided in this Webinar should not be construed as legal advice for your specific situation nor does it constitute an engagement with Krystal Alanis, Amanda Cardwell, Camille Joson, or Reddy & Neumann, P.C. or establish an attorney-client relationship. For specific advice on your situation, please contact a licensed attorney.

30 September 2019

USCIS Will No Longer Accept Current Editions of These Important Forms if Postmarked on or After October 15, 2019

As a result of the final rule on the public charge ground of inadmissibility, effective October 15, 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will no longer accept current editions of the following forms if postmarked on or after October 15, 2019:

The new form editions of the identified forms have been revised to reflect the final rule on Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.  Unless otherwise instructed by USCIS at a later date, expect that the submission of these form editions on or after the specified date will result in rejection or denial of the application or petition.

The major issue now is that USCIS has not yet published the final versions of these revised editions. Although USCIS has published draft versions of these new form editions, we do not know how similar the draft versions will be to the final product. We will be following this closely and updates will be provided once available.

Direct: 713-457-5703

Email: krystal@rnlawgroup.com

16 July 2019

Join Me For a FREE Webinar: “Know Your Options – Employment Based Green Card in the EB-1 and EB-2 Context”

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. invites you to join our free webinar “Know Your Options – Employment Based Green Card in the EB-1 and EB-2 Context” on Thursday, August 8th, 2019 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm CST. The webinar will be presented by me and my colleague, Amanda Cardwell. Sign up here today! 

For those seeking permanent residence in the United States based on employment, this webinar will provide insight into the different options available under the EB-1 and EB-2 immigrant visa preference categories. Specifically, this webinar will include:

A discussion of all subcategories within the EB-1 preference category for priority workers, including:
• How to qualify as an individual with Extraordinary Ability;
• How to qualify as an Outstanding Professor or Researcher; and
• How to qualify as a Multinational Manager or Executive.

A discussion of the EB-2 preference category, including:
• How to qualify as a member of the professions holding an Advanced Degree;
• How to qualify as an individual with Exceptional Ability; and
• How to qualify for the National Interest Waiver.

This Webinar is made available by Reddy & Neumann, P.C. for educational purposes only. Information provided in this Webinar should not be construed as legal advice for your specific situation nor does it constitute an engagement with Krystal Alanis, Amanda Cardwell, or Reddy & Neumann, P.C. or establish an attorney-client relationship. For specific advice on your situation, please contact a licensed attorney.

5 June 2019

OFLC Announces Electronic Filing of Prevailing Wage Requests in FLAG

On June 4, 2019, The Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) announced the roll-out of the electronic filing of Prevailing Wage Requests in the Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) system. The FLAG system is being developed to improve customer service and modernize the administration of foreign labor certification programs. FLAG is designed to replace OFLC’s current iCERT System and will serve as the new application filing and case management system for all foreign labor certification programs.

FLAG System Implementation for Form ETA-9141 – Application for Prevailing Wage Determination 

  • Beginning Monday, June 10, 2019, OFLC will accept online submissions of the Application for Prevailing Wage Determination in the FLAG System covering all visa programs, including PERM Labor Certification. As of June 10th, stakeholders will no longer be able to submit Prevailing Wage Determination applications using the iCERT System. 
  • If Prevailing Wage Determination applications were submitted through the iCERT System before 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time June 10, 2019, the OFLC’s National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) will continue to process those applications and stakeholders will still be able to access their iCERT System accounts to check the status of applications and obtain Prevailing Wage Determinations.

OFLC has provided instructional videos to help stakeholders create and manage a FLAG System account and to prepare the Prevailing Wage Determination application for submission to the NPWC. To view these instructional videos, please visit the Prevailing Wage Program page on the FLAG System at https://flag.dol.gov/. New videos will be posted Friday, June 7, 2019.

OFLC has also provided an estimated timeline for the ability to file applications electronically in FLAG for H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 programs (e.g., ETA-9035): https://flag.dol.gov/

17 May 2019

USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2020 H-1B Cap Subject Petitions

USCIS announced today that it has completed data entry for all fiscal year 2020 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected in the computer-generated random selection process (lottery), including those selected under the U.S. advanced degree exemption. USCIS will now begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that were not selected in the lottery and will issue an announcement once all petitioners are notified. Due to the volume of filings, USCIS cannot provide a definite time frame for returning petitions that were not selected.

Please note that USCIS may transfer some H-1B cap-subject petitions between the Vermont Service Center and the California Service Center to balance the workload. If your case is transferred, you will receive notification in the mail. After receiving the notification, please send all future correspondence to the center processing your petition.