WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has reached the congressionally mandated 65,000 visa H-1B cap for fiscal year 2018. USCIS has also received enough H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exemption (master’s cap).
USCIS will reject and return filing fees for all non-selected cap-subject petitions that are not duplicate filings. Continue reading
Pay raises in the middle of the PERM process can be tricky. What do you do if you’ve issued a pay raise to the PERM beneficiary between recruitment and filing the PERM application? Continue reading
As part of the PERM Labor Certification process, an employer must obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) from the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL issues a PWD based on the specific position, the requirements for the position, and the area of employment. An employer must, at a minimum, pay a foreign worker the prevailing wage for that position.
We have noticed a gradual increase in PWD processing times. Currently processing times have increased to almost 4 months. This can cause a significant delay in processing the PERM labor certification application. Here’s why: Continue reading
In order to sponsor a foreign worker for a green card, an employer must usually submit an Application for Permanent Employment Certification (ETA Form 9089) to the Department of Labor (DOL). Once an application is approved, or “certified”, the DOL Certifying Officer (CO) who reviewed the case will issue an original labor certification on blue paper and mail this document to the employer or attorney of record. The labor certification will be valid for 180 calendar days and will need to be submitted with the I-140 Immigrant Petition during the 2nd step of the employment based green card process. An initial I-140 Petition cannot be submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) once the labor certification has expired.
But what if the original labor certification was never received by the employer and is no longer valid? Where there is no evidence that it was delivered, will the DOL then reissue a labor certification with new validity dates to allow an employer to timely file an I-140 Petition? This issue was discussed in a recent Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals decision, Gazebo Contracting Inc., 2012-PER-02679 (BALCA August 12, 2016). Continue reading
The Department of Labor (DOL) released 3rd Quarter PERM statistics for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, and it looks like filed PERM Labor applications continue to rise and India continues to top the list of PERM Labor applications certified so far this year.
Review of Applications Certified in FY 2016 to Date (October 01, 2015 to June 30, 2016): Continue reading
On March 11, 2016, Department of Homeland Security published its final rule governing STEM OPT, which will take effect May 10, 2016. This new rule allows for a qualifying F-1 student with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) degree, who has already been granted 12 months of practical training, to apply for a 24 month extension.
The final rule will replace the existing 2008 interim final rule and amends the current regulations regarding OPT for F-1 students who have completed a STEM degree. The final rule lengthens the STEM OPT extension from the current 17 month period to 24 months! The final rule also includes the following enhancements and protections: Continue reading
The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) issued a decision on January 08, 2016 that effectively blamed the DOL for the employer’s typographical error. As you may remember from one of my previous posts, typos are no laughing matter when it comes to PERM – Tips to Improve Your Chance at an Approved PERM Labor Certification. Although there are many BALCA cases that have upheld denials for innocent typos on ETA Form 9089 (AKA PERM Form), in this instance, fundamental fairness called for reversal of denial. Continue reading
On January 23, 2016, the U.S. Distrcit Court for the Distrcit of Columbia granted Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) motion for limited relief from the Court’s August 12, 2015 order. The Court has ordered that the vacatur of the 17-month STEM OPT extension be further extended to May 10, 2016. Continue reading
2015 was an eventful year in employment based immigration. So here is a look back at a few things, some better than others, that occurred: Continue reading
***First off, please think about signing this White House Petition to restore the original visa bulletin, every bit helps! https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/uscis-and-dos-changed-priority-dates-categories-all-sudden-and-causing-financial-and-mental-loss ***
The Department of State (DOS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have some explaining to do. For the thousands of upset and disappointed individuals out there who were negatively impacted by the abrupt change in the October 2015 visa bulletin, just know that there are people and organizations out there fighting for you!
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) announced on September 28th that the organization submitted a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, and Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz expressing disappointment in the September 25, 2015 changes to the October Visa Bulletin and asking that the dates published in the September 9, 2015 Visa Bulletin be restored. Continue reading