9 February 2019

PERM Wage Determinations Causing Significant Delay in PERM Filings

There are usually 3 steps to the employment based green card process: (1) PERM Labor Certification, (2) I-140 Immigrant Petition and (3) Adjustment of Status to lawful permanent resident. As part of the PERM Labor Certification process, an employer must obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination from the Department of Labor.

The Department of Labor issues a Prevailing Wage Determination based on multiple factors, including, but not limited to, the job description, the minimum requirements for the position, and the area of intended employment. An employer must offer at least the prevailing wage for the sponsored position.

In addition to obtaining a Prevailing Wage Determination, the employer must conduct recruitment to test the U.S. labor market to determine if there are any able, willing, qualified, and available U.S. workers for the job opportunity. Essentially, the employer must prove that the job opportunities, wages, and working conditions of U.S. workers will not be adversely impacted by hiring a foreign worker permanently for the job. This will involve the employer advertising for the sponsored position (see my PERM FAQs for more details on this process). The recruitment process will take a minimum of 60 days to complete.

Currently, we are witnessing an increase in Prevailing Wage Determination processing times, with wage determinations taking a minimum of 4 months to be issued. This in turn can cause a significant delay in filing the PERM Labor Certification application.  Continue reading

30 January 2019

DHS Announces H-1B Lottery Final Rule

On January 30, 2019,  the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted for public inspection the final rule that amends the regulations governing the way H-1B cap-subject petitions will be processed. The final rule will be published on January 31, 2019 and will be effective in 60 days, just in time for the upcoming Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 H-1B cap season.  Continue reading

25 January 2019

USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Fiscal Year 2019 H-1B Cap Subject Petitions

USCIS announced that premium processing will resume on Monday, January 28th, for all fiscal year (FY) 2019 H-1B cap subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption (“master’s cap”). USCIS recommends that petitioners who have received requests for evidence (RFE) for pending FY 2019 cap subject petitions include the RFE response with their premium processing upgrade request.

The temporary suspension continues to apply to all other previously specified categories of H-1B petitions: Continue reading

2 January 2019

Unprecedented Demand for H-2B Visas Leads to iCERT System Crash

The iCERT portal system, used to electronically file certain required applications for nonimmigrant and immigrant visas, crashed due to the overwhelming number of H-2B labor certification filings that occurred on January 1st, 2019.  Continue reading

30 November 2018

Proposed Changes to the H-1B Lottery Process Released

DHS has released its notice of proposed rule-making that will bring major changes to the H-1B lottery process. DHS expects the new rule to be implemented in time for the upcoming cap-season.  Continue reading

27 November 2018

Fiscal Year 2018 PERM Statistics Released: PERM Labor Certification Filings Remain Steady

The Department of Labor (DOL) released PERM statistics for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 2018), indicating that filed PERM Labor applications remained steady with only a slight drop, and India continued to top the list of PERM Labor applications certified that year.  Continue reading

22 October 2018

DHS’s Fall 2018 Regulatory Agenda Provides a Glimpse of What’s to Come for Employment Based Immigration

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its Fall 2018 Regulatory Agenda outlining regulations that administrative agencies plan to take action on in the near future.  The Fall 2018 agenda gives us a glimpse into the expected regulatory changes for employment based immigration: Continue reading

26 September 2018

USCIS Will Begin Implementing New Policy Memorandum on Notices to Appear

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that on October 1, 2018, the agency will begin gradually implementing the June 28th policy guidance that instructs USCIS officers to issue Notices to Appear (NTA) for a much wider range of cases. If you recall, on July 30, 2018, USCIS announced that is would postpone implementation of the updated guidance until operational guidance was finalized.  Continue reading

24 September 2018

Impact of Extended Premium Processing Suspension on F-1 Students in the Cap-Gap

With October 1st quickly approaching, F-1 students currently in the cap-gap should be aware of how they may be impacted by the extended premium processing suspension for H-1B cap-subject petitions, that is expected to last until February 19, 2019. Here’s why:  Continue reading

8 September 2018

Strict Employer Compliance Is Key as I-9 Audits Dramatically Increase

Under federal law, U.S. employers are required to verify the identity and employment authorization of all hired workers. This verification process requires a new hire to complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification and submit certain documentation proving employment authorization. Proper employment verification helps ensure that employers do not fall victim to hiring or retaining “unauthorized” workers. It is crucial for employers to maintain strict compliance with all I-9 rules and procedures, especially as we see I-9 audit numbers dramatically increase under the Trump administration. Continue reading