Archives: H-1B

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Amendments to H-1B Visa Regulations Proposed

The Department of Homeland Security has published a much-anticipated notice of proposed rulemaking affecting the H-1B visa process. Public comments must be submitted by January 2, 2019. DHS proposes: Adding a free electronic pre-registration process; and Changing the random selection process in a way that would likely benefit holders of U.S. master’s degrees. The pre-registration … Continue Reading

U.S. May Eliminate Per-Country Caps on Employment Visas

A potentially significant bill eliminating the per-country caps on employment-based visas may become law. H.R. 392, Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, first introduced in 2017, had 300 co-sponsors. It is now championed by outgoing Representative Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) as an amendment to the spending package that Congress likely will pass this year. The bill means … Continue Reading

F-1 Student Visa, Optional Practical Training Risks Continue

Although there have been discussions for some time that the Trump Administration would change the rules regarding Optional Practical Training (OPT), OPT did not show up in the most recent “regulatory agenda.” Nevertheless, the Administration has been putting limits on F-1 students in other ways. Those changes, at least in part, are responsible for a … Continue Reading

Department of Homeland Security Fall 2018 Agenda Portends Big Changes for H-1B Visa, Other Programs

The Department of Homeland Security’s latest Regulatory Agenda promises some big changes, especially for the H-1B visa program. Many of these changes have been proposed before, but have not yet made it to the rulemaking stage. Among what to expect are the following: USCIS is planning to release a notice of proposed rulemaking to create a … Continue Reading

USCIS Explains New Policy on Discretionary Application Denials

Beginning September 11, 2018, USCIS immigration officers will have more discretion to issue petition and application denials without first issuing Requests for Evidence (RFEs) or Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs). On September 6, 2018, the Ombudsman’s Office provided further details on the new policy change. The following was noted: The new policy takes effect … Continue Reading

USCIS Raises Premium Processing Fee: Effective October 1, 2018

On October 1, 2018 the premium processing fee for all Forms I-129 (Non-Immigrant Worker) and Forms I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) will be raised from $1,225 to $1,410.  USCIS announced this almost 15% increase on August 31, 2018. According to USCIS, this is the first adjustment in premium processing fees since 2010.  The agency … Continue Reading

New Foreign-Student Work Restriction Has Outsourcing and Staffing Firm Suing

The Trump Administration is continuing its assault on outsourcing and staffing firms. The latest Administration focus is on the STEM OPT program. In April 2018, without notice, USCIS made certain changes to its website. It declared, among other things, that a STEM OPT employer “may not assign, or otherwise delegate, its training responsibilities to a … Continue Reading

Healthcare Implications of Supreme Court’s Decision on President’s Travel Ban

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld President Donald Trump’s Travel Ban in Trump v. Hawaii, it is important to think about some of the consequences the ban will have on various industries that rely on employing individuals from the affected countries: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. Healthcare is one of … Continue Reading

Labor Department To Demand More Information in H-1B Labor Condition Application

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released proposed changes to ETA Form-9035, Labor Condition Application for Nonimmigrant Workers (LCA), that would require more details about the end-user clients and potential worksites specific to the placement of H-1B workers. Current practice requires employers to list the addresses for all intended worksites. The proposed change would … Continue Reading

State Department to Release New Visa Restrictions on Students from China

New restrictions on visas for citizens of China are expected as soon as June 11, 2018, according to the Associated Press. These restrictions, the report states, would target students in high-tech fields such as robotics and aviation. The changes would be part of the Trump Administration’s national security strategy to protect American’s intellectual property and … Continue Reading

Requirements for H-1B Petitions Involving Third-Party Worksites Are Unlawful, Lawsuit Alleges

USCIS has exceeded its authority in issuing additional requirements on H-1B petitions involving third-party worksites, a suit filed in New Jersey seeking a temporary restraining order alleges. Just before the 2019 H-1B filing deadline, USCIS issued a memorandum clarifying that petitioners who send employees to third-party worksites must provide significantly more evidence to show that … Continue Reading

Administration Pushes to Add Extreme Vetting to All Nonimmigrant Visa Applications

Proposed changes to Form DS-160 would include aspects of “extreme vetting” in all nonimmigrant visa applications. The public has until May 29, 2018, to submit comments to the Trump Administration proposal. Visa applicants would be required to submit five years of social media handles on specific platforms and five years of phone numbers and email … Continue Reading

USCIS Introduces Onsite Training Restriction on Staffing Agencies Hiring OPT STEM Students

The 2016 STEM regulations made it more difficult for staffing agencies and consulting companies to sponsor graduating F-1 OPT employees for the two-year STEM OPT extension. According to the regulations, the training plan must be signed by the entity that has a bona fide employment relationship with the student and the bona fide employer must … Continue Reading

New USCIS Guidance Clarifies Requirements for H-1B Petitions Involving Third-Party Worksites

Further to President Donald Trump’s Buy American and Hire American executive order, which directs the DHS to protect the interests of U.S. workers and make sure that there is no fraud, abuse, or circumvention of the laws, USCIS has issued a new policy memorandum, “Contracts and Itineraries Requirements for H-1B Petitions Involving Third-Party Worksites.” The … Continue Reading

USCIS Suspends Premium Processing Service for Cap-Subject H-1B Cases

USCIS has once again announced the temporary suspension of the Premium Processing service for all cap-subject H-1B cases, including “Master’s Cap” cases. The suspension is expected to last until September 10, 2018, but USCIS will notify the public before lifting the suspension.  Unlike last year, at least for now, USCIS will continue to accept premium … Continue Reading

‘I-Squared’ Bill Would Change H-1B and Other Immigration Programs

While the Administration and Congress work to reconcile the needs of DACA recipients with concerns over border security and illegal immigration, Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) have introduced a bill to reform immigration programs for high-skilled workers. If the bill passes, it would go a long way to maintaining U.S. competitiveness in … Continue Reading

Time to Prepare for the 2018 H-1B Lottery

For immigration attorneys and employers of foreign nationals alike, the frenzy of the spring H-1B Cap season is right around the corner. Now is the time to start preparations for the April filing deadline. Each year, 85,000 new H-1B work visas become available for high-skilled workers seeking employment in an “H-1B specialty occupation.” Many more … Continue Reading

Government Not Ending H-1B Extensions, USCIS Says

Reports about the possible elimination of AC-21 extensions (for H-1B workers awaiting green cards) are now being denied by the government. The USCIS is attempting to quell fears caused by rumors that the Administration would eliminate H extensions beyond the six-year limit for certain individuals unable to file the last step in permanent residency, adjustment … Continue Reading

U.S. Expected To Add Restrictions on Visas in New Year

Uncertainty regarding employment-related immigration regulations has not ebbed with the arrival of the New Year. Employers may be losing employees to the possible elimination of H-4 EADs and STEM extensions. Major changes in the H-1B cap process, including pre-registration and new eligibility standards, also are said to be on the horizon. The Trump Administration reportedly … Continue Reading
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