Friday, August 27, 2010

New H-1B Filing Fees

For H-1B petitions postmarked on or after August 14, 2010, additional fees of $2,000 will go into effect in some cases.  Petitioners subject to the new fee will include employers with more than 50 employees in the U.S., where 50% of  the workforce is on H visas. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kentucky Consular Center Starts Random H-1B Telephonic Checks

Since November 17, 2007, the DOS Consular Posts abroad have been required to verify the details of nonimmigrant visa (NIV) approvals through the PIMS (Petition Information Management Service) system. The PIMS record is created by the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) upon approval of an H-1B petition, and is the primary source of evidence used by consular officers to determine whether an NIV application should granted at the post.

The DOS recently confirmed that it has started a pilot program whereby the KCC would be required to verify the information related to the proposed employment and the beneficiary. These checks will be completed at random, and will be primarily done through telephonic contact with employers. Employers will be asked to confirm that it filed an H-1B petition, the date that it was incorporated, the address of the physical location, the number of employees that it has, the names of the shareholders, the location of the attorney of record, and general information about the employer’s operation and business plan.  Accordingly, it is more important than ever that employer representative who signed the petition be fully aware of the contents of every petition filed, and be able to answer questions about the petition if asked.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Are You An Outstanding Researcher?

The first employment-based preference (EB1) group for green cards includes outstanding researchers and professors. Outstanding researchers and professors include those with an offer of a tenure-track teaching position or a research position. The use of the term “outstanding” causes many foreign nationals to believe that they could not possibly fall within this category. While the legal standard is high, it is within reach for many reasonably accomplished scientists. The regulations provide that evidence of being “outstanding” might include publications in scholarly journals, presentations at international symposia, major international prizes, participation in judging the work of others, and/or contributions of original research in the field. And it is the totality of the evidence that will be looked at. For this reason, there is no magic number of published papers that will render a person qualified. For example, an individual with only a few publications, but the receipt of an international award, and a history of judging the work of others may be equally qualified to someone with a large number of publications and presentations, but no awards.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Work Authorization for Dependents of Individuals in A and G Status

For years, many family members of individuals in A (diplomats) and G (employees of foreign government agencies) nonimmigrant status were not permitted to work. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) changed this by amending its regulations governing the employment authorization for dependents of foreign officials classified as A-1, A-2, G-1, G-3, and G-4 nonimmigrants. This rule expands the list of dependents who are eligible for employment authorization from spouses, children, and qualifying sons and daughters of A or G foreign officials to include any other immediate family member who falls within a category of aliens designated by the Department of State as qualifying.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

FY 2011 H-1B Cap Count

USCIS updated its count of FY 2011 cap-subject H-1B petitions petitions receipted. As of August 6, 2010, approximately 28,500 H-1B subject petitions were receipted. USCIS has receipted 11,900 H-1B petitions from aliens with advanced degrees.

Monday, August 9, 2010

International Adoption from Nepal Halted

USCIS and the Department of State (DOS) today issued a joint statement on the decision to suspend processing for new adoption cases based on abandonment in Nepal. This decision was made because the DOS has found that documents presented to describe and “prove” the abandonment of children in Nepal are unreliable. Civil documents, such as the children’s birth certificates often include data that has been changed or fabricated. In one case that the DOS investigated, the birth parents were actively searching for a child who had been matched with an American family for adoption. Accordingly, the Government can no longer reasonably determine whether a child documented as abandoned qualifies as an orphan. Without reliable documentation, it is not possible for the United States Government to process an orphan petition to completion.