H-2B Cap Count UPDATE – 5/2/16

May 5, 2016

The H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs. There is a cap limit of 33,000 for the first half of the fiscal year and 33,000 for the second half for a total of 66,000 per year. If the cap is not reached during the first half of the fiscal year, the extra numbers are then made available for the second half.

The H-2B cap limit for first half of FY 2016 (October 1 - March 31) is 33,000. As of the last count (3/15/16) this first half cap count has been reached. Please read USCIS update below!

The H-2B cap limit for second half of FY 2016 (April 1 - September 30) is 33,000. As of the last count (5/2/16); 26,426 beneficiaries have been approved and 6,194 are pending for a total of 32,620.

Note: The congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the first half of fiscal year (FY) 2016 has been reached. March 15, 2016 was the final receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1, 2016. The final receipt date is when USCIS received enough cap-subject petitions to reach the limit of 33,000 H-2B workers for the first half of FY 2016. This means that no cap numbers from the first half of FY 2016 will carry over to the second half of FY 2016, which begins on April 1, 2016.


Source of Information:
USCIS.gov, 5/2/16, Web Page:
Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants

Related Link:
USCIS.gov, 2/5/16, Web Page:
H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers

Revised - Updated Service Center Processing Times (2/29/16)

May 4, 2016

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 4/28/16 with processing dates as of 2/29/16.

If you filed a petition with one of the Service Centers, please review the links below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.


California Service Center (CSC)

National Benefits Center (NBC)

Nebraska Service Center (NSC)

Texas Service Center (TSC)

Vermont Service Center (VSC)

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO)


**Please be aware that the data provided above is approximately 45 days old at the time of posting.

If your petition is out-side of the normal range listed, contact USCIS (1-800-375-5283).

If you are a client of MVP Law Group and would like our assistance please contact our office.

Impact of New Americans (2015) - Maine, Maryland & Massachusetts

May 3, 2016

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets (2015)

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the United States (Overall), for a total of fifty-two updated fact sheets with accompanying info graphics and other details. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. continues the discussion of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be a good time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on three states at a time. This week we will highlight; Maine, Maryland & Massachusetts.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts

Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), Interactive Map (fact sheets):
The Economic and Political Impact of Immigrants, Latinos and Asians State by State

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), List (fact sheets):
The Economic and Political Impact of Immigrants, Latinos and Asians in all 50 States

BALCA Finds CO’s Claim that ETA 9089 was Incomplete Untenable

May 2, 2016

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently overturned the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “Computer Software Engineer.”

The CO denied the application stating that the Labor application is incomplete and inconsistent with the submitted information from the employer and the applicant. On the Labor application, the Employer’s physical address is listed as Martinsburg, West Virginia but their phone number’s area code is Arlington, Virginia. The applicant’s home address is listed in Martinsburg, West Virginia but his phone number’s area code -571 is representative of Leesburg, Virginia. As additional proof, the CO declared the Employer had signed in Section N, of the LCA, that the information submitted was “true and accurate to the best of its knowledge.”

Perm regulations require an employer seeking to apply for permanent labor to file an ETA Form 9089.20 C.F.R. & 656.17(a). These regulations state that any incomplete applications will be denied.

The Employer stated that in the past, the company was located in the Falls Church area but moved to West Virginia. After the move, the company wanted to maintain the same phone number. This phone number is internet based by Vonage instead of a physical telephone line. In order to try to prove the information was accurate, the Employer submitted phone records and Lease agreements that displayed the address and phone number.

In the case of the Applicant, the Employer responded that the Alien lives in Martinsburg but uses a cellular telephone with the 571 area code. The Employer submitted AT & T phone records, the applicant’s rental agreement and driver’s license reflecting the Martinsburg address.

The CO forwarded the case to BALCA for review. Upon review of the case, the administrative judge ordered that “the denial of labor certification in this matter is vacated.” BALCA believed the evidence submitted by the Employer to be highly persuasive.

The judge sent the application back to the CO for further processing.

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, April 29, 2016

April 29, 2016

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.


Question #1 – NAFTA (TN) Visas
I am on a TD visa in the US. Can I get a work permit?

Answer #1
No. The spouse and/or child of a TN visa worker “shall not accept employment in the United States unless otherwise authorized.”


Question #2 – Employment Based Green Card
When should your employer file your I-140 with Premium Processing? Does it significantly speed up the processing times?

Answer #2
If another immigration application or benefit is connected to/relying up the I-140 petition, it is recommended that the I-140 be filed with premium processing. For instance in the most common scenario, if an applicant is nearing his/her 6th year in H-1B status and the Attorney’s Office is preparing the I-140 petition, it should be filed with premium processing. Premium processing will render a decision within 15 calendar days of filing, unless an RFE is issued, in which the 15 day clock will stop until a response is sent to USCIS and once received, the 15 day clock will start back up again. With the I-140 approval, the Attorney’s office can prepare the H-1B extension petition and extend the beneficiary’s H1B status beyond the 6th year indefinitely until a visa number becomes available for the beneficiary.


Question #3 - Employment Based Green Card
How long is the processing of an I-140? Will there still be chances of getting I-140 denied even if the worker is labor certified? If yes, what are the grounds?

Answer #3
The current processing times for the I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker are roughly 6-8 months depending upon the Service Center and preference category the petition is filed under. If the petition is eligible for premium processing, premium processing severely reduces the processing time to 15 calendar days.
Yes, the I-140 can still be denied even though the Labor has been certified. The I-140 immigrant petition for alien worker centers around the Petitioner’s ability to pay the prevailing wage; and the candidate’s academic and work experience qualifications. The I-140 stage serves as the ‘show me’ stage, as in – prove through the submission of substantiating evidence that the candidate has the minimum educational/experience requirements for the position and that the Petitioner has the present ability to pay the proffered wage to the beneficiary and will pay the proffered wage once the candidate becomes a Lawful Permanent Resident. If the Petitioner cannot satisfy its burden to prove the items listed above, then the I-140 will be denied.


Question #4 - General
How do you determine a Prevailing Wage for a position?

Answer #4
The Department of Labor determines the prevailing wage for a particular position depending upon the job description, education level and experience required.
The Foreign Labor Certification Data Center Online Wage Library is accessible to the public on the Internet at: Online Wage Library - FLC Wage Search Wizard


Question #5 - Family Based Immigration
Do I need to change my I-130 petition if I filed for my relative as a LPR, but now I have become a US Citizen?

Answer #5
Yes, you should contact the USCIS Office that is reviewing your application and inform them that you have become a U.S. Citizen by submitting a copy of your Naturalization Certificate.


Question #6 – Employment Based Immigration
My I-140 was just approved. The next step is to apply for Adjustment of Status (AOS). What kind of documents do I need to have for the AOS application?

Answer #6
Yes, the next step would be to file for Adjustment of Status; however, is your priority date current? If not, then you will need to begin collecting supporting documentation now, and once your priority date becomes current, submit the documentation with the completed I-485 form to the USCIS. Some of the documents required: birth certificates, educational transcripts/degrees, passports, federal income tax returns, employment letter, etc. Speak with an Immigration Attorney for a complete list of documents required for the I-485 filing.


Question #7 – H1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
My H1B was approved through Consular Processing. I am planning to go in November to get my Visa stamp but I want to do it from a different city in India then I used for my approval. Can I change the city without complicating matters?

Answer #7
You may experience significant delays if you schedule an interview at a Consulate that was not identified in your I-129 petition. It is our recommendation that you schedule your interview for the Consulate that was listed in your I-129 petition as to avoid any unnecessary delays.


Question #8 – Employment Based Immigration
Can I change my I-140 from one category to the other without being penalized? I am on EB-3 but want to change to E-B2.

Answer #8
If you are eligible to file under EB2, have a willing sponsor, and if you are already the recipient of an approved I-140 for the EB3 preference category, you may be able to upgrade to EB2; however, the process requires starting from the beginning of the GC process - with the test of the US Labor market, followed by the filing of the Labor Certification. At the I-140 stage, you would file under EB2, and make a request for the USCIS to recapture your earlier priority date in EB3 and apply that towards your I-140 EB2.


Question #9 – Employment Authorization for Certain H4 Spouses
What forms do I need to file an H4/EAD visa for my wife? What are the USCIS filing fees for this visa?

Answer #9
Form G-28, if you have an Attorney representing you for the filing, and Form I-765 are required to file the request for H4/EAD, along with supporting documentation to establish the H4 spouse’s eligibility. The USCIS filing fee is $380.00, the check should be made payable to the “US Department of Homeland Security.”


Question #10 - Employment Based Immigration
Right now, I have an approved I-140 filed by my previous employer and they also submitted my I-485 back in 2014. Since then, I have started employment with another company on my EAD. Can I file an AC-21 Portability letter?

Answer #10
Has your employment based, Adjustment of Status petition (I-485) been pending for 180 days or more; and is the new job the same or substantially similar to the job for which the labor certification/I-140 approval support? Contact our office to speak with an Immigration Attorney concerning your case.


MVP Law Group would like to thank everyone who contributed a question or comment.

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, May 13, 2016!

Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our H1B Visa Lawyer blog!

FY 2017 H-1B Cap Premium Processing to Begin May 12

April 28, 2016

On Thursday, May 12, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin premium processing for H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2017 cap, including H-1B petitions seeking an exemption from the fiscal year cap for individuals who have earned a U.S. master’s degree or higher.

USCIS first announced that we would begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than May 16th in a USCIS news release dated March 16, 2016, so they are moving ahead quickly. USCIS provides premium processing service for an extra cost, for certain employment-based petitions and guarantees a 15-calendar-day processing time.

Note: USCIS encourages H-1B applicants to subscribe to the H-1B Cap Season email updates located on the H-1B FY2017 Cap Season Web page.


Source of Information:
USCIS.gov, 4/22/16, News Alert:
Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B Cap Premium Processing to Begin May 12

USCIS.gov, 4/7/16, Web Page:
H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Cap Season

Related Link:
USCIS.gov, 3/16/16, News Release:
USCIS Will Accept H-1B Petitions for Fiscal Year 2017 Beginning April 1, 2016

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) updated FY2016 Statistics (Second Quarter)

April 27, 2016

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) has provided FY2016 statistics (second quarter) in the form of program factsheets for each of the major immigration programs. These updated FY2016 statistics (second quarter) cover January 2016 through March 2016.

The link to each program factsheet is listed below:

Permanent Labor Certification Program – Select Statistics, FY 2016 (second quarter)

Prevailing Wage Determination Program – Select Statistics, FY 2016 (second quarter)

H-1B Temporary Visa Program – Select Statistics, FY 2016 (second quarter)

H-2A Temporary Agricultural Visa Program – Select Statistics, FY 2016 (second quarter)

H-2B Temporary Non-agricultural Visa Program – Select Statistics, FY 2016 (second quarter)


Source of Information: OFLC Performance Data

Impact of New Americans (2015) - Kansas, Kentucky & Louisiana

April 26, 2016

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets (2015)

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the United States (Overall), for a total of fifty-two updated fact sheets with accompanying info graphics and other details. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. continues the discussion of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be a good time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on three states at a time. This week we will highlight; Kansas, Kentucky & Louisiana.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana

Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), Interactive Map (fact sheets):
The Economic and Political Impact of Immigrants, Latinos and Asians State by State

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), List (fact sheets):
The Economic and Political Impact of Immigrants, Latinos and Asians in all 50 States

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

April 25, 2016

We wanted to find a new way to engage our reader base. Every other Friday, we will post the ten (10) best/most frequently asked questions received during the week from our h1bvisalawyerblog, Facebook, and Twitter readers. We will answer those questions and provide the Q&A on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

If you have a burning question, are seeking assistance with a difficult immigration related case, wish to discuss your views on Comprehensive Immigration Reform, DREAMers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, priority dates, the monthly visa bulletin, adjustment applications, etc., please contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our next “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, April 29, 2016. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

MVP Law Group, P.A. makes available the information and materials in this forum for informational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice or any contractual obligations. Further, the use of this site, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Updated Service Center Processing Times (2/29/16)

April 22, 2016

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 4/12/16 with processing dates as of 2/29/16.

If you filed a petition with one of the Service Centers, please review the links below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.


California Service Center (CSC)

National Benefits Center (NBC)

Nebraska Service Center (NSC)

Texas Service Center (TSC)

Vermont Service Center (VSC)

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO)


**Please be aware that the data provided above is approximately 45 days old at the time of posting.

If your petition is out-side of the normal range listed, contact USCIS (1-800-375-5283).

If you are a client of MVP Law Group and would like our assistance please contact our office.

Impact of New Americans (2015) - Illinois, Indiana & Iowa

April 21, 2016

Immigration Policy Center Releases Updated State-by-State Fact Sheets (2015)

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) has released all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the United States (Overall), for a total of fifty-two updated fact sheets with accompanying info graphics and other details. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants, Asians and Latinos in each state. The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy division of the American Immigration Council (AIC).

As Washington D.C. continues the discussion of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, we thought that it would be a good time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this IPC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on three states at a time. This week we will highlight; Illinois, Indiana & Iowa.

The IPC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants, Latinos and Asians are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. With the nation working towards economic recovery, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

To view the state-by-state fact sheets click on the links below:

Illinois
Indiana
Iowa

Source of Information:

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), Interactive Map (fact sheets):
The Economic and Political Impact of Immigrants, Latinos and Asians State by State

The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), List (fact sheets):
The Economic and Political Impact of Immigrants, Latinos and Asians in all 50 States

H-2B Cap Count UPDATE – 4/18/16

April 20, 2016

The H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs. There is a cap limit of 33,000 for the first half of the fiscal year and 33,000 for the second half for a total of 66,000 per year. If the cap is not reached during the first half of the fiscal year, the extra numbers are then made available for the second half.

The H-2B cap limit for first half of FY 2016 (October 1 - March 31) is 33,000. As of the last count (3/15/16) this first half cap count has been reached. Please read USCIS update below!

The H-2B cap limit for second half of FY 2016 (April 1 - September 30) is 33,000. As of the last count (4/18/16); 19,021 beneficiaries have been approved and 6,346 are pending for a total of 25,367.

UPDATE: The congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the first half of fiscal year (FY) 2016 has been reached. March 15, 2016 was the final receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1, 2016. The final receipt date is when USCIS received enough cap-subject petitions to reach the limit of 33,000 H-2B workers for the first half of FY 2016. This means that no cap numbers from the first half of FY 2016 will carry over to the second half of FY 2016, which begins on April 1, 2016.


Source of Information:
USCIS.gov, 4/18/16, Web Page:
Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants

Related Link:
USCIS.gov, 2/5/16, Web Page:
H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers