H-2B Cap Count UPDATE – 4/4/14

April 16, 2014

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.

The H-2B cap limit for the first half of FY 2014 (October 1 - March 31) is 33,000. As of March 14, 2014, the cap for the 1st half of FY 2014 was reached.

The H-2B cap limit for second half of FY 2014 (April 1 - September 30) is 33,000. As of the last count (4/4/14); 15,824 beneficiaries have been approved and 4,502 are pending for a total of 20,326.

For further details read, “Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants


Source of Information:

- USCIS.gov (4/7/14) Web Page

- AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13100840 (posted 4/8/14)

Updated Service Center Processing Times

April 15, 2014

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on 4/3/14 with processing dates as of 2/28/14.

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

National Benefits Center

Nebraska Service Center

Texas Service Center

Vermont Service Center

Immigrant Investor Program Office (EB-5) *NEW*


**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.

AILA-DC Attorneys Will Provide Free Citizenship Assistance on April 26, 2014

April 14, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – On Saturday, April 26, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the Washington, DC Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA-DC) will take part in the eighth annual AILA Citizenship Day, hosting events at nine locations throughout D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.

Each year in April, at sites across the country, AILA attorneys and other stakeholders provide assistance to lawful permanent residents eligible for naturalization. Last year, AILA and its partner "ya es hora ¡Ciudadanía!" held 40 naturalization clinics in 23 states and the District of Columbia serving thousands of immigrants who aspired to become citizens.


The sites below have been confirmed for Citizenship Day 2014 :

Catholic Charities Esperanza Center
430 S. Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21231
Pre- Registration Required
Contact: 443-825-3421
*$50 Fee collected by Catholic Charities


CASA De Maryland
8151 15th Avenue,
Langley Park, MD 20783
Contact: Molly: 240-670-4850
*$25 Fee for CASA membership collected


Jesus House DC
919 Philadelphia Ave
E. Adeboye Hall (L.L)
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Contact: 240-271-0148


FIRN
5999 Harpers Farm Road, E-200
Columbia, MD 21044
Contact: Roselyn:410-992-1923
$20 Fee collected by FIRN


Carlos Rosario International
(Sponsored by Carlos Rosario and CARECEN)
1100 Harvard Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20009
Pre- Registration Required
*$25 Fee will be collected for completed applications
*Free to Carlos Rosario Students with valid ID
Contact: Rachel @ 202-328-9799 ext. 23



Ethiopian Community Center
(Sponsored by Mayor’s Office on African Affairs & ECC)
7603 Georgia Avenue, NW,
Suite 100
Washington, D.C. 20012
Contact: eth@prodigy.net


Chinese Community Church
(Sponsored by DC Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs and Chinatown Service Center)
500 I Street, NW,
Washington D.C 20001
Contact: Ngoc (202)727-3120


Just Neighbors Ministry
5827 Columbia Pike, #320
Falls Church, VA 22041
Pre-Registration required
*$20.00 Fee collected by JNM
Contact: Kyle-703-979-1240 Ext. 34


Branch Baptist Church
3400 Broad Rock Blvd
Richmond, VA 23234
Contact: refugelaw@gmail.com


At each site, a dozen attorneys will be joined by numerous other volunteers and staff to help eligible local immigrants apply for citizenship. Detailed information about registration and documentation requirements is available upon request.

“In discussing the plight of the undocumented and the need for immigration reform, we sometimes forget how many people have come here from other countries not only with lawful status, but also the desire to become citizens,” observed Cynthia Rosenberg, AILA-DC Chair. “Citizenship Day is a wonderful opportunity to highlight how many foreign nationals wish to take this important final step toward joining the American dream.”

AILA Citizenship Day is an award-winning venture, capturing the 2008 Award of Excellence in the Associations Advance America Awards program, a national competition sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and The Center for Association Leadership. AILA’s successes with this event are due in large part to the national collaborative relationships that AILA has developed both with community organizations and stakeholders, as well as the USCIS Office of Citizenship. Last year, AILA-DC members co-sponsored local events with seven community-based organizations in the Washington metropolitan area, from Baltimore to Richmond.


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The AILA-DC Chapter represents over 1000 member attorneys in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members. Located close to the headquarters offices of the agencies that administer our immigration system, as well as the houses of Congress, our chapter maintains close contact with the lawmakers and officials who have an important impact on our clients' lives.

USCIS Conducted Lottery for FY2015 H1B CAP - April 10, 2014

April 11, 2014

INFORMATION SOURCE - USCIS

USCIS Reaches FY 2015 H-1B Cap

Release Date: April 10, 2014


WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 7 that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2015. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption.

USCIS received about 172,500 H-1B petitions during the filing period which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 10, 2014, USCIS completed a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. For cap-subject petitions not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing.

The agency conducted the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All advanced degree petitions not selected then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.

On March 25, USCIS announced that they would begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than April 28.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2015 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
• Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
•Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
•Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
•Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering, and computer programming.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit www.uscis.gov or follow us on Facebook (/uscis), Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis) and the USCIS blog The Beacon.

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, April 11, 2014

April 11, 2014

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 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Can your firm sponsor my H-1B or find a company to sponsor me? I am ready to come to the U.S. and work; I have a BS in Computer Science

Answer #1
We are a law firm that will help you prepare the paperwork (Forms and documents) for your H-1B non-immigrant petition once you find an employer willing to sponsor you for employment; however, we cannot find you H-1B sponsorship. In summary, once you have secured an H-1B sponsor (U.S. employer), we can then assist you with the process.


Question #2 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
My Optional Practical Training just got declined, I have yet not received the hard copy but, I think the reason is because of my college. Some of my friends also got denial for the opt. Can you please give me some suggestion regarding my opt, can I reapply or can I apply for H1 as H1 will open in April.

Answer #2
You will want to wait and find out the reason the application was denied. You will also want to speak with your school Counselor about the reason for denial. You should speak with an Immigration Attorney concerning the specifics of your case to get a better understanding of any available options remaining.


Question #3 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
What is the difference between having H-1B status and having an H-1B visa?

Answer #3
H-1B status generally refers to your legal status while in the United States, as the moment you exit the U.S., you are no longer considered in H-1B status. An H-1B visa is a stamp that you receive in your passport when a Consular Officer approves your H-1B petition at a U.S. Consulate overseas. The valid H-1B visa stamp allows you to enter the U.S. as an H-1B nonimmigrant in H-1B visa status.


Question #4 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
What is the new 'displacement' or 'no lay-off' attestation rule and how does it apply for those using the H-1B visa?

Answer #4
It is not a new rule. If an employer is H-1B dependent or has been found to have willfully violated their H-1B obligations, the employer has additional attestation obligations regarding the displacement of U.S. workers and its recruitment efforts in addition to the general employer requirements for H-1B visa petitions. H-1B dependent employers who are hiring a non-exempt H-1B employer must declare that they will not displace or lay-off a U.S. worker "in an equivalent job" either within its own workforce or that of another employer. The employer must also make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers for the position using industry-wide standards before hiring an H-1B worker.


Question #5 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
Can an H-1B dependent employer sponsor my H-1B visa?

Answer #5
Yes.


Question #6 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
If am I fired while on an H-1B visa, can I remain in the U.S. for the duration of my visa, or do I need to apply for another visa?

Answer #6
If fired by your employer prior to the end of the duration of your visa status, your employer is responsible for paying your reasonable travel costs back to your home country. You cannot remain in the U.S. for the duration of your visa. You may apply for another visa (i.e., H4 if you have a spouse in the country on H-1B, etc.) or you must exit the country.


Question #7 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
What factors determine the prevailing wage for an H-1B beneficiary?

Answer #7
There are several factors: Job Title, work experience, education experience, location of Job opportunity, wage of similar situated employees of employer with similar qualifications and experience, etc.


Question #8 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
Can I change my job while I am under the H-1B visa?

Answer #8
Yes, the petition would be referred to as an H-1B transfer. You are allowed to change jobs if you find a new and willing H-1B sponsoring employer. You must file the new H-1B transfer case with the USCIS.


Question #9 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
Are applicants with Master Degree’s given preference when filing for an H-1B under the yearly Cap?

Answer #9
The cap (the numerical limitation on H-1B petitions) for FY 2015 is 65,000. In addition, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap of 65,000.
*The applicant must have a U.S. Master’s degree or higher.


Question #10 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Work Visa
My current H-1B is going to expire in 4 months. Can my employer file an extension for me to remain on H-1B?

Answer #10
Yes, if you are eligible for an extension. Extensions and transfers are not subject to the Annual CAP. Your employer may submit an extension filing up to 6 months in advance of the current expiration of your visa.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, April 25, 2014!

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

Visa Bulletin - May 2014

April 10, 2014

The Department of State has released its latest Visa Bulletin.

Click here to view the May 2014 Visa Bulletin

As projected by the U.S. Department of State, the May 2014 Visa Bulletin shows the EB2 date for nationals from India remains at 11/15/04; movement in EB3 date for nationals from India at 10/1/03; movement in EB2 for Chinese Nationals at 4/15/09; EB3 for Chinese Nationals remains at 10/1/12; and EB3 for WW remains at 10/1/12; and the F2A category remains at 9/8/13,except Mexico at 4/15/12. The F2A category is reserved exclusively for Spouses and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of green card holders (LPRs).


*The priority date is current if there is no backlog in the category, or if the priority date is on or before the date listed as current in the State Department's monthly Visa Bulletin.

**”All Chargeability Areas except Those Listed”, includes all other countries except: China, India, Mexico and Philippines.

Alternatives to the H-1B Visa for Individuals who did not make the FY2015 H-1B Quota

April 9, 2014

Now that all of the new H-1B visas for the 2015 Fiscal Year have been allocated, What options do Employers who are looking to hire Foreign National Professionals have?

Here are some creative solutions to this problem:

OPT – STEM Extension
If the company is registered for E-Verify, the database that enables employers to verify the legitimacy of work authorization and identity documents at the time of hire, those who have been granted 12 months of Optional Practical Training after graduation, are eligible for a STEM extension of an additional 17 months of work authorization.

O-1 Visa
The O-1 visa is suited for individuals of extraordinary ability or achievement. The O classification is a useful and flexible alternative to the H-1B program because there is no overall limit on time in the classification and there is no cap. O-1 beneficiaries in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics must have extraordinary ability “demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim.”

E-3 Visa
The E-3 visa classification is limited to Australian Professionals. The E-3 visa is a “specialty occupation” visa similar to the H-1B visa. Therefore to be eligible for the visa, the Australian citizen must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher (or its equivalent) in the specialty and the specialty occupation must require the degree. There is a 10,500 annual limit on the E-3 visa.

L-1 Visa
The L-1 visa is an option for international organizations with offices in the United States who transfer employees to the United States for temporary periods of time. In order to be eligible for an L-1 visa, the petitioning entity must prove that the beneficiary of the visa has worked for the non-U.S. based sister company/subsidiary for at least one full year within the last three years as an executive, manager or employee with specialized knowledge.

H-1B Visa for FY2016
WAIT for the H-1B FY2016 Quota. The H-1B FY2016 Quota will open on April 1, 2015 with employment beginning on October 1, 2015. 65,000 visas are annually allocated to foreign nationals who possess a bachelor’s degree or higher (or its equivalent) in the specialty and the specialty occupation must require the degree. We can begin to prepare cases for the annual quota now; however, no cases will be filed with the USCIS towards the CAP until after April 1, 2015.

Contact MVP Law Group for more information!

H-1B Cap (FY 2015) has been reached!

April 8, 2014

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have announced that they reached the statutory H-1B cap of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2015 within the first week of the filing period. USCIS has also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption.

USCIS stated that they must first finish the initial intake before conducting the random selection process. The date of the selection process has not been set due to the high number of petitions received! USCIS will reject and return filing fees for all cap-subject petitions that are not selected.

USCIS will conduct the advanced degree exemption random selection process first. Any advanced degree petitions not selected will then become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.

For more information, please read the USCIS news release, “USCIS Reaches FY 2015 H-1B Cap”.


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov, 4/7/14, News Release:
USCIS Reaches FY 2015 H-1B Cap

Related Link:

H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Cap Season

H-1B Specialty Occupations

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, April 11, 2014

April 7, 2014

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 11, 2014. 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.

On April 1, 2014, USCIS started accepting H-1B Petitions for FY2015

April 4, 2014

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on Friday, March 25th that it will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 cap on Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Cases will be considered accepted on the date that USCIS receives a properly filed petition for which the correct fee has been submitted; not the date that the petition is postmarked.

The cap (the numerical limitation on H-1B petitions) for FY 2014 is 65,000. In addition, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap of 65,000.

USCIS stated that it is possible that the H-1B cap will be met in the first 5 business days! Also be advised that premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions will begin by April 28, 2014. See the USCIS’s Premium Processing section for more details.

For more information on the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program and current Form I-129 processing times, visit the H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Cap Season web page or call the National Customer Service Center at (800) 375-5283.

The MVP Law Group has successfully handled H1B petitions for a variety of clients ranging from the straight forward to the complex. Please feel free to contact one of our knowledgeable attorneys to discuss your immigration needs and help you effectively with your H1B processing. Our experienced Immigration Attorneys can help you devise an appropriate strategy for the H1B FY2015 cap season.


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov (3/25/14) Press Release:
USCIS to Accept H-1B Petitions for Fiscal Year 2015 Beginning April 1, 2014


Related Links:

H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Cap Season

How Do I Use the Premium Processing Service?

Will premium processing increase the chances of making the FY2015 H-1B quota?

April 3, 2014

Filing an H-1B petition requesting premium processing will not increase the chances of obtaining an H-1B under the quota. If you request premium processing and the case is accepted for processing, the 15 day premium processing window will start no later than April 28, 2014, according to the USCIS news alert issued 3/25/2014. Please note that one seeming benefit of filing a cap subject H-1B petition with a request for premium processing is that a receipt notice may be issued faster than if filed under regular processing. Therefore, the petitioner and beneficiary may confirm sooner that the petition has been chosen in the lottery.


Source of Information:

USCIS.gov (3/25/14) News Release:
USCIS to Accept H-1B Petitions for Fiscal Year 2015 Beginning April 1, 2014

USCIS.gov (3/25/14) News Alert:
USCIS to Begin Premium Processing of H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions by April 28, 2014

USCIS.gov – web page:
How Do I Use the Premium Processing Service?

H-2B Cap Count UPDATE – 3/28/14

April 2, 2014

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.

The H-2B cap limit for the first half of FY 2014 (October 1 - March 31) is 33,000. As of March 14, 2014, the cap for the 1st half of FY 2014 was reached.

The H-2B cap limit for second half of FY 2014 (April 1 - September 30) is 33,000. As of the last count (3/28/14); 13,741 beneficiaries have been approved and 5,108 are pending for a total of 18,849.

For further details read, “Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants


Source of Information:

- USCIS.gov (3/31/14) Web Page

- AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 13100840 (posted 4/1/14)