Posted On: May 28, 2010

BALCA affirms denial of Labor Certification – No Violation of Due Process, PERM Regulations eliminated NOF/Rebuttal procedure found in the pre-PERM regulations

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently affirmed the final determination
of a Certifying Officer (CO) denying labor certification (LC) for an alien worker for the position of “Property Real Estate and Community Association Manager.”

The employer filed a LC which was accepted for processing on December 8, 2008. On September 30, 2009, the CO denied the application because the Employer indicated on Form ETA 9089 that it placed its second advertisement on Craigslist, which the CO indicated was not a newspaper or a professional journal. The Employer thereafter requested reconsideration and in its request argued that it was denied due process because it had not been provided adequate notice of the regulatory violation.

PERM Regulation 20 C.F.R. § 656.17(e) controls and it requires that an employer attest to having conducted recruitment prior to filing an application for permanent employment certification. The regulation goes on to provide that applicants involving both professional and non-professional occupations normally require the sponsoring employer to attest to having placed two print advertisements on two different Sundays in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of intended employment. In lieu of one of the Sunday newspaper advertisements, a sponsoring employer is allowed to place an advertisement in a professional journal. In the instant case, the Employer did not attempt to argue that Craigslist was a professional journal, but relied on the argument that it was denied due process because the CO raised an issue for the first time in its final decision, as the Employer based its reasoning on a series of pre-PERM BALCA decisions. Under the pre-PERM regulations, a CO would first issue a “Notice of Findings” (NOF) providing notice to an employer of any deficiencies upon which the CO proposed to deny certification. However, the PERM regulations eliminated the NOF/Rebuttal procedure. The Board found that the CO’s denial of the application without prior notice of the grounds for denial did not violate the PERM regulations.

Accordingly, the Board affirmed the decision of the CO in denying labor certification.

Matter of WP Realty Inc.

Posted On: May 20, 2010

UPDATE - H-1B FY2011 CAP COUNT

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has updated the count of H-1B petitions received and counted towards the 65,000 cap.

As of May 14, 2010, 19,000 H-1B Regular CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 65,000 cap.

As of May 14, 2010, 8,100 H-1B Masters Degree CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 20,000 cap.

USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.

Stay posted to MVP Law Group for future FY2011 H-1B Cap updates!

Posted On: May 19, 2010

Updated List: SEVP Approved Schools

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently updated their list of Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) approved schools. The schools listed have all been certified to participate in the program.

The program allows foreign students interested in obtaining an education in the United States to complete a visa petition, pay the required fee, and attend a U.S. College or University.

Interested Foreign students: There is a process in obtaining a student visa, but it is not a difficult one. The student must first obtain Form I-20 from the U.S. College or University from which he/she intends to enroll, pay the required visa fee (Form I-901) and contact a local U.S. Consulate/Embassy to schedule an interview. The SEVP procedures differ among U.S. Consulates/Embassies; contact your U.S. Consulate/Embassy NOW to determine its particular procedure on applying for a visa before planning for the interview.

Interested Schools: There is a separate process to obtain F & M Certification. Authorized school officials must obtain and complete Form I-17. An overview of the SEVP Certification process can be found on the ICE website . If approved, the school will be certified and allowed to issue Form I-20 to qualifying foreign students.

If you need assistance or an explanation of the SEVP, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.

Posted On: May 18, 2010

Updated Service Center Processing Times

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on May 14, 2010 with processing dates as of March 31, 2010.

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

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

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

Posted On: May 12, 2010

LATEST UPDATE - H-1B FY2011 CAP COUNT

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has updated the count of H-1B petitions received and counted towards the 65,000 cap.

As of May 6, 2010, 18,000 H-1B Regular CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 65,000 cap.

As of May 6, 2010, 7,600 H-1B Masters Degree CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 20,000 cap.

USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.

Stay posted to MVP Law Group for future FY2011 H-1B Cap updates!

Posted On: May 11, 2010

June 2010 Visa Bulletin

The Department of State has released its latest Visa Bulletin.

The June 2010 Visa Bulletin still shows employment based third preference (EB-3) visas as oversubscribed while the employment based second preference (EB-2) is current for all areas of chargeability except for China and India.

Have you already applied in EB3, thinking about filing in EB2...if you are eligible, contact MVP Law Group.

Did you file in EB3 or EB2 and still waiting...and married to a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident?...you may be eligible to file a Family Based Immigrant Petition for faster processing.

Questions, contact MVP Law Group toll free at 1-800-447-0796.

Click here to view the June 2010 Visa Bulletin.

Posted On: May 7, 2010

ICE Investigation results in Managers of 2 temporary staffing companies charged with hiring undocumented workers

After an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General in Chicago, the president and office manager of two Bensenville, Illinois, temporary staffing companies were charged with unlawfully hiring dozens of illegal aliens to form their labor pool. Each was charged with one count of unlawfully hiring illegal aliens between October 2006 and October 2007. The charges also seek forfeiture of $488,095, which was seized from various bank accounts as well as the Bensenville office. Additionally, the defendants allegedly paid their workers’ wages in cash and failed to deduct payroll taxes or other withholdings. According to the allegations, they repeatedly withdrew funds in the amount of $9,800 from bank accounts to pay their employee’s wages in cash, believing that withdrawing amounts less than $10,000 would avoid triggering the banks’ currency transaction reporting requirements. If convicted, unlawfully hiring illegal aliens carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

It has become apparent that ICE aggressively targets employers who violate immigration laws by knowingly employing an illegal workforce. Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge for ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago provided, “Employers in all industries and locations must comply with the nation’s immigration laws if we are to have an effective immigration enforcement strategy in this county.”

The MVP Law Group, P.A. provides assistance to employers interested in establishing an effective employment compliance program which includes training administrative personnel and other employees. If you are interested, please contact our office.

Posted On: May 5, 2010

UPDATE - H-1B FY2011 CAP COUNT

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has updated the count of H-1B petitions received and counted towards the 65,000 cap.

As of April 27, 2010, 16,500 H-1B Regular CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 65,000 cap.

As of April 27, 2010, 6,900 H-1B Masters Degree CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 20,000 cap.

USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.

Stay posted to MVP Law Group for future FY2011 H-1B Cap updates!

Posted On: May 4, 2010

ICE Investigation results in San Diego-area bakery, its owner and manager, indicted on federal charges for hiring illegal aliens

After an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a San Diego-area French bakery, along with its owner and a manager, were charged in a 16 count indictment. The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to engage in a pattern or practice of hiring and continuing to employee unauthorized workers, a misdemeanor, in addition to 14 felony counts, including making false statements and shielding undocumented alien employees from detection. If convicted, the owner and manager of the bakery face a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. The indictment also seeks criminal forfeiture of proceeds gained from the corporation’s unlawful activities.

It has become apparent that ICE aggressively targets employers who violate immigration laws by knowingly employing an illegal workforce. Mike Carney, acting special agent in charge for ICE Office of Investigations in San Diego provided, “this indictment shows ICE’s commitment to holding businesses accountable when they repeatedly ignore immigration laws as it relates to their workforce. The goal of our enforcement is two-fold, first to reduce the demand for illegal employment and, second, to protect job opportunities for the nation’s lawful workforce.” In FY 2009, ICE worksite investigations resulted in a total of 410 criminal arrests, including 114 management personnel.

The MVP Law Group, P.A. provides assistance to employers interested in establishing an effective employment compliance program which includes training administrative personnel and other employees. If you are interested, please contact our office.