Posted On: June 30, 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 June 25, 2010, 23,500 H-1B Regular CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 65,000 cap.

As of June 25, 2010, 10,000 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to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.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: June 29, 2010

BALCA upholds denial of Labor Certification – Employer failed to adequately document employer website advertisement

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 social work, “Case Manager."

The employer filed a LC which was accepted for processing on August 15, 2007. ETA Form 9089 indicated that the job had been advertised in the Baltimore Sun on 4/8/2007 and 4/15/2007, and posted on the employer’s website from 4/24/2007 to 05/08/2007. The CO issued an Audit Notification requesting among other things, the Employer’s recruitment documentation. The Employer responded by providing copies of original tear sheets, a printout from the Employer’s website, the Employer’s recruitment report, and two statements, one from the Employer’s Attorney and the other from the HR Vice President. The newspaper tear sheets consisted of two parts: (1) almost full facsimiles of classified pages dated 4/8/2007 and 4/15/2007 which were not legible and had the top and bottom cut off, but bear the publication date; and (2) enlargements of the advertisements specific to the Employer’s application, but only the 4/8/2007 enlargement specifically bore the date of publication and name of publication. Additionally, the employer’s printout of its company website posting did not indicate the dates of posting. Thereafter the CO issued a denial letter because the original tear sheets were not provided and the employer failed to provide dated copies of pages from the company website. The Employer thereafter requested reconsideration arguing that the tear sheets had been provided and were sufficient proof of publication under the regulations. It also argued that alternative evidence of web site posting was sufficient according to a “FAQ” posted by the OFLC. The CO issued a letter of reconsideration establishing that the denial was valid because the enlargement did not show the date of publication or the name of the newspaper used, and the employer failed to provide dated copies of its web posting.

PERM Regulation 20 C.F.R. § 656.17(e)(1)(ii)(B) controls and it provides that one of the additional recruitment steps an employer can utilize to advertise a professional occupation is to advertise the position on its own website. For an employer that advertises by posting the job opportunity on its own website, the advertisement “can be documented by providing dated copies of pages from the site that advertise the occupation involved in the application.” Furthermore, the OFLC website includes a response to a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) stating that if an employer does not have a copy o the posting from its website, “the employer may provide an affidavit from the official within the employer’s organization responsible for the posting of such occupations on the website attesting, under penalty of perjury, to the posting of the job.” However, the FAQ states that such a submission does not guarantee that the CO will find such a submission to be adequate documentation of the posting on the website. In the present case, the statements of the Attorney and HR Vice President included with the audit response were not in affidavit form, nor attested to, and therefore could not be considered.

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

Matter of PSI Family Services, Inc.

*Over the past several months more and more labor certification cases have been denied for basic technical errors. It seems times have changed as they are interpreting the literal meaning of the regulations, denying cases on mere technicalities, the majority of which displayed no harm to the recruitment process/test of the U.S Labor market.

As a word of advice, do not engage in the PERM process alone, contact an Experienced Immigration Attorney to guide you through the process, so that your cases do not result in denials after all of the money and time you have invested in the process.

Posted On: June 25, 2010

MVP LAW GROUP – Q & A Forum, June 25, 2010

Question #1 - Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
I heard if there are quite a few cases between Feb 2005 and October 2005, USCIS staff can work on cases only up to available VISA numbers and once the numbers are consumed, then it could go back to Feb or March 2005 with the next VISA bulletin.
Hence to not to take any chances, I heard we could call them (USCIS) and provide details of our case so that based on first come first call, they would process and issue the GC.

Answer #1
You cannot call the USCIS to speed up the processing/issuance of your Green Card. Priority dates were established for this exact purpose. Each individual has a specific priority date which was issued to them when their Labor application was submitted to the Department of Labor (DOL). Only when the applicant’s priority date becomes current will the USCIS begin to process the applicant’s I-485 paperwork and thereafter may issue the Green Card.


Question #2 - Employment Based Immigration – Green Card (AC-21)
I have an approved I-140 filed by my previous company and they also submitted my I-485 back in 2007. I have since moved onto employment with another company on my EAD. Can I file AC21 Portability letter?

Answer #2
You may be eligible to file an AC21 106(c) Portability Request if the new position/duties are the same or substantially similar to the position/duties listed in your Labor application certified by the DOL.


Question #3 – Employment Based Immigration – Employment Authorization Document (EAD)/Advance Parole Document (AP)
My EAD and AP are expiring this year sometime. When is the earliest that I can file my renewal petitions?

Answer #3
According to the USCIS, you can petition for an EAD renewal no more than 120 days in advance of the expiration of your current EAD. For instance, if your current EAD card expires on October 16, 2010, the earliest you can file is on or after June 19, 2010.
According to the USCIS, you can petition for AP renewal no more than 30 days in advance of the expiration of your current AP or the USCIS will issue an RFE requesting your current AP document before issuing a new AP document.


Question #4 – Employment Based Immigration – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have vacation plans to go to India in the first week of July 2010. Can we file my H-1B extension petition prior to my leaving? Or can you hold it and file the case after I cross the border?

Answer #4
You may file your H-1B extension prior to your departure; however, unless you upgrade your case to Premium Processing, your vacation plans will need to be delayed. When you have a case pending with the USCIS, you CANNOT leave the United States, as they will interpret it as abandonment of your pending case. Additionally, you may not file a case while outside of the United States; you must be present in the U.S. when filing for Immigration benefits.


Question #5 - Employment Based Immigration – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I’d like to apply for an H-1B visa under the H-1B CAP. Is the H1B Visa Quota still available for the year 2010?

Answer #5
The H-1B 2010 CAP opened on April 1, 2009 and closed December 25, 2009. The H-1B FY2010 ran from October 1, 2009 until September 30, 2010. FY stands for Fiscal Year. 65,000 visas have already been allocated for FY2010.
The H-1B 2011 CAP opened on April 1, 2010 and is still OPEN. The H-1B FY2011 runs from October 1, 2010 until September 30, 2011. As of June 18, 42,100 visas are still available for FY2011.


Question #6 - Employment Based Immigration – Temporary Work Visas – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
One of our consultants is nearing his 6th year on H-1B visa status, but he has an approved I-140 filed by a different company. Is it possible to use that approved I-140 to get a three year extension with our company.

Answer #6
Yes. Pursuant to AC21 law, an H-1B immigrant may extend his or her status beyond the 6 year limitation if a labor certification, I-140, or employment based adjustment of status application has been filed where 365 days or more have elapsed since the filing of the labor certification or I-140. Or, where the H-1B immigrant has an I-140 petition which has been approved under the employment based green card and the AOS/485 is pending due to the unavailability of visa numbers.


Question #7 – Family Based Immigration – Green Card – Marriage Based (K1)
Is there any type of restrictions on a 'conditional green card”? Once my wife gets her green card, can she travel (internationally)?

Answer #7
Yes, she can travel internationally provided the trip is less than 6 months out of the year. The restrictions are mostly just the time frame, given most GCs are issued for 10 years, they want to make sure at the end of the two (2) years, prior to renewal of the GC, that you are still in a legitimate marriage and that the marriage was not for fraudulent purposes. Once the two (2) years are over and the conditions are removed after she applies to remove them, she will receive a GC valid for 10 years.
Within 90 days of the two-year anniversary of obtaining conditional residence, you and your wife will be required to file a Joint Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (Form I-751). Once the conditions are removed, your wife will officially have Lawful Permanent Residence in the US.


Question #8 – General
Please explain for me what “priority date becoming current” means? I filed under EB2 category.

Answer #8
In order for an individual to obtain an immigrant visa, a visa number must be available to you. This is referred to as the priority date being "current." 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. This Bulletin is accessible at www.travel.state.gov. Currently, there is a backlog in the Employment-Based Second Preference (EB-2) category, which is the category you are being filed in. This means, that you must wait until a visa becomes available, until your priority date becomes current. When your priority date becomes current, you may file the I-485 application, but until then, you must wait.
Each month, the State Department issues the visa bulletin, usually in the middle of the month. When the bulletin is issued, it will provide information that will take effect on the first day of the following month. Depending on the availability of immigrant visas, the priority dates in each category and for each country can change each month. However, please note that the priority dates can also stay the same. They can move very slowly or progress by several months or years. They can move forward or backward. Therefore, there is no way to anticipate what the priority date will be in a future month or when a category will become current.
In addition to the above website, you can go to http://immigrationroad.com/green-card-tracker.php and track how many green card applicants are in front of you using your priority date and preference category.


Question #9 – Student Visa (F1) and Extension of OPT
Our company just enrolled in E-Verify, what documents are needed when applying for the OPT extension?

Answer #9
The interim final rule extends the maximum period of OPT from 12 months to 29 months for F- 1 students who have completed a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degree and accept employment with employers enrolled in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS') E-Verify employment verification program. Normally, the OPT extension process would need to be initiated at least 90 days before expiration of the current OPT.

The documents that are needed for the OPT extension are provided below:
• Completed original I-765 Application for Employment Authorization;
• Form I-765 Application fee of $340 USD check or money order made payable to “US. Department of HomelandSecurity”;
• Copy of valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD);
• Copy of ALL passport biographical information pages (including photo, birth date, expiration date). Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond end date of OPT;
• Copy of F-1 visa page or Form I-797: Change of status to F-1 approval notice;
• Copy of I-94 card (front and back);
• Copy of current SEVIS I-20 (pages 1 and 3);
• Copy of National University official transcript or a copy of diploma indicating level and program of study;
• Two U.S.-style passport photos (four recommended);
• Proof of your company’s enrollment in E-Verify.


Question #10 – General
Should my company enroll in E-Verify?

Answer #10
We have posted some articles on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog in recent months that may help answer your questions as to enrollment, procedures and other information. Several links have been provided below which: explain the program; provide a link to the website for enrollment, list the Dos and Don’ts of the program, and point out the potential drawbacks of the program.

What is E-Verify?

I-9 Employer Handbook

DOs and DONTS

Potential drawbacks


MVP Law Group would like to thank everyone who contributed a question or comment. We hope that the information provided is helpful.

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, July 9, 2010! Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyerblog.

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. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Posted On: June 24, 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 June 18, 2010, 22,900 H-1B Regular CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 65,000 cap.

As of June 18, 2010, 9,700 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: June 24, 2010

USCIS Issues Extended Information Collection for Form I-120, Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has extended the time period for information collection for Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document until July 23, 2010.

During this period, USCIS will be evaluating whether to revise Form I-102.

The purpose of the form: for a nonimmigrant to apply for a new or replacement Form I-94 or I-95 Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document.

Members of the public are encouraged to submit comments and/or suggestions to USCIS, especially comments regarding the estimated public burden and associated response time.

Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies should address one or more of the following four points:
(1) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
(2) Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
(3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
(4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

Comments may be submitted to:
Department of Homeland Security (DHS), USCIS,
Chief, Regulatory Products Division, Clearance Office,
111 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20529-2210

Comments may also be submitted to DHS via facsimile to 202-272-8352 or via e-mail at rfs.regs@dhs.gov.

**When submitting comments by e-mail, please make sure to add OMB Control No. 1615–0079 in the subject box.

Posted On: June 21, 2010

MVP Law Group launches "Q & A Forum"

MVP Law Group is excited to announce the launch of our “Q & A Forum.”

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, AZ SB1070, or the new debate focused on Ending Birthright Citizenship, please do not hesitate to contact us by submitting your question/comment/viewpoint in our comment box provided on our H-1B Visa Lawyer Blog.

Our first “Q & A Forum” will take place this Friday, June 25, 2010. Act now and submit your questions!

THANK YOU!

Posted On: June 21, 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 June 16, 2010 with processing dates as of April 30, 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: June 15, 2010

USCIS releases new Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that they have made minor changes to Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident card. This new form contains more user-friendly features and has been made available on the USCIS website.

USCIS will accept previous versions of Form I-90 for 45 days, until July 28, 2010. After July 28, 2010, USCIS will reject all previous versions of Form I-90 and will return incorrect applications with a note instructing applicants to refile using the correct version of the form.

Applicants have been instructed to mail their applications to the addresses provided below:

USCIS
P.O. Box 21262
Phoenix, AZ 85036

If utilizing a courier service (FedEx, UPS, etc):

USCIS
ATTN: I-90
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S Floor 1
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034

Applicants filing a form at a USCIS Lockbox facility may elect to receive an email and/or text message notifying them that their application has been accepted by completing Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, and attaching it to the first page of their application.

Posted On: June 14, 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 June 11, 2010, 22,200 H-1B Regular CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 65,000 cap.

As of June 11, 2010, 9,400 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: June 11, 2010

July 2010 Visa Bulletin

The Department of State has released its latest Visa Bulletin.

Click here to view the July 2010 Visa Bulletin.

The July 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.

**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.

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.

Posted On: June 11, 2010

USCIS Issues Extended Information Collection for Form I- 824, Application for Action on an Approved Application

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has extended the time period for information collection for Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application until July 9, 2010.

During this period, USCIS will be evaluating whether to revise Form I-824.

This form has multiple purposes: to request a duplicate approval notice, to request an approval notice be sent to another U.S. Consulate, or to request an approval notice be sent to a U.S. Consulate for derivative visas for family members.

Members of the public are encouraged to submit comments and/or suggestions to USCIS, especially comments regarding the estimated public burden and associated response time.

Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies should address one or more of the following four points:
(1) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
(2) Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
(3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
(4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

Comments may be submitted to:
Department of Homeland Security (DHS), USCIS,
Chief, Regulatory Products Division, Clearance Office,
111 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20529-2210.

Comments may also be submitted to DHS via facsimile to 202-272-8352 or via e-mail at rfs.regs@dhs.gov.

**When submitting comments by e-mail, please make sure to add OMB Control No. 1615-0044 in the subject box.

Posted On: June 10, 2010

NEWS RELEASE: USCIS Seeks Public Comment on Proposal to Adjust Fees for Immigration Benefits

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is seeking public comment on a proposed federal rule that would adjust most fees by 10% for immigration benefit applications and petitions.

USCIS is a fee-based organization with about 90% of its budget coming from fees paid by applicants and petitioners to obtain immigration benefits. The law requires USCIS to conduct fee reviews every two years to determine whether its costs to administer the nation’s immigration laws, process application, and provide the infrastructure needed to support those activities. A fee adjustment, as detailed in the proposed rule, is necessary to ensure that the USCIS recovers the cost of their operations while also meeting the application processing goals identified in the 2007 fee rule.

Members of the public are encouraged to submit comments and/or suggestions to USCIS.

Comments may be submitted through regulations.gov. The comment period runs for 45 days, beginning June 11, 2010 and ending July 26, 2010.

Proposal to Adjust Fees for Immigration Benefits: Questions and Answers

Proposal to Adjust Fees for Immigration Benefits: Fact Sheet

Current and Proposed Immigration Fees can be found on the Fact Sheet provided above.

***All information has been taken from USCIS.GOV

Posted On: June 10, 2010

SPECIAL – Naturalization/Citizenship - Valid Until 8/31/2010

SPECIAL OFFER: $950 flat fee (no admin fee) for filing Form N-400 + One Hour of Individualized Review

*Additional $750.00 for Attorney to Attend Naturalization Interview

Our normal legal fees are $1000 + $150(admin fee) per application

Contact our office to apply for Naturalization/Citizenship


The required documents for applying for Naturalization are as follows:
1. Copy of Permanent Residence Card
2. Copy of Spouse/Parent - Certificate of Citizenship/Birth Certificate (if applicable)
3. Copy of complete passports, visa and I-94 card
4. Marriage certificate (if applicable)
5. Divorce decree or death certificate (if applicable)
6. Children’s Certificate of Citizenship (if applicable)
7. Two (2) colored passport style photographs for each applicant
8. Certified copies of federal income tax forms that you filed for the past five years
9. Application fee in the amount of $675.00 (Check made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security- DO NOT ABBREVIATE)


DETAILS OF SPECIAL OFFER:

At MVP Law Group, we offer high quality legal services at cost efficient rates with an individualized hands-on approach for each and every client. Contact our office for your Naturalization needs. From the onset, you will receive individualized attention from the initial client meeting up until your Naturalization interview. We will discuss with you the advantages of U.S. Citizenship, the process and time frame for applying; provide you with study materials and when you’re ready, devote an hour of personal attention to help you prepare for your Naturalization interview.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Question: What are some of the benefits of U.S. citizenship?
Answer: There are certain benefits to becoming a U.S. citizen, such as higher estate tax exemptions, federal job benefits, greater freedom of travel to other countries and most importantly, the right to vote. In addition there are certain federal grants and scholarships available only to U.S. citizens.

Question: What are the continuous residence and physical presence requirements for Naturalization?
Answer: The law generally requires that applicants for naturalization must have resided continuously in the United States during a period of 5 years before applying (3 years in the case of qualified spouses of U.S. citizens). Applicants are also generally required to have been physically present in the United States for at least half of that required period of time.

Question: What is the procedure for applying for Naturalization?
Answer: Once you have completed and submitted your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and you have had your fingerprints taken at a USCIS facility, you will receive an appointment for an interview. At your naturalization interview, you will be required to answer questions about your application and background. You will also take an English and civics test unless you qualify for an exemption or waiver.

Question: What is the purpose of the Naturalization test?
Answer: The purpose of the test is to demonstrate that you are able to read, write, and speak basic English and that you have a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government (also known as “civics”).

*Frequently Asked Questions were summarized from the USCIS.GOV website.

CONTACT MVP LAW GROUP for more information!

Posted On: June 9, 2010

E-Verify Redesign Coming in June

Big changes are coming to E-Verify in June that will enhance its usability, security, accuracy and efficiency. The newly redesigned E-Verify features a clean and modern design, easy and intuitive navigation, and clear and simple language. A new home page, a reimagined case alerts feature, improved case management and a streamlined tutorial are among the dozens of improvements coming to E-Verify.

Check out the new E-Verify Redesign section of the E-Verify website to learn more about what’s coming and how to prepare. The new section highlights several of the exciting new features and offers information on how to get a sneak preview in June before the site launches.

Want to know more about the redesigned E-Verify? USCIS is offering a sneak preview Webinar the week before the new site is launched. The 90-minute Webinar will be conducted by a member of the redesign team and will feature a presentation of the changes as well as a question and answer session.

E-Verify Redesign Sneak Preview

Wednesday, June 16, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. EDT and 3:30pm EDT. Space is limited, click here to register for the E-Verify Webinar.

IMPORTANT NOTICE for EMPLOYERS ALREADY ENROLLED IN E-VERIFY:
In conjunction with the redesign of the E-Verify web interface, employers will be required to complete the new on-line tutorial before being able to E-Verify new workers.

Posted On: June 9, 2010

Administrative Appeals Office Processing Times

The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released on June 8, 2010 with processing dates as of May 1, 2010.

If you filed an appeal, please review the links below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Administrative Appeals Office

The current processing time for an I-129 H-1B Appeal is 13 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is 24 months; for an I-140EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 24 months.

Most other cases are within USCIS's processing time goal of 6 months or less.

Posted On: June 8, 2010

DHS News Release - U.S. and France Establish Arrangement to Interdict High-Risk Travelers

Secretary Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on June 3, 2010 that the U.S. and France have established an arrangement to implement the Immigration Advisory Program (IAP), which allows for the identification of high-risk travelers at foreign airports before they board aircraft bound for the U.S. This arrangement has been launched at Paris’ Charles De Gaulle International Airport. A similar arrangement was entered into on July 1, 2009, implementing IAP at Madrid Barajas International Airport.

The purpose of the IAP is to allow specialized U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel posted in foreign airports to utilize current targeting and passenger analysis information and/or an assessment of passengers’ documentation to identify high-risk persons bound for the U.S. and to make “no board” recommendations to carriers and host governments.

Secretary Napolitano believes that the IAP arrangements will enhance the capabilities of both the U.S. and foreign countries in which we have collaborated with to protect our immigration systems as well as the global aviation network from abuse by terrorists and transnational criminals.

DHS currently has IAP arrangements with seven (7) countries and operates at nine (9) locations.

For more information, please visit www.dhs.gov

Posted On: June 7, 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: June 4, 2010

BALCA upholds denial of Labor Certification – Employer Offered Terms and Conditions of Employment Less Favorable than those Offered to the Foreign Worker

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently affirmed the final determination of a Certifying Officer (CO) denying labor certification (LC) for three alien workers for the position of “Senior Programmer Analyst."

The employer filed a LC which was accepted for processing on August 15, 2007. ETA Form 9089 indicated that the job duties consisted of “design, develop, plan, coordinate and implement advance software module components in complex computing environment. For specific skills, the employer required: C++, ASP, COM/DCOM, Scripting, Win NT/2000/98, UNIX, Oracle and VB. Thereafter, the CO issued an Audit Notification letter requesting evidence of recruitment and other required documentation. The Employer responded by submitting copies of its newspaper advertisements, as well as the other required documentation. Thereafter the CO denied certification for several reasons: (1) the Notice of Filing did not contain the location of the job opportunity; and (2) the Employer did not provide adequate documentation of the mandatory print advertisements as requested. Specifically, the tear sheets submitted were not legible. The Employer responded by requesting reconsideration and submitted enlarged, legible copies of its newspaper advertisements. The CO issued a letter of reconsideration indicating that denial was proper because the advertisements contained additional job requirements not listed on the ETA Form 9089. Specifically, the newspaper advertisements stated that travel was required for the position.

PERM Regulation 20 C.F.R. § 656.17(f)(7) controls and it provides:

Advertisements placed in newspapers of general circulation or in professional journals must “not contain wages or terms and conditions of employment that are less favorable than those offered to the alien.”

In the instant case, the advertisements stated that travel was required for the position, which was not listed on Form ETA 9089. In Summary, since the Employer did not include the travel requirement as a requirement for the position on ETA Form 9089, the Employer’s conditions of employment in its newspaper advertisement were less favorable than those offered to the Alien, in violation of 20 C.F.R. § 656.17(f)(7).

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

Matter of Xpedite Technologies, Inc.

Posted On: June 3, 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 28, 2010, 20,800 H-1B Regular CAP subject non-immigrant visa petitions have been filed with the USCIS towards the 65,000 cap.

As of May 28, 2010, 8,700 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: June 2, 2010

USCIS Improving Consistency and Integrity in Form Intake Process

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has announced that several more forms will be transitioning from the Service Centers to the Lockbox Network. USCIS believes that by centralizing form and fee intake to a Lockbox environment, USCIS will improve consistency and integrity in the intake process.

The forms scheduled for the transition include:

I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker;

I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiance;

I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (Only those filed separately from the I-129)

I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur;

I-817, Application for Family Unity Benefits (If filing under section 301 of the Immigration Act of 1990)

This transition has already started, as the Service Centers will be forwarding applications to the appropriate Lockbox facilities. USCIS plans to announce the address change sometime in June and will revise the filing instructions and update the web page for each form.