Posted On: March 31, 2011

USCIS will begin to accept H1B Petitions for FY2012 on April 1, 2011

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin to accept H-1B petitions for the FY 2012 cap on April 1, 2011 for employment beginning on October 1, 2011 . Cases are considered accepted on the date USCIS receives a complete application with the fee enclosed, not on the postmarked date.

H-1B nonimmigrant visas are for professional foreign workers with a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent. Congress allows 65,000 visas to be issued annually to qualifying foreign workers. An additional 20,000 H-1Bs are reserved for professional foreign workers who receive U.S. Master’s degrees. Frequently, employers interested in utilizing the H-1B visa program contact an experienced Immigration Lawyer for a consultation about the process, determine eligibility, discuss applicable lawyer’s fees and filing fees, and so forth.

If an individual works at any of the below entities, their H-1B petition will be considered EXEMPT from the CAP:
• Nonprofit research organization
• Government research organization
• Institute of higher education
• Nonprofit organization related to/affiliated with an institute of higher education

Until December 21, 2014 individuals who file of behalf of beneficiaries from Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands are also EXEMPT from the CAP.

The H-1B cap does not apply to foreign nationals who already hold H-1B status and are seeking to change their H-1B employer and/or extend their H-1B stay in the United States.

Employers looking to hire new H-1B professionals are urged to begin the H-1B petition process immediately as in prior years, the H1B CAP was reached on the day it opened, April 1.

Employers should review their employment needs and determine whether any foreign national employees will be requiring H-1B visas. This is extremely important where employers are planning to hire foreign nationals who will soon graduate from U.S. universities. While many of these individuals may already have an employment authorization card, you may still have to file an H-1B petition for them. For instance, if you plan to hire an individual that will graduate in May 2011, that individual’s employment authorization card will be valid through the end of May 2012. After May 2012, this individual will no longer be able to work for you unless you have already filed an H-1B petition for them on April 1, 2011 asking the USCIS to change their status to H-1B from October 1, 2011. H-1B status grants such an individual up to three years of employment authorization from October 1, 2011.

Because immigration law is federal in nature (i.e., no state or provincial law is involved), our firm is able to provide U.S. business immigration services to clients located anywhere in the United States and around the world!

Contact MVP Law Group to begin the process now!

MVP Law Group, P.A.
9192 Red Branch Road, Suite 110
Columbia, MD 21045

Local - 240-390-0600
Fax - 240-390-0603
Toll free - 1-800-447-0796

Posted On: March 30, 2011

Immigration in 2011 - Part 5 of 10, Punitive Enforcement Approaches

Fifth part of our ten part series examining the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) publication of “What to Watch Out for in Immigration in 2011.”

Topic #5: Punitive Enforcement Approaches

In the 112th Congress violations of immigration laws are expected to have stricter penalties and further legislation is likely to be proposed in connection to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) that was passed in 1996.

These proposed radical enforcements include mass deportation of any individual in the US illegally, deportation for lawful permanent residents who commit even minor crimes, deportation for visitors who stay past the visa expiration date as well as punishment for individuals who use fake passports and visas. Additionally, many lawmakers also wish to expedite hearings and take away individuals legal right to a fair trial. Although consequences are needed for those individuals who break the law, the legislation proposed is not proportionate to the crimes and would be difficult to implement.

Both the Bush and Obama administration worked to enforce immigration law effectively during fiscal year 2010 through the Emergency Border Security Supplemental Appropriations Act as well as increased border security agents and surveillance technology.

Those who favor a more stricter immigration policy feel more officers on the border is one of the only ways to limit the number of illegal immigrants in the US. However opponents, both democrats and republicans alike, feel the mass deportation approach is too unrealistic. Additionally, according to the Center for American Progress deporting all the undocumented workers in the US over five years would cost approximately $41.2 billion each year. The deportation of all illegal immigrants who currently live in the U.S. would also tremendously harm the U.S. economy.

In 2005, the House passed legislation that would have made it a criminal offense for someone to be in the U.S. while on an invalid visa or without green card; currently this is only a violation of civil immigration laws. Many have raised their concerns over this legislation because the conditions of a visa can easily be violated without it being criminal, for example, a college student not taking enough credits under their visa. Passing the legislation would also push the illegal immigrants further away from society and authorities out of fear for deportation. Not to mention the fact that the bill would create an increase in immigration cases in the court system, currently overwhelmed with present cases.

We desperately need an answer; however, deporting our entire illegal immigrant community is not the best nor most economical approach. If you have any ideas on how best to fix our broken immigration system, we welcome your comments and suggestions…

Posted On: March 29, 2011

ICE Secure Communities Program in Maryland Counties

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) program "Secure Communities" was activated in the following counties as of March 22, 2011: Calvert, Cecil, Charles, Harford and Howard County. Currently, all counties in Maryland use the program except Allegany, Garrett, Washington, Montgomery, Wicomico and Baltimore City.

The implementation of Secure Communities into these counties means that individuals arrested and fingerprinted by the police will also have their fingerprints cross-checked against those stored in the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) database. If an individual who was arrested in one of the previously mentioned counties is discovered to be in the United States illegally, deportation proceedings will begin immediately.

Statistics complied on the Secure Communities program reveal that individuals who were arrested and later deported because they did not have lawful status had no previous criminal convictions.

To view more statistics relating to the Secure Communities program, please click here.

Posted On: March 28, 2011

REMINDER - Submit Your Questions

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, April 1st, 2011

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, 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 1st, 2011. 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. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Posted On: March 23, 2011

Immigration in 2011 - Part 4 of 10, State and Local Authority to Enforce Immigration Law

Fourth part of our ten part series examining the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) publication of “What to Watch Out for in Immigration in 2011.”

Topic #4: State and Local Authority to Enforce Immigration Law

The role state and local officials should play when enforcing immigration laws has been a heavily debated issue especially since the passing of Arizona’s SB 1070 law.

Allowing each state to determine its own border and immigration laws would create chaos and conflict among bordering states with differing opinions and it would make the laws very hard to enforce. This is why AILA believes immigration law should remain a federal issue, however countless laws are passed each year by states on immigration and border control which affect housing, public benefits, employment, education and even public health.

Many of the laws states have tried to pass related to immigration policy have been repealed by the federal government such as parts of Arizona’s SB 1070. Because of the insistence by many states to pass their own immigration laws, lawmakers have pushed to pass legislation that would make it clear who has authority on immigration matters. One such piece of legislation is the CLEAR Act, which if passed would allow state and local authorities to enforce immigration laws.

Opponents of the CLEAR Act fear that if local agencies begin enforcing immigration matters, those in immigrant communities will be less likely to talk to authorities, report crimes and be willing to cooperate with the police. It will additionally lead to an increased fear of deportation. State and local police officials also oppose laws like the CLEAR Act as well because it would prohibit them from protecting the public if they had to become “deportation agents.” State and local officials currently don’t have the knowledge or resources to enforce the immigration laws and asking them to do so would create an overwhelming amount of pressure and responsibility. Secure Communities, the Criminal Alien Program and the 287(g) program are federal programs already in place that rely on local law enforcement to arrest and provide information about potential illegal immigrants. Although many are concerned that these programs diminish trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement, AILA believes it’s likely we will see a push to expand and create new programs in 2011.

If you would like to express your views on this issue, please complete the contact us form. We want to hear what YOU think, how YOU feel about this issue!

Posted On: March 18, 2011

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, March 18, 2011

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.


Question #1 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
As an employer, how do I qualify to file an exempt H-1B nonimmigrant petition with the USCIS?

Answer #1
There are three categories that are exempt from the annual cap, those categories are the following:
1. The Petitioner is an institution of higher education as defined in the Higher Education Act of 1965, section 101(a), 20 U.S.C. section 1001(a);
2. The Petitioner is a nonprofit organization or entity related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education, as such institutions of higher education are defined in the Higher Education Act of 1965, section 101(a), 20 U.S.C. section 1001(a);
3. The Petitioner is a nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization, as defined in 8 CFR 214.2(h)(19)(iii)(C).


Question #2 – Employment Based Immigration - Green Card
I am currently in the process of filing my I-140 and I-485 concurrently, I was wondering if I could also apply for an Employment Document (EAD) and Advance Parole at the same time?

Answer #2
Yes, you may apply for an Employment Document (EAD), Form I-765 at the time of filing the I-485, Adjustment of Status Application or at a later date. You may also apply for Advance Parole (AP), Form I-131 at the time of filing the I-485 application or at a later date. If you are unsure and do not wish to apply for the EAD or AP at the time of filing the I-485 Application, as long as you have the I-485 receipt notice, you may apply for EAD and/or AP at any time thereafter.


Question #3 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
What types of questions are asked during the H1-B visa application interview process?

Answer #3
There are several types of questions asked during the H-1B visa interview. During the interview the Immigration Officer is free to ask any questions regarding the applicant’s educational background, experience, the sponsoring employer, and any information contained in the submitted H-1B petition.


Question #4 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Can more than one (1) employer file a temporary (part-time) H1B visa application on my behalf at the same time? For a part time H1B worker, what is the minimum number of hours per week and days per week of work required to be eligible for maintaining the part-time H1B visa status?

Answer #4
Simply put, yes more than one employer can file a temporary part-time H-1B visa application for you during the same time period, as long as a certified LCA covering the jurisdiction of employment is obtained and the I-129 petition and additional supporting documentation reflects this part-time period. 40 hours + per week would be considered a full time employee, therefore, anything less than 40 hours per week would be considered part-time.


Question #5 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I know one of the requirements for the H1-B visa is at least a bachelor’s degree, but what is the foreign equivalency of U.S. bachelor’s degree?

Answer #5
The foreign equivalency of a U.S. Bachelor’s degree is any foreign degree that is equal to at least 120 credit hours from an accredited U.S. academic institution.


Question #6 – Employment Based Immigration – Green Card
My priority date is current. How long do I have to wait, we’ve already waited 5+ years for our green cards. Do you suggest I call USCIS and make a service request to make sure they have everything and to speed up the issuance of my card?

Answer #6
Normally when priority dates become current according to the Visa Bulletin, it takes anywhere from 30-90 days to complete the processing of the I-485 before issuing the Green Card to the primary applicant and his/her derivatives, unless issues arise during the process. You may check on the status of your case by calling the USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 every thirty days, but no sooner than that.


Question #7 – Temporary Work Visa – E-1 Treaty Trader
How long can I stay in the US on an E-1 visa and can I apply for an extension?

Answer #7
E-1 Visa holders are generally admitted for a period of 2 years and extensions can be obtained.


Question #8 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I have exhausted my 6 years on H-1B visa and returned to my home country. I have been here for 180 days; can I now apply for a new H-1B visa under the cap opening on April 1, 2011 to return to U.S.? Please let me know so we can move forward immediately.

Answer #8
According to the regulations, once you have exhausted the 6 year limit on H-1B, you must return to your home country for one (1) year – 365 days, before you can petition again for an H-1B nonimmigrant visa. Therefore, under the facts you have presented, you must wait another 185 days before you are eligible to petition for a new H-1B nonimmigrant visa.


Question #9 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My OPT is expiring soon and my H1B application was denied because a connection couldn’t be made between my major and my work. If, in the future I want to return to the US on H1B, is that possible or will the problem with my major still prevent me? Do I need to get an MBA to solve this?

Answer #9
It is possible, as long as there is a correlation between the degree you earned and the work that you do for the employer. The position must require at least a Bachelor’s degree in a specific field, or may list several fields and you must possess at least a Bachelor’s degree in that specific field or a related field. It is possible; I would not dismiss the opportunity. On another note, if you would like to pursue your MBA, you should.


Question #10 – Temporary Work Visa – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
My OPT Extension Period ends on July 15, 2011 also my student visa expires on the same day. Do I have to apply for H1 this year or can I apply next year?

Answer #10
If your employer wishes to continue your employment, they should file an H-1B petition on your behalf under the FY2012 Cap which opens on April 1, 2011. Employment does not begin until October 1, 2011; if however, the CAP is reached this year on April 1, 2011 or within a few days thereafter, you will not be able to petition again until next year and will begin to accrue unlawful status unless you transfer to another nonimmigrant visa status or return to your home country once your OPT expires. Therefore, filing for an H-1B visa this year in April would be the best situation for you.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, April 1st, 2011! Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyer blog.

Posted On: March 17, 2011

Updated Service Center Processing Times

Processing Time reports for all of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Service Centers were released on March 14, 2011 with processing dates as of January 31, 2011.

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

**Please be aware that the data given 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.

Posted On: March 16, 2011

Immigration in 2011 - Part 3 of 10, Restrictions on State Identification Cards (REAL ID)

Third part of our ten part series examining the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) publication of “What to Watch Out for on Immigration in 2011.”

Topic #3: Restrictions on State Identification Cards (REAL ID)

The REAL ID Act was brought up after national security concerns grew in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The act scrutinized state driver licenses as well as identification cards, creating a federal standard for driver licenses issued.

Rising conflict over the enactment of the REAL ID Act is likely to continue to grow during the 112th Congress. Originally, the act was supposed to go in effect in 2008 but due to obstacles it has been postponed to May 10, 2011. If this act were passed, individuals who could not provide sufficient basic documentation proving their legal status would not be issued a driver’s license. Many criticize the idea of creating a new driver’s license system, pointing out that with the new system states will begin obtaining, storing and sharing more personal information about each applicant. The influx of sensitive information poses the increased possibility for identity theft and fraud. Restrictions on driver’s licenses from the large population of undocumented workers also creates fear of being reported and pushes the illegal immigrants to be less cooperative with law enforcement.

Senators Akaka (D-HI) and Voinovich (R-OH) proposed an alternative to the REAL ID Act back in 2009, called the Providing for Additional Security in States’ Identification Act (PASS ID Act). A key difference between the REAL ID Act and the PASS ID Act is that states are prohibited from accessing other states transportation databases under the PASS ID Act. This change addressed some of the security concerns critics had of the REAL ID Act. However, PASS ID is not a perfect piece of legislation and is considered stricter in the fact that it requires work authorization in order for individuals applying for asylum and temporary protected status (TPS) to receive a license. Additionally, under the PASS ID Act licenses could be denied without review to any population of people by the DHS Secretary which is a significant cause for concern.

Posted On: March 14, 2011

REMINDER - Submit Your Questions

MVP "Immigration Q & A Forum" - This Friday, March 18th, 2011

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, 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, March 18th, 2011. 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. And, therefore, your communication with us through this forum will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

Posted On: March 10, 2011

April 2011 Visa Bulletin

The Department of State has released its latest Visa Bulletin.

Click here to view the April 2011 Visa Bulletin.

The April 2011 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.

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

Posted On: March 9, 2011

Immigration in 2011 - Part 2 of 10, Mandatory Employment Verification

Second part of our ten part series examining the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) publication of “What to Watch Out for on Immigration in 2011.”

Topic #2: Mandatory Employment Verification

E-Verify (Electronic Employment Verification System) a system widely used by employers to check the authenticity and legality of employees to work in the United States will likely become a mandatory requirement for all employers.

Though the E-Verify system has been effective at cutting down the number of illegal employees in the workplace, AILA believes there are still problems with privacy, civil liberties, as well as budgetary and technological concerns that need to be worked out. AILA further concludes that the majority of E-Verify legislation proposed does not address these concerns and that mandatory usage of the system could be potentially harmful. According to data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), approximately 1.2 million authorized workers could be displaced if E-Verify were made a requirement because the database has high percentages of incorrect and outdated information.

AILA also argues that many employers misuse the program by pre-screening potential employees and by failing to inform employees of their rights under the program. Other errors of the program led to 22% of restricted work assignments, 16% were delayed job training and 2% received reduced wages. At a time when our economy is already hurting, AILA maintains that making E-Verify mandatory without fixing the flaws would only make the situation worse.

Until the flaws in the system are fixed, we at MVP Law Group agree that E-Verify should not become a mandatory requirement for all employers.

Posted On: March 4, 2011

MVP LAW GROUP – Immigration Q&A Forum, Friday, March 4, 2011

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.


Question #1 - H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
I am an H1-B Employee. My PERM and I-140 have been approved. Our company recently moved to a new office within the same Metro area (MSA), same county and just about 10 minutes from earlier office. Is a new LCA required?

Answer #1
Based on the information you have provided, as long as the position title and duties have not changed, you do not need to obtain a new LCA. However, the employer should notify the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) of the change in company address.


Question #2 – Employment Based Immigration - GC
Same facts as above. Is my PERM and I-140 still valid or do I need a new PERM and I-140?

Answer #2
The H-1B nonimmigrant visa program and employment based green card process are two entirely distinct processes so the paperwork used to obtain your H-1B (Form I-129, LCA, etc..) has no bearing on your PERM and approved I-140. However, the employer should notify the USCIS of the change in company address.


Question #3 – Employment Based Immigration - GC
I’ve been working at my current company for nearly 5 years and have a bachelor’s degree in EE. Can I change jobs within the company after the five year mark and be able to use the experience for my current job towards my labor certification and moving to an EB-2 category?

Answer #3
No, you cannot use the experience obtained in your current job to apply for another position within the same company. The experience needed for EB-2 classification must be prior experience.


Question #4 – Green Card
My fiancé is on an H1-B visa and is further along the path to getting a green card. I have my own H1-B visa but if he does get his green card before I get mine, should I be applying to be his spouse through the INS somehow in order to avoid the 3-5 year F2 priority date wait?

Answer #4
If you are only his fiancé, then you cannot be added to his I-140 Petition nor his I-485 Application, unless and until you get married, you cannot be added as a derivative. Once you are his spouse and he has obtained his green card, then yes, you will need to petition by filing Form I-130, Immigrant Petition for Alien Relative and obtain your green card through family-marriage based immigration (F2 classification).


Question #5 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
If my 6 years of H1-B run out, can I transfer immediately to a TN visa (I’m Canadian), and avoid the 1 year waiting period in Canada before reapplying for another H1-B?

Answer #5
You can transfer to TN from H1-B but you are still going to have to wait one full year outside of the United States before being eligible to obtain a new H-1B nonimmigrant visa.


Question #6 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
Can I file an H-1B petition if I am currently under optional practical training on an F-1 visa?

Answer #6
Yes, beginning on April 1, 2011 you are able to file an H-1B petition for the FY2012 with H-1B employment beginning October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2014.


Question #7 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
If I was recently fired while in the country on an H-1B visa, can I stay in the country legally by obtaining a new job or filing for a change of status to a different category?

Answer #7
Yes, you could change jobs if the new employer agrees to sponsor your H1-B for a specialty occupation, this would be called an H-1B transfer. If you wanted to file for change of status there are three visas you could switch to: F-1 if you meet all eligibility requirements, L-2 if you are the spouse of an L-1 nonimmigrant visa holder or H-4 if you are the spouse of an H-1B nonimmigrant visa holder.

Question #8 – H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa
What sort of factors are used to determine the prevailing wage for a beneficiary on H1-B status?

Answer #8
Many factors are used to determine the prevailing wage for a beneficiary on H1-B status. The Department of Labor considers the average wage paid to those in the specialty occupation for the jurisdiction of employment, the level of skill/experience of the applicant, and other industry factors.


Question #9 – Marriage Based Immigration - GC
I am planning to marry my fiancé soon after entering the United Stated on a K-1 visa and I was wondering whether there were any restrictions or limitations on a K-1 visa that I should be aware of?

Answer #9
The main restriction on a K-1 visa is that you and your fiancé must be married with 90 days of him/her entering the country. Additionally, your fiancé would only be issued a two year conditional green card and would have to apply to remove the conditions on his/her permanent residency by proving the legitimacy of the marriage through Form I-751.


Question #10 – Employment Based Immigration - GC
How soon after I begin the employment green card process can my spouse begin working?

Answer #10
It depends upon several factors – where you are in the process, your country of citizenship/chargeability, your priority date and the processing times associated with the I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.


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

Our next “Immigration Q & A Forum” is scheduled for Friday, March 18th, 2011! Please remember to submit your questions/comments on our h1bvisalawyer blog.

Posted On: March 3, 2011

Administrative Appeals Office Processing Times

The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times were released with processing dates as of March 1, 2011.

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 16 months. The current processing time for an I-140 EB2 Appeal for an Advanced Degree Professional is 28 months; for an I-140EB3 Appeal for a Skilled or Professional Worker is 31 months.

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

Posted On: March 2, 2011

Immigration in 2011 - Part 1 of 10, Emphasis on Border and Interior Enforcement

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recently published “What to Watch Out for in Immigration in 2011” and MVP Law Group will be doing a 10 part series on the key issues discussed.

Topic #1:Emphasis on Border and Interior Enforcement

With the rise of new leaders in the House of Representatives, it’s clear that the focus will centered upon border security and interior enforcement. Spending was increased last year for additional fencing at the border, surveillance technologies, as well as an increase of boots on the border. In 2011, it’s expected we will see an even greater increase in spending and bills aiming to tighten the border.

AILA is cautious towards such a drastic enforcement of the borders saying it, “ultimately will neither be effective, nor fix our immigration system, nor help the economy grow.” AILA goes on to further argue that the mass deportation that many are suggesting is very costly and unrealistic. AILA urges enforcement of the borders to be carried out in the best interest of public safety and justice.

Additionally, AILA believes the new Congress will likely introduce legislation that restricts immigrant’s access to basic services as a result of individuals wanting to protect jobs for American workers. Ultimately, AILA predicts the tight restrictions on immigrants and increased border security will only hurt the economy in the end.

Posted On: March 1, 2011

BALCA and the Employee Referral Program

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently reversed the final determination of a Certifying Officer (CO) denying labor certification for an alien worker for the position of “Junior Trading Systems Developer.”

On the Application for Permanent Employment accepted by the CO, the Employer listed the three additional recruitment steps taken to advertise the position. The steps included listing on a job search web site, advertising in a local newspaper as well as advertising with the employee referral program from July 10, 2007 to August 10, 2007. An audit was issued by the CO requesting documentation of the Employer’s employee referral program. Certification was thereafter denied by the CO who cited the Employer failed to include dated copies for the advertising of its employee referral program. In a request for review, the Employer argued that the program is ongoing and every new hire is provided a copy of the memorandum. An email dated March 17, 2008 was also submitted to demonstrate the Employer regularly notified its employees of the program. Further, the Employer contested that the employee referral program used does in fact meet the PERM regulations governing recruitment efforts because of the large number of resumes it receives.

PERM regulation 20 C.F.R. § 656.12(e)(1)(ii)(G) controls and it provides that one of the three recruitment efforts can be an employee referral program with incentives. The program can either be documented with “dated copies of the employer notices or memoranda advertising the program and specifying the incentives offered.”

In the instant case, BALCA found the Employer sufficiently provided evidence of its employee referral program as a method of recruiting workers. Documents were submitted specifying the incentives offered, and evidence was provided supporting the program was in existence at the time of recruitment

Accordingly, the Board reversed the decision of the CO and granted labor certification.