The American Immigration Council (AIC) has released all fifty states and the District of Columbia, for a total of fifty-one updated state-by-state fact sheets highlighting immigration data and facts. These fact sheets highlight the demographic and economic impact of Immigrants in each state.

With national immigration policy being discussed, we thought that it would be a good time to provide some statistics on the Immigrant population in the United States as provided by this AIC research. Once a week we will be posting a blog with information on three states at a time. This week we will highlight; Massachusetts, Michigan and Minnesota!

The AIC has compiled research which shows that Immigrants are an essential part of each of these states’ economy, labor force and tax base. As our economy continues to grow, Immigrants and their children are a growing economic and political force as consumers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs. As United States economic continues to grow, immigrants and their children will continue to play a key role in shaping the economic and political future of each of these states.

On Wednesday, November 20, 2019, USCIS announced that it has reached the H-2B cap for the first half of fiscal year 2020. November 15, 2019 is now the “final receipt date” for cap-subject H-2B worker requesting employment start dates before April 1, 2020. The “final receipt date” is the date on which USCIS determined that it has received enough cap-subject petitions to reach the limit of H-2B workers for the first half FY2020. USCIS continues to accept petitions that are exempt from the congressionally mandated H-2B cap.

The exceptions are listed below:

• Current H-2B workers in the U.S. petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently overturned the decision of a Certifying Officer (CO) to deny labor certification for the position of “MR Clinical Development Leader.”

The CO denied the labor certification without audit stating the alternative requirements for the position were not substantially equivalent to the primary job requirements on the ETA Form 9089. On the form, the Employer mentions as an alternative requirement for this position “any suitable combination of education, training and experience as an MR clinical development leader, MR Applications Production Manager, Clinical Scientist, Radiographer or as a MR Specialist.” However, the Employer lists “Bachelor’s degree in Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry or Medical Technology and 60 months of progressively responsible post-bachelor’s experience and some experience with MR equipment, product and/or application development.” The CO believed the “any suitable combination” wording did not specify the minimum acceptable requirement, so he denied the application in violation of PERM Regulation 20 C.F.R. § 656.17(h)(4)(i).

The Employer requested reconsideration of the denial stating the CO misread their answers to the questions on the form. They argued the minimum requirements are substantially the same as the primary requirements listed on the ETA Form. The Employer mentioned PERM regulation 20 C.F.R. § 656.3, “if the employer is willing to accept work experience in lieu of a baccalaureate or higher degree, such work experience…must be stated on the application form.”

On November 15, 2019, USCIS reached the cap limit for the 1st half of Fiscal Year 2020!

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

The H-2B cap limit for first half of FY 2020 (October 1 – March 31) is 33,000. As of the last count (11/15/19). (Cap Reached for 1st half of FY 2020)

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 – Prevailing Wage

How can I find out the Prevailing Wage on jobs in my county?

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

Upon evaluating an Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO denied the Labor Application because he believed it violated PERM regulation 20 CFR 656.17(f)(4). The CO denied certification because “the newspaper advertisement failed to list the correct geographical area of employment with enough specificity to apprise applicants of any travel requirements.” He pointed out the physical area of employment contained in the employer’s job ad in the San Francisco Chronicle as well as hotjobs.yahoo.com does not match the one listed on the ETA Form. The ad lists San Francisco, while Fremont is recorded on the ETA Form. The CO stated these two cities are located in different “Metropolitan Statistical Areas” (MSA).

The Employer filed an appeal to BALCA. They declared that the CO made an error in thinking Fremont and San Francisco were in different MSA’s. The Employer argued that the “advertisements complied with PERM requirements and DOL guidelines for roaming positions.” As evidence, the Employer requested BALCA to take administrative notice of a printout from the Census Bureau’s website which lists the MSA’s, among other evidence. In addition, they wanted the Board to review a “County to County” commuting chart from the San Francisco Bay area. The Employer explained that Fremont is the company’s headquarters but the locations of the job are yet unknown.

The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) provides an updated ‘processing times’ in table form, with information on FY2019 fourth quarterly completions; July 2019 to September 2019. These figures indicate the time that it takes from the date the case is received at AAO coming from the Service Center or District Office to completion.

AAO Processing Times were released with processing dates as of 10/11/19. If you filed an appeal, please review the link below to determine the applicable processing time associated with your particular case.

Note: Starting with the January 2017 Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) Processing Times Report, the AAO has changed how it presents processing time data. The AAO will now provide, by form type, the total number of case completions for the fiscal year quarter and the percentage completed within 180 days, cases completed divided by their projected case goal.

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, November 29, 2019. Act now and submit your questions!

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

After receiving & reviewing an Employer’s Application for Permanent Labor Certification, the CO denied certification of the application because the Employer had placed their State Workforce Agency (SWA) job order more than 180 days prior to the filing of their ETA Form 9089.

The Employer sent a reconsideration request to the CO arguing that “the 180 day period should be calculated based on the end date of the SWA, rather than the date it commenced.” To interpret the regulations otherwise would penalize employers who wanted to run their SWA’s for longer than 180 days. The CO did reconsider but afterwards, he confirmed the denial. Not happy with the outcome, the Employer appealed the decision to BALCA and restated its argument.