Category Archives: H-1B

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USCIS Proposes Increase to Premium Processing Fee

On Aug. 31, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a final rule in the Federal Register to increase the premium processing fee for certain visa petitions to $1,410, effective Oct. 1, 2018. Premium processing, a service offered for certain petitions, requires U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to adjudicate a petition (i.e., approve, … Continue Reading

USCIS Extends and Expands Suspension of Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions

USCIS is extending the temporary suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions and, beginning Sept. 11, 2018, will be expanding this temporary suspension to include certain additional H-1B petitions. The suspensions are expected to last until Feb. 19, 2019.  While H-1B premium processing is suspended, USCIS will reject any request for premium processing filed with … Continue Reading

USCIS Completes the H-1B Cap Random Selection Process for FY 2019

USCIS has announced that it received 190,098 H-1B petitions during the filing period for FY2019, which began on April 2, 2018, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption.  This year’s number of petitions is lower than the 199,000 H-1B petitions filed in FY2018.  Per the regulations, on April 11, USCIS conducted its random lottery … Continue Reading

FY2019 H-1B Cap Met

USCIS announced today, April 6, 2018, that the FY 2019 H-1B cap is now closed because it has received a sufficient number of H‐1B petitions to reach the 65,000 statutory cap as well as the 20,000 advanced degree exemption. The announcement did not provide details about the total number of H-1B petitions filed.  USCIS will … Continue Reading

Under New H-1B Rule Interpretation, You May be More Closely Related than You Think

On March 23, 2018, USCIS significantly changed its interpretation of the H-1B rules by issuing a policy memorandum adopting the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) decision Matter of S- Inc.  The issue addressed in Matter of S- Inc. is the meaning of the term “related entities” in cases where multiple employers file cap-subject H-1B petitions for … Continue Reading

Temporary Suspension of Premium Processing for FY2019 H-1B Cap Cases

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced a temporary suspension of premium processing for 2019 Fiscal Year H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those cases seeking exemption on the basis of the beneficiary having obtained a U.S. masters or higher degree. It is expected that the temporary suspension will last until Sept. 10, 2018. The reason for … Continue Reading

New USCIS Memo Formalizes Additional Requirements for H-1Bs at Third Party Worksites

In support of its efforts to combat H-1B fraud and consistent with President Trump’s Buy American Hire American initiative, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will now require employers sponsoring H-1B workers at third-party worksites to include additional information and documentation in their H-1B filings. The new policy memorandum “Contracts and Itineraries Requirements for … Continue Reading

GT’s Rebecca B. Schechter and Courtney B. Noce Featured in Law360

Law360 recently published an article by Rebecca B. Schechter and Courtney B. Noce titled, “The New Normal For Business Immigration in 2018.” The article discusses the year ahead and what employers can expect in terms of immigration. Schechter and Noce provide insights on “Buy American, Hire American” (BAHA), including increased scrutiny and stricter requirements. Additionally, the … Continue Reading

USCIS’ Recap on Activities since Buy American, Hire American

Since the introduction of the Executive Order “Buy American, Hire American” (BAHA), federal agencies, including DHS and USCIS, are following the directive to focus on protecting U.S. workers and U.S. resources.  The USCIS website was updated as of Dec. 20, 2017 regarding BAHA and below are key highlights from this update, which is essentially a … Continue Reading

New Trump Administration Policy in Support of Buy American, Hire American Toughens Visa Extension Process

For over a decade, filing an extension of nonimmigrant status in visa categories such as the H-1B was a fairly routine process for cases involving the same employer and same underlying facts.  This changed yesterday. As part of the Trump Administration’s Buy American, Hire American: Putting American Workers First initiative, USCIS rescinded a long-standing policy … Continue Reading

USCIS Changes Locations To File Forms I-129

On Oct. 12, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a major change in the direct filing addresses for certain Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker petitions. Previously, the filing center for these petitions was determined by the U.S. state or territory where the beneficiary’s worksite or training site was located. With USCIS’s … Continue Reading

USCIS Approval Notices Cause Confusion due to Inconsistent Validity Periods

USCIS has begun issuing I-797A, Notice of Action Approval Notices containing inconsistent validity periods on the face of the document. Specifically, the top portion of the I-797A approval notices lists the approved visa classification (e.g., H-1B) and the authorized validity period of that visa classification (e.g., from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 11, 2020). The … Continue Reading

USCIS to Resume H-1B Premium Processing for Petitions Filed under FY2018 Cap

USCIS announced today that it will resume its premium processing service for all H-1B petitions that are subject to this year’s H-1B cap.  This news provides much needed relief to employers and foreign nationals, particularly in those situations where an employee is relying on F-1 optional practical training (OPT) cap gap provisions for work authorization. … Continue Reading

Emerging Trends: USCIS Challenging Level 1 Wages and Computer Programmer Occupational Classification for H-1B Petitions

Over the past several months, some trends have developed which pose challenges for employers taking part in the H-1B program: 1. the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is issuing Requests for Evidence (RFEs) for H-1B petitions that challenge the H-1B position’s level 1 prevailing wage classification, the lowest permitted wage level for H-1B filings; … Continue Reading

USCIS Posts Comprehensive Reports Containing H-1B and EAD Data

Under the heading “Transparency for U.S. Workers,” the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uploaded five reports today containing comprehensive data regarding its H-1B and Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) adjudications. The H-1B reports “provide information about the hiring practices of employers who petition for foreign national workers.” The H-1B trend report contains statistics about the H-1B program … Continue Reading

USCIS to Resume Premium Processing for Certain Cap-Exempt Institutions

On June 20, the USCIS Ombudsman office held a teleconference on H-1B petition processing to discuss various topics, including premium processing.  Premium processing for H-1B petitions had been suspended in mid-March of this year so that resources could be focused on processing current petitions.  During the call, USCIS stated that it would bring back premium … Continue Reading

Proposed California Law Would Increase Employer Responsibilities When Faced With Immigration Worksite Enforcement Actions

In response to the Trump administration’s stance on immigration enforcement, California is considering legislation (Assembly Bill 450 (Chiu)) which would prohibit employers from providing federal immigration officials with access to nonpublic areas of the workplace without a judicial warrant. While aiming to provide new protections to workers, the bill’s broad language does not eliminate any employer … Continue Reading

President Trump Signs New Executive Order: “Buy American and Hire American”

On April 18, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) titled “Buy American and Hire American.” The stated purpose of this EO is to protect the American economy by having the U.S. government and agencies focus on purchasing goods made in America, and to also protect American workers. The first part of the EO includes … Continue Reading
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