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MBBP Immigration Alert: 2015 H-1B Cap to Open on April 1st 02/10/2014

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Immigration, Legal Developments, New Resources.
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Given improving economic conditions and increased hiring, we anticipate that demand for the limited number of H-1B visas will again this year vastly exceed supply. Last April, over 130,000 cap subject H-1B petitions were filed with the USCIS in the first week of April, and USCIS held a lottery to determine which petitions would be accepted for processing. We are projecting that this year the cap will again be reached within the first week of April and that USCIS will hold another lottery. As a result we are advising all employers who expect to sponsor an employee for a new H-1B visa to file within the first five (5) days of April.

Please see this month’s Immigration Alert for further details.

As always, you’re invited to contact our Immigration Team at you convenience to discuss your specific needs.

MBBP Immigration Event: Alternatives to H-1B Visas 03/20/2013

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Events, Immigration, Legal Developments, MBBP news.
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On Thursday, May 9th MBBP is hosting a complimentary immigration event on the topic of “Alternatives to H-1B Visas“. With the economy steadily improving, over the past two years the H-1B cap has been reached very quickly. The most recent year, it was reached in approximately two months.

This timely event will provide an overview of other visa options employers have to utilize the best available talent, including: 17 Month STEM Extensions, L, TN, O, E and B visas. We will address the advantages and pitfalls of each visa category, and will also host a question and answer session.

Please visit our event page for more details and to register.

MBBP Immigration Alert: H-1B Cap for 2013 Reached and Further Retrogression of Employment-based Immigrant Visa Availability in the Second Preference Category 06/15/2012

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Legal Developments.
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FY 2013 Cap for H-1B Visas Reached

On June 12, 2012, the Citizenship and Immigration Service (“CIS”) announced that the “Regular” and “U.S. Master’s Degree” H-1B caps for the 2013 fiscal year had been reached on June 11, 2012. Any “Regular” or “U.S. Master’s Degree” cap subject H-1B cases received by the CIS after June 11, 2012 will be rejected and returned. H-1B visas continue to remain available for cap exempt employers, as well as for DOD cooperative research workers, and Chile and Singapore citizens under their respective Free Trade Agreements. Additionally, foreign workers who have already been counted against the cap may “port” to new employers. More information on the H-1B cap can be found in the February 2012 Immigration Alert.

To read more, please see our Immigration Alert.

Department of State Implements Cut-Off Dates for the All Countries Category in the Second Preference Categories

In May 2012, we released an Immigration Alert that in the most recent Visa Bulletin the Department of State (“DOS”) had stated that effective June 1, 2012, no further employment-based immigrant visas will be available to natives of China and India in the Second Preference category until October 1, 2012. The DOS also indicated it was considering establishing cut-off dates for all other countries in the world in both the employment-based First Preference and Second Preference categories.

Please visit our resources page for our full Immigration Alert to learn more.

MBBP May Immigration Alert: H-1B Cap Update and Employment-based Immigrant Visa 05/18/2012

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Legal Developments, MBBP news.
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MBBP has released a new Immigration Alert which discusses the possibility of the 2013 H-1B Visa Cap (both “regular” and “U.S. Master’s”) being reached by June as well as the cut-off dates for Employment-based Immigrant Visa for all countries. Our Alert also provides a link to an H-1B Cap Information chart which shows the USCIS updates and anticipated H-1B cut-off date based on current usage.

Please see our May Immigration Alert to learn more.

Contact our Immigration Practice Group with any questions on this topic.

Update on the H-1B Cap 05/02/2012

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Legal Developments, MBBP news.
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As you are aware, the FY 2013 H-1B season opened on April 1st. The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services provides regular updates on the number of petitions that it has received. Recent updates indicate that the cap will very likely be reached faster than it has been in the past couple of years.

You can find more information in a brief article we have written here. We advise all employers who expect to sponsor a cap-subject employee for an H-1B visa to contact us immediately if they have not already done so.

MBBP February Immigration Alert: 2013 H-1B Cap to Open on April 1st 02/29/2012

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Immigration, Legal Developments.
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By Donald Parker and John Gallini

Immigration Attorney Donald ParkerThe H-1B visa is the standard working visa used by foreign nationals to work in the United States with a U.S. employer. The H-1B “specialty worker” visa is available only to foreign nationals who have obtained a job offer in a position that customarily requires someone with a Bachelor’s degree. With a few exceptions, foreign nationals who have completed 6 years of time in the United States in H-1B status, will be required to return to their home country.

Immigration Attorney John GalliniH-1B visas are available in a limited number (the “H-1B cap”) on October 1st of each year, the beginning of the fiscal year of the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (“CIS”). Applications for the up-coming fiscal year tranches of H-1B visas can be made starting April 1st. While we expect that the FY 2013 H-1B cap may not be reached for several months after April 1st, we cannot of course be certain. The demand appears to be greater this year and we expect that CIS’s apparent bias against granting L-1B “specialized knowledge” work visa petitions will cause U.S. multinational corporations to rely more heavily on the H-1B visa program.

As a result, we are advising all employers who expect to sponsor an employee for an H-1B visa to plan to file in the early part of April of 2012.

Please visit our website for the full Immigration Alert.

Donald Parker to Speak at Columbia University 03/31/2011

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Events.
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Immigration Attorney Donald ParkerOn April 1, 2011, Immigration Attorney Donald Parker will speak at Columbia University on behalf of the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO). Don will discuss employment-based statuses with a focus on H-1B1 and other non-immigrant statuses eligibility requirements and procedures, and a brief overview of Permanent Residency (“green card”) status if time permits. The session will run from 2:00-4:00 and is being held in 602 Hamilton Hall at Columbia University.

To learn more on the program, please visit the ISSO.

For more information on immigration law, please contact Donald Parker.

H-1B Cap Reached for 2011 Fiscal Year 02/01/2011

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Immigration, Legal Developments.
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By Donald Parker and John Gallini

Immigration Attorney Donald ParkerOn January 27, 2011, the CIS announced that the H-1B cap for the 2011 fiscal year had been reached on January 26, 2011. Any H-1B cases received by the CIS after January 26, 2011 will be rejected and returned. The USCIS will place all cap-subject H-1B petitions that were received on January 26, 2011 into a lottery and winners will be chosen through a computer-generated random selection process. H-1B1 visas continue to remain available for Chile and Singapore citizens under their respective Free Trade Agreements.

Immigration Attorney John GalliniGiven this news employers should be careful when recruiting and interviewing candidates. If a candidate indicates that he/she will require sponsorship, try to determine whether the candidate has previously been issued an H-1B visa in the past several years. These candidates may be exempt from the annual H-1B cap. If the candidate has previously held H-1B status, it is important also to know whether the H-1B visa was for employment with an “exempt” institution. Institutions of higher education or “affiliated” employers, non-profit research organizations and governmental research organizations are exempted from H-1B numerical limitations. A candidate that has only held H-1B status through one of these “exempt” employers will be subject to the H-1B cap when moving to a non-exempt H-1B employer.

To read our full immigration alert on this subject, please visit our website.

Please contact John Gallini or Donald Parker if you have any questions about how the exhaustion of the FY 2010 H-1B cap may affect your company.

MBBP June 2010 Immigration Alert Discusses New Changes in US Immigration Policies 06/28/2010

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Client News, Immigration, Legal Developments.
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By Donald Parker and John Gallini

Immigration Attorney Donald ParkerVisa Fees Have Increased
On June 4, 2010, the Department of State implemented increases in its nonimmigrant visa application fees. The fee increases are relatively minor for most temporary visas, with two exceptions: applications for K visas, which are for fiancé(e)s and spouses of U.S. citizens and their minor children – and E visas, which are for Treaty-Traders/Investors (E-1/E-2) and Australian Professional Specialty Worker (E-3), have gone up significantly. This Immigration Alert provides a breakdown of the nonimmigrant visa application rate increases.

Immigration Attorney John GalliniUp-Dated Count on H-1B Numbers
As expected, the global recession has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of new H-1B visa petitions being filed in the current fiscal year of the USCIS. While in years prior to 2009, H-1B visas had been used up within weeks of April 1st, as of June 24, 2010 H-1B visas will likely be available through the end of this year. For a detailed count please click here.

MBBP’s June 2010 Immigration Alert also contains information on other topics including:

  • USCIS changes to “Green Cards” and “Employment Cards”
  • Visa Waiver Program Going Paperless

Click here to read our full Alert.

9th Annual Immigration Law Conference 2010 Co-Chaired by John Gallini 05/26/2010

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Attorney News, Events.
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Immigration Attorney John GalliniOn May 21, Attorney John Gallini co-chaired the 9th Annual Immigration Law Conference 2010 sponsored by MCLE. The full day program covered current trends and the most effective strategies for dealing with the constantly changing business immigration landscape. Topics covered by the 13 panel members included presentations on F-1 students and their transition into the workforce, H-1Bs in a new era of enforcement, L-1 intracompany transferee problem cases, creative E visa options, an update and analysis on PERM labor certifications, traversing Form I-140 immigrant petition minefields, and H-1B and green card portability. The conference also included a special keynote panel with the Assistant Director of the Department of Border Security for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Boston.

For more information on Immigration Law, please contact John Gallini.

H-1B Cap Reached for 2010 Fiscal Year 12/24/2009

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Client News, Immigration, Legal Developments.
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Immigration Attorney Donald ParkerBy: Donald Parker & John Gallini

On December 22, 2009, the CIS announced that the H-1B cap for the 2010 fiscal year had been reached on December 21, 2009. Any H-1B cases received by the CIS after December 21, 2009 will be rejected and returned. They  will place all cap-subject H-1B petitions that were received on December 21, 2009 into a lottery and winners will be chosen through a computer-generated random selection process. Immigration Attorney John GalliniH-1B1 visas continue to remain available for Chile and Singapore citizens under their respective Free Trade Agreements. As you know, the CIS makes available 58,200 new H-1Bs each fiscal year, plus 20,000 new H-1Bs for foreign nationals with a Master’s degree or higher from a U.S. academic institution. We are currently projecting that the demand for FY 2011 H-1B visa allocation, which opens on April 1, 2010, will be heavier but that new H-1Bs will likely remain available for several months after the new H-1B filing season begins.

For the full article, please see MBBP’s Immigration Alert Newsletter.

When it Comes to Immigration, Does the Right Hand Always Know What the Left Hand Will Do? 11/16/2009

Posted by Morse, Barnes-Brown Pendleton in Immigration, Legal Developments.
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By Donald W. Parker and John J. Gallini

Immigration Attorney Donald ParkerU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) is now trying to streamline a process made more complex by the U.S. Department of Labor (“USDOL”). A requirement for the filing of any H-1B visa petition is the advance receipt of a certified Labor Condition Application (“LCA”) from the USDOL. Until 2009, these Applications, which contain attestations by the employer about the salary to be paid to the sponsored foreign worker and her working conditions, were submitted electronically, reviewed by a computer and certified within seconds of the time of submission if filled out properly. In the Summer of 2009, the USDOL changed the process by which an LCA could be certified by requiring a human review of each Application submitted and an independent verification of the validity of the employer’s Federal Taxpayer ID number. These changes have caused delays in the processing of LCAs which now take 7 to 8 days to be certified and can take several weeks more if there is a delay in verifying the employers Taxpayer ID number.

Immigration Attorney John GalliniWhat this has meant is that H-1B cases, that previously could be filed with the USCIS within a day or two of beginning the paperwork processing, are now taking a week to two and in some cases three weeks to be filed while the employer waits for a certified LCA from the USDOL. In response, earlier this week, the USCIS announced that it would accept H-1B visa petitions without a certified LCA so long as the employer could provide evidence that the LCA had been filed with the USDOL at least 7 days prior to the date of submission to the USCIS. This will obviously help in ensuring that H-1B cases that need to be filed on an emergency basis can be filed at least within a week of the LCA filing. It also reveals an interesting interplay and possibly friction between the USCIS and the USDOL – the USDOL insists that LCAs must take longer to be certified because of the need for human review and the USCIS responds by bending the requirement of a certified LCA for an H-1B visa petition.

The ultimate friction is that if the USDOL denies the LCA after an employer rushes to file the H-1B visa petition, the employer could lose not only the H-1B but also the substantial filing fees it paid to secure that H-1B. Clearly there are a number of questions that will need to be resolved with the announcement of this new policy by the USCIS before employers can feel comfortable taking advantage of it.

For more information on this topic, please contact Donald W. Parker or John J. Gallini at 781-622-5930.

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