Archive for the ‘Immigration Law’ Category

News Flash – USCIS Updates Count of FY 2010 H-1B Petition Filings.

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

News Flash – USCIS Updates Count of FY 2010 H-1B Petition Filings.

42,000 petitions have been submitted towards the 65,000 maximum cap.  See the full press release, here:  http://www.uscis.gov/files/article/h-1-cap-9april09.pdf.

News Flash – USCIS Announces Continued Receipt of H-1B Visa Petitions

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

News Flash  – USCIS Announces Continued Receipt of H-1B Visa Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it will continue to accept H-1B applications  until the Fiscal Year 2010 (FY 2010) cap of 65,000 petitions is reached. USCIS stated it will monitor the number of H-1B petitions received for both the 65,000 regular cap and the 20,000 U.S. master’s degree or higher educational exemption cap.  USCIS also stated that it reserves the right to randomly select petitions in a lottery to reach the cap, although USCIS previously stated that it would utilize the random lottery only in the first five days of the filing period.  See the USCIS press release issued today for the full report: www.uscis.gov.

H-1B Lottery for Fiscal Year 2010

Monday, April 6th, 2009

This year, certain employers may be receiving a boon from the economic downturn.  Each year, employers are permitted to hire temporary foreign workers in specialty occupations under the visa category of H-1B.  The H-1B category is numerically limited to 65,000 (the “cap”), which causes a great deal of anxiety to employers who are seeking to fill needed positions in their companies.  Employers must file beginning on April 1.  In the past, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would conduct a “lottery” to determine acceptance of applications.  This lottery is conducted by receiving petitions for temporary employees and if the cap is reached within the first five business days, then 65,000 petitions are selected at random for processing. USCIS has confirmed that it will utilize the lottery system this year.  Government regulation also provides that if the cap is not reached in the first five days, USCIS will not conduct a lottery and will process petitions on a first-come, first-serve basis.  While USCIS believes that the cap will be reached before the ultimate deadline of October 1, 2009, it has heard from various stakeholder groups that fewer petitions are expected to be filed during this H-1B season.  The potential here for employers is that the H-1B season will not be conducted by lottery this year, but by first-come, first-serve basis.  In such case, employers should be prepared to file H-1B applications as soon as possible in order to capture this opportunity.  However, it is impossible to accurately predict whether the lottery will be conducted this year because of the difficulty in determining how many applications will be filed.Contact Yan Bennett, Esq. for all your immigration questions and issues.

Employers Should Note Significant Changes to I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form

Monday, April 6th, 2009

After April 3, 2009, employers are required to use a newly revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification Form, to verify the employment authorization of their new employees. Only the new form, which has “Rev 02/02/09” at the bottom of the page, should be used for all employees hired on or or after April 3, 2009, or for employees whose work authorization needs to be re-verified on or after April 3, 2009.  All previous editions of Form I-9 are no longer valid for use. The government also released a new version of the Employer Handbook (M-274), which provides instructions for completing Form I-9.

The most significant change to the Form I-9 is the requirement that all documents presented during the I-9 verification process must be unexpired.  The government has also added additional documents that may be used for verification.  Human Resource and Personnel departments should carefully review the revisions and ensure that they are compliant with the new rules.  Failure to do so may result in civil fines.

Employers should not require existing employees to complete new Forms I-9 unless re-verification of work authorization is required.  The employer may be subjected to allegations of discrimination under federal law if the employer requests unnecessary documentation or unnecessary completion of new Form I-9s.  If the employer knows or suspects the employee is not authorized to work legally, the employer should seek legal advice in the proper investigation or termination of the employee. 

Employers and employees should feel free to contact Yan Bennett at Maselli Warren, P.C. with any immigration questions.