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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Entry-level H-1B programmers

The U.S. government is taking action that will likely increase the visa denial rates of H-1B programmers, a move that could help U.S. nationals, both in terms of wages and jobs.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) wants programmers who offer skills that are specialized or unique. That means firms seeking to hire programmers at entry-level wages may see their H-1B visa requests denied. 
There's a reason the U.S. doesn't want entry-level visa workers. Take for instance, Michigan, a state that President Donald Trump won. The prevailing wage for an entry-level computer programmer in Flint is $38,000, while the mean wage for that occupation in the city is $60,000.
A lot of people hired via the H-1B program are paid low wages relative to U.S. workers. The U.S. Government Accountability Office found that 54% of all H-1B workers were paid entry-level wages, and 29% were paid the next step up, the level 2. The mean prevailing wage is level 3.
"The changes will have a positive impact," said Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco, regarding the USCIS policy guidance for programmers. Janco is a consulting firm that studies the IT labor market.
The majority of people getting the visas "were offshore outsourcers with the primary focus being to reduce costs and eliminate U.S.-based system analysis and programming jobs," said Janulaitis. Companies hired graduates of overseas schools.
The government's change will increase costs for U.S. corporations, "but we will employ more U.S. nationals and have more visas available for foreign nationals who have graduated from U.S. universities -- who will contribute and potentially become U.S. full-time residents," said Janulaitis.
This policy change came in a USCIS memo March 31. It was little surprise to immigration attorneys. The government's scrutiny of visa petitions has been increasing, as have "request for evidence" decisions -- essentially demands for more information from visa applicants.
Andrew Greenfield, managing partner of the Washington office of immigration law firm Fragomen, said the USCIS memo requires an employer to demonstrate that a programmer is being hired for something other than a basic entry job, and that the job requires specialized skills and knowledge.
"One helpful fact to demonstrate that this is not merely an entry-level programming job is to show that you are paying more than an entry-level salary," said Greenfield.
The net effect on employers will be more time and money spent on responding to requests for evidence, "and a higher likelihood of denial of petitions if the employer is unable to demonstrate to USCIS that the computer programming position being offered to the H-1B candidate is not something more than a basic or entry-level programming job," Greenfield said.

My Law, LLC                                           
Immigration & Tax Law Firm
Phone: (630) 903-9625
1700 Park Street, Suite 203
Naperville, IL 60563


Monday, June 5, 2017

2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report. The report provides data on departures and overstays, by country, for foreign visitors to the United States who entered as nonimmigrant visitors through an air or sea Port of Entry (POE) and were expected to depart in FY16.
The in-scope population for this report includes temporary workers and families (temporary workers and trainees, intracompany transferees, treaty traders and investors, representatives of foreign information media), students, exchange visitors, temporary visitors for pleasure, temporary visitors for business, and other nonimmigrant classes of admission. This population accounts for 96.02 percent of all nonimmigrant admissions at U.S. air and sea POEs in FY16.
Importantly, the report does not cover all foreign visitors to the United States—such as those who enter the United States through a vehicular or land POE. Nor does the report provide the total estimated in-country overstay population currently in the United States. Rather, it provides data on overstays in a snapshot of time—those foreign visitors who were expected to depart in FY16, and those who did not do so.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Grace Period for H1B Visa

On January 17, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security extends a 60-day grace period to any H-1B holder that finds themselves without a job. This gives people the opportunity to find a new job, transfer to another immigrant or nonimmigrant visa class, or settle any affairs before traveling back to their home country. 

Last year, if an H-1B holder lost his or her job for any reason, they would need to leave the country almost immediately to avoid being considered “out of status”. This could easily result in serious consequences such as finding yourself  barred from re-entry into the U.S.

In addition, at the beginning and the end of your H-1B period of stay, you will be able to take advantage of two ten-day grace periods to settle in before getting to work and to wrap things up before leaving the country.

My Law, LLC                                            
Immigration & Tax Law Firm
Phone: (630) 903-9625
1700 Park Street, Suite 203
Naperville, IL 60563

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Monday, April 17, 2017

USCIS received 199,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period

USCIS announced on April 7, 2017, that it has received enough H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2018. USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the U.S. advanced degree exemption, also known as the master’s cap.

USCIS received 199,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 3, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 11, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Trump Temporarily Suspending Premium Processing for H-1B

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would start accepting the H-1B visa applications for the fiscal year 2018 beginning October 1, 2017, from April 3. 

It also announced the temporary suspension of the premium processing of H-1B visas beginning April 3. “This temporary suspension will help us to reduce overall H-1B processing time,” the USCIS said. By temporarily suspending premium processing, the USCIS has said that it will be able to process long-pending petitions, which they have currently been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Trump’s H1B Visa Immigration Reform

President Donald Trump is considering a new way of distributing the H-1B visa to ensure they go to the "best and brightest. This draft executive order might open the door to major reforms of the H-1B and the Optional Practical Training programs.

The draft executive order calls for "an investigation of the extent of any injury to U.S. workers caused by the employment in the United States of foreign workers admitted under the nonimmigrant visa programs," which includes the H-1B program. Specifically, it asks the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees immigration, to "consider ways to make the process for allocating H-1B visas more efficient and ensure that beneficiaries of the program are the best and the brightest.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Six to Ten Year Wait for Chinese EB5 Investors

Currently, only Chinese investors who applied for EB-5 visa before February of 2014 can get their Green Cards now--so the waiting time for those investors is 2 years and 4 months. But this waiting time keeps increasing because over the last two years several thousands of new EB-5 applications have been filed, which is many more times than yearly EB5 visa quota. What is the waiting time for Chinese EB-5 investors who are planning to apply this year?
There are approximately 40,000 Chinese EB-5 petitions pending and an additional 20,000 approved petitions awaiting visa availability--that is total of 60,000 people waiting in line. If all of the 10,000 annual EB5 quota was used by the Chinese investors, it would take at least 6 years wait for a Chinese investors applying now. However, other countries made up 15% EB5 investors last year, and that percentage is likely to increase to over 50% as the Chinese EB-5 market collapses due to long wait times and as other markets rise. If 50% of the EB5 applications in a year come from non-Chinese investors, that means that number of visas available for Chinese investors could shrink to 5000 per year, resulting in almost 12 years wait for Chinese investors investing now.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Another Company Owes Back Pay to H-1B Worker

An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) of the Department of Labor (DOL) has ordered Medical Dynamic Systems Inc to pay back pay to a H-1B worker of more than $59,000 in fees and back wages for violating the H-1B visa laws. The ALJ said the health care staffing company must pay Philippine national Vicente D. DeDios the $3,600 he unlawfully paid in connection with his H-1B visa processing and an additional $55,587 in back wages.