Thursday, June 14, 2012
USCIS Reaches Fiscal Year 2013 H-1B Cap
USCIS announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2013. June 11, 2012, was the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2013.
USCIS will consider properly filed cases as received on the date that USCIS physically receives the petition; not the date that the petition was postmarked. USCIS will reject cap-subject petitions for new H-1B specialty occupation workers if they arrive after June 11, 2012 and seek an employment start date in FY 2013.
Friday, June 1, 2012
As of May 25, 2012 the fiscal year 2013 H-1B cap count is as follows:
· H-1B Regular cap – 48,400 cap eligible petitions towards cap of 65,000
· H-1B Master’s Degree cap – 17,500 cap eligible petition towards cap of 20,000
The master’s and regular cap will likely be reached in 1-3 weeks. If your employer is still thinking about filing an H-1B petition, they will need to decide as soon as possible. The absolute minimum time it takes to prepare an H-1B case is one week if everything goes right.
People that do not need to be concerned about the H-1B cap are:
Sunday, May 13, 2012
IRS Continues Its Push Towards Enforcement Over Offshore Financial Assets
The IRS continues its push towards additional disclosure of foreign financial assets and hefty penalties for failing to disclosure.
On January 9, 2012, the IRS reopened the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). The OVDP is an opportunity for taxpayers to correct past errors regarding unreported income and unfiled information statements. U.S. residents are required to report foreign financial assets that exceed certain thresholds. The maximum penalty rate under the OVDP is 27.5% of the highest account balance during the period covered by the program. There is no deadline but the government can impose a deadline or terminate the program at its discretion.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
As of May 1, 2012, you can now check if you were lucky enough to be selected in the DV lottery. https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/ You can only check on the website using your entry number, birth year, and last name. If you lost your entry number, there is no way to check if you are a winner. Also, beware of spam email saying you are a DV lottery winner – the only way to know is to check on the official website.
Congratulations if you were lucky. The chance of being selected is generally less than 1%. If you weren’t selected, you may still have a chance. Keep your entry number and you can check the results again in October 2012 when they will select some additional winners for the 2013 DV lottery. You can also try entering again for the 2014 DV lottery which should open for entry in October 2012.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
The tax deadline is April 17 this year instead of April 15 because of a Washington D.C. holiday. Here are some tips if you haven’t filed your tax returns yet.
1. Free e-file – The IRS offers free federal e-file through different tax software providers if your adjusted gross income was less than $57,000.You can find more information at www.freefile.irs.gov/. Although e-filing the federal tax return is free, you may be charged for e-filing your state tax return. The IRS also offers free e-file fillable forms for all income levels at https://www.freefilefillableforms.com/.
2. File an extension – if you can’t file your federal tax return on time you can request an automatic 6 month extension using Form 4868. Your state should also have an automatic extension form. The extension does not extend the time to pay. If you expect to owe money, you should make a tax payment by April 17th to avoid penalties and interest. If you expect a tax refund and cannot file by April 17, you do not need to file an extension.
3. Filing Date – is the post mark date. So if you are paper filing or need to mail in a payment, you should drop it off at the post-office before their last mail collection time on April 17.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B applications on April 2, 2012. The H-1B start date must be October 1, 2012 or later. There is a general cap of 65,000 and an advanced degree cap of 20,000. Last year the H-1B quota was reached on November 22, 2011 which means the filing period was 236 days. If you haven’t found an employer willing to sponsor your H-1B visa yet, you still have time. The normal processing time for the H-1B petition is 3-5 months.
The preliminary requirements for H-1B are as follows:
Monday, February 20, 2012
According to USCIS estimates, a proposed rule that could save U.S. businesses more than $23 million over the next 10 years. This proposed rule would establish an electronic registration process for U.S. employers seeking to file H-1B petitions for foreign workers in specialty occupations. The proposed electronic system would minimize administrative burdens and expenses related to the H-1B petition process—including reducing the need for employers to submit petitions for which visas would not be available under the statutory visa cap.
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa which allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. USCIS proposes to establish an advance, electronic registration process for U.S. employers seeking to file H-1B petitions subject to either the 65,000 statutory cap or the 20,000 statutory visa cap exemption. By statute, H-1B visas are subject to an annual numerical limit, or cap, of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. The first 20,000 petitions for these visas filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. master’s degrees or higher are exempt from this cap.