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Today's Date: December 10, 2013
 

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FAQs for H-1B Employees and Employers on FY 2015 H-1B Quota Cases

Jan 17 2014

At the Law Offices of Rakesh Mehrotra, we answer hundreds of questions every day from employers who are new to the H-1B sponsorship process
and from employers who are sponsoring their first H-1B employee this upcoming April. While many questions may be specific to an employer’s company or an
employee’s own circumstances, there are general questions about the H-1B process that are often asked. We have provided the answers to a number of the most
frequently asked questions below.

How soon can my employer file an H-1B petition for me?

USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions on April 1, 2014 for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 H-1B quota cases. In general, once the petition is
approved, the H-1B beneficiary can start working on October 1, 2014 (but there may be exceptions for certain OPT applicants). It is very important to start
the H-1B sponsorship process as soon as possible to make sure all the petitions are timely filed.

My company just decided to sponsor an H-1B employee and it is already March 1, can we still apply?

Most likely yes, but you need to contact our office immediately in order for one of our attorneys
to begin the process.
  H-1B petitions are extremely time sensitive and should be initiated as soon as possible.

I am changing status from F-1 to H-1B in the United States, do I need to leave the country and get an H-1B visa?

The short answer to this question is no, a foreign national who changes status in the U.S. from
F-1 to H-1B does not need to obtain an H-1B visa from a U.S. consulate before
beginning the H-1B employment.
  The employee can immediately begin the employment as of the start date on the H-1B
Approval Notice.
  The employee is onlyrequired to obtain a visa if the employee departs the United States.  If the employee takes a trip abroad, the
employee will need to obtain the H-1B visa before returning to the U.S. – even if the employee’s previous visa in the old status is still valid.
 

Do I need to have a U.S. Bachelor’s degree for to get an H-1B?

Any U.S. Bachelor degree or its foreign equivalent will qualify
someone for H-1B as long as the job he/she will be performing requires a
Bachelors degree. Alternatively, if you are indicating that the beneficiary is
qualified based on a combination of education and experience, we would have to
include substantiating evidence to show that combination. Generally three years
of progressive work experience is treated as one year towards four-year U.S.
bachelor’s degree.

Additionally, if the beneficiary has a foreign academic degree and professional experience letters then we need to obtain a credential evaluation
and this process can also take a few days.

I am married and have two children.  My spouse and children were born in my country of origin.  Can they accompany me when I come to the U.S. with my H-1B visa?

Yes!  In most cases, it is relatively easy for spouses and children of H-1B employees to obtain the
dependent H-4 visa from the U.S. consulate and accompany the employee to the United States.
  Contact our office for a
list of documents the H-4 dependents should bring to the consulate.

My friend’s H-1B petition has already been approved and his employer filed his application after mine!  How come mine is taking so long?

This is one of the most often asked questions at our firm.  There can be a number of reasons why one
petition is approved and another remains pending at USCIS.
  For instance, H-1B petitions are filed at
both the California Service Center and the Vermont Service Center – in any
year, one center may be faster at processing than the other.
  Additionally, an applicant’s personal
circumstances (such as a U.S. education, previous H-1B experience, job
position, etc.) may affect the processing time of the application. The
important thing to remember is don’t be discouraged – just because it is taking
longer for your application to be approved doesn’t mean it won’t be.
  Try to be patient and remember to contact
your HR representative for updates on your application.

My company really needs the H-1B employee to begin working in October and I also want to get the H-1B petition approved soon, is there any way to expedite the
USCIS processing of the H-1B petition?

Yes!  For an additional filing fee of $1,225 that is paid to USCIS, our office can file the H-1B
petition to “premium processing” wherein USCIS will take action (approve, deny,
or issue a request for evidence) on the case within 15 business days.

 

Feel free to contact our office at any time with additional
questions about H-1B processes or immigration opportunities in general.
  We look forward to helping you with your
case!

Jan 17 2014

As
part of our office’s continued effort to provide our clients with first-rate
immigration services, we are advising all of our employers to begin the H-1B
sponsorship process
as soon as possible

Although
H-1B petitions for the 2015 fiscal year cannot be filed until April 1, 2014, it
is very important to have all of the supporting documents in place well in
advance
in order to avoid last-minute delays, hindrances, or
difficulties.  Additionally, the critically important Labor Condition
Application (LCA) that must be included with all H-1B petitions must first be
submitted to the Department of Labor for certification.  It can take the
DOL seven days to certify an LCA, so LCAs must be provided to the DOL as far in
advance as possible to ensure that they are ready to be included with the H-1B
submission.

As
a reminder, the following materials are generally required for all H-1B
petitions:

  1. Form G-28, Notice of Appearance on behalf of the employer.
  2. Forms I-129, I-129 H-Supplement and I-129DC.
  3. Certified LCA Letter from employer in support of the H-1B
    petition.
  4. Employment offer letter and employment contract.
  5. Cases where work location involves end-client’s location
    other than employer’s then the employer should submit Master Service
    Agreement between the employer and the mid-vendor and/or end-client if the
    H-1B is for a roving IT employee position. 
  6. End client letter that outlines the employee’s proposed
    duties and confirms that the H-1B employee and the H-1B employer will
    maintain an exclusive
    employee-employer relationship throughout the entire
    duration of the H-1B employment Credential evaluation report equating the
    Beneficiary’s educational degree to that of a U.S. Bachelor’s degree (if
    the employee has a foreign degree) Copies of the Beneficiary’s degrees,
    transcripts, and work experience letters Copy of biographical pages of the
    Beneficiary’s passport

Moreover,
there is a base filing fee of $325 and Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee of $
500 that must be paid by the employer to USCIS.  There are additional
filing fees that may be required depending on the size of the employer’s
company, the type of H-1B petition etc.  Contact our office today for a
detailed explanation of the fees required for your specific company.

 

Jan 17 2014

As
part of our office’s continued effort to provide our clients with first-rate
immigration services, we are advising all of our employers to begin the H-1B
sponsorship process
as soon as possible

Although
H-1B petitions for the 2015 fiscal year cannot be filed until April 1, 2014, it
is very important to have all of the supporting documents in place well in
advance
in order to avoid last-minute delays, hindrances, or
difficulties.  Additionally, the critically important Labor Condition
Application (LCA) that must be included with all H-1B petitions must first be
submitted to the Department of Labor for certification.  It can take the
DOL seven days to certify an LCA, so LCAs must be provided to the DOL as far in
advance as possible to ensure that they are ready to be included with the H-1B
submission.

As
a reminder, the following materials are generally required for all H-1B
petitions:

  1. Form G-28, Notice of Appearance on behalf of the employer.
  2. Forms I-129, I-129 H-Supplement and I-129DC.
  3. Certified LCA Letter from employer in support of the H-1B
    petition.
  4. Employment offer letter and employment contract.
  5. Cases where work location involves end-client’s location
    other than employer’s then the employer should submit Master Service
    Agreement between the employer and the mid-vendor and/or end-client if the
    H-1B is for a roving IT employee position. 
  6. End client letter that outlines the employee’s proposed
    duties and confirms that the H-1B employee and the H-1B employer will
    maintain an exclusive
    employee-employer relationship throughout the entire
    duration of the H-1B employment Credential evaluation report equating the
    Beneficiary’s educational degree to that of a U.S. Bachelor’s degree (if
    the employee has a foreign degree) Copies of the Beneficiary’s degrees,
    transcripts, and work experience letters Copy of biographical pages of the
    Beneficiary’s passport

Moreover,
there is a base filing fee of $325 and Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee of $
500 that must be paid by the employer to USCIS.  There are additional
filing fees that may be required depending on the size of the employer’s
company, the type of H-1B petition etc.  Contact our office today for a
detailed explanation of the fees required for your specific company.

 

Dec 4 2013

In a conversation with a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Department of State’s Visa Office provided information and updates regarding demand in the employment-based EB-2 and EB-3 immigrant visa categories. Please note that these notes are based on personal impressions of the officer at the Visa Office and are subject to change based on new developments
 
Following are some of the observations: 
  • As of November 20, 2013 no additional EB-2 numbers will be allocated for EB-2 India adjustment of status applications for the rest of November (this means that no additional EB-2 India green cards can be approved with a priority date after November 2004 (the December Visa Bulletin’s cutoff date), even though earlier Visa Bulletin for November  had not yet retrogressed. The November Visa Bulletin confirmed that as soon as retrogression was announced for December, it could take effect immediately.
  • The demand for India EB-2 visa numbers has been unprecedented.

For instance, from the 10th to the 20th of November, the Visa Office received requests for approximately 150 EB-2 India green card numbers per day from USCIS. The demand was so great, that the unusual action of cutting off the category during the month had to be taken. A majority of these requests were from “upgrades” where the beneficiary had established a priority date in the EB-3 category, and now qualified for EB-2.

  • It is very possible that in August or September 2014, the last two months of the 2014 fiscal year, EB-2 India will advance again to around December 2008.However, that is only an educated guess at this time. No exact date is certain.
  • Some of the following factors which will affect the forward movement of the category and the availability of extra visa numbers, for India EB-2 and other categories, between now and the end of the 2014 fiscal year:
    • Usage of visa numbers in the EB-1 category that would “drop down” to EB-2;
    • The number of EB-3 to EB-2 “upgrades” from other countries;
    • The number of EB-2 India visa numbers used for applicants with priority dates before November 2004; and
    • The fact that the total worldwide quota is about 8,000 visa numbers lower than the previous year.

The Worldwide EB-3 category moved forward a year in December because there does not appear to be very many of these applications currently pending with USCIS. As demand builds over the fiscal year, and more conclusions can be drawn from the number of pending cases, the EB-3 Worldwide category may retrogress during this fiscal year.

  • In the last fiscal year, close to 15,000 EB-2 visa numbers were allocated to pending EB-2 India cases in August and September 2013, for cases that were pre-adjudicated by USCIS.
 

 
   
   
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