USCIS Anticipates H-1B Cap Will Be Reached Within Only Five Days Or Less
The USCIS believes the H-1B cap will be reached between April 1, 2013 and April 5, 2013. On the final receipt date, if the USCIS gets more petitions than may be accepted, the USCIS will randomly select petitions to be deemed received based upon a lottery system. The remainder of the petitions that are not selected will be rejected. The lottery was used previously in April 2008.
The USCIS has adjusted the premium processing program and starting April 1, 2013, it will not begin premium processing until April 15, 2013.
L-1B Intracompany Transferee: AAO Defines "Specialized Knowledge" in Recent Case
The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) in a recent case has reversed an L-1B denial issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) March 15 2013. The USCIS had originally denied the L-1B petition on the basis that the beneficiary did not possess "specialized knowledge." The basis for this determination was that the beneficiary did not actually develop the technology or product in question. The AAO concluded this basis was incorrect.
In removing the denial, the AAO illustrated the correct rule. The USCIS was incorrect to require that the beneficiary actually develop the technology or product. All that is required is that the petitioner proved that the beneficiary has a special knowledge of the product and its application in international markets or possesses knowledge of an advanced level of the company's processes and procedures. Eligibility may be established by satisfying either of these two prongs, said the AAO.
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US Senate Proposes Plan to Double
Number of Annual H-1B Visas
A bipartisan group of eight senators joined to propose a new plan as part of its immigration reform that would double the number of available H-1B visas. The tech industry has waged a strong lobbying campaign on the basis that companies are finding it difficult to hire qualified workers of the H-1B cap limit. Advocates of the plan say increasing the number of visas would attract more foreign national high-skilled workers.
The White House stated it supports the plan, however it has not yet promised to sign the legislation until after it had been drafted.
New Senate Bill Would
Toughen H-1B Visa Rules
Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary committee, has introduced a bill that proposes toughening restrictions on H-1B visas. Such restrictions include increasing enforcement, changing wage requirements, and giving more precedence to US workers.
Among some of the changes are doubling fines for misrepresentation and mandating further verification of paperwork. The changes are intended to reduce H-1B abuse and fraud. Senator Sharon Brown has co-sponsored the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he will support the bill. The bill is intended to accompany immigration reform proposals to increase H-1B visa cap numbers.
DACA Consultations with an Attorney
Reveal Other Available Immigration Options
Many undocumented immigrants are aware of the new deferred action policy unveiled by the Obama administration last summer, Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA). This new policy gives undocumented immigrants the right to stay in the United States and legally work.
DACA has resulted in unintended benefits as well. Many undocumented people who have sought to speak with an attorney about new DACA policy to see whether they are eligible, have discovered that they are eligible for other, better, immigration benefits including special visas. Had these people not spoken with an attorney about DACA, they never would have known they had qualified for other immigration relief all along.
In one case, a foreign national in Jamaica consulted with a lawyer about deferred action, and she found out she also qualified for a green card under the Violence against Women Act because she was abused by her husband. In a different case, a national of Guyana spoke to an attorney about qualifying for DACA and then learned she also qualified for a T visa for victims of human trafficking. If you have questions about whether you qualify for immigration benefits, it is important to talk to a lawyer to explore all available options.
Gus Shihab, Esq.
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