The Department of State (DOS) has recently released the February Visa Bulletin and it contains no surprises. The Dates for Filing chart remained unchanged. The Final Action Date chart showed slow movement forward in all but, India EB2 which stayed at the January date.
H-1b cap lottery filings are less than three (3) months away ! HLG will be hosting a conference call on Thurs. Feb 2nd for clients to discuss issues and strategies relating to this year’s lottery filings. Register at the HLG web-site. The call is free. Note there are two calls scheduled, one for healthcare cos. and the second for everyone else.
If you like statistics and are missing baseball box scores, check out the report recently released by the DHS on non-immigrant admissions in FY 2015. As you read this, keep in mind that admission does not equal people as the same person may make multiple admissions in a year if they travel internationally.
As confirmation hearings begin on Senator Jeff Sessions becoming the next Attorney General, it is enlightening to hear what he has said on H-1b visas. In an interview published in 2016 for Breitbart, Sessions made claims such as “over half of US STEM grads can’t find jobs”; “IT wages have not gone up since 2000” and, “there is no shortage of skilled workers in the U.S.” Check out the full story here.
In the first week of the new Congress, Rep Issa (R-CA) re-introduced a bill HR 170 designed to reform the H-1b program. The key component in the bill would raise the dependency exemption from $60,000 to $100,000. This same bill previously failed at the Committee level in 2016. It is expected that this will be but, the first, of bills introduced to change the H-1b visa program.
On December 19th, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (“OFLC”) posted a FAQ that stated that it has withdrawn the PERM modernization rule that had been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget. No details were provided about why this rule was withdrawn. However, OFLC has confirmed that it is dedicated to streamlining and updating the PERM process. OFLC may submit a new PERM modernization rule in the future. However, the rule making process will have to start from the beginning. The Hammond Law Group is curious about the basis for withdrawing this rule and hopes that a new PERM modernization rule will be introduced in the future to reflect “real-world” recruitment and to make this process more efficient.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) recently meet with the Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (“OFLC”) for its quarterly stakeholder meeting. In this meeting, the OFLC informed AILA that it had suspended denying cases on the basis that the recruitment stated that a “competitive salary” was offered or that salary “depends on experience.” This decision was based upon the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeal’s (“BALCA”) recent findings in Matter of TekServices, which found these denials to be unsupported under the law. The Hammond Law Group hopes that BALCA is able to quickly overturn the denials that were made on this particular issue.
Recently the USCIS published new regulations which have far reaching implications for international workers. HLG will be hosting 3 individual teleconferences to cover the various subjects included. Please check out the link here and register and pass along to any friends or colleagues that may be interested.