AILA update !

Last week five attorneys from HLG attended the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual conference in San Francisco. Over 4,000 immigration attorneys gathered over a period of 4 days to attend educational sessions. We are providing below key points that may be of interest to our business clients.

  • Problems with the new electronic I-94 card system are prevalent. CBP made the helpful suggestion to try at a later time with different search matrixes to see if the information can be found.
  • The Department of Labor is denying cases in the IT field where the requirements are set out as a bachelor’s degree and two to five years of experience. The DOL is stating that these requirements are too broad to appropriately define the position.
  • There are an increasing number of RFE’s being issued in the I-140 context that question the validity of experience letters.
  • In the PERM context as it relates to both prevailing wages and the proper recruitment forum, companies that employ roving employees who remain at job sites for long periods of time should assess whether they should stop filing with both travel and re-location requirements. Companies must carefully assess and distinguish between travel and re-location. The increased cost of advertisement may be off-set by a reduction in the Level assigned for the prevailing wage.
  • The DOL recently began denying PERM cases in the IT field where the educational requirements are broadly listed as computer science, business, or engineering. DOL HQ indicated that they were not aware of this practice and would look into it as they did not agree with it.
  • L-1 cases for IT cos. are experiencing an approval rate of less than 1 out of 3. The Service Centers are rejecting the notion that proprietary knowledge is sufficient and are instead focusing on  whether an employee has over 5 years of experience, is paid a high salary, and has an advanced knowledge of technical skills.  Particularly the CSC has assumed the role of trying to curb the practice of outsourcing development projects to India by preventing employees from completing the implementation, customization, maintenance, and/or training phases of those projects by denying L-1b petitions and/or extension.
  • Where a company is merging with or acquiring another company, an increasing number of the new companies are receiving NOID’s when a site visit occurs. The USCIS is taking the stance that an amended petition should be filed in all H-1b successor-in-interest cases
  • USCIS once again promised new L-1 guidance very soon. I believe this is the 4th straight year for this promise.
  • The Senate passed its CIR Bill S.744 while the conference was underway so the mood was particularly upbeat however, the conventional wisdom remains that prospects for a bill passing the House are not good. However, it is believed that some of the employment revisions imposed by the Senate would be more favorable in either a House or compromised version.

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