Archive for November, 2011

H-1B Cap Reached

November 23, 2011

Today USCIS announced that the H-1B cap for this fiscal year (FY 2012) has been reached. The government will not accept any new, cap-subject H-1B petitions received after November 22, 2011 that are requesting an employment start date in FY 2012.

The USCIS will continue to process H-1B applications for individuals already in H-1B status seeking to extend their status or seeking to change their terms of employment (including those seeking a change in employer). In addition, applications will still be accepted for H-1B employees seeking concurrent H-1B employment and the government will continue to accept cap exempt H-1B petitions (for instance, individuals seeking to work at an insitution of higher education, physicians that have obtaining a Conrad 30 J-1 waiver, etc).

If you are interested in filing a cap-subject H-1B application for next fiscal year, please let us know as soon as possible. We will begin preparing these applications in order to file them on April 1, 2012 and will be able to request an October 1, 2012 start date.

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Update on Visa Number Availability

November 15, 2011

In the November Visa Bulletin, the Department of State (DOS) provides its prognosis on the likely availability and movement of visas for the next few months:

For Family (Worldwide) Categories: F1, expected to advance three to six weeks; F2A, three to six weeks; F2B, one to two weeks; F3, one to two weeks; and F4, up to one month.

For Employment Categories:  EB-1, current; EB-2, current for Worldwide, Mexico, and The Philippines. (For China EB-2 and India EB-2, DOS reports that the current EB-2 cut-off date is approaching the most favorable date previously reached for such applicants; the dates reflect an effort to generate demand based on new filings for adjustment of status at USCIS offices. DOS advises, however, that once the level of demand increases sufficiently, the forward movement may be slowed or stopped, and a retrogression of the cut-offs at some point during the year is possible); EB-3, for Worldwide, expected to advance up to one month; China EB-3, one to three weeks; India EB-3, up to two weeks; Mexico EB-3, up to one month; Philippines EB-3, up to one month; EB-4, current; EB-5, current.

Update on H-1B Visas

November 4, 2011

H-1B Professional Specialty Worker Cap Update: As October 1 marked the beginning of the new fiscal year, visas are now immediately available for new H-1B cap-subject petitions. As of October 28th, USCIS reports that 49,200 new H-1B cap-subject petitions were receipted and another 20,000 petitions for foreign nationals with advanced degrees for FY2012. There are 85,000 new H-1B visas available annually, of which 20,000 are designated for advanced degree holders. For FY2011, H-1B visas became unavailable as of January 26, 2011.

Tough Penalties Levied Against School District in Maryland for H-1B Violations Become Final: A Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge approved a settlement agreement with Maryland’s Prince George’s County School District (PGCSD), located in the Washington, D.C. metro area, to pay sizeable fines for major violations of the H-1B program, including failure to pay wages and to maintain documentation as required. Under the agreement, PGSCD is barred from hiring any new foreign workers for two years and must pay a civil penalty of more than $100,000 for violating the H-1B program and over $4 million in back wages to more than 1,000 teachers.

Over the last several years, government agencies involved with the H-1B program have stepped up their enforcement and auditing efforts. Employers and their human resource personnel are wise to make sure their public access files and other records relating to their H-1B employees are up to date and in good order.


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