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H-1B Quota for 2018

The H-1B is a type of non-immigrant visa foreign workers can receive through the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act. The H-1B visa allows U.S. employers to provide temporary workers with jobs in specialty occupations. Under this visa program, if the worker is fired or quits they must either find a new job, apply to change their immigration status or leave the United States.

According to the regulations governing this visa program a “specialty occupation” is a job requiring the application of highly specialized knowledge for which a bachelor’s degree or some equivalent level of training and certification is required. The H-1B visa is commonly used to hire foreign nationals to work in accounting, architecture, biotechnology, business specialties, chemistry, engineering, health, law, mathematics, medicine, physical and social sciences, theology, and the arts. Fashion models “of distinguished merit and ability” may also receive H-1B visas.Read More

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Get Help Obtaining H-1B Visas-Deadline to file is April 1st 2017

At the Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal, we help individuals in obtaining H-1B Visas, the only work visa available for US companies to hire foreign nationals.  H-1B visas are available for positions that require at least a Bachelor’s Degree in a specific field, and are also referred to as Specialty Occupation visas.  Examples of Specialty Occupations would be Engineers, Doctors, Lawyers, Scientists, etc. Our H-1B Visa attorney, in conjunction with the U.S employer, can help structure an immigration strategy, that will use H-1B and H-1B1 temporary work visas as part of an ongoing process that may eventually lead to permanent legal residency for foreign nationals. Read More

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Need for H-1B Visas- The Time to Apply Is Now!

As H-1B season approaches, it’s time to begin your application process for a spot in the lottery. Currently, the USCIS allots 65,000 H-1B visas each year. Vying for a spot in the lottery are an estimated 195,000 applicants. With three times the amount of applicants than visas available, many applicants will be unable to get H-1B status due to sheer lack of numbers.

The Obama administration has attempted to combatimmigration reform but these attempts have not survived in Congress. One bill called the Immigration Innovation Act proposes to increase the amount of H-1B issued from 65,000 to 115,000. The bill also proposes a removal of the 20,000 Cap on applicants with U.S. Master’s degree.

These proposed changes to increase the amount of H-1B visas available would allow more foreign employees to work in the United States.With more H-1B visas issued each year, employers will increase their odds of getting an H-1B and can better plan and prepare for their business’ hiring needs

The technology sector is one of the biggest users of the H-1B Visa. The United States is experiencing a shortage of workers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields. By increasing the no. of H-1B Visas, we are promoting growth of business’, particularly in high-tech. This could also lead to more job creation in the United States due to foreign workers bolstering new companies with their specialized skill set.

Unfortunately the proposed increases will not be in place this year. With a significantly higher number of H-1B applicants than H-1B visas available, employers can no longer depend on the H-1B program to fill these skilled positions. Employers may have to explore other visa options if their applicants are not chosen in the lottery in order to fulfill employment needs andavoid waitinganother year to try again. Again, the need to hire H-1B workers arise from the fact that United States is experiencing a shortfall of workers in the skilled positions that are filled by H-1B workers.

With a small amount of H-1B visas available the importance of filing on time is crucial. Like last year, the Cap will likely be filled in the first week. Thus, for a chance to be considered in the H-1B lottery, timely filing is extremely important. It’s critical that your application be filled correctly and accurately in order to prevent rejection. If petitions are not selected, or rejected because they are erroneously filed, employers/foreign nationals mustwait for another year before they can apply again. This is where an immigration attorney can be extremely valuable to ensure your application is filed timely and accurately.

The Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal is prepared to help you with all your H-1B filings this year. Contact our offices now to ensure you have time to gather any documentation before the Cap opens next month. Attorney Sweta Khandelwal can also speak with you about other visa options in the event your visa applicants are not chosen for the Cap this year.

Cited Sources:

AILA: Immigration Innovation Act Would Help Economy, January 14, 2015, AILA

 

 

 

Tags: #h-1b, #H-1B Visas, #immigration law, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law lawyer

H-1B Cap Opens April 1st

The H-1B cap for the 2015-2016 fiscal year will open on April 1, 2015. Timely filing is important because there are a limited number of H-1B visas issued each year. Application process is complex with no room for error. It’s time for employers to identify the candidates for whom they wish to file H-1B visa, and start the paperwork.

H-1B visas are popular among employers seeking to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations in the United States. A specialty occupation is a position that requires at least a Bachelor’s Degree. It follows that the H-1B visa applicants must possessa four-year bachelor’s degree in a field related to the position; or the applicants must have relevant and required experience to qualify.

The H-1B cap refers to the limit the USCIS puts on the number of new H-1B applications it will accept for approval each year. This year there will be 65,000 applications accepted for consideration for the regular cap and 20,000 for the H-1B Master’s cap. The Master’s cap is reserved for applicants with a U.S. Master’s degree or higher. Of the 65,000 applications accepted for the regular cap, 6,800 petitions are set aside for H-1B1 classification that is reserved for Singaporean and Chilean residents, per terms of US-Singapore and US-Chile trade agreements.

The National Law Review predicts this year the cap will close within five days of its opening. After the cap closes the USCIS will not accept any more H-1B applications. If USCIS receives more than 65,000 applications before the cap closes there will be a lottery to determine which applications will be selected for H-1B consideration. The lottery is a random drawing among all applications received before the cap closes.

Last year the USCIS received over 172,000 H-1B applications the first week the cap was open. Based on this number, immigration practitionerspredict that this number could increase to 200,000 this year. Applications that are not selected in the lottery will not be considered for H-1B approval. All rejected petitions will not be able to apply again for H-1B status until the cap opens again the following year.

Filing an H-1B petition is a complex process. It is important to ensure your application is filed timely and correctly. Many additional documents, qualifications, and requirements must be met to ensure an applicant can be considered for an H-1B visa. Even the smallest error of checking the wrong box on the application formor a single typo in your application package can cause rejection without an opportunity to refile until the next year.

To ensure your application timely and correctly filed it is important to speak with an immigration attorney. The Law Office of Sweta Khandelwal can help guide you through this process and ensure that your H-1B application has the best chance of being entered into the lottery and approved. Attorney Sweta Khandelwal is an expert in the field of immigration law and can also discuss any other visa options that may be available to you. Contact our offices today to get started on filing your H-1B for the 2015-2016 cap!

Cited Sources:

Fiscal Year 2016 H-1B Cap- You’ve Been Warned, Now Here Are This Year’s Key Dates, The National Law Review, January 23, 2015

H-1B Fiscal Year (YR) 2015 Cap Season, USCIS, January 5, 2015

Tags: #h-1b, #H-1B Visas, #immigration law, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law lawyer

Advanced Parole or H-1B?

It is a stressful, but rewarding, time when a noncitizen finally begins their adjustment of status process to obtain a green card. Not only are many of the visa restrictions lifted, but it also allows for more frequent travel in and out of the United States. This article will explore some of the issues, however, of traveling with a pending I-485 adjustment of status application with USCIS.

The old law required a foreign national to obtain an Advance Parole document to travel outside the US while the I-485 was filed and still pending adjudication with USCIS. However H-1B, L, and K-3/K-4 (but not K-1/K-2) visa holders with a pending I-485/Adjustment need not seek advanced parole before travel. However, there is no harm in obtaining one, and in fact a memorandum put out by USCIS states that it is the alien’s prerogative to present either the advanced parole document or their H-1, L, or K-3/K-4 visa papers to evidence proper entry into the United States. If the noncitizen presents both, however, the reviewing officer should take the visa papers instead of the advanced parole document and inform the noncitizen that they don’t need the advanced parole document.

If the noncitizen re-enters the United States by using the Advanced Parole document instead of his or her visa papers, it does not negate their H-1B status. Thus, when a nonimmigrant is attempting to adjust status to obtain a green card, there is no break in the requirement to continuously maintain valid nonimmigrant status. For all intents and purposes, the H-1B status is continuously maintained and H-B beneficiaries have gone on to successfully obtain extensions premised on a valid underlying H-1B visa. Even if there were to be some question about this, the Act specifically creates a safe harbor exception for “technical violations,” which this situation would fall under. It would be incongruous for the noncitizen to be considered “out of status” when using an Advanced Parole document to re-enter the United States, but still allow him or her to obtain extensions on that H-1B visa.

If you have questions about your visa and the effect of obtaining an Advanced Parole document, contact our office today for more information or to speak with an attorney.

Tags: #h-1b, #H-1B Visas, #immigration law, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law lawyer

The H-1B Visa Explained

Comprehensive Immigration Reform could include a doubling of H-1B visas. The H-1B visa numbers for the year 2013 remain the same. Our previous blogs have discussed this and the Washington Post reported the same earlier last week,

This post will discuss the H-1B visas and their significance to the US economy.

What is the H-1B visa?

The H-1B visa provides temporary status to live and work in the United States. It is the employer, not the worker, that files the application and, if successful, the H-1B visa is tied to that sponsoring employer. If the H-1B worker quits, is laid off, or otherwise loses the connection to the sponsoring employer, the worker must find a new H-1B sponsoring employer, change to a different visa or get a green card, or leave the United States. The H-1B visa holder must, at the least, have a bachelor’s degree and must work in a “specialty occupation, ”defined as an occupation requiring at least a Bachelor’s Degree.

Are there deadlines and other restrictions with the H-1B visa?

Yes, there is a 65,000 quota cap on the number of H1B visas with a special exemption for 20,000 people with a master’s degree or higher from an American university (i.e, a total of 85,000). The quota traditionally fills up quickly soon after applications open – last year, applications were accepted starting April 2, 2012 and were closed on June 11, 2012. This year, applications open on April 1, 2013 with expectations to close as soon as April 5. Family members do not count against the visa quota.

Are there any fees for filing an H-1B application?

Yes. The fees from this year range from $1,575 to $4,325, with an additional $1,225 for premium processing. Most of the fees are covered by employers, but in some instances it is appropriate for the employee to pay some part of the fee. The fee does not include attorney fees, travel costs, etc.

Can an H-1B visa holder eventually get a green card?

Yes, but indirectly. H-1B visa holders may adjust status to get legal permanent residence through either a qualifying relative or an employer. This is how most temporary visa holders adjust their status.

When are H-1B visa holders not subject to the annual cap H-1B visa holders who spent more than one year outside of U.S. and did not use up their entire six-year term can choose to be re-admitted for the “remainder” of initial six-year period without being subject to the H-1B visa cap of 85,000. In addition, H-1B employees of hospitals, research and educational institutes, and non-profit organizations are exempt from the annual cap. This means that these employers can petition for an H-1B visa for their employees any time of the year.

Furthermore, family members of H-1B visa holders that come under the H-4 status will not count against the six-year maximum period if the family member chooses to pursue an H-1B visa of their own.

Why are H-1B visas so important?

H-1B Visas are one of the key ways technology companies, from start-ups to Google, hire international talent. Although the H-1B visa can be used for a variety of occupations and not just tech jobs, the fact that Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are backing this reform shows how important the issue is for the technology sector. However, as the H-1B visa requires a bachelor’s degree or higher and a position in a “specialty occupation,” H-1B visa reform could impact a large variety of industries.

If you would like to discuss your H-1B visa case or have any questions about the process, feel free to contact our office and an expert immigration attorney will assist you!

Tags: #h-1b, #H-1B Visas, #immigration law, #immigration law attorney, #immigration law lawyer




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