Articles Posted in H1B Visas

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we have some bad news for H1B visa holders, some very very alarming statistics. If you want to know what they are watch this video.

H1B Visas and Rate of Denials

Based on a recent statistic, between 2015 through 2019 there has been a significant increase in H1B visa denials. H1B visa denials have quadrupled in denial rates.

Similarly, the volume of requests for evidence issued to H1B petitioners have increased by 60 percent.

The H-1B season for fiscal year 2021 will bring some important changes. Firstly, USCIS has imposed a new online electronic registration requirement for H1B petitioners to streamline the H1B lottery process.

When we see a quadrupling in the rate of H1B visas denied for strong H1B petitions, it is apparent that the government is trying to send a message, which is that they want to limit the amount of people who can actually file for H1B visas. In the requests for evidence we have received for H1B extensions and transfers, we see a trend in which USCIS is using the most narrow interpretation of what a “specialty occupation,” is which by definition limits the pool of candidates eligible to receive an H1B visa.

We are seeing almost automatic denials for our marketing and business positions because USCIS is being so restrictive in how they interpret and define a “specialty occupation.” USCIS is taking the position that marketing and business positions are not “specialty occupations.”

USCIS has time and time again refused to accept the complexity of these positions, legal arguments in support of a finding that these positions are in fact specialty occupations, and ignored expert opinions supporting such positions as “specialty occupations.”

From what we have seen in our own filings and from conversations we have had with other attorneys and law offices, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get H1B visas approved for positions and occupations are were normally approved without difficulty in the past.

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Have you ever wondered how you can land a job with a US employer who will sponsor you for an H-1B visa?

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the process of finding a job in the United States that can lead to an H-1B sponsorship.

To be able to work in the United States you must have a work visa. The most common work visa is the H-1B visa.

What is the H-1B visa?

The H-1B visa allows American companies and/or organizations to employ foreign workers in a specialty occupation. To be able to apply for the H-1B visa you must have a job offer from a U.S. employer, and a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent work experience to work in the position sought.

The H-1B visa is a visa for professionals. Attorneys, architects, engineers, business directors, lodging managers, etc. can apply for the H-1B visa based on their specialty occupation.

How do you land a job offer?

U.S. employers are open to hiring foreign nationals, but many are unaware of the process that goes into employing a foreign national.

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In this live stream, attorneys Jacob Sapochnick and Marie Puertollano discuss recent topics in immigration including the upcoming H-1B season, changes to the H-1B visa program, U.S. Embassy Updates for China and Russia, I-751, and affirmative asylum updates.

Mandatory Registration Requirement for H-1B Petitioners

Beginning with the H-1B season for FY 2021, all petitioners seeking to file an H-1B cap-subject petition on behalf of a foreign worker will be required to submit to a mandatory registration process. Only those whose registrations are selected, will be eligible to file an H-1B cap-subject petition during the associated filing period.

Each petitioner will be required to electronically register through the USCIS government website. The registration period will last for a minimum period of 14 calendar days and begin at least 14 calendar days before the first day of filing in each fiscal year. USCIS will provide the public with at least 30 days advance notice of the opening of the initial registration period for the upcoming fiscal year via the USCIS website.

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted today for public inspection, a final rule amending regulations governing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. The final rule reverses the order by which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B regular cap and the advanced degree exemption, and it introduces an electronic registration requirement for petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. The rule will be published in the Federal Register on Jan. 31, and will go into effect on April 1, though the electronic registration requirement will be suspended for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 cap season.

What does this mean for you?

1. The rule will start in 2020 not this year.

2. The only change this year is the Reverse order of selection of cases. Effective April 1, USCIS will first select H-1B petitions (or registrations, once the registration requirement is implemented) submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will then select from the remaining eligible petitions, a number projected to reach the advanced degree exemption. Changing the order in which USCIS counts these allocations will likely increase the number of petitions for beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education to be selected under the H-1B numerical allocations.

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The H-1B visa is a lottery visa that is reserved for individuals who seek to work in what is called a “specialty occupation” in the United States.

A specialty occupation exists if any of the following are satisfied:

a) the foreign worker either possesses a bachelor’s degree or higher or equivalent work experience for the particular position sought

b) that the degree requirement is common for the particular position within the industry, or that the job is so complex or unique that it can only be performed by someone possessing a bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience in a relevant field for the position

c) that the employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position or

d) that the nature of the duties necessary to perform the position are so specialized and complex that performance of the duties is associated with attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher, or equivalent work experience.

Nurses in management positions, nurse practitioners, certain ICU high level nurses, and some nurses in research, may qualify for the H-1B visa.

General Requirements

  • The nurse must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher relating to their area of employment
  • The nurse must have a job offer from a U.S. employer to perform work in a specialty occupation (such as a nurse practitioner)
  • The H-1B visa is a lottery visa subject to a numerical cap. An applicant may only apply for an H-1B visa in April of each fiscal year
  • The nurse’s employer must be willing to pay the prevailing wage which is the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in the area of intended employment. The prevailing wage is determined based on the occupation and work location where the foreign worker will be employed
  • The employer must attest that they will pay the nurse at least the prevailing wage and also that the nurse will be working at a particular location

For more information about the H-1B visa please visit our website.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick forms part of a panel of distinguished immigration attorneys. During this panel you will hear all about immigration options for foreign nurses.

These options include the H-1B visa for highly educated nurses such as nurse practitioners, the TN Visa for citizens of Canada or Mexico, and finally EB-3 employment based green card processing.

For more information about these options please click here.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses immigration options for foreign nurses.

Overview: 

At the moment it is quite difficult for foreign nurses to immigrate to the United States because of how strict immigration officials are being in adjudicating these petitions.

While there are rigorous requirements that must be proven to immigrate to the United States, the demand for nurses in the United States continues to grow. Therefore, there is a still a need for foreign nurses to come and work in the United States.

The good news is that the immigration backlog for nurses is decreasing. The time that a nurse must wait to work in the United States depends on the nurse’s country of nationality.

So, how can a nurse get a visa to come to the United States?

There are generally two ways that a foreign nurse can come and work in the United States.

Option 1:

Green Card: A nurse may come to work in the United States if their employer files a petition on their behalf specifically on Form I-140 Immigration Petition for Alien Worker. Once the I-140 is approved, the nurse may apply for an immigrant visa under the EB-3 category for nurses once the I-140 priority date becomes current on the visa bulletin. This process culminates in an interview at the U.S. Consulate for the immigrant visa.

Option 2:

H-1B: A foreign nurse who has a Master’s or Bachelor’s degree, plus five years working experience, and is seeking to work in a specialty occupation (for example as managers or nurse practitioners) may apply for the H-1B work visa.

Option 3:

TN Visa: A foreign nurse from Canada or Mexico may apply for a TN visa.

Most nurses come to the United States by being petitioned for a green card directly by their employer.

What is required for this option?

  • The foreign nurse must have a visa screen which is an evaluation of educational equivalency by the CGFNS (Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools)
  • The foreign nurse must establish English proficiency by passing either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) www.toefl.com or International English Language Testing System (IELTS, academic version) www.ielts.org.
  • The foreign nurse must also pass the state licensing exam and the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination)
  • The foreign nurse must have a job offer and
  • The employer must be willing to sponsor the foreign nurse for permanent residency
  • The employer must be willing to pay the prevailing wage of the location where the foreign nurse will be working

For more information please contact us at jacob@h1b.biz.

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In this live stream, attorneys Jacob Sapochnick and Marie Puertollano discuss recent topics in immigration including the immigrant caravan, the new proposed rule to restrict admission of aliens reliant on public benefits, updates relating to the I-751, NTA memos, and the upcoming H-1B season and new proposals.

Immigrant Caravan

The immigrant caravan is comprised of a large group of individuals traveling together from Central America for the purpose of claiming asylum in the United States. Unfortunately, there are long waiting times for individuals to be scheduled for what is known as a “credible fear” interview, where an immigration officer will determine whether the applicant has a credible fear of asylum. This waiting period of course is exacerbated by the large amounts of people who continue to seek asylum at a port of entry.

Proposal to Restrict Admission for Aliens Reliant on Public Benefits 

The Department of Homeland Security recently announced a new proposed rule that may prevent non-citizens reliant, or likely to become reliant on public benefits, from gaining admission to the United States.

Under the proposed rule, a non-citizen can be found inadmissible to the United States if they have become reliant on a prohibited public benefit, or if they are likely to become reliant on a prohibited public benefit. The non-citizen seeking to gain admission to the United States bears the burden of proving that they will not become a public charge to the United States government. This can be accomplished by showing that the non-citizen applicant has sufficient finances to support themselves in the United States, or by presenting a signed and completed affidavit of support.

Under the proposed rule receipt of any of the following types of public benefits could make a person inadmissible on public charge grounds:

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick talks visa options for entrepreneurs.

Overview:

In this video we cover four visa options that allow foreign entrepreneurs to live and work in the United States. These visa options also allow the foreign entrepreneur to bring his or her dependents to live with them in the United States.

Option #1 L-1 Visa for Executives, Managers, and Essential Employees:

There are two types of visas available under the L-1 category: 1) L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager and 2) L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge.

The L-1A category is a non-immigrant visa classification for aliens seeking to work in the United States in an executive or managerial capacity on an assignment of a temporary nature for a U.S. subsidiary or parent company of their foreign employer.
The L-1A visa classification allows a foreign company to transfer an executive or manager to the U.S. subsidiary or parent company. If an affiliated U.S. subsidiary or parent company does not yet exist, the L-1A classification allows the foreign company to send the executive or manager to the United States for the purpose of establishing the affiliated subsidiary or parent company.
L-1B: If the alien is not employed in an executive or managerial capacity, the L-1B visa classification comes into play. To be eligible for the L-1B visa, the petitioner must demonstrate that although the alien is not employed in an executive or managerial capacity with the company, the alien possesses specialized knowledge and can represent the organization’s interests in the United States.

Both the L-1A and L-1B require the beneficiary to have worked abroad for the foreign employer for at least one year within the proceeding three years.

Pro: the L-1 visa leads to a green card

Option #2 E-2 Investor Visa:

The E-2 treaty investor visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign entrepreneurs from treaty nations to enter the United States and carry out investment and trade activities. Investment activities include the creation of a new business in the United States or investment in an existing enterprise. The investment must be significantly proportional to the total investment, that is, usually more than half the total value of the enterprise or, if a new business, an amount normally considered necessary to establish the business.

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In this live stream, attorneys Jacob Sapochnick and Marie Puertollano discuss recent topics in immigration including the new USCIS policy giving immigration officers ample discretion to deny an application or petition filed with USCIS without first issuing a RFE or NOID, suspension of premium processing, fraudulent H-1B schemes, and more.

Overview:

RFE/NOID Policy

Beginning September 11, if you do not provide sufficient evidence to establish that you are eligible for the immigration benefit you are requesting, USCIS may exercise their discretion and deny your petition without first issuing a request for evidence or RFE. This new policy applies to all applications and petitions filed after September 11th, with the exception of DACA renewal applications.  The decision to deny your application or petition without issuing a RFE or NOID will ultimately be up to the discretion of the officer reviewing your petition. An officer may in his discretion continue to issue a RFE or NOID according to his best judgement.

If you are filing for a change of status or extension of your status, we recommend that you file early, so that you are not out of status in the case that USCIS denies your request for an immigration benefit. This will give you the opportunity to either re-file or to consider changing your status to another visa type. In addition, if you have the ability to apply for premium processing service, you should take advantage of that service.

Suspension of Premium Processing

At the moment premium processing services have been temporary suspended for cap-subject petitions until February 19, 2019, with the exception of cap-exempt petitions filed exclusively at the California Service Center, because the employer is cap-exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap exempt institution.

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