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Articles Posted in H1B Visas

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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What are some alternatives to the H-1B visa?

By now you know that the H-1B cap has been reached for Fiscal Year 2019. But what happens if you were not selected in the H-1B visa lottery?

In this post, we will discuss some alternatives to the H-1B visa that will allow you to stay and work in the United States.

  1. The O-1 “Extraordinary Ability” Visa:

This visa type is for aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, athletics, motion picture, television, or arts industries who have received national and/or international acclaim in their field. An alien on an O-1 visa may live and work in the United States for a period of up to three years.

An O-1 visa is a great visa for people in the start-up world and technology sector. This visa is for people holding an advanced degree (at least a master’s degree) who have either started their own business, have patented inventions, are leading experts in their fields, and/or have gained notoriety in their fields as evidenced by awards and other national recognitions.

  1. TN Visa for Mexican and Canadian Nationals

The TN visa allows nationals of Mexico and Canada to work in the United States, provided their profession is on the NAFTA list. The maximum period of initial admission to the US is three years, but visa holders may apply for extensions in amounts of one year.

  1. E-3 Visa for Australian Nationals

Similar to the H-1B visa, the E-3 classification allows Australian nationals to travel to the United States to work in a specialty occupation. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent to qualify and must work in a specialty occupation often associated with the STEM occupational fields. The E-3 visa is issued for an initial period of no more than 2 years, with extensions granted in 2-year increments.

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In this post, we discuss the top most commonly denied specialty occupations for the H-1B visa program. Don’t be caught in the dark. For more information just keep on watching.

0:19 – Marketing Manager

0:47 – Business Development Manager

1:12 – Technical Writer

1:37 – Computer Programmer

1:56 – Financial Analyst for Business

2:36 – Sales Positions

2:56 – Arts and Fashion

These occupations have been repeatedly denied over the years during H-1B filing season.

  1. Marketing Manager: It is very difficult to receive an approval with this occupation because USCIS has claimed that on the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), the occupation of marketing manager does not require the individual to have a specific degree or a bachelor’s degree at all.
  2. Business Development Manager: This occupation falls under the Market Research Analyst category. We have seen quite a few denials associated with this occupation within the past 2 years. It is difficult to receive an approval for market research analysts, and the rate of requests for evidence issued for this occupation have increased tremendously.
  3. Legal Technical Writer/Technical Writers: We have seen increasing denials associated with this occupation since the last filing season. Extensions have also proved difficult to receive for this occupation. The common reason for denying this occupation is also that the OOH does not require the individual to have a specific degree or a bachelor’s degree at all.
  4. Computer Programmer: Based on recent memos issued by USCIS it is very difficult to receive an approval for this occupation because USCIS does not think that a bachelor’s degree is required for this position.
  5. Financial Analyst for Business: We have seen denials for financial analysts seeking to work for a business that isn’t involved in the financial sector. This applied in a situation where the beneficiary was seeking a financial position within a large restaurant. In this situation, USCIS has questioned whether the degree is a specialty occupation because although the position requires a bachelor’s degree, within the restaurant industry it is not common to require a degree for the position.
  6. Sales Positions: It is very difficult to receive an H-1B for a sales position. We would recommend reconsidering applying for the H-1B visa, or changing your position based on your job description.
  7. Arts and Fashion: Positions that are not specifically geared toward fashion design or graphic design are increasingly scrutinized by USCIS.

If you have questions regarding your H-1B position, please contact our office for a consultation.

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0:18 – Tip number 1: Make sure make sure that your education matches the job that you’re applying for.

1:08 – Tip number 2: Make sure that the job itself requires a degree.

1:50 – Tip number 3: Understand what is the salary that is required to be paid for this position.

2:38 – Tip number 4: Make sure that the application that is filed is highly organized.

3:55 – Tip number 5: Send the application to the correct address.

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses his top tips for filing a successful H-1B visa this H-1B season.

Remember that USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2019 cap on April 2, 2018.  The filing period is expected to end on April 6, 2018.

Step One: Make sure your education matches the job duties required by the employer who will be sponsoring your H-1B petition. If your degree is unrelated to the position, you will not qualify for the H-1B visa, unless you have extensive work experience directly related to the position. It is very difficult to gain approval if your degree is not related to the position you will be filling.

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