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Archive by Year: 2019 - Page 14

Planning for the H-1B Cap

Posted January 24, 2019Kristen Kellar - Sr. Paralegal - Team LeadH-1B

With the annual April H-1B cap right around the corner now is a great time to  start thinking about individuals you’d like to sponsor and opening cases. The H-1B cap officially opens April 1, 2019. For the past few years, the USCIS accepted cap petitions the first five business days of the month, and we anticipate the same this year. Petitions received after will not be eligible to be selected in the H-1B cap lottery. Starting the process early can provide peace of mind as April approaches knowing that the cases are prepared or that if positions or employees change there is time to make adjustments.

Employees you may consider sponsoring for the cap include:

  • Employees in F-1 OPT or CPT status
  • Employees who are currently working abroad
  • Employees in other visa statuses who may be sponsored for a green card
  • Employees working on an H-4 EAD
  • Employees currently on TN status, such as those working under the Economist category.

Due to the nature of the H-1B cap, even if an employee’s current status is valid until 2019 or later, you may want to consider filing an H-1B cap case now so that they have more chances at the cap. This past April, USCIS received 190,000 petitions for 85,000 spots.

It is also important to keep in mind processing timelines for the certified Labor Condition Application (LCA), which is required for all H-1Bs. If your company has not filed an LCA in the past, it must register with the Department of Labor prior to filing an LCA. Typically, it takes a few days for the Department of Labor to verify a company, but verification tends to take longer as April approaches. Once a company is verified with the Department of Labor, the LCA can be filed. LCAs are usually certified in 7 days, but that timeline tends to get longer as well. In the event of any error on the LCA or change to to position it’s vital to have time to correct it and have a new LCA be certified.

For companies that place employees at client sites, starting the H-1B process early can provide more time to ensure that sufficient evidence regarding the client relationship can be obtained. Providing client documents early allows your business immigration attorney ample time to review them and for additional documents to be obtained in the event of incomplete or insufficient evidence. Not having the proper documentation can result in an inability to file the case or a Request for Evidence later.

We encourage you to speak with you Meltzer Hellrung LLC attorney about any individuals you’d like to sponsor or if you have questions about the types of positions that qualify for an H-1B.

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USCIS Confirms SAVE Program is Operational During Shutdown

Posted January 24, 2019Kristen Kellar - Sr. Paralegal - Team LeadArticles

USCIS has confirmed that its SAVE Program is available during the government shutdown. The Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program is used by government agencies to verify immigration status when offering government benefits. Examples of agencies that may use the program are a state's department of motor vehicles, department of human services, and department of employment security. Agencies using the program will continue to be able to use the system during the shutdown. The SAVE CaseCheck system is also still available for individuals looking to follow the status of their verification case.

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USCIS Updates Guidance on Traveling with Advance Parole

Posted January 3, 2019Articles

USCIS updated its form instructions for when the agency will deny pending Form I-131 applications for advance parole for applicants who travel while the application is  pending. Previously, USCIS has denied all advance parole petitions when an individual traveled while the application was pending. 

USCIS indicates that when an applicant applies for advance parole, and the applicant travels internationally without the advance parole document that is valid for the entire period of travel, USCIS will consider the pending Form I-131 to be abandoned.

Further, USCIS notes that an applicant may have an approved advance parole document while a second one is pending. Individuals can travel while a new advance parole petition is pending as long as a previously approved advanced parole document is valid for the entire time spent abroad. In this situation, the pending application for advance parole will not be considered abandoned.

USCIS indicates that when an applicant applies for advance parole, and the applicant travels internationally without the advance parole document that is valid for the entire period of travel, USCIS will consider the pending Form I-131 to be abandoned.

We will continue to update this practice alert as more information becomes available. If you have any questions, please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney. 

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