Understanding the Visa Bulletin

The government has placed statutory limits on how many people can immigrate to the United States each year, so once you submit your application, you may have to wait until there is a visa available in the category you applied for. Each month, the Department of State (DOS) issues a visa bulletin, which indicates when visas are available based on your priority date and country of birth. Your priority date is the date that your petition was approved by USCIS. If a labor certification was required with your petition, the priority date is the date when the certification was accepted for processing by the Department of Labor.  What chart do I use? The visa bulletin contains two charts for each visa category with different dates: final action dates, and dates for filing applications. If filing via Adjustment of Status, USCIS will determine which chart controls in a given month. If filing via Immigrant Processing, the National Visa Center will reach out once you can begin these steps. In general, the green card cannot be issued until the final action date is current. Visit the USCIS website here to determine what chart you should use.  What do I do when my […]
Continue Reading

Who Pays for H-1B and Green Card Fees?

Clients commonly ask who is required to pay the fees associated with filing an H-1B or a green card petition through an employer. The answer is not always straightforward. Below is a breakdown of the fees linked to each petition and who is required to pay. H-1B When filing an H-1B petition, there are two sets of fees. The employer is required to pay both. Attorney Fees: Federal regulations prohibit employers from recouping H-1B costs that are considered a “business expense.” This includes: tools and equipment; transportation costs incident of, and necessary to, employment; living expenses when the employee is traveling on the employer business; and attorney fees and other costs associated with filing an H-1B petition. An H-1B employer cannot require an employee to pay for or reimburse the employer for attorney fees connected with filing an H-1B. However, the employer is permitted to require the H-1B employee to bear the cost when filing an application for an H-4 dependent spouse or child. Filing Fees: Each of the required U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) filing fees must be paid by the employer. This is mandated by the Immigration and Nationality Act and federal regulations. However, any optional fees, […]
Continue Reading

The PERM Process: Lawfully Rejecting U.S. Workers

PERM Labor Certification Process The EB-2 (with the exception of National Interest Waivers) and EB-3 visa categories require a U.S. employer to obtain a labor certification. This is done through Program Electronic Review Management (PERM). Under PERM regulations, a petitioning employer must first conduct a series of recruitment activities to test the labor market. If there is not a sufficient number of able, qualified and willing applicants, then the employer may submit a PERM labor certification application. This is done either electronically or by mail to the Department of Labor. The employer must also submit documentation demonstrating recruitment activities. If the application is approved (current processing times for PERM applications is about 90 days), the U.S. employer must file an associated immigrant petition with USCIS before the labor certification’s validity period expires (180 days). Lawfully Rejecting U.S. Workers During the recruitment phase of the PERM process, employers are generally obligated to consider any and all U.S. applicants. In order to lawfully reject a U.S. worker, an employer must determine: (1) that the U.S. applicant does not meet the positions minimum requirements; and (2) that any deficiencies cannot be remedied through reasonable on-the-job training. In some circumstances, it may be clear […]
Continue Reading