H-1B Notice Requirement Compliance by Electronic Posting

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) regulations require all H-1B employers to maintain a list of records regarding the H-1B workers that they employ. These records are referred to as the public access file, or PAF. The PAF includes documentation of such information as the rate of pay for the H-1B workers and a summary of the benefits offered to H-1B workers, among others. One important record that must be included in the PAF is documentation that certain notice requirements were satisfied. The DOL regulations demand that notice be given to U.S. workers on or within 30 days before the employer files the Labor Condition Application or LCA with the Department of Labor. The LCA is a form employers must file with the DOL Employment and Training Administration (ETA) on behalf of employees applying for a non-immigrant H-1B work visa. The DOL provides specific guidance as to what information the notice must include. For instance, the notice must include the number of H-1B non-immigrants the employer is seeking to employ, the wages offered, the period of employment, the locations at which the H-1B nonimmigrants will be employed, as well as other information. While the H-1B employer has no control […]
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Whirlpool Rapids Bridge Closing Temporarily

On April 1, 2019, the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, which spans the international border between Canada and the United States in Niagara Falls, will be temporarily closing. The closure is necessitated by the upcoming removal of the 1,700-foot Niagara Scenic Parkway viaduct above the bridge and customs plaza. The removal of the viaduct is part of a larger project for the renovation of the parkway along the Niagara River Gorge. The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, which is overseeing the redesign project, is hopeful that the project will ultimately expand the waterfront, increase access to the Niagara River Gorge, and add new green space to the area. The bridge is scheduled to be closed for 35 days until May 5, but these dates are tentative. Despite the closure, the Amtrak trains that run on a track on top of the bridge will continue to operate during the demolition. However, the closure of the bridge will certainly affect travel into, and out of, the United States because the NEXUS enrollment center at the bridge will also be closed temporarily. To help alleviate the loss of this entry point, the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and the Rainbow Bridge will offer extended hours of NEXUS lane availability. […]
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Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions Submitted Before December 21, 2018 Resumes

In March of 2018, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) suspended premium processing for all H-1B petitions subject to the 2019 cap. The reason for the suspension was to provide an opportunity for the agency to work through a backlog of petitions and thereby reduce overall H-1B processing times. Many H-1Bs had gone unprocessed due to the high volume of petitions USCIS was receiving, especially premium processing requests. In August of 2018, USCIS extended its suspension of premium processing of cap-subject H-1B petitions even further. And, beginning September 11, 2018, USCIS expanded its temporary suspension to include certain additional H-1B petitions. Things changed, however, on February 19, 2019: USCIS resumed premium processing for all H-1B petitions filed on or before December 21, 2018. The temporary suspension of premium processing remains in effect for H-1B petitions that were filed on or after December 22, 2018. Now that the suspension has been lifted, USCIS warns that petitioners seeking premium processing service may receive a transfer notice for a pending H-1B petition. In that case, the petitioner must submit the premium processing request, along with a copy of your transfer notice, to the service center now handling the petition. When an H-1B […]
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Proposed H-4 EAD Rescission

One advantage of the H-1B visa is that immediate family members of the H-1B visa holder may apply for an H-4 visa, which will allow them to lawfully stay in the United States. What is more, the holder of an H-4 visa, who is seeking employment based on lawful permanent resident status, is eligible to acquire an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and work in the United States. H-4 visa holders have been eligible to work in the United States since 2015. Recently, however, things have begun to change for H-4 visa holders. In October of 2018, the Department of Homeland Security released its Fall 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions and Regulatory Plan, which provides the public with an overview of possible regulations that are in the works. The regulations featured in the Unified Agenda are only aspirational, but they nonetheless communicate a sense of what direction future regulations may be headed. One DHS proposed regulation that appears in the Fall 2018 Unified Agenda is titled “Removing H-4 Dependent Spouses from the Class of Aliens Eligible for Employment Authorization.” This proposed regulation is intended to amend the 2015 rule. The rule would bar H-4 visa holders from eligibility […]
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USCIS Strengthens Guidance on Spousal Petitions Involving Minors

In the United States, state law determines the minimum age that an individual can be married. Every state but two requires that both members of the married couple be 18 years of age or over to be married without parental or judicial consent. Occasionally, immigrants coming into the United States have minor spouses, or immigrants living in the United States want to bring minor spouses into the country. Immigration officers subject petitions involving these minor spouses to special scrutiny. USCIS has just announced that it will be publishing additional clarifying instructions for its officers to consider when adjudicating spousal immigration petitions involving minors. These additional instructions were published as an update to the USCIS Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM). It clarifies age requirements for a petitioner filing an Affidavit of Support for a spouse in conjunction with a concurrently filed I-485, and identifies factors officers should consider when adjudicating a Form I-130 spousal petition involving a minor.  What does the updated guidance instruct USCIS officers to look for when considering a petition? While there are no statutory age requirements to petition for a spouse or to be sponsored as a spousal beneficiary, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will consider […]
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Important Changes to Form I-539

Beginning March 11, 2019, USCIS will be accepting only the revised Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, with an edition date of 02/04/19. All other additions will be rejected. The new I-539 form will be published along with a new Form I-539A, Supplemental Information for Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Form I-539A replaces the Supplement A provided in previous versions of Form I-539 used for dependents.  The significant changes on Form I-539 will include the following:  (1) every co-applicant included on the primary applicant’s Form I-539 must submit and sign a separate Form I-539A (co-applicant must be mentally competent to sign; if under age of 14, a parent/legal guardian may sign for the co-applicant);  (2) every applicant and co-applicant must pay an $85 biometric services fee (except certain A, G and NATO nonimmigrants); and  (3) every applicant and co-applicant will receive a biometric services appointment notice, regardless of age, containing their individual receipt number. USCIS will reject any Form I-539 that is missing any of the required signatures or biometrics fees, including those required for Form I-539A. If you are interested in changing or extending your status, please contact Berardi Immigration Law to schedule a consultation with one of […]
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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 […]
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