New USCIS Tool Makes Calculating Fees Easier

Completing forms for U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services (USCIS) is difficult enough, but navigating USCIS’s various webpages to make sure you submit the appropriate fees adds another step to this already complicated process. To help streamline the application process and make sure the appropriate fees are submitted, USCIS recently created an online tool that correctly calculates fees in an attempt to avoid incorrect payments and delays in processing. Now, you can find filing fee information in one, centralized location.  The new fee calculator tool requires users to submit answers to various questions, which are then used to calculate the proper amount the applicant is required to pay. This includes entering your form, age, and application type, to name a few questions. Fees sometimes fluctuate, making it difficult to keep up with the most current fee amount. This tool contains accurate and up-to-date information. This is critical, since incorrect fee payment can be grounds for rejection by USCIS. This could force applicants to spend more time and money resubmitting an application.  USCIS designed this tool to be convenient and secure for users. The Online Fee Calculator can be used on all browsers on both desktop and mobile devices. Additionally, the tool […]
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New Bill Could Make E-3 Visas Available to Irish Nationals

Irish nationals interested in relocating and working in the United States might just be in luck. A bill providing Irish nationals with several thousand additional work visas annually is scheduled for a vote in the Senate. Outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan holds ancestral and political ties to Ireland and is responsible for pushing this bill. The bill has already passed the House and according to a Republican aide, the bill has a good chance of passing the Senate.  This bill would provide Irish nationals with access to E-3 visas. Currently, E-3 visas are only available for Australian nationals who have a legitimate offer of employment in the U.S., possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials, and will fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation. This visa category requires a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. If this bill passes, in addition to Australian nationals, Irish nationals would also be eligible to apply for an E-3 nonimmigrant visa. The E-3 category would still favor Australian petitions, but Irish nationals would be able to access any of the E-3 program’s 10,500 visas not used by Australians.  This bill would allow for reciprocity, meaning more Americans would be able to be […]
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Client of the Month: Vicky Ghotra

Berardi Immigration Law is proud to have helped our featured client of the month, Vicky Ghotra, obtain an E-2 visa. Vicky is originally from Canada and he and his family have been involved in real estate from the time he was a child. This was a major factor that prompted Vicky to create his own company, 416HOMEZ Inc., which renovates and sells properties.  Based in Canada, Vicky was looking to expand and grow his business into the U.S. market. To do so, he knew he needed to find the right attorneys to assist with his case and determine what steps he needed to take. Vicky did significant research shopping around for an attorney. Ultimately, he decided on Berardi Immigration Law after hearing many positive reviews. The same sentiments were echoed even by officers at the U.S. border when Vicky entered the United States.  One of Vicky’s favorite parts of working with the team at Berardi Immigration Law was the prompt and consistent communication by email and by phone. Whenever Vicky had a question or wanted an update, the team was glad to speak with him. Having the support of Berardi Immigration Law took a weight off Vicky’s shoulders and allowed […]
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Recent Changes to the LCA for H-1B Cases

Employers should take note of several changes the Department of Labor (DOL) has made to the labor condition application (LCA) that is currently in effect. Recent changes primarily effect employers who place H-1B dependent foreign national employees at offsite locations.   Employers are mandated to have an approved LCA from the Department of Labor if they wish to file an H-1B petition. H-1B visa holders generally work in a specialty occupation. While LCAs are also required for other visa categories, the changes to the requirements apply specifically for the H-1B category. The LCA is crucial to the application process since it includes vital information about the proposed employment, such as the nature of the job, wage information and the location. The employer must also attest to the non-displacement of workers, that wage levels are set at or above the prevailing wage, and to comply with notice requirements.  The updated LCA form requires an H-1B dependent employer to submit education documents to verify the qualifying degree if the foreign national is considered exempt based on a master’s degree. Determining whether an employer is H-1B dependent varies based on the individual employer. Only certain documents are acceptable to fulfill this exemption requirement. […]
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Proposed Rule Change to H-2B Program Could Restructure Recruitment Requirements

Following recent trends with other visa categories, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a notice of proposed rulemaking that would seek to modernize the recruitment requirements for employers seeking to hire foreign nationals on an H-2B visa. The goal of this proposed rule is to make it easier for U.S. workers to find and fill these job opportunities. Under the H-2B program, U.S. employers are able to hire foreign nationals to work in the United States on a temporary basis to work nonagricultural jobs. These employers are obligated to meet certain regulatory requirements in order to participate in this program.  Currently, regulations require print newspaper advertisements for the job opening to be published. The proposed rule takes into account ever changing technological advancements and would instead require electronic advertisements to be posted on the internet for at least 14 days. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) published this proposed rule with the belief that it is more effective and efficient to advertise jobs to U.S. workers on the internet, rather than in newspapers, given the wide reach of online sources. The proposed rule would phase out the current requirements within a limited time frame. […]
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USCIS Issues Crucial Clarifications to L-1 Requirements

In accordance with President Trump’s Buy American Hire American Executive Order, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is reviewing employment-based immigration programs in an effort to eliminate fraud and ensure adjudications are consistent. As a part of this effort, USCIS recently published clarifications for the L-1 nonimmigrant classification foreign employment requirement. An L-1 visa allows a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from an affiliated foreign office to an office in the U.S. Additionally, this classification allows a foreign company to send an executive or manager to the U.S. to establish an affiliated U.S. office. In addition to executives or managers, the L-1 category is applicable for employees with specialized knowledge. One requirement of the L-1 category is that a qualifying organization employs a principal L-1 beneficiary abroad for at least one continuous year out of the three years preceding petition filing.  In order to meet the one-year of continuous employment requirement, an L-1 beneficiary must first be physically outside of the U.S. during the required one continuous year of employment. There is a narrow exception for brief trips to the U.S. for business or pleasure. These trips will not count as interruptions to the continuous year; however, […]
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Proposed Changes to H-1B Rule Could Spell Major Changes to Lottery System

In an effort to make the H-1B visa program more effective and efficient, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new notice of proposed rulemaking. This proposed rule is also prompted by the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order, which specifically suggested reforms to the H-1B program to ensure that these visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries.  This proposed rule would require H-1B cap-subject petitioners to electronically register with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during a designated registration period. Additionally, this proposed rule would place more emphasis on merit-based aspects of a petitioner. USCIS would reverse the order by which it selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption. This move is projected to increase the number of beneficiaries with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education selected for an H-1B cap number, should this proposed rule take effect.  The current H-1B program allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialized occupations who posses a body of specialized knowledge and a minimum of a bachelor’s degree on a temporary basis. USCIS generally receives more petitions than required by congressional mandate. In order to reconcile […]
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