Thursday, August 19, 2010

H-1B and L-1 Fee Increase

On Aug. 13, 2010, President Obama signed into law Public Law 111-230, which contains provisions to increase certain H-1B and L-1 petition fees. Effective immediately, Public Law 111-230 requires the submission of an additional fee of $2,000 for certain H-1B petitions and $2,250 for certain L-1A and L-1B petitions postmarked on or after Aug. 14, 2010, and will remain in effect through Sept. 30, 2014.
These additional fees apply to petitioners who employ 50 or more employees in the United States with more than 50 percent of its employees in the United States in H-1B or L (including L-1A, L-1B and L-2) nonimmigrant status. Petitioners meeting these criteria must submit the fee with an H-1B or L-1 petition filed:
Initially to grant an alien nonimmigrant status described in subparagraph (H)(i)(b) or (L) of section 101(a)(15), or
To obtain authorization for an alien having such status to change employers.
USCIS is in the process of revising the Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129), and instructions to comply with Public Law 111-230. To facilitate implementation of Public Law 111-230, USCIS recommends that all H-1B, L-1A and L-1B petitioners, as part of the filing packet, include the new fee or a statement of other evidence outlining why this new fee does not apply. USCIS requests that petitioners include a notation of whether the fee is required in bold capital letters at the top of the cover letter. Where USCIS does not receive such explanation and/or documentation with the initial filing, it may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) to determine whether the petition is covered by the public law. An RFE may be required even if such evidence is submitted, if questions remain.
The additional fee, if applicable, is in addition to the base processing fee, the existing Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee, and any applicable American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) fee, needed to file a petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129), as well as any premium processing fees, if applicable.
Source: USCIS

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back Wages for H-1B workers

In August 17, 2010 news release, US Labor Department reported obtaining nearly $1 million in back wages and interest for 135 H-1B workers of Smartsoft International. A Wage and Hour Division investigator determined that some employees were not paid any wages at the beginning of their employment, were paid on a part-time basis despite being hired under a full-time employment agreement, and were paid less than the prevailing wage applicable to the geographic locations where they performed their work.
The company contested the Wage and Hour Division's conclusions and requested a formal hearing with the Labor Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges. As part of this agreement, the company will drop any further challenge.
The H-1B program allows employers to hire nonimmigrant workers in specialty occupations. The law establishes certain standards in order to protect similarly employed U.S. workers from being adversely affected by the employment of the nonimmigrant workers, as well as to protect the H-1B nonimmigrant workers. Employers must attest to the Labor Department that they will pay wages to the H-1B nonimmigrant workers that are at least equal to the actual wages paid to other workers with similar experience and qualifications for the job in question, or the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment, whichever is greater.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Monday, August 16, 2010

Don’t be Victim Twice

The National Law Journal recently reported a decision from 6th circuit reviving a woman's asylum case after concluding that bad lawyering by failing to appeal in time may have cost her a shot at living in the United States to avoid feared persecution in Iraq or the United Arab Emirates.
I time and again get cases wounded by bad lawyering. But often the cost and extra effort can be avoided by being vigilant and mindful of the process. While I don’t expect you to know the law, don’t be afraid to ask questions and always ask any applicable deadlines. While the 6th circuit in this case did not find her lacking due diligence others are not so lucky.

Questions and Answers

Q: Applying to become US citizen, with a expunged shoplifing arrest (NOLLE PROSEQUI). seeking advices: I asked this last time, here is some additional info: ( I am graduating college this yr and trying to apply a government job) i am a green card holder, applying to become a citizen, i was caught taking a shirt(<$100) from my workstore 2 yrs ago, CITED and the state's attorney dismissed the case before the trial when i agreed to work 60 hrs of volunteer service. all records were expunged after that. regret it very much, wish i have never done that and i am not going to do again. here are the questions all theft considered a CMT? in mycase is it acceptable to USCIS? 2. should I apply right now? or should I wait? 3. i asked a law school buddy, he told me there's "petty offense exception"? 4. if apply, how can i get a Certificate of Disposition after all my records were expunge

Posted about 1 month ago in Immigration

A: Ashima's answer: You may have entered a guilty plea that was dismissed but that may still be a conviction for immigration purposes. Your friend is right about the petty offence exception. You should be okay but be truthful in your naturalization application as even expunged records can be used for assessing good moral character. A person convicted of a petty offence will not be barred from a finding of good moral character unless sentenced to a term of imprisonment in excess of 6 months. Laryes v. U.S. 300 F Supp 2d 404 (E.D.VA 2004). Regarding obtaining certificate of disposition, contact the Court. If they cannot provide you may want to provide USCIS the documents you may have indicating that the case was dismissed and expunged.