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H-1B cap reached for FY 2012

Posted on December 15, 2011
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blankUS Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory numerical limit (cap) of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2012. November 22, 2011, was the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2012.

Properly filed cases are considered received on the date that USCIS physically receives the petition, not the date that the petition was postmarked.

As of October 19, 2011, USCIS had also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the advanced degree exemption.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. In addition, petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted toward the FY 2012 H-1B cap.

Accordingly, USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

• extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the U.S.;
• change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
• allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
• allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

Petitions for “new employment” of an H-1B, that is, for employment of a person who is not yet in H-1B status for another employer, will not be accepted again until April 1, 2012. Those petitions received after April 1, 2012, must request employment starting October 1, 2012, so that they will be subject to next year’s cap (FY 2013).

Global employers now affected by the cap may want to consider hiring their potential H-1Bs in other countries. Contact the firm for guidance in specific cases.

On November 29, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 389-15 in favor of ending per-country numerical limits (caps) on employment-based visas. The bill does not raise the number of such visas issued, but would eliminate the current provision stating that employment-based visas issued cannot exceed seven percent of the total for any one country. The measure could benefit skilled Indian and Chinese workers and high-tech companies in the United States.
Similar legislation is pending in the Senate.

Employers may bundle L-1 Filings, USCIS announcesU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently said it recognizes that businesses may need to temporarily move multiple employees to the United States for particular projects that require the employees’ specialized knowledge. To do this, USCIS said that employers may petition for their employees to obtain L-1 nonimmigrant classification by filing Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.
While each L-1 petition must be considered on its own merits, USCIS will consider multiple applications grouped into “bundles” of L-1 petitions as part of an effort to streamline and improve the adjudication process.

For USCIS to consider the bundle, all included L-1B petitions must be related to employees on the same project, who will work at the same location, and who have the same specialized knowledge duties.

USCIS will also consider petitions for L-1A managers included with the bundle, if they will be managing the L-1B beneficiaries who will be working on the project. In addition, USCIS will consider Forms I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, filed for a beneficiary’s qualifying dependents included in the bundle. The agency also offered filing tips for bundling L-1 petitions.

DOL releases new PERM FAQ on listing job duties not normal to occupation; discusses updates to SOC codes

The Department of Labor has posted a revised frequently asked questions (FAQ) sheet regarding the PERM program and listing job requirements not normal to the occupation on both the ETA Form 9141, Prevailing Wage Request, and the ETA Form 9089.

The brief FAQ states:

Does informing the National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) on a prevailing wage request (ETA Form 9141) that the job contains requirements not normal to the occupation meet an employer’s obligation to inform the Department of Labor (Department) of these requirements on the Application for Permanent Employment Certification (ETA Form 9089)?
No. Even if the employer has informed the NPWC of these requirements in a prevailing wage request (ETA Form 9141), the employer must still accurately outline its requirements on Questions H.12 or H.13 of the Application for Permanent Employment Certification (ETA Form 9089).

The Department also said it is working to incorporate new and/or revised Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes into the PERM online application system.

Until the new codes are fully integrated, they may not be available in the online system and the Atlanta National Processing Center will accept the older SOC codes even though they may not match the code indicated on the prevailing wage determination. The Office of Foreign Labor Certification suggested that filers “may also consider placing the new SOC job title in section H.3, and the new SOC code in section H.14 of the ETA Form 9089.”

Cyrus D Mehta

12 Dec 2011

H-1B cap reached for FY 2012

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