U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated its count of H-2B filing for temporary non-agricultural visas (H-2Bs) for employment for the second half of FY 2013 and the first half of FY 2014.
Several states will require various employers to use the E-Verify system as of January 1, 2012.
From: The Center for American Progress.
This infographic explains the costs of E-Verify, the government’s Internet-based work authorization system. It highlights the system’s known costs, such as lost tax revenue and monetary burdens on small businesses, and estimates the costs of additional fiscal burdens—to individuals verified through the system, to employers utilizing the system, and to the federal government in running the system—absent from much of the dialogue. E-Verify expands the size of government while decreasing revenue, places a crushing burden on small businesses, and imposes a “jobs tax” on ordinary Americans.
Click this for a graphic on the costs of E-Verify:
Technology is generally a good thing. The government has typically imposed E-Verify on businesses doing contract work for the state or federal goverment. Many concerns center on the reliability of E-Verfiy. Will these costs be too difficult for private industry to bear? That is the question.
The Federal Register: March 3, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 42) has announced a proposed rule. Under the proposed rule, employers seeking to petition for H-1B workers subject to the statutory cap would register electronically with USCIS. Before the petition filing period begins, USCIS would select the number of registrations predicted to exhaust all available visas. Employers would then file petitions only for the selected registrations.
Two Week Filing Window
The proposal, often referred to as an “H-1B pre-registration lottery,” would require employers to register online during a filing window of at least two weeks. The registration would begin no later than March of every year. Petitioners would submit identifying information about the petitioner and beneficiary through the USCIS Web site.
Multiple Applications Not Allowed
Employers would file a separate registration for each requested beneficiary and each beneficiary would need to be named. If USCIS received more than one application from an employer for a beneficiary, only the first would be registered and the others would be rejected. USCIS would, however, accept more than one registration for a foreign national if sponsored by different employers.
Winners and Losers
Employers would receive electronic notification of registration. USCIS may also create a waiting list of some or all of those not selected. Ultimately, employers should be notified about all applications–whether registered, waitlisted, or not selected. Employers would be required to submit their cap petitions within a specific time frame after registration. The proposed rule suggests 60 days, but the actual time period will be specified in the final version of the rule.
We will see how many of the proposed changes survive through the comment period.
As of May 13, 2011, USCIS had receipted 11,200 petitions towards the H-1B Regular Cap and 7,900 petitions towards the H-1B Master’s Exemption.
The H-1B nonimmigrant visa category allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. Unless determined to be exempt, H-1B petitions are subject to either the 65,000 annual cap or the 20,000 annual cap exemption. By statute, H-1B visas are subject to an annual numerical limit, or cap, of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. The first 20,000 petitions for these visas filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. master’s degrees or higher are exempt from this cap.
As of April 15, 2011, USCIS had receipted 7,100 petitions towards the H-1B Regular Cap and 5,100 petitions towards the H-1B Master’s Exemption.
The H-1B nonimmigrant visa category allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. Unless determined to be exempt, H-1B petitions are subject to either the 65,000 annual cap or the 20,000 annual cap exemption. By statute, H-1B visas are subject to an annual numerical limit, or cap, of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. The first 20,000 petitions for these visas filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. master’s degrees or higher are exempt from this cap. (Link to article)
On April 15, 2011, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule entitled “Documents Acceptable for Employment Eligibility Verification.”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has definitely increased its I-9 audit efforts in recent times. The rule is an important reminder of an employer’s worksite compliance responsibilities. Office or Human Resources Managers can find the list of acceptable documents on the last page of the form.
The Federal Register: March 3, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 42) has announced a proposed rule. Under the proposed rule, employers seeking to petition for H-1B workers subject to the statutory cap would register electronically with USCIS. Before the petition filing period begins, USCIS would select the number of registrations predicted to exhaust all available visas. Employers would then file petitions only for the selected registrations. The registration system would save employers the effort and expense of filing H-1B petitions, as well as Labor Condition Applications, for workers who would be unable to obtain visas under the statutory cap.
USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas announced the opening of a 60-day comment period that will allow businesses and the general public to provide input on the proposed system in order to ensure it best meets the needs of employers that rely on H-1B visas to bring in foreign workers for specialty occupations.
“The proposed rule would create a more efficient and cost-effective process for businesses interested in bringing workers in specialty occupations to the United States,” he said. “Improving the H-1B petition process is part of USCIS’s ongoing efforts to leverage new ideas and innovation to streamline our operations and enhance customer service.” (Read Report)
We will see how many of the proposed changes survive through the comment period. To me, this seems like another road block put up by the administration against H-1B visa holders. See News Item 3.
As Los Angeles Times staff writer Brian Bennett reported, the Obama administration has quadrupled the number of employer audits and fined businesses $6.9 million in fiscal 2010, compared with $675,000 in 2008. Deportations are also up, from 369,221 in 2008 to 392,862 in fiscal 2010. More than 195,000 criminals were deported in 2010, a 70% increase over 2008. These numbers suggest that the administration is not under-enforcing immigration laws, as Republicans claim, but has set reasonable priorities and is pursuing them.
Some congressional Republicans would like to resume workplace raids as way to find, detain and deport illegal immigrants. I believe that the Obama Administration will continue to go after the employer rather than the illegal employee in the months to come. Workplace raids are costly and have very debatable results. Resuming these raids could also alienate Obama’s support in the Hispanic community. Increasing the number of employer audits, however, is more cost effective. The Administration can reach many more businesses through these audits.
Employers may wish to take notice of this trend. If you have not developed a proper worksite enforcement and corporate compliance program, you should consider contacting an immigration attorney. Given the increases in DHS worksite enforcement efforts, employers should seriously assess their I-9 records and corporate compliance policies.
USCIS as of January 27, 2011 announced that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year (FY) 2011. USCIS has notified the public that Jan. 26, 2011, was the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY2011.
**Employers should note that the first date to file an FY 2012 petition would be April 1, 2011. An employee granted an H-1B visa for FY 2012 can begin working under his or her H-1B visa for the employer on October 1, 2011. Please contact this office for any information on FY 2012 filings.