Call Us Today: 202-787-1944


Immigration News
Changes in immigration that impact your life.

Home  >  Immigration News  >  News Archive  >  Work Visas  >  News Article

News Jump: 


Congress passes L1 and H1B Reform Law
ARTICLE TOOLS
Print This Article
Discuss This Topic
Create News Alerts
The Fiscal Year 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Bill was approved by both the House and Senate on November 20, 2004. The Bill introduces many changes in the existing provisions relating to work visas, such as: restoration of One-Year experience requirement for L-1 Blanket entrants; re-institution of H-1B Fee and H-1B Dependent attestations, Introduction of a new Anti-Fraud Fee on L-1s and H-1Bs; and opening up more H-1Bs for certain applicants.

The Bill will become law only when it is signed into law by the President. Therefore, none of the provisions of the bill will apply until it becomes law. Further, most of the H-1B related provisions will be effective 90 days after the Bill is signed into law, except certain provisions (related to fees) that will be effective immediately. The L-1 provisions will not be implemented until 180 days after the signing of the Bill into law. The key highlights of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill containing the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform are discussed below.


Changes in H-1B Visa Program

New H-1B exemption

The Bill throws up an additional 20,000 of the coveted H-1B visas. This news generated a lot of excitement and our office has been flooded with calls enquiring whether the FY 2005 H-1B cap has been raised. In fact, various newspapers and journals, particularly in India, carried news reports that the H-1B cap has been raised by 20,000. While it is true that the legislation has opened up more H-1B visas, the caveat lies in the fact that these visas will be available only to certain qualifying applicants, and then, they won’t be available until three months after the Bill is signed by the President into law. These 20,000 new visas will be reserved for foreign students who have earned Master’s or higher degree from American universities or institutes of higher education. The annual cap will remain at 65,000. The proposed 20,000 H-1B visas will be treated as an exemption from the cap.

Additional H-1B Fees


Though the bill provides for relief to certain H-1B applicants from the H-1B cap, this relief comes with an expensive price tag in the shape of reinstatement and increase of the worker ‘retraining’ fee and the introduction of a new anti-fraud fee.

Education and Training Fee: The Bill reinstates and increases the Education and Training Fee. The employer-funded fee increases to $1500 (previously $1000), is separate from, and in addition to the regular USCIS filing fee and the optional $1000 premium processing fee. Employers with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees will only be required to pay half of the fee, i.e., $750.

New Anti-Fraud Fee: The Bill also introduces a new $500 anti-fraud fee to be paid by the employer at the time of initial H-1B or L-1 petitions.

Prevailing Wage Changes


The Bill also modifies Section 212(p) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to require employers to pay 100 per cent of the prevailing wage. Previously the provisions permitted 5% variance from the prevailing wage determinations for H-1B cases and in the labor certification process. However, the good news is that the Bill also mandates that where a governmental survey to determine prevailing wage (such as the Online Wage Survey) is made available to employers by the Department of Labor, such survey shall provide 4 levels of wages commensurate with experience, education and the level of supervision. Alternatively, a formula will be provided to calculate the 2 additional intermediate levels.

DOL Investigative Authority

The Omnibus bill also contains provisions expanding the Department of Labor’s investigative authority to conduct an investigation if it receives credible information providing reasonable cause that the employer has committed a willful failure to meet a condition.


Changes in L-1 Visa Program

No subcontracting of employees

The Bill modifies the provisions to prevent an L-1B holder from being primarily stationed at another employer’s worksite in the case where:
  • The L-1B visa holder will be under the control and supervision of an unaffiliated
    employer;

  • The L-1B visa holder will be providing labor for the third party rather than
    providing a product or service involving specialized knowledge specific to the
    petitioning employer.
These changes will apply to initial, extended or amended petitions filed on or after the effective date, i.e., 180 days after the President signs the Bill into law.

L-1 Blanket – one year work requirement

The Bill also strikes out the provision permitting the six-month requirement of continuous employment abroad to receive L-1 status under an L-1 Blanket petition. All visa applicants under the L-1 Blanket must once again meet the one year requirement applicable to all other L-1 applicants.

$500 Anti-Fraud Fee

The Bill also introduces a new $500 anti-fraud fee to be paid by the employer at the time of initial L-1 petition or a change of status application, in addition to the regular USCIS filing fees. The fee will be imposed only on principal alien. Visa applicants under an L-1 Blanket will also be required to pay the fee at the U.S. Consulate.


ARTICLE TOOLS
Print This Article
Discuss This Topic
Create News Alerts



MORE WORK VISAS STORIES:
H-1B1, E-3 Nonimmigrants Eligible for 240 Days Continued Employment When Extension Application is Pending
Additional H-1B and L-1 Filing Fees Imposed for Certain Employers
Border Security Fee $2,000 and $2,250 For H-1B and L-1 Petitions Is No Longer Required
Infosys Pays Record $34 million to Settle Allegations of Systemic Visa Fraud and Abuse of Immigration Processes
More >>

TOP STORIES:
New Final Rule Regarding I-140 Priority Date Retention, Portability, and Issuance of EAD to Certain Individuals Published
USCIS Announces Fee Increases for First Time in Six Years
EB-5 Regional Center Program Extended Through December 9, 2016
USCIS Publishes New Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation)
More >>

News Jump: 

U.S. Immigration Attorney - Consult Now!

IMMIGRATION CENTER
Immigration Services
  Fast, Easy and Economical Avoid Costly Immigration Errors!
Immigration Guide
 Know Your U.S. Immigration Options
Immigration Law FAQ
 Detailed Answers to Your Immigration Questions
Immigration Articles
  Interesting and Useful Articles on a Variety of Relevant Topics

How can we help you?
NEWSLETTER - FREE!
Receive latest immigration updates and free legal tips by e-mail. Sign up now!
IMMIGRATION DICTIONARY
Legal terms explained in plain English!
RELATED ARTICLES
H1B Address Change of Work Locations: When Do You Have To File H1B Amended Petitions?
H1B Visa Lottery 2017: Improving Your Odds of Success
H1B Visa Cap 2017: Things You Must Know
Filing H1B Cap 2018 Petitions:How To Get A Head Start With VisaPro’s H1B Visa 2018 Timeline
H1B Cap Exempt Employers: How Do You Find Out If You Qualify?
H-1B Cap Has Reached:How Do You Hire H-1B Cap Exempt Candidates?
2018 H1B Cap Petitions:How To Properly File With USCIS
H1B Cap Exempt – Are You Eligible?
5 Common H1B Cap 2018 Filing Mistakes - How to Avoid Them
H1B Cap 2018 Filing Secrets: Why You Should Plan Now?
More Articles...

CONSULT ATTORNEY
Get a detailed, written opinion online in less than 3 business days from a licensed immigration attorney.
Experienced Immigration Attorneys - Consult Online or By Telephone

YOUR SUBSCRIPTIONS
Alerts & Newsletter
Create and Manage your
e-mail alerts for FREE.
RSS