Hello and welcome to the February 2013 Immigration Newsletter!
We are now in February, in the midst of what is annually considered one of the busiest periods in the U.S. immigration calendar—when employers and immigration practitioners alike are getting ready for the H-1B filing season. USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year 2014 cap on April 1, 2013.
Last year, the FY 2013 H-1B cap was reached in just 10 weeks—almost five months sooner than the FY 2012 cap the year before. June 11, 2012 was the final receipt date for new H-1B petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2013, while the Master’s Cap was reached even earlier on June 7, 2012.
The relatively rapid use of the H-1B quota numbers last year, in combination with other indicators suggest that the economy is definitely on a path to recovery. As the economy continues to slowly improve, it is expected that employers have slowly begun to increase their hiring again, leading many immigration experts to believe that H-1Bs for fiscal year 2014 will be gone within a very short time and will not remain available for long -- not even 2 to 3 months like last year. Therefore, we urge employers and employees to prepare and file most or all of their H-1B petitions as early as possible- on or as close as possible to April 1, 2013—to ensure that their petitions have the greatest chance to be included in the quota.
Because of the H-1B cap issue, it is imperative employers plan for the next fiscal year in advance, devise a suitable strategy for hiring a foreign national and plan the filing accordingly. If an employer misses the chance to petition for an employee because the cap is reached, he or she will have to wait until next year to file or look for an alternate visa category, which may or may not exactly match his or her requirements. To learn more about how you can plan your H-1B filings before the H-1B filing period begins, read our informative article on the subject here.
Here is the VisaPro suggested timeline for H-1B petitions. It has been designed to maximize your efforts and ensure timely and successful filing of your H-1B petition.
||Identify your H-1B needs, discuss the strategy with your VisaPro immigration attorney and finalize the applicants list; Develop detailed job descriptions; Obtain prevailing wage determination.|
|Early Feb||File LCA with DOL; Begin gathering supporting documentation|
|Early March||Prepare all H-1B forms, support letter and other required supporting documentation|
|Mid March||Obtain Educational Evaluation if your applicants have foreign degrees|
|March 31||Mail the petition to USCIS for delivery on April 1, 2013.|
If you are an employer considering petitioning for an H-1B employee in April 2013, Contact VisaPro immediately to assist you with the H-1B filing as it is always suggested to get started as early as possible.
Other Developments in Immigration Law:
In some other developments in the immigration field, February saw USCIS announce that on February 28, 2013, it will disable the alternative legacy e-filing channel for Form I-539 and offer customers the option to either file online with USCIS ELIS or file a paper application by mail. USCIS has also published a revised Form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes. USCIS will accept older editions for 60 days, and beginning April 12, 2013, USCIS will only accept the new edition. Also, there is now a single filing address for this form and customers filing Form N-470 must now mail the application to the Dallas Lockbox facility.
This month, a part of the draft of the White House’s immigration bill proposal (White House Immigration Reform Bill, 2013) was released. The White House’s proposal covers, among other things, legalization of certain undocumented individuals and providing a path for certain undocumented individuals to become legal residents. The White House’s proposal creates a much clearer path to legalization than the proposal by the “Gang of Eight” in the Senate proposed earlier this year. It, however, remains to be seen how much of this will actually be enacted and become law. It has also been reported that President Obama placed calls to key Senators to commend them for the progress made on immigration reform, and reiterated that he remains supportive of the effort underway in Congress. We can only hope that all this activity may bring forth some much called for reforms in the Immigration field.
Meanwhile, we are happy to share with you that our Senior Immigration Attorney, Mr. Thomas Joy, gave Workshop Presentations at the ‘Doing Business In The US’ workshops organized in six major Indian cities between January 28 to February 8, 2013. His presentation, “U.S. Immigration Strategies: How to Avoid Costly Mistakes and Receive More Approvals,” was received by 750 paid attendees from 600 companies. Mr. Joy presented on various key topics related to B-1, H-1B, L-1, Blanket L, and Green Cards, and provided practical tips and suggestions to the attendees. He also conducted Mock Interview sessions with candidates for B-1 visas.
You may view a few photographs and videos of the Attorney Presentation and the Workshop. We look forward to interacting with you all in similar forums in the future. You may also contact us if you would like us to arrange a presentation to a group.
and Other Fun Stuff:
Our ‘Featured Video’ for this month is “Do You Qualify for Filing H1B Visa?” in which we explain how to prepare a solid well-documented case and increase the success of H-1B petitions. Please check out and subscribe to our YouTube channel to take advantage of another great service provided to you by VisaPro.
Also check out our ‘In Focus’ article for this month titled “Travelogue: ‘Doing Business in US’ workshops in India” in which Senior Advisor Dr. James R Ziegler shares his experiences during the recent, successful six-city workshops in India, his interactions with the attendees, and his travel experiences during his visit to India.
Every month we introduce a new and interesting question for our opinion poll. Results of our previous poll indicate that a majority of respondents (68.97%) think that with President Obama remaining in the White House, 2013 will be an immigration friendly year. We continue to appreciate that people take interest in the opinion question and cast their votes to give us their feedback. Keep it up! And continue to cast your vote to express Your Opinion.
||We also congratulate Amanda for winning last month’s Immigration Quiz. While we received more than one correct response to the quiz question, Amanda gave the best answer and won a free online consultation to discuss the concerned Immigration issues. It’s time to get ready for this month’s quiz. If you know the correct answer your name might be featured in next month’s newsletter. All the Best!!!
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See you next month with a lot more noise from the Immigration World!