October 2006

From the Editor's Desk

Hello and welcome to the October 2006 Immigration Newsletter!

October has been an eventful month for everyone here at VisaPro, particularly the team in our India office. Last month I informed you about our proposed seminars and workshops on U.S. Immigration Strategies in various cities and promised to bring you updates from all these events. Our activity started with a seminar in the capital city of India – New Delhi on 9th of October, followed by another seminar in Pune the next day. Over 325 representatives from various companies attended these two seminars.

After a day’s break we organized workshops in Bangalore and Chennai. The response to the workshops was overwhelming as all the seats were booked within a few days from the start of registrations. Over 220 professionals, comprising of HR professionals, CEOs and executives, enjoyed the interactive sessions and participated in various team activities. We ended the week by inviting 35 representatives from various companies for an interactive Q&A Session with the Attorney in Hyderabad.

Starting next month we shall be presenting various articles on our experiences during these events and what our attendee companies shared with us. The planning for these events started in August and since then, many of our US and India team members were involved in making these events successful. All those sleepless nights spent together… the planned timelines seeming to go awry… the missed heartbeats when the airlines missed our baggage containing material for the event the next day…and much more… I am sure you would love to view things from the perspective of our speakers and team members. Click here to view various photographs from all the activities across India.

Our interaction with the professionals and executives from various companies doing business with the U.S. has helped us in generating new ideas on what to cover in your Immigration Monitor. The most important issue faced by every U.S. employer today is how to survive the H-1B cap. This month we have an interesting article – ‘What to do when H-1B cap is reached’ – in the Immigration Article section. We have also received a lot of queries regarding the PERM labor certification process. In the In Focus section of this month’s newsletter, we bring an overview of the PERM process for Green Cards.

During the last couple of months, we conducted a survey amongst our readers regarding the sections of the newsletter they like the most. Over 46% say they look forward to more and more immigration news and a fourth of the participants like the Questions and Answers section. We also received encouraging feedback and a lot of suggestions on how to improve your Immigration Monitor. You will see a lot of your suggestions being implemented in the coming months.

Congratulations to Ananda Roy for winning last month’s Immigration Quiz to receive a FREE online consultation with a VisaPro attorney. Put on your thinking caps for your responses to this month’s question.

Continue sharing your feedback to improve your Immigration Monitor. I will see you next month with the latest happenings from the immigration world.

Latest Immigration News

President signs Bill enacting H-2B relief

The bill includes a one year extension of the returning worker exemption to the H-2B visa cap. The extension takes effect beginning October 1, 2006.

e-Passport readers in place at additional airports

E-Passport readers are now in place at additional airports, including Honolulu International Airport, Kona International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, New York JFK International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.

Visa appointments in India currently available

Visa applicants in India will be happy to know that the consulates in India have opened various new slots for nonimmigrant visa appointments. Visa appointments are now available in all categories and applicants may reschedule their appointments.

October's Featured Articles

PERM Labor Certification Process

To improve the operations of the permanent labor certification program, ETA published a final regulation on December 27, 2004, which required the implementation of a new re-engineered permanent labor certification program by March 28, 2005. The PERM System i.e. Program Electronic Review Management System is a program developed by the Department of Labor to replace the then existing Employment based Labor Certification Application.

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What to do when H-1B cap is reached

If you miss petitioning for an employee before the cap is reached, you will have to wait until the next year to file an H-1B petition or look for an alternate visa category, which may or may not match your requirements. Employers must also evaluate and utilize alternatives to the H-1B category, which may also be used to ‘bridge the cap’ until October 1st if you miss the H-1B bus for a particular year.

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Questions and Answers


One of my employee’s B-1 visa expires after the intended date of arrival in the US. Does he need to get a new visa before departure?


One can arrive in the US right up to the last date of validity indicated on the visa. The Immigration Officer on arrival determines the duration of stay in the US. A visa can expire while the employee is still in the US. The employee needs to ensure that he/she does not overstay the period permitted by the Immigration Officer i.e. the date stamped on the I-94 card.


My B-1 status is coming to an end with my current employer. I would like to find out whether my new prospective employer needs to file an I-129 petition or simply apply on my behalf for a change of status to H-1B? We are both confused about what action to take.


To change from your current B-1 status to H-1B status you will have to file a complete H-1B petition, including the I-129, I-129H, I-129W, ETA 9035, and supporting documents. The package should be filed before your current B-1 status expires so that you maintain your status in the U.S. and before the annual H-1B cap is reached. Since you are changing visa categories you are not allowed to begin work until the new petition has been approved.


I am working in the US on an L-1 visa. I was married during last year and my husband has an L-2 spouse visa – he is currently unemployed. I am being informed that my position is being eliminated. What are the obligations of my employer? Are they required to pay relocation expenses for me and my husband? Please let me know anything that can assist my situation.


The employer is not required by immigration law to pay for your relocation expenses back to your home country. (This differs from the H-1B where the employer does have to pay for return transportation.) Your only recourse would be through your employment agreement if you have one, your company handbook if it covers such situations (not likely), or through negotiating a termination package to include relocation costs.

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