Release Date: February 24, 2015
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodríguez announced today that, effective May 26, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. DHS amended the regulations to allow these H-4 dependent spouses to accept employment in the United States.
The H-1B visa program permits a United States employer ("employer") to temporarily employ nonimmigrants to fill specialized jobs in the United States. The Immigration and Nationality Act (the "INA" or the "Act") requires that an employer pay an H-1B worker the italicize of the actual wage or the locally prevailing wage, in order to protect U.S. workers and their wages. Under the Act, an employer seeking to hire a foreign national in a specialty occupation on an H-1B visa must receive permission from the Department of Labor ("DOL") before the alien may obtain an H-1B visa. The Act defines a "specialty occupation" as an occupation requiring the application of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of a bachelor's degree or higher. The Act requires an employer seeking permission to employ an H-1B worker to submit and receive an approved Labor Condition Application ("LCA") from the DOL.
Employers who seek to hire an H-1B nonimmigrant in a specialty occupation must first make a filing with the Department of Labor (DOL) and obtain a Labor Condition Application (LCA). The LCA, among other things, must specify the number of workers sought, the occupational classification in which the H-1B will be employed, and the wage rate and conditions under which the proposed H-1B nonimmigrant will be employed. In addition, the employer must attest that it is offering, and will offer, during the period of H-1B employment the greater of: (1) the actual wage level paid by the employer to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question; OR (2) the prevailing wage level for the occupational classification in the area of employment.
"Express Entry," a new immigration system, used to manage and select applicants to immigrate into the country.
As of December 22, 2014 eligible spouses and common law partners will have the oppor- tunity to work in Canada while they wait for their application for permanent residence to be processed. This one year pilot project will issue open work permits to spouses and commonlaw partners applying for permanent residence from inside Canada, before the approval in principle decision on their application has been made. Applicants will have their open work permit processed within four months of receipt of their work permit application.
There are quite a few new developments in the U.S. immigration and nationality arena. Also, the first month of the new year brings some new and interesting developments in the Canada immigration realm. On the U.S.immigration law side, it seems that our politicians are not happy with the teams going to the SUPERBOWL so they continue to make the immigration law a "political football". It was nice to see that some of the recent State Department announcements anticipate some significant visa number movement in some employment-based categories. Charles Oppenheim, the Chief of Visa Control at the DOS, is providing some new and interesting projections. We invite our readers to check them out.In other U.S. immigration and nationality news: (1) the USCIS Revises the I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker; and (2) Several Administrative Agencies Launch Awareness Campaigns on Executive Actions for Mexicans and Central Americans; and (3) the DHS Extends TPS for Salvadorans; and (4) DHS Extends, Redesignates TPS for Syrians; and (5) the U.S. State Department Revised Reciprocity Schedules for Several Countries and announced that the National Visa Center is now handling domestic visa inquiries. The immigration and nationality lawyers and attorneys at the Nachman Phulwani Zimovcak (NPZ) Law Group continue to try to keep you, your HR staff, your colleagues and your friends on the cutting-edge with regard to burgeoning U.S. immigration law news. Please feel free to SHARE our electronic newsletter with anyone you feel may benefit for these updates.One of our Managing Attorneys is in India visiting our Mumbai office and meeting with clients there. Another is in Israel. We continue to be hard at work continuing to prepare cases for H-1B employers seeking the professional and specialty occupation services of H-1B nonimmigrants. Those cases need to be filed on (or very close to) April 1st 2015. The H-1B season is a very exciting time for immigration lawyers. Many employers who have done H-1B visas in the past understand the need to prepare documents early and to be sure that they have registered with D&B. The VIBE system that USCIS uses pings D&B. At a Vermont Service Center (VSC) Stakeholder Meeting in November 2014, NPZ staff were told that a registration with D&B may help the H-1B employer avoid delays. While a bit cliche . . . "being forewarned is being forearmed".On the Hill the immigration debate continues. ROLL CALL reports that: "GOP leadership laid out a strategy in which Republicans would have the opportunity to vote on a number of amendments aimed at defunding certain immigration activities: the president's executive action, his Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program and the so-called Morton Memos, which are formal measures from former Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton that relax enforcement of certain immigration laws". As we move into the month of February we can only hope that the GROUNDHOG will tell us not only how many weeks we have left of Winter but also what the future holds for DACA, DAPA and the extension of Provisional Waivers, etc.For more information about any U.S. and/or Canadian immigration and nationality law issues, please feel free to contact the immigration and nationality lawyers at the Nachman Phulwani Zimovcak (NPZ) Law Group by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling our offices at 201-670-0006 (x107). We have offices in NY, NJ and Indiana and affiliated offices in India and Canada. We look forward to being of assistance.