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June 2012


June 20, 2012 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel is pleased to announce that four partners in the firm – Kevin B. Leblang, Theodore (Ted) Ruthizer, Mark D. Koestler and Matthew S. Dunn – have made Human Resource Executive magazine’s 2012 list of the Most Powerful Employment Attorneys. The annual listings, which appeared in the magazine’s June 16 issue, mark the fourth consecutive year that Mr. Leblang and Mr. Ruthizer made the list and the second consecutive year for Mr. Koestler and Mr. Dunn. read more
June 12, 2012 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on June 12, 2012 that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year (FY) 2013 (October 1, 2012 - September 30, 2013).  USCIS notified the public that the preceding day - June 11, 2012 - was the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2013. read more
June 7, 2012 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

In recent weeks, three bills have been introduced that are designed to help employers recruit and retain talented foreign nationals who hold U.S. master's or doctoral degrees in one of the STEM fields. The Securing the Talent America Requires for the 21st Century Act of 2012 (STAR Act), introduced by Senator John Coryn (R-Texas), eliminates the Diversity Visa program and creates in its place a new immigrant visa (known as an "EB-2A") reserved for foreign nationals holding a U.S. STEM master's or Ph.D. degree and a job offer in a related field.   The SMART Jobs Act, introduced by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), would allow foreign nationals who have been accepted into and plan to attend a U.S. STEM master's or doctoral program to apply for a newly-created visa (known as an "F-4" visa). Should the student have a job offer within one year of graduation, the student would be immediately eligible to apply for permanent residence. Finally, the StartUp Act 2.0, introduced by Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), would create 50,000 new green cards for foreign students who hold a U.S. STEM master's or Ph.D. (It would also create 75,000 new green cards for immigrant entrepreneurs who open a new business and employ a certain number of U.S. workers).  

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June 7, 2012 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

In early May 2012 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced an expansion of the list of science, technology, engineering and math-related (STEM) degree programs that qualify graduates for an additional 17-month period of optional practical training (OPT) beyond the normal 12 month training period most international students receive following graduation. The expansion adds a number of different scientific or technological degree programs, including biology, management science, and civil and chemical engineering, to an already expansive list of STEM-eligible degree programs.

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June 7, 2012 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

On May 22, 2012, USCIS launched the first phase of its new online immigration system, known as ELIS. Individuals in a certain number of nonimmigrant categories (including visitors and students) can now utilize ELIS to file applications to extend or change their nonimmigrant status online. Following this initial release, USCIS anticipates making adjustments and improvements in response to user feedback. The ELIS system will eventually allow for the filing, processing, and adjudication of all types of petitions and applications, thereby replacing the paper and mail-based system in use today.

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June 7, 2012 | Posted by Business Immigration Group | Permalink

On June 4, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that as of June 1, it had received 55,600 petitions towards the "regular" fiscal year (FY) 2013 H-1B cap of 65,000, and that it had received 18,700 H-1B petitions towards the "Master's" FY 2013 H-1B cap of 20,000 (the Master's H-1B cap is reserved for foreign nationals with advanced degrees from U.S. universities and colleges). We expect that all H-1B numbers (both regular and Master's cap) for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2013 - i.e., on or after October 1, 2012 - will be exhausted within the next few days.

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June 6, 2012 | Posted by Jeffrey A. Barlekamp, Associate | Permalink
In its last major audit push (which occurred several years ago), the DOL focused on auditing cases with requirements which exceeded what they considered to be “normal” for the job offered. For example, the DOL considers it normal to require a Bachelor’s degree and no more than two years of prior work experience for a Software Developer position. If an employer required anything in excess of these normal requirements – such as a Master’s degree, or a Bachelor’s and five years of work experience – it was likely that the case would be selected for audit, and the employer would be asked to demonstrate why it was necessary to require experience or education in excess of what was “normally” required. read more