L-1 "Intra-Company Tra...

Extraordinary visa wait times at U.S. consular posts in India

News Release from Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has reported that U.S. Consular Posts in India are experiencing extraordinary wait times for nonimmigrant visa interview appointments. The wait times for all categories other than B, F, and J are currently:

These wait times are likely to continue, if not worsen, during the summer. Indian nationals who are considering obtaining a new visa may therefore wish to defer that travel until the backlogs have subsided; or, if their travel is essential, to be prepared for long delays in the scheduling of visa interviews. AILA provides the following helpful reminders:

  • The Mission India visa appointment system allows requests for expedited appointments. First priority goes to cases with humanitarian issues. Second priority goes to business emergencies; such requests must include reasons why the need to travel is urgent, why advance planning was not possible, the impact to the business if the travel does not occur, etc.
  • Applicants for a petition-based visa must have already obtained USCIS approval of the underlying petition before requesting an interview.
  • If an Indian national has reason to travel to another jurisdiction, applying outside of India as a Third Country National may be an option. Such applications are mostly likely to be successful in petition-based cases where INA §214(b) does not apply (i.e., H-1B and L-1).

Jewell Stewart & Pratt will continue to monitor progress and will report significant developments here.

AILA members can access the original post at www.aila.org (doc. no. 16061330, dated June 13, 2016).

© Jewell Stewart & Pratt PC 2016

Large increases in government filing fees for some H-1B and L-1 petitions

To make emergency supplemental appropriations for border security, Public Law 111-230 was passed by Congress and it was signed into law by President Obama on August 13, 2010.  One provision of the new law, effective immediately, adds large supplemental filing fees to certain H-1B and L-1 petition filings.  USCIS clarified in a recent announcement that it will require the supplemental fee for petitions postmarked on or after August 14, 2010.  The supplemental fees will remain in effect through September 30, 2014.

H and L fee increases

News Release from Jewell & Associates, PC – August 13, 2010 On 8/13/2010, President Obama signed into law H.R. 6080, an act making emergency supplemental appropriations for border security.  One provision of the act raises the filing fee and Anti-Fraud fee for H and L visa petitions.  The fee hikes apply to petitioning companies with more than 50 employees in the United States, if more than 50% of those employees are either in H or L status.  The fee increase for Ls is $2,250.00, and the increase for Hs is $2,000.00.  The language of the act appears to add these fees onto the existing $320.00 filing fee and $500.00 Anti-Fraud fee for each, bringing the total to $3,070.00 for Ls and $2,820.00 for Hs (not including PPS or ACWIA fees).  It is unclear whether these fees apply only to initial petitions or if they also apply to extensions.  Also unclear is whether the 50% determination for H or L counts individually or cumulatively.  The fee increases appear to go into effect immediately, but we are uncertain whether USCIS will start rejecting petitions that are en route, or if USCIS will announce an effective date with an updated fee schedule.  The fee increases are set to expire on September 30, 2014.  We will post updates as more information becomes available.

© Jewell & Associates, PC 2010

H-1B and L-1 visa reforms passed by Congress

News Release from Jewell & Associates - November 22, 2004 On Sunday, November 21, 2004, Congress passed the Fiscal 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (H.R. 4818), which contains significant amendments to the H and L visa categories.  The bill will be presented to the President for signature shortly.  Upon signing by the President, the bill will have been enacted into law.  Some of the bill’s key immigration provisions include:

20,000 new H-1Bs: The new law will exempt from the annual H-1B cap 20,000 H-1Bs with advanced degrees from U.S. universities. This provision will go into effect 90 days from the date of enactment.

Increase in H-1B filing fees: Effective immediately upon enactment, the new law will restore the supplemental H-1B filing fee known as the “ACWIA fee,” and increase it to $1,500 per petition. Employers with no more than 25 full-time employees in the U.S. will be assessed only half of the full fee, however. In addition, each petition for an initial H-1B will carry a $500 supplemental fee that will go into a government account to be used for fraud-detection.

 

Change in calculation of the prevailing wage: The new law will eliminate the “95% rule” and instead require H-1B employers to pay at least 100% of the local prevailing wage for the occupation in question. However, the law will also require governmental surveys made available to employers for purposes of determining the prevailing wage to provide four levels of wages commensurate with experience, education, and the level of supervision. If a two-level wage survey is used (such as the widely used OES Survey, which provides only an “entry level” and an “experience” wage), the law will provide a formula for calculating the two additional intermediate levels. These provisions will go into effect 90 days from the date of enactment.

 

Restoration of requirements for “H-1B-dependent” employers: The new law will restore the requirement that employers who meet the definition of “H-1B dependent” or of “willful violators” make a non-displacement attestation (an attestation that U.S. workers have not been displaced) in connection with any H-1B filings. This provisions will go into effect 90 days from the date of enactment.

 

Limits on placement of L-1Bs at client sites: The new law will prohibit L-1Bs from being principally stationed at the worksite of an unaffiliated employer if L-1B employee will be controlled and supervised by the unaffiliated employer, or if placement of the L-1B employee at the third-party site is part of an outsourcing arrangement instead of in connection with the provision of a product or service involving specialized knowledge specific to the L-1B employer. This provision will apply to initial, extended or amended L-1B petitions filed 180 days from the date of enactment.

 

Restores 12-month service requirement to blanket L-1s: The new law replaces the requirement that beneficiaries of “blanket” L-1 petitions have only six months of service to the employer abroad with a twelve-month requirement. The twelve-month rule will apply only to requests for initial L-1 classification filed on or after the 180th day from the date of enactment.

 

© Jewell & Associates 2004