This year brings more bad news for employers who filed H-1B petitions for foreign workers beginning on April 1, 2014.  On April 10, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it had received about 172,500 H-1B petitions, far above the 85,000 H-1B visas available each year (65,000 being available for bachelor degree-level graduates, with

This morning, the USCIS announced that the H-1B cap was reached during the initial filing period. More than 65,000 petitions were received for the regular cap, and more than 20,000 petitions were received for the advanced degree exemption. This announcement was expected, and it will take another couple of weeks for the USCIS to enter

The U.S. Department of Labor announced this week a $638,449 back wage consent order and $126,778 civil fine against a New Jersey IT consulting firm, Peri Software Solutions, Inc. The announcement indicated that the back wages resulted from the employer’s failure to compensate the H-1B workers as required under Department of Labor regulations. The civil fine arose from two issues:  the employer failed to provide notice of its intent to employ H-1B workers and it sued former employees "for early cessation of employment."

The announcement may raise more questions than it answers concerning the specific facts involved, but it serves as a good reminder for H-1B employers that the applicable regulations are very exacting and can be costly when disregarded.  While this case appears to have involved a failure to pay the required wage rate, employers may be surprised to learn that the wage obligation continues as long as the H-1B petition remains valid, which in many cases can be for up to three years. Even after an H-1B worker has resigned or been terminated, the Department of Labor requires the employer to pay the worker’s wages until U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has revoked the H-1B petition. The H-1B regulations in fact require employers to notify USCIS when the H-1B worker’s employment ends. Requesting revocation of the petition therefore complies with USCIS regulations and avoids a potential Department of Labor assessment of back wages.


Continue Reading H-1B Employer Assessed Back Wages and Fined

You may find out soon. After several years of collecting the $500 fraud fee from employers filing H-1B petitions to sponsor foreign national employees, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") has increased its investigatory activities by dispatching officers and independent contractors to the places of employment indicated on the visa petition forms. Since 2005, employers have paid the $500 fraud fee with the first petition they file on behalf of new H-1B employees. With 85,000 new H-1B visas available each year, this means DHS collects at least $42.5 million annually for just the new visa numbers. That amount very well may be dwarfed by the numerous other petitions employers file. Each time an H-1B worker changes employers, the new employer must pay the fee with the petition. DHS therefore likely collects substantially more than the $42.5 million it receives from the quota-based petitions.


Continue Reading H-1B Employers: Did you ever wonder what happened to the $500 fraud fee you paid with the H-1B petition you filed?