Special thanks to summer associate Sara Schiavone for her work on this blog post.

Human resource professionals who are managing the immigration processing for Indian nonimmigrant employees should be aware of the increased processing times for the visa application at consulates in India. The extraordinary increase in routine processing for nonimmigrant visas requires significantly more planning to avoid long periods of non-productivity while employees are stranded abroad waiting for a visa appointment.

It was not that long ago that one week was seen as a standard timeframe to receive an interview appointment. However, applicants now experience wait times as long as four months. As of July 2016, current wait times for nonimmigrant visa (NIV) interview appointments other than B (visitor), F (student) and J (exchange visitor) at the following consular posts are:
Continue Reading Long wait times for Indian nonimmigrant visas merit human resources planning

It is again the time for U.S. employers to begin considering filing H-1B petitions for prospective new foreign national employees. These petitions can be submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on or after April 1, 2016 for employment beginning no earlier than Oct. 1, 2016, the beginning of the government’s 2017 fiscal year. The H-1B visa category provides for the temporary employment of foreign nationals who will work in “specialty occupations,” or those jobs for which at least a bachelor’s degree in a particular field is required, such as engineers, teachers, accountants, and many professional information technology positions.. The problem is that there are only 85,000 H-1B visas available each year and we again expect, as in years past, for these numbers to be quickly claimed.
Continue Reading Employer alert: a new H-1B filing season brings hope and anxiety

The U.S. State Department announced this week that visa application fees at consular posts abroad will increase on June 4, 2010. The current fee of $131 has been in effect since January 1, 2008 and applies to all visa categories. According to the State Department, security enhancements and processing costs have increased, such that it now will charge different application fees depending upon the visa category. The new fees will range from $140 to $390.

Common employment-related visas that the change will impact are the H-1B, L-1A, L-1B, E-1 and E-2 categories. The application fee for H-1B (specialty occupation workers) and L-1 (intracompany transferees) will increase to $150. The fee for E-1 (treaty traders) and E-2 (treaty investors) will be $390. Employers and employees therefore can plan now for the increased fees for visa applications at U.S. consulates abroad beginning June 4.

 Continue Reading U.S. State Department Announces New Visa Fees