As of January 26, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Services indicated that it received sufficient H-1B petitions to reach the annual cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year 2011 (October 1, 2010 – September 30, 2011). As of December 22, 2010, it had received more than 20,000 petitions toward the annual exemption amount for individuals with

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

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

On June 12, 2008, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) informed the American Immigration Lawyers Association that the H-1B random selection process has been completed. USCIS completed the intake and receipt processes for all filings as of May 24, 2008 and began mailing rejection notices the week of June 9. Therefore, if an employer has not yet received a filing confirmation (Form I-797C Notice of Action), it likely means that the petition was not selected in the random process and that the rejection notice will be forthcoming.

Continue Reading USCIS to Start Mailing Rejection Notices for April 1, 2008 H-1B Filings