Thursday, April 10, 2014

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H-1B Cap reached

H-1B Cap reached - read about it on our new blog at: 

Thursday, July 18, 2013


USCIS just issued a report to Congress “Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers” for Fiscal Year 2012. Some interesting facts outlined in the report:
1) The number of H-1B petitions filed increased 15% from 267,654 in FY 2011 to 307,713 in FY 2012. Due no doubt to the economic recovery.
2) The number of H-1B petitions approved decreased 3 percent from 269,653 in FY 2011 to 262,569 in FY 2012. Due no doubt to increased scrutiny from USCIS on all H-1B petitions and increased RFEs even though USCIS issued memos not to issue needless RFEs. I suspect in percentages it is actually worse because FY2012 had substantially more filings, so denial rate is probably more than 7% higher overall compared with FY2011.
3) 72% of H-1B petitions approved in FY 2012 were for workers between the ages of 25 and 34.
4) 46% of H-1B petitions approved in FY 2012 were for workers with a bachelor’s degree, 41% had a master’s degree, 8% had a doctorate, and 4 percent were for workers with a professional degree.
5) 61% of H-1B petitions approved in FY 2012 were for workers in computer related occupations followed by engineering and architecture.
6) The median salary of beneficiaries of approved petitions remained at $70,000 for both FYs 2011 and 2012.
7) After the IT industry, the higher education industry commanded the most petitions. The good news is that the higher education positions are cap-exempt.
8) Healthcare workers represent about 5% of the total number of cases.
You can find the full report here.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Foreign Labor Certification just issued statistics about FY 20013 year-to-date on the H-1B temporary program. Note that this information only relates to the LCAs, not the final numbers by USCIS. According to their data, so far to date they have received 323,866 LCA applications. They have processed all of them in a timely manner, meaning within the 7 business days as required by their own regulations.
The top 10 occupations were computer related, including computer systems analysts, computer programmer, software developers and computer and information system managers. The next group were accountants, auditors, management and financial analyst and the final group of occupations were engineers.
The state with the most filings was California with almost 120,000 filings, which more than doubled that of New York and Texas with over 55,000 each.
Top employers were consulting companies, including Syntel, Cognizant, Wipro, Infosys, PWC, Tata consulting and Deloitte.
On the PERM front, they have received so far almost 51,000 applications for PERM, out of which 26% have been audited and 11% are pending appeal. So far 25,668 applications were certified, 5,251 were denied and 1,828 were withdrawn. Not great statistics on PERMs... Here again over 56% of the occupations were computer and math related, then architecture and engineering about 11% and management 8%. Top work site was California with 23%, then New Jersey, New York and Texas.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Great news! The House Judiciary Committee has just passed the Supplying Knowledge Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visa Act (SKILLS Act), sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) along with 20 co-sponsors.
The SKILLS Act would nearly triple the H-1B cap and also increase employment-based green card numbers and add 4,000 immigrant visas for health care occupations, including nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and other allied health care workers who work in rural or undeserved areas.
Unlike the current situation where these employees are subject to 6-7 year backlogs in the EB-3 category, these additional  immigrant visas are immediately available and not subject to retrogression.
This is the first step toward a House comprehensive immigration bill like the one passed in the Senate. However, the House is expected to debate the Senate bill and change many of its provisions. The House may administratively decide to have several smaller bills, rather than one large immigration bill. We hopefully await and see.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


I just read this great Washington Post editorial that argues that restricting the labor market by keeping out immigrant workers is inconsistent with free market principles and is bad for the economy. 
Stephen Moore talks about surveying the top 75 economists on their views on immigration and 9 to 1 are in favor of immigration as good for the economy, with even Milton Friedman, a very conservative economist saying that both legal and illegal immigration has a very positive impact on the U.S. economy.
I liked this part the most: "It is ironic that the right-wingers who argue against protectionism, against the minimum wage, against unions (which inflate wage rates) and against Obamacare want to keep domestic wages artificially high by restricting the labor market (e.g. keeping out immigrant workers). That effort is not only inconsistent with free market principles, but, according to stacks of research, it also is empirically dubious."
Yes, the anti-immigration reform politicians rely on dubious data and "research" to support their position where the evidence points in the other direction.

Friday, May 24, 2013


A couple of days ago I reported about the Hatch-Schumer Deal going through the Senate judiciary committee. Below please find the summary regarding provisions involving H-1B visas courtesy of my colleague Greg Siskind:

Section 4101 changes. The language creates a new concept of having a base H-1B allocation for each fiscal year and then a possible addition to that base number depending on how strong demand is for H-1Bs. The cap will float between 115,000 and 180,000 depending on market conditions.
The base cap is 115,000. The cap can rise based on the following formula:
- If the cap is hit before day 45 then 20,000 more numbers will be made available beginning on day 46
- If the cap is hit between day 46 and 60, then 15,000 more numbers will be made available on day 61
- If the cap is hit between days 61 and day 90, then 10,000 more numbers will be made available on day 91
- If the cap is hit between day 91 and day 275, then 5,000 more numbers will be made available on day 276 The cap can also be lowered based on the following formula:
- If the number of approved petitions is at between 5,000 and 9,999 fewer than the base allocation for that fiscal year, then the base will decrease for the next year by 5,000
- If the number of approved petitions is at between 10,000 and 14,999 fewer than the base allocation for that fiscal year, then the base will decrease for the next year by 10,000
- If the number of approved petitions is at between 55,000 and 19,999 fewer than the base allocation for that fiscal year, then the base will decrease for the next year by 15,000
- If the number of approved petitions is more than 20,000 fewer than the base allocation for that fiscal year, then the base will decrease for the next year by 20,000

Changes Section 4102 regarding work authorization for H-4s.
Previous version only gave EADs to H-4s if their countries reciprocated rights to US employees. New language gives DOS discretion on this issue.

The non-displacement language in Section 4211 is modified and no longer applies to all employers. “For an H-1B skilled worker dependent employer” that is not an H-1B dependent employer, the employer cannot have displaced and will not displace a US worker in the 90 days before and after the filing of the H-1B. H-1B skilled worker dependent employers aren’t subject to the provision unless the employer is filing the petition with the intent or purpose of displacing a US worker from the position to be occupied by the beneficiary of the petition or workers are displaced who provide services at government work sites or are public school teachers. In the case of applications filed by H-1B-dependent employers, the employer did not displace and will not displace a US worker employer by the employer during the period 180 days before and after the filing of the H-1B.
“H-1B Skilled Worker Dependent” means an employer who employs H-1Bs in the US in a number greater than 15% of its full-time equivalent workers in the US employed in jobs in O*NET Job Zone 4 and Job Zone 5. H-1Bs who are intending immigrants don’t count in making this determination. The Hatch amendment makes changes to S.744’s H-1B recruiting requirements. The amendment increases recruiting requirements by adding a provision that says an employer must take “good faith steps” to recruit US workers using procedures that meet industry-wide standards and offering compensation at least as great as that required to be offered to H-1B non-immigrants. The DOL web site recruiting is still required and an additional requirement has been added to require posting positions on a State labor or workforce agency web site.
 There is a significant change in the advertising rules. In the original S.744, the employer must have offered the job to any US worker who applied and is “equally or better qualified” for the job for which the non-immigrant is sought. Now, this requirement only applies to H-1B skilled worker dependent employers. Modifies the rules that exempt counting certain employees from the H-1B dependency count if an employer has filed green card application. Previously, covered employers had to file I-140s for not less than 90% of the people for whom an employer filed a labor certification during the 1-year period ending on the date the employer filed an application for a labor certification for the worker. Labor certification cases pending for longer than a year would be treated as if the employer filed an immigrant status petition. The language is modified and a “covered employer” is an employer that has filed I-140s for not less than 90% of current employees who were the beneficiaries of labor certifications that were approved during the 1-year period ending 6 months before the filing of an application for which the number of intending immigrants is relevant.

A new Section 4225 is added and is entitled “Transparency of High-Skilled Immigration Programs.”
The new Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research shall submit an annual report to Congress providing data on H-1B beneficiaries and employers.  A similar report on L-1s is to be prepared annually. An additional annual report is to be prepared describing the methods employers are using to meet the good faith recruiting requirements.

Section 4236 is modified to state that the non-displacement provisions do not apply to petitions filed on behalf of existing employees.

There is a new Section 4237 entitled “Portability for Beneficiaries of Immigrant Petitions.”
Changes the adjustment portability rules. Regardless of whether an employer withdraws an EB-1, EB-2 or EB-3 petition, the petition shall remain valid with respect to a new job if the beneficiary changes jobs or employers after the petition is approved and the new job is in the same or a similar occupation for which the petition was approved. Current law requires the petition to be pending 180 days before portability kicks in. The employer’s legal obligation with respect to the petition shall terminate at the time the beneficiary changes jobs or employers.

DOL shall develop a method for enabling workers to verify that a new job is in a same or similar occupation.
In a very important change, concurrent adjustment applications are available even if a visa number is not available. In such a case, a supplemental fee of $500 will be collected. Applicants filed under this provision cannot be approved until a visa number becomes available.