Immigration

FLAG System – Update on filing Form ETA-9141




Beginning Monday, June 10, 2019, OFLC will accept online submissions of the Application for Prevailing Wage Determination (Form ETA-9141) in the FLAG System covering all visa programs.

Beginning June 10, 2019, the capability to submit the Form ETA-9141 using the iCERT System will be deactivated. OFLC will continue to accept online submissions of the Form ETA-9141 through the iCERT System until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, Sunday, June 9, 2019.

Technical Assistance Materials:

OFLC has developed a series of instructional videos to help educate the stakeholder community on how to create and manage a FLAG System account and content to prepare the Form ETA-9141 for submission to the NPWC.

To obtain more information and view these instructional videos, please visit the Prevailing Wage Program page on the FLAG System at https://flag.dol.gov/.



Premium Processing Begins for Remaining H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions on June 10




From uscis.gov on 6/7/19:

On June 10, we will begin premium processing for all remaining FY 2020 H-1B cap-subject petitions.

Starting on that date, petitioners may file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, with the USCIS service center that is processing their petition.

On March 19, we announced that we would offer premium processing in a two-phased approach during the FY 2020 cap season to best manage premium processing requests without fully suspending it.

In the past few years, we suspended all premium processing for H-1B petitions due to high demand.

Based on feedback from the public, we are using this phased approach to benefit petitioners and ensure efficient premium processing.

The first phase, which started on May 20, included FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status and the second phase includes all other FY 2020 cap-subject petitions.

At this time, premium processing for H-1B petitions that are exempt from the cap, such as extension of stay requests, remains available.

Pre-paid Mailer Temporary Suspension

Starting on June 10 and continuing through the end of June 24, we will not use pre-paid mailers to send out final notices for premium processing for FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions not requesting a change of status.

Instead, we will use regular mail. We will be doing this due to resource limitations as we work to process all premium processing petitions in a timely manner.

The process for printing approval notices and sending them by regular mail is fully automated, whereas using pre-paid mailers requires a separate and more time-consuming manual process.

As such, and given the initial surge of premium processing requests for H-1B cap petitions and its impact on USCIS resources, using pre-paid mailers may actually delay the issuance of an approval notice compared to the standard process, or otherwise negatively affect our ability to timely process premium processing petitions.

After the two-week period, we intend to resume sending out final notices in pre-paid mailers provided by petitioners, when operationally feasible.



USCIS Updates Rejection Criteria for Form I-129




On August 5, USCIS will begin rejecting Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, petitions that do not include the petitioner’s or applicant’s name and primary U.S. office address in Part 1 of Form I-129.

USCIS currently rejects Form I-129 for several reasons. These include, but are not limited to, lack of signature, incorrect fees, or unauthorized third party signing on behalf of the petitioner.

DHS regulations require every form to be submitted in accordance with the form instructions, and allow USCIS to reject any benefit request that is not filed in compliance with the regulations governing the specific benefit request. See 8 CFR 103.2(a)(1) and 8 CFR 103.2(a)(7)(ii)(C).

The petitioner’s or applicant’s primary U.S. office address in Part 1 of Form I-129 must not be the address of the petitioner’s or applicant’s outside counsel or clients. Failure to include the petitioner’s or applicant’s name or providing the address of the petitioner’s or applicant’s outside counsel or clients in Part 1 creates unnecessary delays in the adjudication of Form I-129 and may result in its rejection.

The Instructions for Form I-129 state, in relevant part:

Petitioner Information
Complete the “Legal Name of Petitioner” field (if the petitioner is an individual person or a company or organization). For mailing address, list the address of the petitioner’s primary office within the United States.

In many instances, the petitioner’s or applicant’s primary U.S. office address will determine the filing jurisdiction. Information about where to file Form I-129 is available on the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker page.

Form I-129 petitions that USCIS rejects due to missing information can generally be refiled with the required information and fee. However, there are instances when a refiled petition or application would be rejected, such as when a statutory cap-subject petition is resubmitted after USCIS has received a sufficient number of petitions projected as needed to reach the congressionally mandated numerical limit.



Texas Service Center to Begin Accepting Form I-129 for Certain H-1B Petitions




From USCIS.gov on 5/20/19:

On May 20, 2019, the Texas Service Center will begin processing Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, for certain H-1B cap-exempt petitions requesting:

  • A change in previously approved employment;
  • A change of employer;
  • Concurrent employment;
  • Amendments;
  • A continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer;
  • A change of status to H-1B; or
  • Notification to a U.S. Consulate or inspection facility (port of entry or pre-flight inspection).

This does not include H-1B petitions for cap-exempt entities, petitions that are cap-exempt based on a Conrad/Interested Government Agency (IGA) waiver under Immigration and Nationality Act Section 214(l), or petitions where the employer is located in Guam or the beneficiary will be performing services in Guam.

The Texas Service Center will share this workload with the California Service Center, Vermont Service Center, and Nebraska Service Center to balance workloads and provide flexibility as USCIS works towards improving processing times and efficiency.

Petitioners filing any of the above H-1B petitions should file their Form I-129 at the address indicated on the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker page.

Starting July 19, 2019 , USCIS may reject any of these petitions that are filed at the wrong service center.

Texas Service Center Filings

File Form I-129 with the TSC if the petitioner’s primary office is located in:

  • Florida
  • Georgia


USCIS Completes Data Entry of Fiscal Year 2020 H-1B Cap Subject Petitions




From USCIS.gov on 5/17/19:

USCIS has completed data entry for all fiscal year 2020 H-1B cap-subject petitions selected in our computer-generated random selection process, including those selected under the U.S. advanced degree exemption.

As in previous years, we will now begin returning all H-1B cap-subject petitions that we did not select and will issue an announcement once we are done notifying petitioners.

Due to the volume of filings, we cannot provide a definite time frame for returning unselected petitions.

We ask petitioners to wait to inquire about the status of their cap-subject petitions until they receive a receipt notice or an unselected petition that we have returned.

Additionally, we may transfer some Form I-129 H-1B cap-subject petitions between the Vermont Service Center and the California Service Center to balance the workload and enhance efficiencies.

If we transfer your case, you will receive notification in the mail.

After receiving the notification, please send all future correspondence to the center processing your petition.



USCIS and CBP Extend Form I-129 Pilot Program for Canadian L-1 Nonimmigrants




USCIS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are extending the joint agency pilot program for Canadian citizens seeking L-1 nonimmigrant status under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) through April 30, 2020.

Last year, the USCIS California Service Center and the CBP Blaine, Washington, port of entry (POE) announced this pilot program, which was scheduled to run from April 30, 2018, through Oct. 31, 2018, and was later extended for six months.

This pilot program allows, but does not require, Canadian citizens to request that USCIS remotely adjudicate their petitioning employer’s Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, or Form I-129S, Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition, prior to their arrival or when they arrive at the Blaine POE.

 



USCIS reaches H-1B visa regular cap for fiscal year 2020




On April 5, 2019, USCIS reached the congressionally-mandated 65,000 H-1B visa regular cap for fiscal year 2020.

USCIS will next determine if they have received a sufficient number of petitions to meet the 20,000 H-1B visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.

Petitions filed for current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the FY 2020 H-1B cap.



USCIS Launches H-1B Employer Data Hub




The H-1B Employer Data Hub includes data from fiscal year 2009 through the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 on employers who have submitted petitions to employ H-1B nonimmigrant workers.

Data can be queried by fiscal year, employer name, city, state, zip code, and NAICS code.

The H-1B Employer Data Hub has data on the first decisions USCIS makes on petitions for initial and continuing employment.

It identifies employers by the last four digits of their tax identification.

You can download annual and query-specific data in .csv format.



Premium Processing for FY 2020 Cap-Subject Petitions




Premium processing will be offered in a two-phased approach during the FY 2020 cap season so USCIS can best manage the premium processing requests without fully suspending it as in previous years.

The first phase will include FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status and the second phase will include all other FY 2020 cap-subject petitions.

Starting April 1, FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitioners requesting a change of status on their Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, may request premium processing by concurrently filing Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service.

However, to prioritize data entry for cap-subject H-1B petitions, USCIS will not begin premium processing for these petitions immediately.

USCIS will begin premium processing for these petitions no later than May 20, 2019, and will notify the public before premium processing begins for these petitions.

If a petitioner does not file Form I-907 concurrently with an FY 2020 H-1B cap-subject petition requesting a change of status, the petitioner must wait until premium processing begins to submit Form I-907.

Until premium processing begins for these petitions, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 that is not filed concurrently with a cap-subject Form I-129.

Petitioners must appropriately select response “b” for Item 4 in Part 2 of Form I-129 to be eligible to concurrently file Form I-907.

Second Phase:

Premium processing for all other FY 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions will not begin until at least June 2019. 

Cap-subject petitioners not requesting a change of status may not submit their premium processing request concurrently with their H-1B petition.

These petitioners will be eligible to upgrade to premium processing by filing Form I-907 once premium processing begins for this group.

USCIS will notify the public with a confirmed date for premium processing for cap-subject petitioners not requesting a change of status.

At this time, premium processing for H-1B petitions that are exempt from the cap, such as extension of stay requests, remains available.



LCA Posting – Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB)




3/15/19 – This Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) reiterates an H-1B petitioner’s obligations when using electronic means to make the requisite notice to all affected employees.

This includes those who are employed by a third-party employer.

The H-1B petitioner must notify all affected employees of its intent to place H-1B workers at the worksite using one of the three required methods.

One of those options is electronic notification. If an H-1B petitioner chooses to provide notice via posting in an electronic location (such as an intranet, internal database, or public website), it must ensure that all affected workers, including those employed by a third-party, have access to, and are aware of, the electronic notification.



There are no products