New Changes for H-1B Petitions – Employers Take Heed! (Part 1)

h1b-visa.jpgA practice advisory published by the Association of International Educators (“NAFSA”) focuses on new H-1B attestations for employers seeking to employ a foreign national as an H-1B worker. Columbus, Ohio is one city in America where employmer sponsored H-1B employment remains strong. This article looks at the proposed new Form I-129 in the H-1B context and advises H-1B employers on exactly what the new form means to them.

Today’s H-1B Program: Strict Employer Compliance!
In the “Post-Neufeld” environment, H-1B visas for third party placement works are being more strictly scrutinized. The new I-129 form allows USCIS to quickly determine what kind of H-1B case and whether the employer has complied with the H-1B regulations. An H-1B audit is not something an employer would like to face in this economy so careful attention to the attestations on the new I-129 form must be done.

Newly Revised Form I-129: Planned Changes
The proposed revisions to the new H-1B form I-129 includes several changes. For beneficiaries in the United States, the form asks for SEVIS number of beneficiary if the beneficiary is an F, M, or J nonimmigrant. This includes a parenthetical instruction at the Date Status Expires box to read “(mm/dd/yyyy) or D/S”; the current instruction does not explicitly say D/S. The form also includes a new question that asks about prior status as J-1 or J-2, and for copies of IAP-66/DS-2019 or J visa stamp page.

Questions about Proposed H-1B Employment:
The proposed I-129, H-1B form will seek information about the proposed employment and employer. The new questions ask if an itinerary is included with the petition (Y/N) and whether the beneficiary will work “off-site” (Y/N). There will be a new question on whether beneficiary will work exclusively in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The form will also ask for current number of employees in the U.S.; current form asks for current number of employees. The form also contains new certification language for the petitioner to recognize that USCIS can conduct “on-site compliance reviews.” It should be kept in mind that an employer was always certifying that an on-site review could be conducted. Now an employer has to affirmatively allow such a visit. The H-1B employees should be aware that USCIS officers may come and ask them questions about their employment. It is very important that an employer knows what they can and cannot require from their employees. For questions regarding this, an experienced immigration lawyer should be contacted.

Other Information on New I-129
The proposed I-129 form will have a new “attachment” page provided to include further explanations concerning the petition. The current form allowed petitioners to simply put required additional explanations “on a separate page.” The new “attachment” page requires a signature.

How to Contact Us
If you have questions about an H-1B visa or green card matter, and/or you need help in an immigration process, please contact our immigration attorneys or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to consult with an attorney. Our law firm handles various matters including Green Cards and Permanent Residence, family immigration, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, employment visas and H1B visas, Investor Visas, PERM applications, and many more. Please contact us and experience how our law firm can assist you in your immigration matters. Whether you are an employer, an employee or a family member, The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA has competent, responsive and innovative lawyers who can make your immigration experience pleasant and seamless.