Articles Posted in Healthcare Professionals

Login.jpgLate last year, the US Citizenship & Immigration Service (“USCIS”) announced that it will be implementing a new web enabled Specialty Occupation H-1B Visa Cap Registration system whereby the H-1B visa cap petitioners would register online prior to filing their H-1B visa cap-subject petitions. The Columbus Ohio Immigration Lawyers at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates has been following these developments and will bring you updated information as they become available. This article will discuss the new H-1B Visa Cap Registration, its applicability and whether it will impact the upcoming H-1B visa cap season (Federal Fiscal year 2012) which will begin on April 1, 2011.

On March 3, 2011, the USCIS published in the Federal Register a Notice of Advanced Rulemaking in which it provided the public the opportunity to comment on this proposal. The comment period will end on May 2, 2011. Once implemented, the USCIS promised that the new system will yield increased efficiency and cost effectiveness in the administration of the H-1B visa petition process. Under this proposal, H-1B visa petitioning employers seeking to file a cap-subject H-1B visa petition must first register through a web enabled process that they intend to file such petition. Once the registration process is complete, the USCIS would then make a selection through a lottery system if the number of registrations exceeded the visas available and then announce which beneficiaries will be eligible to have their H-1B visa petitions filed. The USCIS states that this process would save the petitioning employer from having to unnecessarily file a cap-subject H-1B visa that will be rejected through a lottery system.
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_ a a a gold medal.jpgThis article is the second installment following up and providing a conclusion to the first segment which provides the final techniques utilized by the Columbus Immigration Lawyers at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates regarding the preparation of a Motion to Reopen/Reconsider or Request for Evidence (RFE) responses. Again this article focuses on the RFE response, but its techniques are applicable to any written brief or statement made in response to USCIS.

Critique the Request for Evidence Itself
A major component of drafting the response to an RFE is the need to critique the request itself. The immigration officer may not have developed the facts in a complete and accurate manner. It is your job to comprehensively develop those facts (often by use of affidavits). By showing inconsistencies and other problems with the facts, as developed by the immigration officer, you begin to establish credibility to your case. The Immigration Lawyers at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates are very experienced at analyzing the facts and respectfully presenting them correctly to the USCIS in an RFE response.
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_ a a a gold medal.jpgUSCIS provides minimal guidance regarding the preparation of a Motion to Reopen/Reconsider or Request for Evidence (RFE) response. Unlike other USCIS procedures, CIS does not require the completion of a form when filing an RFE response. This little guidance provides a wide range of possibile methods to responding to the RFE. This article presents techniques that the Columbus Immigration Lawyers at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates have implemented for preparing a successful responses to USCIS and focuses on the brief in support of an RFE response.

Prepare a Roadmap: Presentation Matters
While this might sound obvious, the most important element of the RFE response is drafting the response itself. Don’t spend all your time meeting with the client, gathering facts and conducting legal research. Too often, not enough time is spent on planning and presentation. Remember, an RFE has a strict deadline that often poses a tight timetable to prepare the supporting documentation and legal arguments. As the saying goes, “plan the work; work the plan.” This is an axiom the lawyers at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates live by. You must leave sufficient time to prepare a polished product. Preparing a polished written RFE response does not simply happen. It requires good planning, organization and writing.
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Thumbnail image for dreamstime_17860509.jpgThe USCIS has announced on January 27, 2011 that it has received sufficient number of petitions to reach the H-1B visa cap for fiscal year 2011.
In its statement circulated by e-mail 8 p.m. on Thursday January 27, 2011, the USCIS stated that the final receipt date for inclusion in the H-1B visa cap for the current fiscal year is January 26, 2011. As an immigration lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, I have been closely monitoring the consumption of the cap subject H-1B visa petitions received and it was a remarkably linear line since April 1, 2010. Once the “Master’s Degree” cap is reached, the consumption drastically increased. We predicted the cap to be reached the end of January beginning of February and we were right on the mark.

It appears from the message which was posted late Thursday on the USCIS website that the USCIS received more petitions on January 26, 2011 than H-1B visas available hence it will employ a computer generated lottery system to select the petitions for inclusion in the H-1B visa cap.
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Error.jpgEarlier this week the US Consulate at Mumbai reported that persons filing for Employment Based Permanent Residency in the Second Preference, or the EB-2 preference category, were current. This erroneous report gave false hope many persons from India who hold master’s degrees, have endured the PERM process and are currently waiting for a visa to be made available to them. It is unfortunate that a US Consulate would report such a drastic progression of the priority date only to later disappoint the many thousands of people who have waited so long to adjust to Green Card Status.

Just to clarify, the Mumbai consulate’s report of current visa availability for persons in the EB-2 preference category was in error. Foreign nationals from India who are waiting for a visa to be made current under the EB-2 preference category must have a priority date of May 8, 2006 in order to file for adjustment of status to Lawful Permanent Resident or Green Card status pursuant to the February 2011 Visa Bulletin.

hourglass.jpgThe latest results issued by the USCIS indicate that there is still sufficient time to file for an H-1B visa to start in the 2011 fiscal year. The latest projections show that 53,900 of the 65,000 visas allotted for the FY 2011 have been accepted. The current rate of H-1B visa consumption indicates that petitioner’s will most likely have just enough time to file for a new H-1B visa beneficiary under the current cap and receive an approval to hire that worker on an H-1B basis without waiting until the next financial year, starting in October 2011. Companies that anticipate the need to hire a worker on an H-1B basis to keep up with staffing needs can still do so if quick action is taken.

The Amount of Time Needed to File an H-1B Visa on an Expedited Basis.

An H-1B visa can be filed with the USCIS in as little as nine days. Because of the new centralized system whereby the Department of Labor examines and approves the petitioning business’s existence as well as the wage to be paid to the beneficiary in relation to the location of employment and the proposed job duties, a wait time of about seven calendar days must now be calculated into each new H-1B visa. This wait is caused by the submission of a document called the Labor Condition Application (LCA) to the Department of Labor. Each application is reviewed by the Department of Labor, which checks to see if the company has a valid FEIN Tax ID number and if the petitioning company will be paying a salary that is equal or greater than the prevailing wage for the job applied for in the location of employment. However, with quick action and good communication between the petitioning company and its attorney, the LCA portion of the H-1B visa process can be quickly filed and approved.
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The Department of Justice announced that it has awarded $720,321 in grants to 13 organizations throughout the country to conduct public education programs for workers and employers about federal protections against immigration-related job discrimination. The grants range from $43,664 to $88,000, and are awarded by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices. Recipients will assist discrimination victims; conduct seminars for workers, employers and immigration service providers; and place advertisements in local communities through mainstream and ethnic media to educate workers and employers about their rights.


Problem: Many I-140 petitions are denied simply because of poor drafting of the PERM application itself. This particularly true for foreign nationals who possess three year Indian degrees.
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i-94.jpgThis question has been raised by a few of our clients. If you have not turned in your I-94 upon departure, the US will have no record of your departure. This means, according to the US, you are still in the country because your departure was not recorded properly. This article offers assistance to correct this problem.

Ooops, I did not return my I-94 upon Departure
If you leave the country and the CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) officer forgets to collect your I-94, you will be ok if you left by airplane or a cruise ship. Your departure will be automatically verified. So, you do not need to contact the U.S. officials regarding your exit. To be safe, hold on to your outbound boarding pass. This will help CBP officials next time you enter the U.S. andit will expedite the re-entry process so you do not have to explain the error.
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Woman laid offIn face of layoffs, most employers shy away from filing PERM applications under the erroneous perception that the PERM regulations prevent them from doing so. This article discusses the consequences of layoffs and processing PERM labor certification applications; it also discusses the employer’s legal obligations in proceeding with the PERM application process despite recent layoffs.

I. PERM and Layoffs

The collapse of the financial infrastructure in the US has had a Domino effect on every sector in our economy. As a result, many organizations find themselves in economic crisis which resulted in massive layoffs almost in every aspect of our workforce. Notwithstanding layoffs, organizations still desire to process permanent labor certificate applications on behalf of certain foreign national professionals. PERM regulations, however, place certain restrictions on organizations and firms which experienced layoffs that could prevent them from taking advantage of this program.
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