August 2015

Immigration Law Newsletter, August 2015

Advantages of Small Immigration Law Firms

Are you concerned that your immigration applications are taking too long to file? We at Verma Law Firm find that our quick turnaround time is the main reason some of our current clients have moved their immigration work to our firm. A small law firm is defined as a law firm with 1 to 10 attorneys. Verma Law Firm has 3 attorneys, 2 law clerks, and other support staff. Many clients find that small law firms are able to provide faster and more personalized service than large global immigration firms. This is especially true for start-ups and small to mid-sized companies seeking immigration assistance. Verma Law Firm is a small but experienced immigration law firm that can provide the fast, personalized, and cost effective service that you may be looking for.

USCIS / DOL Processing Times for H-1B, PERM, L-1A, Citizenship, and Family Based Green Card Cases

Verma Law Firm handles numerous Immigration Applications. The processing times based on recent Approvals / Request for Evidence (RFE) received by our firm from USCIS / DOL are as follows:

H-1B:

H-1B cases filed under FY 2016 Quota are taking approximately 2 to 6 months for approval as the USCIS must adjudicate about 80,000 H-1B cases. Our office has been receiving a steady stream of H-1B Quota case approvals as well as some RFEs.

PERM Labor Certifications:

We have recently received certified PERM applications from the Department of Labor (DOL). It is taking approximately 7 months for the DOL to certify PERM applications. In the case of audited PERM applications, DOL is taking approximately 18 months to certify PERM applications from the date the initial PERM Labor Certification was filed.

L-1A:

We have recently received L-1A approvals filed for the position of Manager by mid-sized technology companies. The California Service Center (CSC) is taking about 1 month to adjudicate L-1A applications filed under regular processing. Since the CSC is adjudicating L-1A applications filed under regular processing in just 1 month, the need for filing these applications with CSC under premium processing may be unnecessary at this time.

Citizenship applications:

Citizenship applications are being scheduled for interviews and are being adjudicated within 3 months of filing the applications.

Family Based Green Card Applications:

We recently received a RFE for a Green Card application (Adjustment of Status [AOS]) filed by a U.S. Citizen for a parent. The AOS application had been pending for more than 10 months. It appears that due to the backlog at the USCIS Services Centers in processing family based green card applications, these applications are being transferred to various USCIS District Offices for adjudication. Some of the Immigration Officers at these USCIS District Offices are issuing RFEs for unnecessary additional evidence, whereas the AOS application normally would have been approved by the National Service Center with the evidence provided.

Policy Update Regarding H-1B Amendments for Work Site Changes

In Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC, a decision issued on April 9, 2015, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) stated that whenever the place of employment for an H-1B beneficiary changes to a geographical area that is different from the location indicated in the original certified Labor Condition Application (LCA), the change is considered a “material change” that requires filing an amended or new H-1B petition with USCIS. In addition, an amended H-1B petition must be filed whenever there is any material change to the terms and conditions of employment. For complete details, please see the USCIS Policy Memorandum issued on July 21, 2015 entitled, “USCIS Final Guidance on When to file an Amended or New H-1B Petition After Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC.”

The following is a brief summary of the key provisions and timelines provided in the USCIS Policy Memorandum.

Work Site Changed Prior to April 9, 2015

If an H-1B employee moved to a new place of employment not covered by an existing, approved H-1B petition, the employer may choose to file an amended or new petition by January 15, 2016. Even if the employer does not file an amended or new petition by January 15, 2016, USCIS will generally not pursue new adverse actions against the employer.

Work Site Changed After April 9, 2015 but Prior to August 19, 2015

If an H-1B employee moved to a new place of employment after April 9, 2015 but prior to August 19, 2015, the employer must file an amended or new petition by January 15, 2016. If the employer does not file an amended or new petition before January 15, 2016, the employer will be out of compliance with DHS regulations and the existing H-1B approval will be subject to a notice of intent to revoke. In addition, the H-1B employee may be found to not be maintaining his or her H-1B status.

Work Site Changes On or After August 19, 2015

If an H-1B employee will move to a new place of employment not covered by the existing, approved H-1B petition, the employer must file an amended or new petition before the H-1B employee starts working at the new place of employment. Employers should note that the H-1B employee may begin working at the new work site location immediately after filing the amended petition.