USCIS Reaches H-1B Cap For FY 2019

H-1B nonimmigrant work visas for fiscal 2019 are no longer available. Here is what employers in the U.S. need to know.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), H-1B visa petitions for fiscal 2019 have already surpassed 65,000 – the yearly limit on H-1Bs established by law.

USCIS also has received enough petitions for the extra 20,000 H-1B visas set aside each year for petitioners with a master’s degree.


Every year beginning on April 1st, USCIS accepts H-1B visa petitions for the following fiscal year.

FY 2019 is the sixth successive year that employers in the U.S. have needed more H-1B visas than the law authorizes. Also for the sixth year in a row, the H-1B cap was surpassed in the first few days of April.

H-1B petitions received after the cap was reached are being returned by USCIS to the applicants.

In 2005, the H-1B cap was set by law at 65,000. Another 20,000 H-1Bs are made available for employees holding advanced degrees – at the master’s level or higher – earned at U.S. institutions.

By June, the employers who have been chosen to receive visas for fiscal 2019 will be contacted.


International workers who receive those H-1B visas may begin working for their U.S.-based employers in October.

The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant work visa that allows U.S.-based businesses to employ international workers with “specialized” knowledge when qualified U.S. citizens or residents are not available to fill specialized positions.

Many U.S.-based businesses use H-1B visas to hire immigrant workers in specialty occupations.


The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 defines a “specialty occupation” as employment requiring specialized knowledge in a particular field and requiring a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

These specialized workers include mathematicians, engineers, computer programmers, and scientists working in robotics, chemistry, and biotechnology.

The demand for highly-knowledgeable workers in these particular fields exceeds the supply of qualified U.S. citizens and residents available for the work, so employers must be fully prepared when applying for H-1B visas and must have the help of a good immigration attorney.

The employer and the employee both must qualify for the H-1B visa to be granted. It’s a long and complicated application and a lengthy, difficult process.


H-1B visas are requested by employers, not by their prospective employees. Anyone who is hired through the H-1B visa program must have a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent credential.

To obtain an H-1B visa, a U.S.-based employer must make a job offer to an international worker in a specialized field such as engineering, architecture, computer electronics, medical research, or another specialized, technical field.

The compensation provided by the U.S. employer must be consistent with pay for similar positions in the same region.


H-1B work authorization is good for three years and may be extended to six years – if a qualified U.S. citizen or resident is not available to take a specialized position.

When USCIS requests more information regarding an H-1B visa petition, it is usually because there is a question about the employer’s need for the visa or about the prospective employee’s qualifications.

That’s another reason why companies that need H-1B visas should have the insights and advice of an experienced immigration lawyer from the start of the H-1B application process.

Although it is too late to seek an H-1B for fiscal 2019, it is not too soon to start preparing H-1B applications for fiscal 2020 – or to look at alternatives to the H-1B visa. If you are looking to work in Florida, a Florida Immigration Attorney may be able to help.


Employers should begin now to identify international job candidates who need sponsorship. Some may already be working in the U.S. with temporary work authorizations. Candidates and employees who may need H-1B sponsorship include:

Anyone now in H-1B status with an H-1B cap-exempt employer (an educational, governmental, or nonprofit employer) who seeks employment with a cap-subject employer.

Recent graduates and students now in Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) who will need H-1B sponsorship when their training expires.

Those now holding a different nonimmigrant work visa (such as a H-3, H-2, TN, J-1, or O-1 visa).

Employers with questions about the H-1B visa – and those who want to apply for fiscal 2020 – should contact an experienced Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney at once.


While it is now too late to apply for an H-1B visa for fiscal year 2019, it is not too early to begin work on H-1B petitions for next year – or to consider potential alternatives to the H-1B visa.

U.S.-based companies that need to obtain H-1B visas for fiscal 2010 should start the process immediately.

It is also important for U.S. employers to know that H-1B visas are not exclusively issued to corporations like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook. Employers of all sizes and in every part of the U.S. apply for and obtain H-1B visas.

H-1B employees contribute substantially to local communities and the national economy, pay state and federal taxes, and help businesses create even more jobs and other new opportunities.


An experienced immigration lawyer understands the immigration system and knows how to acquire the visas that employers require. Employers, of course, must realize that due to the H-1B visa cap, not even a single H-1B visa can be guaranteed.

Frankly speaking, H-1B visas are difficult to acquire.

If you are an employer in the U.S., you will need an immigration attorney’s help meeting deadlines, providing complete and accurate information, and avoiding the misunderstandings and mistakes that can prevent U.S. employers from obtaining the visas they need.

A knowledgeable immigration lawyer can put your company in the best position to acquire the H-1B visas that the company needs. Your lawyer will also know about other visa options that may be equally effective for a number of employers.

Every visa petition and immigration procedure is complicated and takes time. Everyone who is seeking a visa will need reliable legal advice and insights.

That is why it’s smart for employers who need work visas to contact an immigration attorney as early as the need becomes clear.

Employers must not do this alone. Pay no attention to the unreliable and outdated information you find online. You must have the hands-on help of a trustworthy Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney.

How Unexpected Changes In The H-2B Visa Process Affect Seasonal Workers

A number of U.S.-based businesses are now hoping that they will have enough seasonal employees to stay open through the summer of 2018.

Why the worry? Because of an unexpected change in the way H-2B visas are being issued to temporary foreign workers.

You are likely going to be impacted by the change if you own a business that hires seasonal foreign employees – or even if you vacation or dine out during the summer.

Early in March, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that due to an unexpected surge in the number of H-2B visa applications, and also due to processing delays at the Department of Labor (DOL), H-2B visas are now being handled differently.


USCIS is now using a lottery system to approve H-2B visa petitions instead of using the “first-come, first-served” system that USCIS had previously announced and used for H-2B visas.

Why is that change important? It means the U.S. businesses that request H-2B visas can be far less sure that they will be granted visas for the seasonal foreign workers they will need this year.


Timothy McNulty is a co-owner of the Lobster Pot, a restaurant in Provincetown, Massachusetts. What he told the Cape Cod Times echoes the sentiments of scores of business owners this spring:

“They went against what they said they were going to do. They’re changing the rules as they go. We’re all in a holding pattern. The worst part about this is, here we are March 1, and we have no idea. I don’t know if I’m getting part of my staff … It was a hard slap in the face.”


The H-2B visa program permits foreign workers from sixty-two nations to be employed temporarily in the United States so that U.S.-based employers can meet seasonal labor shortages.

The employers who seek H-2B visas must offer those jobs first to U.S. workers and must advertise those jobs before the employers can be certified by the DOL to hire foreign workers.

If certified by the DOL, employers may then apply to USCIS for the H-2B visas they need. Finally, if those visas are granted, employers must obtain final approval for the particular individuals they want to hire.

The number of available H-2B visas is capped by Congress at 66,000 per year: 33,000 for the workers who are hired from October through March and another 33,000 for the workers who are hired from April through September.


H-2B visas are provided primarily for seasonal positions in the hospitality and food industries – housekeepers, short-order cooks, dishwashers, meatpacking workers, and similar types of positions.

2018, however, is the first year that a lottery system has been used to approve H-2B visa requests.

USCIS received requests for approximately 47,000 workers from about 2,700 employers in February. USCIS conducted the H-2B lottery for the second half of fiscal 2018 on February 28th and approved 33,000 visas.

Representative William Keating (D-Massachusetts) said that using a lottery system to approve H-2B visas reflected “ineptness at its best and arrogance at its worst.”

“Thousands of businesses across the country will not be able to fully operate without H-2B worker assistance,” the congressman said in a brief statement.


The H-2B visa is not generally considered politically controversial. It has considerable support in both parties since politicians want to advance the interests of the industries in their own states.

Senator Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) says the H-2B program “is vital for businesses that desperately need temporary help to keep their doors open and keep their American workforce employed.”

It is simply not true that U.S. businesses use the H-2B program to save money by hiring cheap labor.

Employers pay for the visa application fees, and some U.S.-based companies even reimburse an employee’s transportation costs for travel to the United States.

In Ohio and Michigan, food packing and processing are the businesses that request the most H-2B visas.

If you hire seasonal foreign workers using H-2B visas, let an experienced Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney review your situation and discuss your options and possible alternatives.


U.S.-based employers who seek to hire temporary foreign workers face an avalanche of complex paperwork. An attorney can help you with it.

For example, before USCIS will approve an employer’s petition for temporary workers, that employer must file a labor certification application with the Department of Labor declaring that:

1. An adequate number of qualified U.S. workers are not available for the positions.
2. Hiring H-2B employees will not negatively impact the working conditions and wages of U.S. workers in similar positions.

Especially now, U.S.-based employers must not file visa petitions without legal advice and review. A good immigration lawyer will spot and help you avoid the mistakes that can get a visa petition rejected.

If you are a U.S.-based employer and you can’t find the employees that you need locally, discuss your circumstances with an experienced Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney.

If you are a temporary foreign worker in the U.S. with questions about your visa, your employment rights, or your legal status, a good immigration lawyer can answer those questions and address your concerns.

Employers who bring H-2B workers to the U.S. must comply with all employment and immigration laws.


A multitude of regulations govern employers who hire foreign employees, so you must have the sound and knowledgeable advice of an attorney who knows immigration law comprehensively.

Immigration laws change constantly, and the current legal and political situation is frankly unpredictable, so it is imperative to have the guidance of a knowledgeable immigration lawyer who stays on top of the ongoing developments.

EB-5 Applications Are On The Rise In India

Thousands of Indians are planning to arrive in the U.S. and invest in a business or start up a new business. Why are they doing it? Why now?

The EB-5 program lets Indians and other immigrants invest in a U.S. business or development project. Investors and their immediate family members receive green cards in return.


The EB-5 visa program offers two basic investment options. Who can qualify?

1. Indians and other investors who can place at least $1 million in a U.S.-based business and create at least ten new full-time jobs can qualify for an EB-5 visa.

2. Indians and others who invest in a pre-designated “Targeted Employment Area” or “TEA” can qualify for an EB-5 visa with a minimum investment of $500,000.

A quarter of the Indians who sought EB-5 visas in 2016 chose the first option – investing at least $1 million.

That’s a far higher figure than the overall percentage of EB-5 applicants who choose that option – about five to seven percent.


To receive a TEA designation, the EB-5 investment must be made in a rural area or in an area where the unemployment rate is at least 150 percent of the national U.S. unemployment rate.

By providing permanent legal residency – a green card – to qualified Indians and others, the EB-5 visa program expands the U.S. economy by providing great investment opportunities.

EB-5 visa applications from India have tripled in just the last three years, a figure that reflects an increasing interest in the United States among Indian investors.


That interest is rising despite the rejection of about a third of the EB-5 applications originating from India – 34 percent in 2016. The three leading reasons for that high rejection rate are:

1. an inaccurate or incomplete EB-5 visa application
2. a lack of the required educational, financial, or employment records or other documents
3. choosing an investment option that does not qualify for the EB-5 visa program

EB-5 visa applicants also must prove that their investment funds were obtained legally. This requirement serves to keep criminal gains from going into legitimate U.S. investments.


An experienced, U.S.-based Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney can help Indian investors:

1. complete an EB-5 visa application
2. identify the additional documents that will be needed
3. choose a qualified and appropriate investment option
4. prove that their investment funds were legally acquired


Some observers believe that the rising Indian interest in EB-5 visas is a consequence of the lengthy waiting lists for EB-2 and EB-3 employment-based visas.

In October 2017, the U.S. State Department reported that Indian applicants wait about nine years in the EB-2 advanced degree category and about eleven years in the the EB-3 skilled worker category.

India’s growing prosperity, combined with a rising awareness about the EB-5 program, are also cited as reasons for the recent increasing interest by Indian investors in the EB-5 visa.


Investors who are unfamiliar with the EB-5 visa program may welcome a brief introduction, so keep reading. The EB-5 visa category was created by the Immigration Act of 1990.

It is the only immigration category that allows Indians and other investors to enter the United States as legal permanent residents – green card holders.

In recent years, investors not only in India but around the globe have responded to the EB-5 program with rising interest.

For example, since 2008, the number of EB-5 visas being issued has more than quadrupled.

EB-5 investments surpassed $2 billion in 2014 and created over 16,000 new full-time jobs in the United States that year.


Indian immigrants in the U.S. have reached the top ranks at major corporations. Satya Nadella became the CEO at Microsoft in 2014; Sundar Pichai was named the CEO at Google in 2015.

In fact, the Migration Policy Institute tells us that about 90,000 immigrants from Indian now live in Silicon Valley, and most of them are employed in the tech industry.

The Indian-born population in the United States – which numbered barely 200,000 in 1980 – today exceeds 1.8 million.

At the present time, 10,000 EB-5 visas are offered each year to international investors.


U.S. developers are coming to rely more frequently on EB-5 investments to finance projects that include posh new hotels, new stadiums with all the amenities, and luxury vacation resorts.

EB-5 investments have totaled more than $6.5 billion – and have created over 130,000 new jobs in the United States – in the last decade.


Every qualified investor – from any nation – may apply for an EB-5 visa.

As the terms of the EB-5 program are met – ten new jobs must be created, for example – the investors and their immediate family members qualify for lawful permanent residence.

Acquiring an EB-5 visa and choosing just the right investment takes genuine time and effort, but scores of Indian investors are learning that the benefits of the EB-5 visa are worth that effort.

The EB-5 visa program makes the American Dream available to qualified investors.

It also provides developers and business owners in the U.S. with a vital funding option. The typical return on EB-5 investments is approximately eight percent.

However, many investors from India and elsewhere care more about acquiring green cards, a path to U.S. citizenship for themselves and their families, and university educations for their children.


Indian investors who are seeking a great investment opportunity in the U.S. should consult from the beginning with a U.S. immigration lawyer who routinely works with international investors.

The EB-5 visa program is an excellent path to permanent residence – and to eventual citizenship – in the United States.

Investors can learn more or begin the application process by consulting an experienced, U.S.-based Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney – online or by phone.

As mentioned previously, only 10,000 EB-5 visas are available each year, so many investors will have to wait two or three years and sometimes longer. And that means the time to get started is now.

To learn more, speak promptly – from anywhere in the world – with a U.S. immigration lawyer who can answer your questions and help you obtain an EB-5 investor visa.

H-1B Visa – What To Expect In 2018

Employers seeking H-1B visas in 2018 will be submitting their visa petitions at a moment when a variety of immigration changes are being proposed and considered.

As you probably know, the policy of the current White House is to tighten the loopholes in current immigration laws and to enforce those laws aggressively.

U.S.-based employers who are considering hiring foreign workers on H-1B visas should contact us immediately.

Every year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepts only a limited number of petitions for new H-1B visas.

The demand for these visas has far exceeded the supply on the first available day to file (April 1) for the last several years.

So if the employer’s H-1B applications were not 100% complete, accurate, and on time, the employer (and the employees) could miss out on the opportunity to obtain an H-1B visa and then be forced to wait another year.

So right now, U.S.-based employers are deciding what their H-1B needs are, and they’re working with immigration lawyers to make sure that their H-1B applications are carefully prepared.


H-1B visas are nonimmigrant work visas that allow U.S.-based employers to hire professional foreign employees in a “specialty occupation.”

The employee and the employer both must satisfy exacting criteria and qualifications before an H-1B visa will be issued.

To be eligible for an H-1B visa, foreign employees must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in a field that is closely linked to the offered position.

The U.S.-based employer must also have a position available that requires a bachelor’s degree in the specific field of study.


Under current U.S. immigration law, there are limited circumstances that enable an H-1B worker to extend H-1B status beyond the initial six-year maximum.

If the process to obtain an employment-based green card for the H-1B employee has begun, an extension may be possible.

A plan to eliminate that extension has been rumored.

Such a plan would compel hundreds of thousands of predominantly Indian H-1B visa holders in a variety of highly-skilled jobs to leave the U.S.

However, according to Jonathan Withington, the chief of media relations for USCIS, such a plan is not under consideration.

Witherington explained to Newsweek, “The agency is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to carry out the president’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ executive order, including a thorough review of employment-based visa programs.” But he added, “USCIS is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing our interpretation of … H-1B extensions beyond the 6-year limit.”


At least for now, the extensions discussed above proceed as usual. Unfortunately, in the absence of new legislation, immigration authorities may make more aggressive use of their existing enforcement tools.

For example, mandatory face-to-face interviews with H-1B candidates could add another hurdle to an already lengthy process and could also give immigration authorities one more opportunity to refuse to grant the visa to particular candidates.

More H-1B candidates and their sponsoring employers are also receiving much higher volume of requests for evidence (RFEs), which can significantly delay the process and burden both the employer and employee with cumbersome document requests.

The USCIS requests for evidence usually question a U.S. employer’s need for the H-1B visa or challenge the employer’s qualifications for obtaining the visa.

Employers, through their attorneys, must then submit more evidence to prove eligibility and need.

That’s another reason why employers seeking H-1B visas should have the advice and counsel from skilled immigration attorneys from the very beginning of the H-1B visa application process.


According to Reuters, from January 1 through August 31, 2017, USCIS issued approximately 85,000 requests for evidence to H-1B visa petitioners.

To give some perspective, this is a 45 percent increase over the same time period in 2016, while the number of actual H-1B petitions received by USCIS increased by only about 3 percent.

Visa holders and employers also cannot expect that H-1B extensions will be virtually assured, as they may have been in the past.

Employees on student visa (F-1) seeking longer term employment through the H-1B program should also know that there is a proposal under consideration that could eliminate or reduce the length of the Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training (OPT) program – a program that currently can provide two additional years of employment authorization after the initial one-year post-completion period of employment authorization.

Another proposal that Congress is considering would raise the minimum annual salary for employees holding H-1B visas from $60,000 to $90,000.

Clearly, if such a proposal becomes law, it would reduce or even remove the ability of many employers to sponsor the highly-skilled employees they need.


In general, U.S.-based employers, and the potential employees they seek to sponsor, can expect more frequent and longer delays throughout the H-1B visa application process.

Additional interviews, additional requests for evidence, and heightened scrutiny of every detail of the visa petition should not, in most cases, be a cause for alarm.

Of course, with only 85,000 new H-1B visas made available each year, some will miss out.

Experienced immigration attorneys can make sure that an employer’s H-1B visa petition is accurate and complete and can put an employer in the best possible position to have its application approved. With this year’s April 1 deadline quickly approaching, employers must act now.

Fortunately, for employers who are unable to obtain H-1B visas, there may be practical alternatives.

In fact, for some employers and employees, an L-1 “intracompany transfer” visa or an O-1 visa for individuals with “extraordinary abilities” may be more appropriate than an H-1B visa.

If you are a U.S.-based employer, immigration attorneys can explain your options and help you acquire the visas that your company needs to meet business goals.

What To Do If Your Immigration Waiver Is Denied

If you are an immigrant in the United States and you have remained in the U.S. beyond the expiration date of your visa, it’s imperative for you to speak as quickly as possible with a Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney.

You may not have to leave the U.S. You may be able to obtain a “provisional waiver” of unlawful presence and even apply for a green card. But what if your application for a provisional waiver is denied? What are your options?

In 2013, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began issuing provisional waivers of inadmissibility for unlawful presence to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens.

In 2016, the eligibility for those waivers was expanded to include specified other relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

Why was it deemed necessary to issue provisional waivers of inadmissibility for unlawful presence, and who qualifies for one?

The waivers were deemed necessary because of an unanticipated consequence of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.


Under that statute, immigrants who are unlawfully present in the U.S. – who have “overstayed” a visa – for more than 180 days but for less than one year, and who leave the United States voluntarily, automatically become inadmissible for re-entry for three years from date of departure, and an immigrant who is unlawfully present for one year or more is inadmissible for ten years.

Although the statute was meant to deter illegal immigration, what happened is that some immigrants grew fearful of leaving the U.S. – knowing that they could not return to their family members for three or in some cases ten years.

Provisional waivers have been granted since 2013 so that eligible individuals in the United States with expired visas may request a waiver of unlawful presence without first having to leave the country.

Provisional waivers “encourage unlawfully present individuals to leave the United States, attend their immigrant visa interviews, and return to the United States legally to reunite with their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) family members,” according to the Department of Homeland Security.


Because eligible immigrants may apply for the provisional waiver while they remain in the United States, it’s also referred to as a “stateside waiver.”

An immigrant who is petitioning for a provisional waiver will receive a decision in just several months and will be allowed to stay in the U.S. until that determination is made.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website explains:

“The provisional unlawful presence waiver process allows those individuals who are statutorily eligible for an immigrant visa (immediate relatives, family-sponsored or employment-based immigrants as well as Diversity Visa selectees); who only need a waiver of inadmissibility for unlawful presence to apply for that waiver in the United States before they depart for their immigrant visa interview.”

USCIS adds that “This new process was developed to shorten the time that U.S. citizens and lawful permanent resident family members are separated from their relatives while those relatives are obtaining immigrant visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States.”


However, the sad reality is that many immigrants who request a provisional waiver with Form I-601A (“Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver”) will not be granted that waiver.

Moreover, there is no appeals process, so it is imperative that your Form I-601A is accurate and complete the first time you submit it. A $600 filing fee (as of 2017) must be included with Form I-601A, and applicants younger than age 79 must also include an $85 biometric fee.

Don’t do this alone. Too much is at stake.

If you’ve stayed in the U.S. beyond your visa’s expiration date and you need to request a provisional waiver, an immigration lawyer can ensure that your Form I-601A is accurate and complete.

You can’t allow for any mistakes or misunderstandings when you request a provisional waiver.

Although there are no appeals for rejected provisional waiver applications, an immigrant may submit a second provisional waiver application – and a second set of fees – if there are new developments or if you obtain new information to support your request or to show that denying your provisional waiver would mean “extreme hardship” for your qualifying U.S. relative or relatives.

If you’ve been denied a provisional waiver, you should reapply immediately if your situation changes in a way that causes your U.S.-citizen parent, spouse, or child to suffer hardship.

If your spouse becomes unemployed, or if your parent develops a medical problem and needs you in the U.S., submit a new Form I-601A to USCIS.

If your request for a provisional waiver is rejected, but you want to move forward with the immigrant visa application process, you may depart the United States and have your immigrant visa interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy in your home nation.

You may then request a waiver of inadmissibility with Form I-601. However, if this request is rejected, you may be separated from your family members and unable to return to the U.S. for either three or ten years.


On the other hand, if your petition for a provisional waiver is rejected, you don’t have to do anything at all.

Unless immigration authorities believe that you are a criminal or a security threat, you won’t be at any additional risk for removal.

If you are in this country without authorization, it’s always possible that you will attract attention from immigration authorities, and you shouldn’t take that risk.

There may be alternatives that will work in your particular circumstances, such as applying for cancellation of removal or seeking asylum or Temporary Protected Status.

Whatever your personal circumstances might be, if you have overstayed your nonimmigrant visa, it’s imperative to obtain the insights of an immigration lawyer and adhere to that lawyer’s advice.

Your dreams of success and freedom in the United States probably mean a lot to you.

If you came to the U.S. with a nonimmigrant visa, you’ve probably already taken the first steps toward building a life in the United States.

Let a skilled immigration attorney help you do what it takes to make your dreams come true.

Applying For Permanent Residence While On An H-1B Visa

If you are an immigrant who is here in the United States on a temporary work visa, in most cases, you may not apply for permanent residence in the U.S.

However, the H-1B temporary nonimmigrant work visa is an exception.

How do H-1B temporary employees apply for lawful permanent residence, and what is the role of the employer who originally acquired the visa?

But first, a brief explanation of the H-1B visa. U.S.-based businesses use H-1B visas to hire scientists, engineers, mathematicians, computer programmers, and other international workers with highly specialized skills and knowledge.

Every year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepts H-1B visa petitions from U.S.-based employers during a short filing period that begins on April 1st.

At the present time, 85,000 H-1B visas are made available to U.S.-based employers every year, and the demand for those visas far exceeds the supply.

Of the 85,000 H-1B visas offered annually, 20,000 are reserved for immigrants who hold advanced degrees from U.S.-based institutions.


The remaining 65,000 H-1B visas go to employers hiring international workers who possess (at least) a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

The H-1B visa is good for three years and may be renewed once for a maximum of six years. H-1B visas are quite difficult – but not impossible – for employers to acquire.

In fact, scores of employers across the United States are right now determining their H-1B visa needs for the filing period which will begin on April 1, 2018.

If you are a U.S.-based employer and you need to acquire H-1B visas for international employees, you must understand that the competition among employers for these visas is intense.

There are no guarantees, but a skilled immigration attorney can help an employer avoid any misunderstandings or mistakes might keep a company from obtaining the H-1B visas it needs.

A good immigration lawyer can also help an employer complete and file the Form ETA 9089 as well as the Form I-140 – explained below – and can put an employer in the best possible position to acquire H-1B visas.


For the international employee/visa holder, your application for an H-1B work visa permits you to indicate your intention to seek lawful permanent resident status as one of the reasons you are requesting an H-1B visa and entry into the United States.

An immigration attorney in Michigan or Ohio can guide you through the application process and help you understand the terms and conditions of a temporary H-1B work visa.

When you arrive in the United States with an H-1B visa, you may begin the process of seeking permanent residence status. What’s the first step?

Your employer must apply for Permanent Labor Certification from the Department of Labor (DOL).

After the Permanent Labor Certification application (Form ETA 9089) is submitted, the procedure usually takes from 120 to 180 days.

A labor certification from the DOL verifies that there are not enough qualified and available U.S. workers for the position that is being filled by the international employee, and it additionally confirms that hiring an international employee will not negatively impact the working conditions or wages of U.S. workers in comparable positions.


After approval of Form ETA 9089, the employer must file Form I-140 (“Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker”).

Form I-140 establishes that the international employee qualifies for an immigrant visa based on employment and that the U.S.-based employer has the funds and assets necessary to pay the worker the wage confirmed in the labor certification process.

Most employers will need the guidance of a qualified immigration attorney through the labor certification process.

If you are the employee, however, and the company goes out of business while the labor certification is pending, you’ll either have to leave the U.S., immediately find another employer and transfer your H-1B work visa, or apply for a tourist visa to legally remain in the United States.

If you are a U.S.-based employer or an H-1B specialized international employee with concerns or questions about permanent labor certification, let a skilled immigration lawyer help.

For example, your attorney can review or help you fill out the Form ETA 9089 to ensure your compliance with the DOL’s many permanent labor certification regulations.


“Adjustment of Status” is the process of applying for permanent resident status in the United States; it’s the final step of the H-1B visa-to-lawful permanent resident process.

To apply for Adjustment of Status, the H-1B visa holder must submit Form I-485 (“Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status”).

Lawful permanent residents – “green card” holders – may live, work, and attend school in the United States and may travel abroad at will.

However, they may not vote or hold certain federal jobs, and when lawful permanent residents are convicted of crimes or otherwise abuse their status, they may be subject to deportation.


If you are an international employee who is in the United States on an H-1B visa and you are ready to seek a green card, or if you are not ready but you want to learn more about lawful permanent resident status, speak personally with an immigration attorney, and take seriously these suggestions:

Don’t become a victim. No one legally sells visas, green cards, or other immigration documents. Steer clear of the con artists and always have the advice of a good immigration lawyer.

Fill out every form and document accurately and completely. Otherwise, your application could be delayed or even rejected.

A good immigration lawyer will see to its that your forms are complete and accurate and that all deadlines are met.

Make and keep copies of all immigration-related forms, documents, and other papers.

Whenever you send an immigration document through the U.S. Postal Service, send it by certified mail and ask for a return receipt that will confirm the delivery.

Whether you are the employer or the employee, a good immigration attorney will be able to answer your immigration-related questions and address your concerns.

And because acquiring an H-1B visa isn’t something that can be guaranteed, an experienced immigration lawyer also will explain your other visa options and help you obtain the visas – or the green card – that you need.

Five Things Business Owners Should Know About DACA

The fate of DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – will be determined by Congress, but since the Trump Administration rescinded the program in September, many business owners are concerned about their employees who have been working legally under DACA.

Will employers be able to keep these employees, or will they be lost? What consequences will they face? If you’re an employer or a “Dreamer,” keep reading, and you’ll learn some answers.

The end of the DACA program, at least for now, will impact more than 700,000 Dreamers – the undocumented immigrants who were minors when they were brought to the U.S. by their parents – who have been protected from deportation by the program.

Beginning with the announcement of the DACA program’s cancellation on September 5th, Congress has six months to renew the program or to implement an alternative.

If no Congressional action is forthcoming, the Dreamers who have been protected by DACA may lose their ability to live, attend school, and hold a job in the United States.

Thus, the concerns of employers are real and understandable according to Sara Itucas, who’s a client solution specialist with TriNet, a California-based human resources agency.


TriNet serves approximately 14,000 companies with staffing and payroll services.

Many of those companies have hired employees who were protected by DACA, and several of the businesses are actually owned by Dreamers.

Most employers she speaks with “want to find out how to keep them,” Ms. Itucas told CNN.

“From an employer’s standpoint,” she said, “they are qualified workers and valuable members of the team.”

Ms. Itucas said that since September 5th, employers have been asking TriNet five key questions about the DACA program and the Dreamers.

What is it that employers want – and need – to know?

Listed below are the five questions and the best current answers – so keep reading if you are an employer or a Dreamer – but until Congress takes action, some of the answers must be tentative rather than final.

If you are an employer who hired workers under DACA – or a Dreamer who’s worked or attended school in the U.S. under DACA – consult an experienced Ohio immigration attorney for the sound and specific legal advice that applies to your own situation.


If Congress takes no action, the DACA program itself is set to end on March 5, 2018, but a Dreamer’s work authorization will remain in effect until its expiration date.

If the DACA program is not renewed or replaced, when a Dreamer’s work authorization expires, he or she will not be legally allowed to seek or hold employment in the U.S.

If you are a Dreamer and you are currently employed in the United States under DACA, you can find the date when your work permit will expire by checking your I-795 Approval Notice and by looking at the bottom of your Employment Authorization Document.


It’s now too late for anyone to take advantage of the current DACA Program. The final applications were accepted by the Department of Homeland Security in September, when the tentative end of the DACA program was announced.


No. While the DACA program was operative, Dreamers had to requalify for DACA status every two years, but with the announcement of the program’s cancellation, the last day that DACA work permits could be renewed was October 5th.


Sara Itucas at TriNet says the answer to this one is tricky. The right to travel internationally was allowed under the DACA program, but to assure reentry into the United States, Dreamers were required to obtain special permission to travel called “advance parole.”

Advance parole is simply a permit issued – to allow reentry into the U.S. after travel abroad – to a non-citizen who does not have a valid immigrant visa.

At TriNet, “Generally, we are cautioning against travel,” Ms. Itucas tells CNN. Since September 5th, the United States is no longer approving advance parole for DACA Dreamers, and applications that were still pending on September 5th are no longer being processed.

The Department of Homeland Security will refund any related fees that have already been paid.

While Dreamers with an advance parole document should still have no problem departing the United States and reentering, advance parole gives U.S. Customs and Border Protection the discretion to allow or block reentry of non-citizens who hold an advance parole document.

Sara Itucas warns that if your employee has not already been granted advance parole, he or she should probably not travel abroad at this time.


Employers can help their DACA employees by consulting an immigration lawyer.

An immigration attorney can probably identify some helpful visa options for a DACA employee and also help with the paperwork necessary to obtain an appropriate visa.

An immigration lawyer can also identify particular immigration difficulties that an individual employee may need to have resolved.

Thus, those are the answers to the five questions that, according to TriNet, are being asked by so many employers about DACA.

The Dreamers themselves, of course, are asking their own questions, but their most important question clearly is this: Can my employer in the United States fire me?

Generally speaking, without a union contract or some other work contract, employment in all fifty U.S. states is “at will,” meaning that an employer may terminate an employee at any time, provided that the employer is not illegally retaliating or discriminating against the employee.

Even with valid work authorization, in most cases, an employer may legally fire you.

Most employers won’t do that – at least until Congress acts or fails to act on the future, if any, of the DACA program.

An employer may agree to place an employee on a leave of absence until that employee can be authorized to work again, but that is the employer’s choice.


However, employers should know that when any employee’s work authorization expires, that employee may no longer legally work for your business.

Increasingly, businesses that hire immigrants are coming under scrutiny, and the current focus in Washington is on employer compliance.

A skilled Ohio immigration attorney can help employers understand and remain compliant with the applicable immigration laws and regulations.

A number of proposals that will impact Dreamers are currently being considered by Congress, along with several proposals for a comprehensive overhaul of the entire immigration system.

However, Congress is also dealing with other pressing issues – like hurricane relief and the potential threat from North Korea – so it may be months before Dreamers and their employers can have any final assurances regarding the future.

How To Get U.S. Residency Through Investment

For a number of years, obtaining a “green card” (that is, becoming a lawful permanent resident) through investment in the United States has required an investment of one million dollars in a U.S. business.

The minimum investment amount can be reduced to $500,000 if the business is set in a rural location or in an area with high unemployment, a “Targeted Employment Area” or “TEA” where unemployment is at 150 percent or more of the national average.

To acquire a TEA designation, a prospective EB-5 investor must invest in a project located in a rural area or a high unemployment area.

In September, President Trump signed into law H.R. 601, a continuing resolution which extends the EB-5 Regional Center Program through at least December.

Some changes to the EB-5 Program may be expected at that time, and the $500,000 minimum investment amount may increase to $800,000.

Nevertheless, by providing green cards to qualified international investors, the EB-5 Investor Visa Program has created thousands of new jobs and scores of new businesses in every part of the U.S.

Changes to the EB-5 Regional Center Program are likely, but the passage of H.R. 601 ensures that no changes will be made prior to December of this year.

At the present time, as many as 10,000 EB-5 visas are offered each year to foreign investors who invest in projects that create a minimum of ten full-time positions for workers in the U.S. Developers in the U.S. are coming to depend more often on the investment funds that the EB-5 program provides to finance projects that include luxury hotels, new stadiums, and posh vacation resorts.

The program has provided over $6.5 billion to development projects throughout the U.S. over the last decade, and it has created more than 130,000 jobs.

If you are an investor looking for a good investment in the U.S., the EB-5 Investor Visa Program might be right for you.


Every qualified investor may apply for an EB-5 visa – it doesn’t matter what nation you are from.

Through the EB-5 Investor Visa Program, international investors may reside in the United States along with immediate family members.

As the terms of the EB-5 program are met over a period of months, the investors and their family members become eligible for lawful permanent residence.

Obtaining an EB-5 visa and finding the right investment opportunity is time-consuming and complicated, but scores of investors have discovered that the benefits of the EB-5 Program are well worth their patience and efforts.

Investors who have any concerns or questions about the EB-5 program should consult an immigration attorney here in the United States.

In fact, from anywhere in the world, you can arrange by telephone or by email to speak with a Columbus immigration lawyer, learn more regarding the EB-5 and your other visa options, and start the complicated visa application process.

The EB-5 Investor Visa Program offers the American Dream to those who qualify.

It provides business owners and developers with an additional option for obtaining the resources they need to start up new ventures and to return prosperity to struggling businesses and communities.

The usual return on an EB-5 investment is about eight percent, but the truth is that many investors are more concerned with acquiring green cards and good educations for their sons and daughters.


Putting an EB-5 investment in a Targeted Employment Area or TEA lowers the minimum investment requirement from $1 million to $500,000.

An EB-5 investment has to be located in a rural region or in an area with a high unemployment rate in order to receive the TEA designation.

To qualify as a Targeted Employment Area, the location must have an unemployment rate of at least 150 percent of the U.S. national average.

To obtain a TEA designation, an EB-5 visa applicant must produce evidence that the project is located in a rural or a high unemployment area.

Several types of evidence are acceptable, and a Columbus immigration lawyer can help investors compile that evidence and provide additional insights and advice.

Nineteen states provide a list of the TEAs they have designated, but certifications are still issued to investors on an individual basis.

EB-5 is the sole immigration category allowing international investors entrance into the U.S. as lawful permanent residents.

The EB-5 Program grew slowly after its launch in 1990, but in more recent years, the program has grown to be overwhelmingly popular.

Since 2008, the visas issued through the EB-5 Program have more than quadrupled. In a single year – 2014 – EB-5 investments totaled over $2.6 billion and created over 16,000 jobs.


To attract investors, EB-5 “Regional Centers” are in rural and high-unemployment areas.

Regional centers are designated by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), but they are operated privately and promote local economies through rising sales, higher regional productivity, the creation of jobs, and increased investment.

Investors in regional centers do not have to prove that they themselves created the new jobs; they only have to prove that the regional center itself created ten or more new jobs, directly or indirectly, for U.S. workers.

With a December deadline approaching, investors may choose to take action immediately.

The EB-5 Regional Center Program will probably be changed. The minimum investment figure – $500,000 – will probably rise, the definition of a “TEA” will likely be amended, and additional requirements for prospective investors will perhaps be required.

This, investors may want to reach out to an immigration lawyer now and begin the EB-5 visa application process before Congress takes action in December.

As you read this, large development projects across the U.S. are relying on EB-5 funds.

Most reform proposals would raise the minimum investment amount while reducing opportunities fraud and for misappropriation of EB-5 monies.

Investors who want to take advantage of the EB-5 program should work from the start with a U.S. immigration attorney who regularly helps and represents international investors.

The EB-5 visa is a superlative path to permanent residence – and eventual citizenship – in the U.S. Investors can learn more or begin the application process by consulting an experienced Columbus immigration attorney. The time to do that is now.

Temporary Worker Visas Are On The Rise

Employers in a number of industries across the U.S. rely on the H-2B visa program.

The H-2B visa program allows thousands of foreign laborers from sixty-two nations to enter the U.S. temporarily every year to work in sectors of the economy that include construction, hospitality, landscaping, and food services.

While the Trump Administration has targeted a number of high-profile immigration programs, the H-2B visa program has remained untouched.

In fact, the H-2B program was expanded in July when the Department of Homeland Security announced a one-time increase of 15,000 additional visas for low-wage seasonal workers for the remainder of this fiscal year.

The increase is a 45 percent jump over the number of H-2B visas normally issued for the second half of the fiscal year, senior Homeland Security officials told the Washington Post.

Employers in the United States who want to begin taking advantage of the H-2B visa program should contact a skilled Columbus immigration attorney as quickly as possible to begin the process.


According to Joe Savarise, speaking for the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association, the expansion is a big boost to U.S.-based employers who rely on international workers to help their businesses expand and flourish.

“H-2B is critically important for the hotel and lodging industry,” Savarise told the Columbus Dispatch.

Some employers, however, are saying that this summer’s H-2B expansion is not enough. Kerry Scott, a program director with Más Labor, an employment agency in Lovingston, Virginia, told the Dispatch, “There’s more need for (workers) than there are visas.”

Many of the thousands of laborers who enter the United States temporarily with H-2B visas do not do want to stay in this nation permanently.

One of those laborers is 30-year-old Ricardo Martinez Nolasco, who has been employed seasonally as a landscaper in Ohio, from February through November, each year for the last five years.

Mr. Nolasco then returns each year to Queretaro, Mexico, where he supports his wife and two children.

In Ohio, Mr. Nolasco works for Hidden Creek Landscaping in Columbus, which uses seasonal employees and typically struggles to find local landscaping workers in the Columbus area.

Gail Reinhart, Hidden Creek Landscaping’s human resources manager, constantly recruits.

She works the regional job fairs, and she partners with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to post recruitment ads for candidates.

Still, the company cannot find enough local employees, so Hidden Creek Landscaping relies on the H-2B visa program.


Many in the United States remain uninformed regarding the details of the H-2B visa program. It’s a myth that U.S. employers use H-2B visas to obtain “cheap” labor.

In fact, Ms. Reinhart told the Dispatch that the H-2B visa program is “not an easy program to use.”

Companies must pay the visa filing application fees and sometimes even pay for a worker’s transportation to the United States.

If a company uses an employment agency to help locate prospective employees, that’s an additional cost.

However, if you are an employer in the United States and you need employees that you can’t find locally, you should first discuss your situation with an immigration attorney who can explain the H-2B visa program and help you get started.

If you are a temporary foreign worker in the United States with any questions about your employment rights, your visa, or your legal status, an attorney who practices immigration law can address your questions and concerns.

Immigration laws are constantly changing and evolving, so you must work with a knowledgeable immigration attorney who stays abreast of current developments.

Foreign workers like Ricardo Martinez Nolasco help companies like Hidden Creek Landscaping in Columbus and scores of other employers across the United States to stay in business and prosper.

Foreign employees pay income taxes, sales taxes, and rents for seasonal housing.

And without the help of those international workers, Hidden Creek Landscaping’s dozens of local employees in the Columbus area would be looking for other jobs, or else the company would have to shrink and turn away customers.


The H-2B visa program is good for business, and business people know it. Even Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach employs H-2B visa holders.

“We’re talking about American businesses that are at risk of suffering irreparable harm if they don’t get additional H-2B workers, so we do think that fits into the ‘America First’ focus of the administration,” Homeland Security’s David Lapan told USA Today regarding the recent expansion of the H-2B program.

The H-2B visa program typically draws strong political support from both parties because lawmakers want to promote and please industries in their home states, whether it’s seafood in Maryland, skiing in Colorado, or logging in Washington State.

Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina said the H-2B program “is vital for businesses that desperately need temporary help to keep their doors open and keep their American workforce employed.”

Employers who hire foreign workers in the United States must be in compliance at all times with all immigration and employment laws.

If your business hires foreign employees, do it only with the advice and help of a good immigration lawyer who routinely works on behalf of U.S. employers.

When a U.S. company has international workers on the job, a number of federal laws, rules, and regulations come into play, so your business must be advised and represented by an immigration lawyer who knows the system thoroughly.

The federal government may examine an employer’s records to verify the employer’s compliance with federal law.

Compliance investigations may be conducted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), or by the U.S. State Department.

An immigration lawyer can advise employers regarding E-Verify, I-9 audits, work authorization documents, and all other immigration-related concerns.

Almost every U.S.-based employer in the 21st century’s international marketplace needs the sound advice and legal services that an immigration lawyer can offer.

If you employ international workers in the United States, or if you are an international worker yourself, you can learn more about your immigration-related legal rights, obligations, and options by speaking with an experienced and trustworthy Columbus immigration attorney.

Can a Revoked Visa be Reinstated?

If you hold a U.S. visa, you should understand that your visa can be revoked or canceled at any time and for a variety of reasons.

Visa holders must adhere to the terms and conditions of the visa, and they must exit the United States when their stay expires.

If you have any questions about obtaining a visa, or if you are a visa holder with any questions about the terms and conditions of your visa, have those questions answered by an Ohio immigration attorney.

The United States issues two types of visas: A “nonimmigrant” visa is issued to those who have been approved for temporary stays in the United States as visitors, students, or employees.

An “immigrant” visa is issued to immigrants who have been approved for lawful permanent residence in the U.S.

According to CNN, in the fiscal year 2016, the United States issued more than ten million nonimmigrant visas and over 600,000 immigrant visas.

Every visa spells out the activities that are and are not permitted to the visa holder.

For example, someone who holds a B-2 tourist visa cannot work or accept employment in the United States.

That person would have to apply for a change of status and obtain a work visa – an H-1B visa, for example – in order to work or accept employment in the U.S.


Visa holders who are outside of the United States should know that a consular officer is authorized to revoke both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas at any time, at his or her discretion.

A revoked visa is no longer valid for entry or reentry into the United States. It is not uncommon for a consular officer to approve a visa, and after new information emerges, to revoke that same visa.

A visa can be revoked if the visa holder is deemed inadmissible to the U.S. on security, criminal, medical, financial, or other grounds, or if the visa holder is ineligible for that particular visa category.

A visa might also be reinstated after new information emerges or after an interview with a consular officer, or the officer might simply suggest applying for a new visa.

From 2001 through 2015, approximately 122,000 U.S. visas were revoked.

Visa revocations targeting visa holders who are already in the United States are becoming more frequent.

For example, a visa may be revoked if the visa holder became involved in a criminal incident in the U.S.

A minor criminal incident – even an arrest where the charge is dropped – could potentially result in a visa revocation.

Any visa holder in the U.S. facing this kind of situation should contact an immigration lawyer for legal assistance at once.


A visa cancellation is usually less serious than a revocation, and a cancellation does not necessarily mean that the visa holder is being accused of doing anything wrong.

A visa might be canceled because of a minor paperwork mistake, for example, but that merely means that the mistake must be corrected before the visa can be approved.

A U.S. consulate or embassy will mark the visa “Cancelled Without Prejudice,” which means that the cancellation does not impair the individual’s eligibility to obtain a valid visa and enter the United States.

A visa might also be canceled, however, if any evidence emerges that the visa holder may use the visa for a purpose other than those purposes spelled out by the visa’s terms and conditions.

And a visa can be revoked if someone applies for a new visa and any evidence emerges that the old visa was misused in some way.

One leading reason why visas are revoked is “overstays,” when visa holders remain in the U.S. beyond the time allowed by the visa.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the rate of overstays for business travelers and international tourists was only 0.9 percent in 2015, or about 416,000 out of about 45 million.

It’s vital for visa holders to know that the “expiration date” printed on a visa is not the last day that the visa holder is allowed to be in the United States.

Instead, that date indicates the last date that the visa can be used as a document for entry into the U.S.

It’s a significant difference and often the source of confusion.

A visa holder’s Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record is where you will find the actual date when a visa holder must exit the United States.

If a visa holder remains in the United States after that date – without a pending application for a change of status or a visa extension – that individual’s visa will be automatically canceled.


When a visa is canceled, the visa holder must leave the U.S. at once – or delay his or her plans to enter the U.S. – until that person has applied for and been approved for a new visa.

If you believe that your visa has been unjustly, unfairly, or wrongly canceled or revoked, you should challenge that decision aggressively.

In some cases, a visa revocation can result in the visa holder being barred for years – sometimes permanently – from the United States.

Even the ability of your family members to obtain visas could potentially be affected.

Individuals should speak with an immigration lawyer if they need legal advice about their visa status, their eligibility for admission to the United States, or any other matter of immigration law. Visa and eligibility matters are sometimes exceedingly complicated.

Do not hesitate to contact an experienced Ohio immigration attorney about any questions, problems, or concerns regarding your visa or your immigration status. You’ll receive sound legal guidance.

While these are serious matters, the fact is that most problems with visas can be remedied easily with an attorney’s help, and most of the people who are facing these issues will remain eligible to obtain visas and enter the United States.

Just as the government can cancel or revoke a visa, the government can reinstate a visa or issue a new visa.

If it’s necessary, a good immigration lawyer can represent you before immigration authorities, protect your legal rights, and advocate on your behalf at a legal proceeding or immigration hearing.