Become a Top Performer – 2014 I-9 Workshop

April 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

I-9 Seminar

Join us for our popular I-9 Workshop Training Seminar! The workshop will take place on Thursday, June 5 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Delta Dental Auditorium in Concord, NH. Participants earn three Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) continuing education credit hours for completing the training.

This is a hands-on workshop where participants will complete sample I-9 Forms and have an opportunity to ask questions. All participants receive a copy of the current GoffWilson proprietary workbook and reference manual as well.

The registration fee for the seminar is $115, which includes intensive Form I-9 training, the updated 2014 version of the GoffWilson proprietary I-9 manual, breakfast, and three hours of HRCI credit. Early registration is recommended as space is limited, and the workshop sells out every year.

To order tickets, visit the Eventbrite listing.

Agenda
8:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
8:30 a.m. Seminar Begins – Introduction
8:45 a.m. Intensive Training Part I: Completing the I-9 Form

  • Overview
  • Lists of Acceptable Documents
  • Receipt Rule Samples and Establishing Office Procedures

10:00 a.m. Break
10:15 a.m. Intensive Training Part II: Retention and Maintenance

  • Issue Spotting, Retention Requirements, Social Security
  • No-Match Letters, E-Verify requirement
  • Federal Contractor, I-9 Compliance Resource Guide

11:45 a.m.  Questions & Answers
Noon: End of Seminar

USCIS Reaches New Record for Applications in FY 2015 H-1B Visa Cap

April 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

blog-header_h1_B_visa_

USCIS announced on April 7, 2014 that is had reached the statutory cap of 65,000 for H-1B petitions for fiscal year (FY) 2015. The H-1B visa program allows for businesses to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized training and/or education in such fields as science, engineering, and computer programing.

USCIS received a record number of about 172,000 H-1B petitions during the week-long filing period which began on April 1. This number included petitions filed under the Master’s Cap exemption for individuals with advanced degrees, which is subject to a 20,000 cap.

As a result of almost 50,000 more applications received for FY 2015, USCIS completed a computer-generated random lottery for the third time ever in its history. After meeting the 65,000 general-category cap and 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption, all petitions not selected will be returned.

According to an earlier announcement from USCIS on March 25, premium processing for H-1B cap cases will begin no later than April 28, 2014.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions for Cap-Exempt petitions such as extensions, changes in terms of employment for current H-1B workers, change of employers, and working concurrently in a second H-1B position. This processing time is currently being reported by the USCIS website as being 2 to 2 ½ months.

Please visit the following links for the USCIS press releases/alerts:

http://www.uscis.gov/news/uscis-reaches-fy-2015-h-1b-cap

http://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-begin-premium-processing-h-1b-cap-subject-petitions-april-28-2014

GoffWilson is ready to answer all of your questions and concerns regarding the H-1B petition or other types of employment based applications.  Just give us a call– we are ready to help!

 

Coming Soon: H-1B Specialty Occupation Visas!

January 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

H1-B Visas Coming Soon!

April 1 is the annual roll out for the coveted H-1B Visa. The H-1B visa category is one of the most highly sought-after visa classifications by US employers and foreigners. It is open to professionals that will work in a specialty occupation that generally requires at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

The visa is issued for three years and is renewable. Last year, there were more H-1B visa petitions filed in the first 5 days than the entire allotment in the calendar year of 65,000. Hundreds of employers across the country were unable to hire all the professional talent that they needed.

Contact us if you have an employee you want to hire who requires an H-1B Visa to work for your company.

John Wilson to Speak at NH Institute of Politics Immigration Panel

December 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

Immigration Panel at NH Institute of Politics

GoffWilson partner John Wilson will participate in the panel on Immigration from Canada and its Impact on Economic Development in New England on Tuesday, December 17 at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anslem College.

The event, sponsored by Comcast Business, will take place in the New Hampshire Institute of Politics Auditorium from 8:00-9:45 a.m. To register online, click here.

The economic effect of Canadian firms making their way into New Hampshire and Vermont is an increasingly important issue for New England. During this panel, participants will address a range of questions, including:

  • Who can participate in the job-creating benefits of the EB-5 program?
  • Does the H1B visa fee hinder the development of STEM programs for New England youth?
  • Will relaxing the rules for H1B visas help grow the local economy?
  • Does the sharing of immigration information make it easier for Canadian companies to invest in New England?

The proposed panel of speakers includes experts with a range of relevant expertise, including:

The panel will be covered by Fox Business Channel and moderated by Mike Nikitas, New England Cable News (NECN) anchor and host of “This Week in Business.”

We hope to see you there!

Foreigners Can Join Military & Become US Citizens Faster

December 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

Citizenship & the US Army

Do you know a foreigner currently in the US in nonimmigrant status who wants to join the military AND become a US citizen?

If so, the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program may suit them. Today, about 24,000 non-citizens serve on active duty, and about 5,000 legal permanent residents (LPR) enlist for active duty each year.

Recently, the Pentagon resumed a unique program to encourage non-citizen enrollment that had been suspended in 2009. The focus of The Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) recruitment pilot is to recruit certain legal aliens whose skills are considered to be vital to the national interest, specifically those holding skills in languages and medicine.

Looking for physicians, nurses, and experts in language with associated cultural backgrounds, this pilot program hopes to recruit up to 1,500 people through May 15, 2014. The big advantage to this program is that, those so recruited will be given an expedited path to US citizenship. For accepted recruits, naturalization can occur right after basic training, or in about 10 weeks, as opposed to waiting 5 years for the right to apply for US citizenship.

To be eligible for MAVNI, applicants must meet the following criteria:

1) The applicant must be in a nonimmigrant visa category or an  asylee, refugee, Temporary Protected Status (TPS);

2) The applicant must have been in valid status in one of these categories for at least two years immediately prior to the enlistment date;

3) The applicant  must not have had any single absence from the United States of more than 90 days during the two-year period immediately preceding the date of enlistment.

It should also be noted that an applicant is still eligible even if they have an application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence pending.

Historically, non-citizens have long served in the US military. During the founding days of this country, many individuals embraced this vision, fighting for this belief during the Revolutionary War. Since then, the US Government has passed a series of acts and agreements, such as the Lodge Act of 1950 and the Military Bases Agreement of 1947, allowing non-citizens to serve in the US military.

If you have any questions on this topic or other immigration matters, contact us! We would love to hear from you, let us know how we’re doing and hope we can help.

USCIS Responds to Typhoon Haiyan

November 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

Immigration-Typhoon-natural-disaster

Time after time we are reminded of the devastating impact of natural disasters.

Along with physical destruction and loss of life, these disasters impact a variety of different people and businesses. Typhoon Haiyan (referred to as “Yolanda” by Philippine authorities) formed off of the coast of the Federated States of Micronesia on November 2, 2013 and passed through the Philippines on November 8, 2013.

Recorded as one of the strongest storms on the planet, Typhoon Haiyan left a wake of destruction leaving thousands in precarious situations.

On November 15, 2013, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a statement reminding Filipino nationals of possible immigration relief measures, if requested. Understanding that natural disasters sometimes make establishing and maintaining a lawful immigration status difficult, USCIS has issued the following measures to ease the process for people affected from this disaster:

  • Change or extension of nonimmigrant status for an individual currently in the United States, even when the request is filed after the authorized period of admission has expired;
  • Extension of certain grants of parole made by USCIS;
  • Extension of certain grants of advance parole, and expedited processing of advance parole requests;
  • Expedited adjudication and approval, where possible, of requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
  • Expedited processing of immigrant petitions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs);
  • Expedited adjudication of employment authorization application, where appropriate; and
  • Assistance to LRPs stranded overseas without immigration or travel documents, such as Permanent Resident Cards (Green Cards).

If you, a family member, or someone you know is experiencing immigration difficulties from Typhoon Haiyan, or have questions on what we can do, please give GoffWilson a call; we are ready to help!

Applying for a Social Security Card

October 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

How-To-Apply-Social-Security-Card

If you just received lawful permanent residence status or obtained a visa authorizing you to work in the United States, you may be wondering how to apply for a Social Security card.

The Social Security Administration provides Social Security cards to U.S. citizens, permanent residents (green card holders), and foreigners who have Department of Homeland Security authorization to work in the U.S.

The most convenient way of applying for a Social Security card is to request one as part of the immigrant visa application. During the visa application process, the foreign national may request a SSN on their visa application.  After the foreign national arrives in the U.S., the U.S. government sends the Social Security card to the U.S mailing address provided on the visa application.  So, there’s no need to wait in line at your local Social Security office!  The card should be waiting in your mailbox within three weeks of your arrival in the U.S.

Nonimmigrants with work authorization from the Department of Homeland Security, as well as immigrants who did not apply for a SSN during the visa application process, must visit a Social Security office to apply for a card.  In order for the Social Security Administration to verify your immigration information, you must wait 10 days from your arrival date to the U.S. to apply for the card.

After 10 days, you must complete an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5) and provide current, unexpired documents proving age, identity, and work-authorized immigration status.  (Note: The Social Security Administration only accepts original documents or copies certified by issuing agency.)

The SSA requires the following documents:

  1. Immigration Status: The applicant must provide a current U.S. immigration document.   This could include: a Form I-551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card) with your unexpired foreign passport or an I-94 card.
  2. Age:  The applicant must present a foreign birth certificate.  If you are age 12 or older you must also be interviewed by the SSA to ensure you do not already possess a SSN.
  3. Work Eligibility: I-94 card or DHS work permit (I-766)
  4. Identity:  The Social Security Administration requires a current DHS document as proof of identity.  Acceptable documents include: an I-94 card, I-766 work permit from DHS, or a Form I-551 with unexpired foreign passport.

Additional documents are required for students and exchange visitors.  Foreign students with eligibility to work must provide a letter from their designated school official (DSO) identifying the applicant, confirming the school status, and identifying the employer and type of work the applicant will be doing.

The SSA also requires a letter from the student’s employer describing the nature of the job, the number of hours the applicant will be working, and the supervisor’s contact information. In addition, students must also provide their Forms I-20 as evidence of immigration status.

A card will be mailed to you at your U.S. mailing address as soon as the Social Security Administration, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, verifies your documents. This can take several days or weeks.  If you have any other questions, contact us. It’s what we do!

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