April 8, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Employers and human resource professionals, do you have questions about how to complete the new 2013 I-9 Form? Don’t miss our training seminar, “The Brand New I-9 Form: How to Complete it & E- Verify for 2013” on Thursday May 16 at the Delta Dental Auditorium in Concord, NH.
We urge you to register early as this event always sells out quickly.
With a revised format and e-verification stipulations, it’s essential you understand how to properly complete the new I-9 which will be required for all new hires starting on May 7, 2013. We’ll cover everything you need to know about the new I-9 Form and how to complete it properly. We will also review E-verify. The workshop will offer extensive I-9 compliance training, with topics including:
- Lists of Acceptable Documents
- Receipt Rules Samples
- Establishing Office Procedures to Ensure Compliance
- Issue Spotting, Retention Requirements and Social Security
- No-Match Letters and E-Verify Requirements
- Federal Contractor and I-9 Compliance Resource Guide
In addition to intensive I-9 training, attendees will receive three hours of HRCI credit, the updated version of the GoffWilson proprietary I-9 manual, and breakfast. Space is limited and this event sells out fast, so register today to reserve your seats!
February 8, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Are the number of H visas released on their way up?
Not just yet, but as you have probably heard by now, there is serious discussion going on in the United States Congress to raise the H visa cap.
If the cap is raised, more of these coveted immigration visas would be available for highly skilled candidates. Applications are accepted each year on April 1 for for specialized knowledge professions.
To keep you up to date, here is what we know so far:
- The cap would be floating between 115,000 and 300,000 depending on demand (currently it is fixed at only 65,000 and another 20,000 for those with advanced degrees from U.S. schools);
- The proposal would eliminate the “advanced degree” cap;
- It would allow for employment authorization for spouses in H-4;
- Those already in H could again apply for visa revalidation within the U.S. ( a step eliminated by regulations several years ago);
- It eliminates quotas for STEM degrees.
The H-1B cap increase provisions will be hotly debated and it’s an issue to be followed closely if you’re an employer who hires skilled foreign workers. We will keep you posted on all H visa developments so please check our blawg for the latest news.
If you or your company or someone you know wants to apply for an H-1B Visa, now is the time to do it for employment beginning October 1, 2013. There are limited visas available. Don’t get left out! Contact GoffWilson today. Immigration law is what we do!
January 16, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The E-2 visa is one of the most advantageous nonimmigrant visas available to foreigners who want to stay and work in the United States.
This investment visa is available for nationals of 80 countries with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. The applicant must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which she has invested. The E-2 visa is not for self-employment, but rather to create jobs for U.S. workers. The foreigner must be prepared to invest a substantial amount of capital.
The following are required for an E-2 visa:
First, the investor must have the necessary funds in his control and they must be irrevocably committed to the business enterprise. Having an intent to invest is not sufficient. It cannot be a speculative business. You must show:
- proof of incorporation
- lease or purchase of business premises
- asset-purchase agreements
- equipment purchase agreements
Second, the investor should make a “substantial” investment in the planned business. U.S. Consulates have considerable latitude in determining what is a substantial investment. Typically, $100,000 is the threshold investment amount to be considered viable for an E visa. Although, this does not mean that anything over $100,000 is guaranteed E-2 visa. an approval.
Third, the investor must prove that the funds are “at risk.” Thus, if the business fails, the money would be lost. Money secured against the new business assets is not allowed for an E-2 visa as there is no risk involved.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the investment cannot be “marginal.” A marginal enterprise is one that only generates sufficient income to support the investor and his family. The goal of an E-2 visa is to create jobs for U.S. workers. Thus, the E-2 investment must be able to generate enough income to pay other workers. A strong, well-written business plan may accomplish this goal.
The duration of the E-2 visa is initially two years and it can be extended for as long as the business continues to operate. The application is typically made directly at the U.S. Consulate in the country where the foreigner resides. In addition, unlike some other nonimmigrant visas (such as the H visa) the spouse of an E-2 visa holder can also apply for work authorization and is free to work anywhere for any employer.
There are other details involved in an E-2 visa application (such as the ability to allow non-investors to obtain an E-2 visa to be a manager or similar). We recommend you contact us with your questions about the E-2 visa for you or someone you know. It’s what we do!
December 13, 2012 § 1 Comment
The United States economy is showing encouraging signs of job growth, prompting employers to call for qualified foreign workers to fill specialized knowledge positions in high technology, engineering, and other sectors.
Sadly, many employers have discovered that there are no H visas available for these workers who are so highly sought after. Beginning on Oct. 1, 2013, there will be only 65,000 visas available.
Last year, all available visas were claimed in less than 10 weeks. Our law firm focuses on immigration law and we expect the demand will be even higher this year.
While waiting for the opportunity to apply for an H visa, we advise employers to consider an alternative referred to as a B-1 in lieu of an H-1B.
To qualify, applicants must meet all of the requirements of an H visa: The job is a specialty occupation and requires at least a bachelor’s degree, and the prospective candidate has the requisite education/work experience.
The major differences are:
- The foreigner is coming to the U.S. for a very short period of time, generally no more than six months.
- There is a foreign company with an office that will pay the wage in the foreign country for all the time in the U.S.
- The U.S. based company will at the most cover incidental expenses.
- The foreign candidate can establish ties to her country assuring return at the conclusion of the work visa.
The entire application is made at the U.S. Consulate abroad. The application includes all that would be required for an H-1B visa, plus the needs of the B-1 visa.
In limited situations, a B-1 visa in lieu of an H-1B visa could fill the temporary need for a U.S. business to hire a foreign employee. Meanwhile, mark your calendar for February 1, 2013, which is when you should begin planning for the filing of an H visa for April 1, 2013, the first day that an application may be filed for an Oct. 1, 2013 start. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to employ that high tech worker from outside the U.S. and fill your opening. If this sounds like something that might help your business, please give GoffWilson a call. It is what we do and we are ready to help!
December 5, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals will soon be able to travel outside of – and return to – the United States under limited circumstances. These changes are part of the regulations issued in June 2012 by the Department of Homeland Security.
Travel under these regulations for a DACA-approved person will be available once the need for such travel has been established to the satisfaction of USCIS. Following approval, the individual traveler will be issued an Advance Parole document that they will need to present at the time of departure and on return to the U.S. « Read the rest of this entry »
November 28, 2012 § Leave a Comment
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement has fined almost 50 New England businesses more than $600,000 in this past year for I-9 violations. This is a huge increase over the previous year and all indications are that these fines will increase again next year.
As stated in its announcement, the immigration service plans to expand the number of businesses audited next year. As noted, the Obama administration has made I-9 enforcement against businesses a priority to weed out undocumented workers and employees in industries known or alleged to hire undocumented workers.
July 6, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Following an investigation of wage issues, the immigration service has entered into an agreement with Semafor Technologies, LLC of Norcross, Georgia, a high tech company. Under the terms of the agreement, Semafor will pay $740,000 in back wages to 73 H-1B workers and complete a variety of other remedial measures. The company specializes in software development and related practices.
The immigration service reported that H-1B employees employed by the company were not paid properly even though the work for the employees temporarily ended. It is a strict requirement that the employer of an individual in H-1B status must continue to pay full wage even if the employer temporarily is short on work. It is important to understand that a person in H status must be paid the wage as set forth in the immigration application, regardless of whether there is sufficient work for the H-1B employee to complete.
Semafor was also ordered to reimburse the H-1B employees for amounts the employees had paid for the immigration application process. Generally, the H-1B employee may never pay the “training fee” portion of the H application ($750 or $1500) and may only contribute to the cost of the immigration application by an amount that equals the difference between the DOL prevailing wage and what amount their wage actually is. But this is no longer the case. Thus, for example, if the H-1B employee is being paid exactly the prevailing wage, then the employee may not contribute any amount of funds to the H-1B application whatsoever.
The immigration service is extremely strict with all matters concerning H-1B employees, particularly those issues involving wages paid. Be sure that your public compliance folder is current and accurate and that your payroll meets the wage as posted in the immigration application. Employees often contact the immigration service on their own, either while still working for the employer or soon after they depart, leaving the employer surprised by an audit request. Don’t get caught in this trap! We can help get your house in order. Contact us with any questions.
June 19, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The U.S. Immigration Service has made an important announcement this week that will affect an estimated 800,000 people now in the U.S. You may know someone that this new rule can help!
Effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States through no fault of their own as young children andwho meet several key criteria, will be considered for relief from removal from the country or entered into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject torequest for renewal.
To be eligible for this relief you must meet the following criteria:
- The person must have entered the U.S. before the age of 16;
- The person must have resided continuously in the U.S. for at least 5 years preceding June 15, 2012 and must be in the US on June 15, 2012;
- The applicant must be in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the U.S.;
- The applicant has not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, and is not otherwise considered a threat to national security or public safety;
- The person cannot be over the age of 30.
- Individuals must also complete a background check and,
- For those individuals who make a request to USCIS and are not subject to a final order of removal, must also be 15 years old or older.
In the coming days the immigration service will publish the procedures to follow to make application for this benefit, which can also include work authorization. For any individuals in removal proceedings, they should immediately discuss this new opportunity with their attorney. For those not in removal proceedings, do nothing at this time until the rules are published. We will blog further information as soon as the rules become available. Any questions, please contact us. We are here to help you with any immigration needs.