In today’s highly competitive environment, speed and efficiency of operations are a matter of competitive advantage. However, along with speed and efficiency, quality of work is also equally important. At Jethmalani & Nallaseth, we take pride in using our in-depth knowledge and vast professional experience to analyze and review each case very carefully before representing our clients, (from large multinationals, to small start-ups, to individuals), and so fulfilling our “Commitment to Excellence’”.
An Executive Order signed on January 27, 2017 suspends entry into the United States, of persons from specified countries for 90 days from the date of the order. The countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Additional countries may be added to this list over the next few months.
The Executive Order also suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days and thereafter, refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution will be prioritized. A Cap of 50,000 refugees only in Fiscal 2017 has been laid down, but refugees from Syria have been banned.
For the time being, Indian citizens are not affected by this Executive Order except that it also suspends the Visa Interview Waiver Program and requires that all individuals seeking a nonimmigrant visa must attend an in-person interview. This means longer waiting periods for Visa appointments and so delays in travel.
In addition to this controversial ban, the Trump Administration has allegedly drafted a new Executive Order aimed at overhauling, among other things, the H-1B work-visa program that Indian IT companies, in particular, have been extensively using. This possible executive order on work visas ‘is part of a larger immigration effort’ and stems from ‘an overall need to look at all of these measures’. Currently the order is only a draft and has not yet been signed. It does not set out specific changes to the H-1B visa program- only suggests that it be examined with the thought of what’s best for American workers.
Unrelated to this draft executive order on the H-1B program, there have been a number of new Bills introduced/ old bills reintroduced, addressing the existing H-1B and L-1 laws, with suggestions ranging from higher salaries (one recommends $100,000 and another $130,000), removing Level 1 wages, prioritizing H-1B visas to those willing to pay 200% of the prevailing wage, minimum wages to L-1 workers, etc. While it is fairly certain that there will be changes to the H-1B/ L-1 programs in the years ahead, the passage of these bills is far from certain and will involve debate and approval from both the Senate and the House before they can be approved by the President and become law. We will keep you updated…
DHS is amending its regulations related to certain employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs. The final rule is intended to benefit U.S. employers and foreign workers participating in these programs by streamlining the processes for employer sponsorship of nonimmigrant workers for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, increasing job portability and otherwise providing stability and flexibility for such workers, and providing additional transparency and consistency in the application of DHS policies and practices related to these programs. Click here to see full article here.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has amended its F-1 nonimmigrant student visa regulations on Optional Practical Training (OPT) for certain students with degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) from U.S. institutions of higher education.
The rules now allow such F-1 STEM students who have elected to pursue 12 months of OPT in the United States, to extend the OPT period by 24 months (STEM OPT extension). This revised and broadened STEM OPT program is effective from May 10, 2016.
Click here for more details.
The USCIS received nearly 233,000 applications for the H-1B quota for the fiscal year 2017. The computer-generated random selection process (or lottery, as it is known as), has been completed.
Cases filed under Premium, will start being processed no later than May 11, 2016.
No more H-1B new cases will be accepted till April 01, 2017. However, Extensions, Amendments, Change of Employer, and Cap-Exempt cases will continue to be accepted.
Effective Monday December 21, 2015, per the Fiscal Year 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act, additional fees will be payable by certain US Companies filing H-1B/ L-1 petitions. Any US Company with more than 50 employees in the United States, and with more than 50 percent of those employees in H-1B or L-1 status the U.S, will now have to pay an additional fee of $4,000 per petition for H-1B filings and $4,500 per petition for L-1 filings (including Blanket L applications at the US Consulates). These supplemental fees must be paid on initial petitions. Extension filings will not be required to pay the additional fee.
Effective May 26, 2015 certain dependent spouses in H-4 status in the US are now eligible to work. This includes the spouse of (i) the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition; or (ii) the principal beneficiary who has been granted a 7th year H-1B extension under the provisions of AC 21
The new ‘Simeio Memo’ makes it compulsory for a petitioner to file an amended H-1B petition if the H-1B employee is changing his or her place of employment after August 19, 2015 and the employee can only begin to work at the new place of employment, AFTER the filing of the Amended petition. A petitioner who does not comply will have to face the consequences and the employee’s status will be jeopardized. To come into compliance with the Simeio Memo there is a ‘safe harbor’ period for H-1B employees who changed their work location before August 19, 2015. The petitioner will be permitted to file such amendments till January 15, 2016.
From October 2015 the Monthly DOS Visa Bulletin for Family Based and Employment Based petitions will have two different sets of dates: (i) Application Final Action Dates (the date when the visas may finally be issued); and (ii) Dates for Filing Applications (an earlier date which will allow the applicant to apply for AOS even though the priority date is not yet current).
This new rule is a boon for thousands of pending immigrants (including the spouse and dependent children also) allowing them to apply for Adjustment of Status and concurrently also for the benefits of Employment Authorization and Advance Parole.
FOR A CONSULTATION
41-43, Beekman Street
Phone: 1-(212) 406-9257
Fax: 1-(212) 406-9481
#8 Turf Estate, Shakti Mills Lane
Dr. E. Moses Rd, Mahalaxmi
Mumbai 400 011
Phone: 91-22-24986433 / 34
“Jethmalani & Nallaseth PLLC is a leader in the field of US immigration law and they process all our visa requirements and consistently provide us with outstanding value. Their service remains extremely client oriented, user friendly and highly efficient. Their fees are extremely competitive yet they offer solid legal strategic advice with consistently high service and results.”
Sr. Manager – Corporate Travel, Ahmedabad.
We are extremely happy with the Company’s services and products. It has been almost ten years that they have been our lawyers helping in immigration matters for the United States of America. Their work culture and professional ethics represent some of the best practices in the industry. We acknowledge and appreciate their services and we look forward to have such excellence in the future as well.
We value their sincerity and honesty while serving our employees and their Company has been an epitome of professionalism and transparency in its operations. We consider their services as an added asset to our Company and we wish to continue this association in the long run. Their prompt problem solving solutions, analytical skills, out of the box thinking and result oriented services have been of great help for our Company. Their dedication to perfection has been a good motivating factor for us. We thank all their employees who put in their best work to get our work done in time.
Associate Senior Manager – Human Resources, Pune
During the past 3 decades we have availed services from multiple firms. The Nallaseth team understands the client expectations very well and is supportive & professional in their approach. They view the petitions from the customer’s angle and advise the right course of action keeping the client interests in mind. They take off our worries on sensitive and complex cases. Our experience with Jethmalani & Nallaseth has been excellent and we value their association. We have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone who needs similar services.