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Monthly Archives: September 2014

2016 Diversity Visa Lottery Program Details Announced

Mechelle Zarou

Mechelle Zarou

The State Department has released the Diversity Visa Program details for fiscal year 2016. Registration will open at noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 and will close at noon Eastern Standard Time (EST) on Monday, November 3, 2014. Eligible applicants must submit applications electronically—paper submissions will not be accepted. (more…)

To Amend, or Not to Amend?

Ramos_Maria

Maria del Carmen Ramos

Under the Immigrant and Nationality Act (“INA”), the hiring of a foreign worker must not adversely affect the wages or working conditions of similarly situated U.S. workers. The INA was also designed to protect foreign workers from being exploited. To make sure that does not happen, the INA requires employers to, among other things, pay foreign workers here on H1-B visas at least the local prevailing wage. (more…)

USCIS Now Using New Ink Color for Certain Documents Which May be Used for Form I-9

Mechelle Zarou

Mechelle Zarou

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) has changed from red to blue the color ink it uses to stamp certain documents that could be used for I-9 purposes. This would be relevant, for instance, in a scenario where you have a high population of new hires that are refugees and they provide you with a refugee document. Reviewers should note that moving forward they may see government documents with stamps in blue, red and black ink and that, just because the ink color has changed, documents may still be valid. (more…)

A Cautionary Tale for H-1B Employers

Maria del Carmen Ramos

Maria del Carmen Ramos

Quite often employers ask, “If it doesn’t work out, can we recover all the money we have spent on the H-1B process from the employee?” The short is answer to this repeatedly asked question is no. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations are clear that the employer must pay the filing fees and may not allow the worker to pay it directly, by deduction from wages or in any other fashion.  DOL regulations say that the H-1B costs and fees are employer business expenses and exclude those fees and costs from the list of “authorized deductions.” (Read more about deductions for an H-1B worker’s pay.) (more…)

Federal Government Fines Its Own Janitorial Service for I-9 Violations

Maria del Carmen Ramos

Maria del Carmen Ramos

The Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (“OCAHO”) for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (“EOIR”), in United States v. Clean Sweep Janitor Service, has reduced Clean Sweep’s fines from $12,623 to $6,750. (more…)