Member News

Immigration Update: H1B & L Visas – What you need to know


New Policy May Provide Hope to Employers Frustrated by Historically High Denial Rates for High-Skilled Specialized Employee Transfers
Over the past decade, in a trend that has caused concern among many U.S. employers, denial rates for high-skilled foreign national employee transfer visa petitions have increased substantially. In fact, according to a recent report from the National Foundation for American Policy, the denial rate for L-1B high-skilled international transfer visas increased to an historic high of 35 percent in FY 2014. This represents more than a fivefold increase in denial rates since FY 2006, though there was no change in the official eligibility criteria. This development often left international companies unable to transfer key employees from abroad to drive growth and maintain competitiveness in the U.S. market, and unsure what steps they could take to improve their chances of receiving an approved visa petition. Hopefully, this may soon change, as on March 24, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued long-awaited policy guidance on its adjudication of L-1B “specialized knowledge” visa petitions that may make it easier for companies to bring their essential employees to the United States. Read More


Increased Wage and Hour Investigations Serve as a Warning to Employers on the Importance of H-1B Wage Attestations
Several recent decisions by the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) serve as a compelling reminder to employers that violations of H-1B wage requirements can result in significant consequences, including monetary penalties, debarment from the H-1B program, and even criminal investigations. For example, in a recent case before the OALJ, a New York-based engineering consulting company was ordered to pay nearly $300,000 in back wages to 50 H-1B foreign workers for H-1B wage violations. Specifically, the employer was found to have failed to pay the employees all of their wages in violation of the H-1B provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The employer in the case at hand is currently on the DOL’s list of employers that have willfully violated H-1B program rules and has been debarred from the H-1B program for a two-year period. Read More 


Corporate L-1 Blanket Petitions: How to Handle Increased USCIS Scrutiny in the L-1 Visa Process
The recent increase in scrutiny by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on L-1 visa petitions has led many employers to revamp their intracompany transferee visa procedures. Certain multinational corporations are able to bypass the standard USCIS application by filing for corporate blanket approval. However, recent trends demonstrate that obtaining and amending existing corporate blanket approval is becoming increasingly onerous. Read More