Coming to the United States in order to attend an educational institution is oftentimes the first step foreign individuals will take on their long journey to fulfilling their American Dream. For example, a foreign student may enroll in a U.S. university, graduate, get a job here and be on their way toward permanent residence and, potentially, full-fledged citizenship. Foreign students are also attractive to universities due to the fact that they will usually have to pay their tuition in full as they generally do not qualify for public student aid assistance or in-state tuition discounts. Continue Reading New Immigration Policies Lead to Decline in Foreign Student Applications at U.S. Universities
In the United States, healthcare and immigration law often intersect to create a complicated regulatory and statutory system that governs the admission and employment authorization of foreign medical professionals seeking to work here. Some medical professionals are given preference under our immigration laws (such as physicians, nurses, and physical therapists), while others are forced to navigate our antiquated immigration system. However, even with the differing levels of treatment under the law, there are still numerous options available for most medical professionals seeking employment opportunities in the United States, with or without sponsorship from a United States employer.
Last week, USCIS announced that beginning on April 3rd, 2017, they will no longer be accepting H-1B petitions filed under the premium processing service. This service allowed for petitioners to pay an extra fee in order to guarantee the adjudication of their case within fifteen (15) calendar days of receipt. The fact that USCIS will suspend premium processing for H-1B cases on April 3rd means that no cap-subject cases filed this year will be eligible for premium processing (April 3rd is the first day USCIS will accept such cases). USCIS has stated, however, that H-1B cases will be eligible for expedited processing in accordance with their standard “expedite criteria” available on their website.
On April 1 of each year in recent memory more than 200,000 employers vie for the coveted 85,000 H-1B visas for their foreign professional employees. This year USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to annual numerical restrictions on Monday, April 3, 2017 (April 1st falls on a Saturday this year) for the 2018 fiscal year. Since the number of petitions USCIS is allowed to accept by law (known colloquially as the “cap”) will almost certainly be exceeded by the April 7th deadline, USCIS will thereafter conduct a random lottery process in order to determine whose petitions will be accepted and whose petitions will be rejected. Those with U.S. advanced degrees (masters or above) get better odds in the lottery drawing.
Proper and timely H-1B preparation is paramount to success as there are required steps that need to be taken (for example, the filing of an LCA with the Department of Labor) prior to filing the actual petition with USCIS. LCAs are usually reviewed and certified by the Department of Labor within seven (7) days, but such timelines cannot be trusted during the peak of the H-1B season. Continue Reading H-1B Cap Season Has Officially Begun