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10 Ways to Beat H-1B Quota to Start Work NOW!

This year the H-1B quota ran out on the very first day! In fact, there was such a deluge of H-1B applications that the USCIS was forced to run a lottery to decide who among the applicants would receive a coveted H-1B visa. As a result, many applicants who applied on the very first day were unable to get an H-1B visa. Therefore, if you want to have a chance of obtaining an H-1B visa, your best bet is to qualify under one of the quota exemptions listed below. Best of all, if you qualify for an H-1B exemption, you can proceed with your H-1B petition immediately, to start work now (either immediately upon approval of the H-1B petition or upon receipt of the petition if you qualify for portability), without having to wait for the next fiscal year!

How can an employer withdraw a PERM application if the employer has difficulty withdrawing electronically?

According to the Labor Department:

As explained in an earlier FAQ on this subject, if the application was filed on-line, the application can be withdrawn by accessing the account wherein the application was filed and simply marking the appropriate box. If the application was filed by mail, a withdrawal request, in writing following the procedure below, must be sent to the National Processing Center to which the application was originally submitted.

In the event employers are unable to withdraw electronically as stated above, employers should send a withdrawal request by e-mail to the appropriate National Processing Center at: PLC.Chicago@dol.gov (for Chicago) or PLC.Atlanta@dol.gov (for Atlanta). To ensure your request is processed expeditiously, please include the following information in the e-mail request:

  • Show the words "Withdrawal Request" and the employer’s name in the subject line of the e-mail
  • In the body of the e-mail, include the following information:
    • Case Number
    • Employer's Name
    • Employer's EIN
    • The reason for withdrawal
    • Name and title of individual requesting withdrawal

Is the employer permitted to use an electronic national professional journal?

According to the Labor Department:

No, the employer can not use an electronic national professional journal. The employer must use a print journal whether to satisfy the provision permitting the use of a journal as an alternative to one of the Sunday advertisements or to satisfy the provision requiring an advertisement in a journal under optional special recruitment procedures for college and university teachers.

Is the employer permitted to use a wage range as opposed to a single wage rate in advertisements for the job offer?

According to the Labor Department:

Yes, the employer may advertise with a wage range as long as the bottom of the range is no less than the prevailing wage rate.

Is an application for a labor certification for Schedule A occupations filed with a Department of Labor National Processing ...

Is an application for a labor certification for Schedule A occupations filed with a Department of Labor National Processing Center?

According to the Labor Department:

No, an application for a labor certification for Schedule A occupations is filed, in duplicate, with the appropriate Department of Homeland Security (DHS) office.

In order to establish a "pattern of recruitment," which date is used as the reference point -- the date the original ...

In order to establish a "pattern of recruitment," which date is used as the reference point – the date the original application was received or the date the RIR conversion request is received?

According to the Labor Department:

The point of reference for the pattern of recruitment is based upon the date the RIR conversion request was received. In other words, the earliest acceptable published advertisement or other recruitment activity must have occurred within six months prior to the date the RIR conversion request was received by the BEC. Earlier advertisements or other recruiting activities will not be considered by the BEC in determining whether a pattern of recruitment has been established.

Are the recruitment provisions different for college and university teachers?

According to the Labor Department:

Yes, while the employer may choose to recruit for college and university teachers under the basic process, the employer may choose to recruit under § 656.18, optional special recruitment and documentation procedures for college and university teachers.

NOTE: The employer must support hiring of the alien by documenting that the alien was found to be more qualified than each U.S. worker who applied for the job opportunity.

What are the criteria for revoking approved labor certifications?

According to the Labor Department:

Certifying Officers have the authority to revoke an approved labor certification for fraud and willful misrepresentation, obvious errors, or for grounds or issues associated with the labor certification process.

When must applications be signed?

According to the Labor Department:

Applications submitted by mail must contain the original signature of the employer, alien, and preparer, if applicable, when they are received by the processing center. Applications filed electronically must, upon receipt of the labor certification, be signed immediately by the employer, alien, and preparer, if applicable, in order to be valid.

NOTE: Where the employer provides a copy of an application to a Certifying Officer pursuant to an audit or otherwise, the copy must be signed.

What level of detail regarding the job offer must be included in the advertisement?

According to the Labor Department:

Employers need to apprise applicants of the job opportunity. The regulation does not require employers to run advertisements enumerating every job duty, job requirement, and condition of employment. As long as the employer can demonstrate a logical nexus between the advertisement and the position listed on the employer’s application, the employer will meet the requirement of apprising applicants of the job opportunity. An advertisement that includes a description of the vacancy, the name of the employer, the geographic area of employment, and the means to contact the employer to apply may be sufficient to apprise potentially qualified applicants of the job opportunity.

NOTE: While employers will have the option to place broadly written advertisements with few details regarding job duties and requirements, they must prepare a recruitment report that addresses all minimally qualified applicants for the job opportunity. If an employer places a generic advertisement, the employer may receive a large volume of applicants, all of whom must be addressed in the recruitment report. Employers placing general advertisements may wish to include a job identification code or other information to assist the employer in tracking applicants to the job opportunity.

The Prevailing Wage Determination provided by the State Workforce Agency (SWA) was incorrect or incomplete. What do I do?

According to the Labor Department:

In submitting a PERM application, the employer declares that it has read and reviewed the application and that the information contained in the application is true and accurate. The employer is responsible for ensuring the PWD information provided by the SWA and entered on ETA Form 9089 is correct and for taking steps to obtain corrected PWDs from the SWA as needed.

We are aware there have been some issues with Prevailing Wage Determinations (PWD) provided by some SWAs, such as incorrect SOC codes or validity periods. Currently, we are working with all SWAs to ensure the new regulation and state requirements are clearly understood and implemented.

To address denials based on SWA errors during the first months of implementation of the PERM regulation, the Department has developed the following option for employers. If you have an application that was denied due to an error associated with an incorrect or incomplete PWD, and the application was submitted before March 25, 2006, you may submit a request for review to the appropriate Certifying Officer. The request for review must include a copy of the corrected PWD provided by the SWA or a copy of the initial PWD obtained from the SWA together with an explanation of how it should be corrected.

I entered my case number but no case information was found. What should I do?

According to the Labor Department:

First, check to make sure you entered the correct case number. Even a slight variation from the correct number can cause no case information to be found. If you are sure you entered the correct case number and no case information is found, contact the appropriate BEC that has your case at info@dal.dflc.us or info@phi.dflc.us.

Could publishing of the notice of filing in the employer's in-house media be counted as one of the additional steps required?

Could the publishing of the notice of filing in the employer's in-house media be counted as one of the additional steps required in the recruitment for professional occupations provision?

According to the Labor Department:

No, posting of the notice of filing on in-house media, including an "Intranet," can not be counted as an additional recruitment step, as it is believed that potential job applicants would only view the notice as a legal or information notice, not as an advertisement for a job opportunity, and would not apply.

Must the employer obtain a prevailing wage determination before the employer begins recruitment?

According to the Labor Department:

No, the employer does not need to wait until it receives a prevailing wage determination before beginning recruitment. However, the employer must be aware that in its recruiting process, which includes providing a notice of filing stating the rate of pay, the employer is not permitted to offer a wage rate lower than the prevailing wage rate. Similarly, during the recruitment process, the employer may not make an offer lower than the prevailing wage to a U.S. worker.

Does the use of an electronic national professional journal satisfy the advertisement requirement under the college and...

Does the use of an electronic national professional journal satisfy the advertisement requirement under the college and university teachers' special recruitment and documentation provision?

According to the Labor Department:

No, use of an electronic national professional journal does not satisfy the optional special recruitment provision's advertising requirement. The employer must use a print publication.

Why might an employer want to convert a TR application to RIR?

According to the Labor Department:

Because RIR applications do not undergo the same recruitment process, these applications generally reach final resolution (certification or denial) in significantly less time than TR applications. Therefore, it is often to the employer's advantage to convert applications from TR to RIR

Refiling a labor certification application filed under the previous regulations and retaining the original filing date

Can the employer refile a labor certification application filed under the previous permanent labor certification regulations under the new streamlined system and retain the filing date of the original application?

According to the Labor Department:

Yes, if a job order has not been placed pursuant to the regulations in effect prior to March 28, 2005, an employer may refile by withdrawing the original application and submitting, within 210 days of withdrawing, an application for an identical job opportunity which complies with all of the filing and recruiting requirements of the new PERM regulation.

NOTE: Indicating on the Application for Permanent Employment Certification, ETA Form 9089, the desire to use the filing date from a previously submitted application, i.e., marking "yes" to question A-1, is deemed to be a withdrawal of the original application.

NOTE: If a job order for an application has been placed by the State Workforce Agency (SWA) as part of the traditional recruitment process under the regulations in effect prior to March 28, 2005, the employer is prohibited from refiling the application and retaining the original filing date. However, if an employer placed a job order as a recruitment step in a reduction-in-recruitment application, the job order is not considered a job order placed by the SWA as part of the traditional recruitment process and the employer is permitted to withdraw and refile.

Must the required 30 day job order timeframe end at least 30 days prior to filing?

According to the Labor Department:

Yes, the 30 day job order timeframe must end at least 30 days prior to filing. While the employer is not limited to the 30 day timeframe and may choose to post the job order for a longer period, 30 days of the posting must take place at least 30 days prior to filing.

Can the employer include a requirement for a foreign language?

According to the Labor Department:

Yes, the employer can include a foreign language requirement if it is justified by business necessity. The regulation requires that a foreign language requirement be justified by business necessity based on the nature of the occupation, e.g., translator, or the need to communicate with a large majority of the employer's customers, contractors, or employees who can not communicate effectively in English. Documentation necessary to establish such a business necessity is noted in § 656.17(h)(2).

NOTE: Needing to communicate with co-workers or subordinates who can not effectively communicate in English and/or having a working environment where safety considerations would support a foreign language requirement have been added to the ways to justify business necessity for a foreign language requirement.

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Search for H1B Visa Employers

You can search for "H1B Visa Employers" using this database, which was compiled by Antao & Chuang, Attorneys at Law from government sources. This database identifies those U.S. employers who have filed for H-1B visas in the past, or who have at least started the process by filing for the LCA. If you find an employer you are interested in, you can then contact them to inquire as to whether they have any current job openings in your field. Please tell your friends about this valuable resource.

Use this form to search for H1B Visa employers.

"FMG Friendly" Employers

Foreign Medical Graduates ("FMGs") should be aware that there are "FMG Friendly" employers, and "FMG Unfriendly" employers. This database (compiled by Antao & Chuang, Attorneys at Law from government sources) identifies those U.S. employers who have filed for H-1B visas for foreign medical graduates in the past (or at least started the process by filing for the LCA), and who can therefore be deemed "FMG Friendly". Please tell your colleagues about this valuable resource.

Use this form to search for "FMG Friendly" employers in a given state.

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