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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!

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.

Does PERM have a provision similar to, or the same as, the Schedule B provision in the regulation in effect prior to...

Does PERM have a provision similar to, or the same as, the Schedule B provision in the regulation in effect prior to March 28, 2005?

According to the Labor Department:

No, the former regulation's Schedule B provision has been eliminated; there is no similar provision in PERM.

If I send in the required information about my case, will I have to respond to a Center Receipt Notification Letter (CRNL) ...

If I send in the required information about my case, will I have to respond to a Center Receipt Notification Letter (CRNL) indicating that I want to continue?

According to the Labor Department:

If the information you provide is sufficient to reconstruct the case, you will not have to respond to a CRNL as the request about the case will be taken as proof of a desire to continue. However, if information is missing that is required to continue processing, you may receive a CRNL with a corrections list of information required to continue processing. You should respond to this letter within the 45-day timeframe.

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.

Where must I post a Notice of Filing for a permanent labor certification for roving employees?

According to the Labor Department:

If the employer knows where the Schedule A employee will be placed, the employer must post the notice at that work-site(s) where the employee will perform the work and publish the notice internally using in-house media--whether electronic or print--in accordance with the normal internal procedures used by the employer to notify its employees of employment opportunities in the occupation in question. The prevailing wage indicated in the notice will be the wage applicable to the area of intended employment where the worksite is located.

If the employer does not know where the Schedule A employee will be placed, the employer must post the notice at that work-site(s) of all of its current clients, and publish the notice of filing internally using electronic and print media according to the normal internal procedures used by the employer to notify its employees of employment opportunities in the occupation in question. The prevailing wage will be derived from the area of the staffing agencies' headquarters.

Must a prevailing wage determination be obtained from the State Workforce Agency (SWA) if the employer is filing an...

Must a prevailing wage determination be obtained from the State Workforce Agency (SWA) if the employer is filing an application for a college or university teacher under the optional recruitment and documentation procedures provision?

According to the Labor Department:

Yes, a prevailing wage determination must be obtained from the SWA even if the employer is filing an application for a college or university teacher under the optional recruitment and documentation procedures provision. The attestation provision of the PERM regulation requires the employer certify that the offered wage equals or exceeds the prevailing wage determined pursuant to the prevailing wage provision which, in turn, requires the employer to obtain a prevailing determination from the SWA having jurisdiction over the proposed area of intended employment.

Who may request RIR conversion?

According to the Labor Department:

The employer, or its designated attorney or agent, may file the request for RIR conversion.

Aliens are not eligible to request conversion, and the Backlog Elimination Centers (BECs) will not respond to such requests.

Is it possible to complete portions of an application, save it, and retrieve it at a later date without having to submit it?

According to the Labor Department:

Yes, the system provides the employer with the choice, upon finishing an online session, of either saving an application as a draft or submitting it to a National Processing Center.

Where and when does the employer obtain prevailing wage information?

According to the Labor Department:

Prior to filing the Application for Permanent Employment Certification, ETA Form 9089, the employer must request a prevailing wage determination from the State Workforce Agency (SWA) having jurisdiction over the proposed area of intended employment. The employer is required to include on the ETA Form 9089 the SWA provided information: the prevailing wage, the prevailing wage tracking number (if applicable), the SOC/O*NET(OES) code, the occupation title, the skill level, the wage source, the determination date, and the expiration date.

NOTE: The SWA prevailing wage determination documentation is not submitted with the application, but it must be retained for a period of five years from the date of filing the application by the employer.

Does the alien beneficiary need to have a bachelor's or higher degree to qualify for a professional occupation?

According to the Labor Department:

No, the alien does not need to have a bachelor's or higher degree to qualify. However, if the employer is willing to accept work experience in lieu of a baccalaureate degree, such work experience must be attainable in the U.S. labor market and the employer's willingness to accept work experience in lieu of a degree must apply equally to U.S. applicants and must be stated on the application form.

When, during an audit, is there a 90 day suspension of the audit?

According to the Labor Department:

Under § 656.31(a), Department of Labor processing of an application, including audit procedures, may be suspended in certain circumstances. Specifically; "If possible fraud or willful misrepresentation involving a labor certification is discovered before a final labor certification determination; the Certifying Officer will refer the matter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for investigation, and must send a copy of the referral to the Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General (DOL OIG). If 90 days pass without the filing of a criminal indictment or information, or receipt of a notification from DHS, DOL OIG, or other appropriate authority that an investigation is being conducted, the Certifying Officer may continue to process the application."

During the public briefings, the Department indicated that there will be 2 processing tracks--Reduction in Recruitment (RIR) ...

During the public briefings, the Department indicated that there will be 2 processing tracks—Reduction in Recruitment (RIR) and Traditional Recruitment (TR). As to the First in-First out (FIFO) principle, does this mean RIR cases will be separated or distinguished from permanent TR cases?

According to the Labor Department:

Yes, there will be two processing tracks—RIR and TR. Each track will have a separate FIFO queue. At the centers we will allocate resources so that RIR and TR cases receive equitable treatment in processing

Regarding "employer's being able to place the alien on the payroll" under § 656.10(c)(4)

What is meant by the "employer's being able to place the alien on the payroll" under § 656.10(c)(4)? How does it differ from having funds available to pay the alien's wage or salary in § 656.10(c)(3)?

According to the Labor Department:

The employer may be required, depending on the circumstances, to establish that the position offered is actually available at the time of the alien's proposed entrance into the United States. For example, the employer may be asked to provide evidence that a plant or restaurant, which is in the planning stage or under construction at the time the application is filed, will be completed at the time of the alien's proposed entrance into the United States. While the employer may be fiscally able to pay the alien, other circumstances, such as non-viability of the business itself, may preclude the employer from placing the alien on the payroll.

Will placing an advertisement on America's Job Bank (AJB) satisfy the "web site other than the employer's" requirement?

Will placing an advertisement on America's Job Bank (AJB) satisfy the "web site other than the employer's" additional step requirement for professional occupations?

According to the Labor Department:

Yes, but only if the placement is not being used to satisfy the job order requirement. Where the State Workforce Agency job order placement procedure consists of placement of the job order on AJB, then that job order placement can not be counted as one of the additional recruiting steps.

What is Schedule A and who qualifies?

According to the Labor Department:

Schedule A lists those occupations for which a determination by the Department of Labor has been made that there are not sufficient United States workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available and the wages and working conditions of United States workers similarly employed will not be adversely affected by employment of aliens in those occupations. An employer seeking a labor certification for a physical therapist, a professional nurse, or an alien of exceptional ability in the performing arts, sciences or arts, to include college and university teachers, should review § 656.5, Schedule A, to determine whether the alien's qualifications meet the provision's requirements.

Will the BEC delay recruitment on a TR application so that the employer can request RIR conversion?

According to the Labor Department:

No. Due to the Office of Foreign Labor Certification's (OFLC) intensive effort to eliminate the backlog, it is not practical for the BEC to delay recruitment on applications to await RIR conversion requests. Therefore, BECs will not delay recruitment to allow for RIR conversion. Requests for RIR conversion must be received prior to the beginning of supervised recruitment to be considered. Employers should send their requests and appropriate documentation as soon as possible to maximize their opportunity for RIR conversion.

Why is the employer precluded from having more than one application for the same alien actively in process at any given time?

In view of the past practice of allowing the filing of multiple applications by the same employer for the same alien if the job opening was different, why, under PERM, is the employer precluded from having more than one application for the same alien actively in process at any given time?

According to the Labor Department:

We have removed the response to this question posted on August 8, 2005. The Department is considering questions and information stakeholders have submitted in response to this FAQ posting, and will be developing and posting a clarified response in the near future.

I need to enter the years of experience, education, or training on my ETA Form 9089. How do I do this? What if it's a range?

According to the Labor Department:

When entering the years of experience, education, or training on ETA Form 9089, the questions asking for this type of information specify the answer be provided in the number of months necessary. Therefore, if the employer requires 1 year experience in the job offered in ETA Form 9089, the number 12 (for 12 months) would be entered for the answer to Question H-6A.

However, if the employer would accept a range of experience in the job offered (such as 1 to 3 years), the employer must identify the actual minimum years/months of experience required to perform the job (please see 656.17(i) for additional information on Actual Minimum Requirements). The number that represents the Actual Minimum Requirement for the number of years/months experience would be the number entered in Question H-6A. If a range is indeed the Actual Minimum Requirement, the employer should use the low end of the range as the answer, since that represents the minimum level of 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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