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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!

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.

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

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.

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.

Posting notices of filing for college and university teachers after the selection process has been completed

Can notices of filing for college and university teachers recruited under the competitive recruitment and selection process be posted after the selection process has been completed?

According to the Labor Department:

Yes, for college and university teachers, notices of filing may be posted after the selection process has been completed. An application for a college or university teacher may be filed up to 18 months after the selection is made and a notice of filing must be provided between 30 and 180 days prior to filing the application either by providing notice to the bargaining representative, if one exists, or by posting notice at the facility or location of employment.

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.

What is revocation?

According to the Labor Department:

If the granting of a labor certification is found not to be justified, whether based on unintentional or willful conduct of the employer, a previously approved labor certification will be revoked.

Does the BPC case continuance letter need to be signed only by the employer or can the attorney of record sign?

According to the Labor Department:

The Selection of Continuation Option Letter may be signed and submitted by either the employer or the employer's attorney/agent of record. We request, however, that employers and attorneys coordinate to determine who will submit the Selection of Continuation Option Letter to ensure that the appropriate Backlog Processing Center does not receive conflicting or duplicate responses. In the instance of conflicting responses, we will default to the employer's response.

How long must supporting documents be retained?

According to the Labor Department:

The employer is required to retain all supporting documentation for five years from the date of filing the Application for Permanent Employment Certification, ETA Form 9089.

What are the sequencing or timeframe requirements for the various additional recruitment steps?

According to the Labor Department:

Beyond the standard "no greater than 180 days and no less than 30 days prior to filing" there are no further timeframe requirements. The only sequencing requirement is that the two Sunday advertisements must be placed on two different Sundays which may be consecutive.

NOTE: There is one exception to the standard 30 – 180 days prior to filing timeframe: One of the additional steps required for recruitment for professional occupations may be conducted within 30 days prior to filing. However, no steps may have taken place more than 180 days prior to filing.

Must the employer request a prevailing wage determination from the State Workforce Agency (SWA) if filing under Schedule A?

According to the Labor Department:

Yes, a prevailing wage determination must be requested from the SWA having jurisdiction over the proposed area of intended employment.

What should I do if my case status is "Closed" but I do not believe it should be closed because I never received a 45-day ...

What should I do if my case status is "Closed" but I do not believe it should be closed because I never received a 45-day letter?

According to the Labor Department:

Please see our policy and FAQs regarding Requests for Reopening based on 45-day letters here: backlog_faqs_07-10-06.pdf (PDF, 50KB)

For how long must the employer publish a notice of filing in the employer's in-house media?

According to the Labor Department:

If the employer normally recruits for similar positions in the employer's organization through in-house media, then the employer must publish the notice of filing in its in-house media in accordance with the employer's normal procedures for recruitment of similar positions or for 10 consecutive business days, whichever is of longer duration.

If the employer's job opportunity is for an occupation which is subject to a wage determination...

If the employer's job opportunity is for an occupation which is subject to a wage determination under the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) or the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act (SCA), must the employer use the DBA or SCA?

According to the Labor Department:

No, the employer is not required to use a wage determination under the DBA or the SCA but may choose to do so.

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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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