Frequently Asked Questions - Employers and HR

This content is tagged for employers and Human Resources professionals responsible for hiring foreign professionals/workers in USA

I-140 Withdrawal vs NOIR in AC21 Context

a. No effect on your AC21 right, but you cannot extend future H-1 (if you need them).

b. Oh yes.

Government Shutdown – Impact on Immigration Matters

A1. Yes. In my view, that obligation continues unabated.

Ability to Pay

1. USCIS says that it evaluates each consolidated financial statement on a caseby-case basis under the preponderance of evidence standard to determine whether the petitioner has the ability to pay the proffered wage.

2. USCIS says that, in this situation, the new employer is not obligated to demonstrate the ability to pay from the date of portability.

Sufficient Evidence of an Employer-Employee Relationship

If you do not initially provide sufficient evidence of an employer-employee relationship and the availability of sufficient specialty-level work for the duration of the requested validity period, you may be given an opportunity to correct the deficiency through response to a Request for Evidence (RFE).  Your petition may still be approved if you provide evidence that a qualifying employer-employee relationship will exist for a portion of the requested validity period, as long as all other requirements are met.  However, USCIS will limit a petition’s validity to the time p

Ability to Pay Wages when Priority Date is in the Middle of the Year

 

USCIS does not calculate ability to pay wages on a pro-rated basis. USCIS will accept proof to show that petitioners have paid the required wage, as shown on ETA Form 9089, for the relevant periods of employment. Additionally, the USICS will accept other forms of evidence, such as pay stubs, W-2’s, and 1099 forms.

Out of Status

A gap of even one day (unless excused by USCIS) puts a person out of status and is not permitted. When you leave a sponsoring employer, it certainly calls into question the continuity of existence the green card job'

H1B Status

As long as the leave of absence is reasonable and customary (or required by medical necessity), she should be considered in status.

Must we withdraw a PERM application if the employee is laid off?

A1. I do not know of any law that requires an employer to withdraw a PERM application if an employee leaves or gets laid off, but the employer still retains a good faith intention to hire them back. When we first filed the PERM application, we filed it in good faith, asserting to the USDOL under penalty of perjury that:
You have enough funds available to pay the wage or salary offered the alien and you will be able to place the alien on the payroll on or before the date of the alien’s proposed entrance into the United States.

Importance of having continuity of employment/pay stubs

Continued payments are required by law for H-1 holder, unless they come under some very limited exceptions for leave for employee's personal reasons. Not paying, exposes the employer to investigation and penalties and may place the employee out of status.

In the green card context, non-payment can lead to problems with demonstrating ability to pay wages.

For both H-1 and GC, nonpayment can lead to an assumption that no genuine job exists. That could lead to cancellation of one or both processes, except for situations where AC21 portability is involved.

H-1 visa denial and investigation

1. This means that the consulate sent the case back to USCIS for review, revocation (and may be investigation of the employer). Usually, you should not have any issue with it. But from what I recall, if the case is revoked, you will be subject to the H-1 quota in future.

2. I do not see any implications for the individual unless the revocation was based upon some problem with the individual's qualifications.

Compensation for H-1 lay off

There is no special protection of compensation under H-1 laws once employment is terminated. Under immigration laws, the employer is required only pay for a one-way ticket back to your home country. The protection, if any, comes from employment contracts.

Status, authorized period of stay and unlawful presence

Status, authorized period of stay and unlawful presence are three VERY important concepts in US immigration laws with far reaching implications. The nuances in these concepts are so intricate that they can trip up even my fellow-lawyers. I see issues in this all the time.

Here is a brief primier to enable you to understand the basics. This is by no means an exhaustive analysis.

Status

H-1 without specific job/GC continuation without H-1


1. I don't have a work order or client letter to support my H1B extension which is expiring on 2nd June. Is it legally not allowed to file for H1B extension without this or to avoid RFE one need to support extension with this.

New H-1 employee returning -- rights and issues

There are a couple of issues I want to clarify. The period of payment begins on the earlier of the two events: when the employee presents himself/herself for the job or 30/60 days. DOL considers it to be irrefutable evidence of having reported when a consulting company starts "marketing" the resume (Note also that to bring an employee in without a project has been elevated by this administration to be an indictable offense, which I think is unlikely to stand up in courts).

Unreasonable H-1 requests from CIS

USCIS now wants consulting companies to provide tax information on their clients. This is gross over-reaching in my view. Here is an excerpt from an RFE we received last week:

Employers and Employees -- H-1 or EAD?

 There are two situations to analyze here: being benched and getting paid a lower salary. Both of them have problematic implications for employers and employees.

Here is what concerns me. As far as I know, it has never been done so far, but the possible consequences of being benched are that the I-485 can be denied and (POSSIBLY, but there are strong arguments against it) I-140 could be revoked if already approved. If I-140 is not approved, USCIS could easily deny the I-140.

When does CIS investigate fraud?

The attached document explains the criteria.

H-1 Compliance: Wage Source; Exempt Employees; Posting; Starting Payroll; SSN; When to amend

1. Is it advisable or compulsory to get the prevailing wage determination from the states or Online Wage Library is enough at the time of taking LCA? Because most of the time we are taking the LCAs for the job titles like: Software Engineer, Programmer Analyst and System Analyst for which the wage determination available in the online wage library.

Ans. OES wages can be used as long as the correct job category and job level are used. Applying for prevailing wages from the govt. is time consuming, but does have the benefit of being almost beyond question in case of an audit.

GC approved. When should I start working on the green card job?

Yes, now that the GC is approved, your employer should "permanently" give you the job described (including the title, salary and job duties) in the Labor Certification. This change should take place within a "reasonable time" after the GC approval.

Keep in mind, "permanent" does not mean forever. This term describes a job that has no pre-decided termination date. We see no violation of the law, If the employer, due to economic or other circumstances, can no longer support the job after having offered it to you in good faith.

GC Compliance for Employers

Quote: (1) If we revoke their H-1, are we still required to pay full wages if our clients say they do not currently have a project for our employees?

Ans. You are not required to pay "bench salaries" for employees whose H-1 are revoked (remember you must inform CIS and offer employee a one-way ticket home). But we then have exposure to the questions, "do you still have a "permanent" job for them?" If the answer is no, then their GC processing can be interrupted unless they use AC21 portability.

Employers questions on H-1 compliance

1. Are we OK in keeping an H1B worker without work as long as we pay him during the project break too - at the LCA wage level.

Ans. You must pay your H-1 workers the legal wage. This is the higher of the prevailing wage or the actual wage. Actual wage is defined as that which you pay other similar employees in the same geographical location. So, as long as you pay the legal wage, there is no problem.

What happens when an employer is under criminal investigation/indictment?

That depends upon whether or not the conspiracy was in fact in relation to the pending cases. For example, if the fraud/conspiracy involved non-payment of H-1 employees, that should have no affect on pending green card cases. 

Employers responsibility in H-1 process

Dear Rajiv, we are small business firm with few h1b workers. I have few questions that I would like to get your advise:

a) Do we need to file a separate labor petition whenever a h1b worker moves to an different project location?

Is salary reduction possible/legal?

Quote:

1. If an employee is on a H1 they cannot have a 10% pay cut unless their H1 was amended and refiled.

Start-up applying for H-1 and AC21 for employees
How to get back to H-1 status?

We got an approval for a L1 to H1 with an I-94 effective Oct 1, 2008. But the candidate got an admission for a one year full time MBA program which he wants to pursue and join us in August 2009. His MBA program is starting in September 2008. So, he will be applying for his F1 status soon.

Qo1. What choices do we have to keep the H1 approval valid so that he can join us in August 2009 ?

Is New H-1B Visa Stamping Needed if you Change Employers?
Processing Times Involved in NIW

You can change employers any time if you are a self-applicant and will continue to work in your stated area of national interest.  But NIW priority date will take the same time as a normal EB-2 application does.  See: 

No loss of priority date if employer revokes I-140; Green card through future employer

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.   

https://youtu.be/H_VV9kV_lOg?t=688

New company filing H-1

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.  

H-1 employer not paying

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.  

USCIS Updated Questions &Answers on the H-1B Employer-Employee Relationship

No. This memorandum does not change any of the requirements for an H-1B petition.