US Immigration Questions

  1. Tuesday, 10...
    Question: For past 7 years I work for company ‘A’ on their H1B visa (EB3). I had a I-140 cleared in 1998 from my previous company ‘B’ under EB2. Company ‘B’ filed for my I-485 in 2004 and I finally got my green card.
    Answer:

    Quote: 1) Do I need to inform company ‘B’ and be in their payroll with immediate effect?
    2) If company ‘B’ cannot provide me a job in my location and offer the salary I demand, is it a valid reason for me not to join ‘B’?
    3) How should I inform company ‘A’ about my green card and what is the best reason to justify my case to continue work with company ‘A’?
    or Should I inform company ‘A’ only when I fill the I-9 form next year Jan 2010.
    4) If I inform company ‘A’ now about the green card, is there any legal basis for company ‘A’ to take any action on me and terminate me?
    6) If I am impacted in any way, will my spouse and daughter loose their green card status.

    Ans. Your basic question revolves around one issue. "Am I obliged to join my sponsoring employer after GC approval?"

    This is a tough question to answer with so many shades of gray that I am venturing into conjecture rather than well-founded legal opinion. But I must try, because this situation does come up a lot.

    First, we all the know GC is for a future position but you must have an honest intent ("good faith") to join the employer and they to hire you.

    Quote: Practical hint 1. Document as best as you can that you had a good faith intent to join the employer and they to hire you, but due to the economy or whatever other reason they do not have a job for you. You can get a letter from the employer and some evidence that shows they have lost business and have had employee lay offs. You are also not obliged to take a pay cut over the labor cert salary or join in a location other that that mentioned in the labor cert.

    Ans. Second, in my opinion, if you will join them, you should do so within a reasonable period. There is no definition of that either. May be a few months delay is justifiable.

    Quote: Practical hint 2. If the job you are doing now and the job under the GC are same or similar, make sure you document that. Keep copies of your labor cert and of your current job description. This gives an additional argument to protect your GC under AC21.

    Ans. The reason I am asking you to document all this is that when you apply for naturalization, these issues may and often do come up. I am thinking of the defense you will need 5 years from now and if we end up taking the govt. to court, we can have good chances of success.

    Company A should have no reason to let you go but you should update your I-9 now. If your GC is revoked so will that of your family.

  2. Tuesday, 10...
    Question: I have attained Canadian Citizenship but a born Indian citizen, when I am applying for 485 which priority dates do I need to consider, General or India. I do not have Indian passport.
    Answer:

    Still, India. Your chargeability follows the place of birth, not your citizenship.

  3. Monday, 9...
    Question:
    Answer:

    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.

    2. Is it OK to give advances - besides paying LCA wages while the person in on project and then during the project break, run the payroll for LCA wages but recover the advances (post-tax obviously) and pay only balances if any?

    Ans. In my view, this is illegal for many reasons.

    3. Is it OK to pay all our consulting employees a wage of 60K or the LCA wage whichever is higher, irrespective of the skill set - by making this a standard wage policy in the company.

    Ans. As long as you are following the wage guidelines and paying according to the seniority level of the job, I see no issue with this arrangement. But you cannot pay level, 1, 2, 3, and 4 employees $60,000. The wage must be paid according to the job they perform.

    4. Further, is it OK to give discretionary bonuses above these levels to employees that the management considers are more valuable to the company?

    Ans. As long as you can objectively justify the salary variance, I see no issues with this.

  4. Friday, 6...
    Question: What does the stimulus Bill (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) say about H-1 hiring and about green cards?
    Answer:

    There is a lot of confusion out there as is obvious from a gazillion emails I have received. So, I braved the lion’s den and tried to figure out this thing. Here is how I see it.

    1. If an employer receives TARP funding they can hire NEW H-1B workers only if they comply with certain requirements. Note that existing H-1 workers are not affected. Note also that there is no effect on existing or future green card applications of such employers.

    2. These requirements are already in place for employers whose workforce contains a substantial number of H-1 workers. These employers are referred to as H-1B DEPENDENT employers.

    3. The additional requirements that TARP accepting companies have to follow are:
    a. They must not displace U.S. workers in similar positions nor may they place H-1B employees at places where such displacement has or will occur (I can give more details to those who wish to know more. Feel free to send me an email through the contact form on http://www.Immigration.Com).
    b. They must have made good faith efforts to recruit US workers (there is a whole bunch of regulations on how we are supposed to do this. Again, feel free to send me an email through the contact form on http://www.Immigration.Com)
    c. TARP employers are bound by these requirements even if they hire exempt workers. An exempt worker is one who makes at least $60,000/year OR possesses a Master’s or higher degree in his/her filed. Normally the additional requirements of non-displacement and good faith recruitment do NOT apply with respect to exempt H-1B workers. Nevertheless, the Bill says, this exemption is not available for TARP recipients.
    4. This restriction on hiring H-1B workers will stay in effect for two years after the President signs the Bill.
    5. There appears to be no change regarding L-1 provisions.

    For those, who would like to read more on the laws, read section 1611 of referred to as “Employ American Workers Act.” This section refers to 8 USC 1182(n)(3). The full text of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which I referred to is at http://www.house.gov/billtext/hr1_legtext_cr.pdf

    Regards to all. Rajiv.

    6 March 2009

    CIS has clarified that extensions of existing H-1 are not restricted by the new laws. 

  5. Friday, 6...
    Question:
    Answer:

    When filing for H-1, it often becomes an issue as to what is acceptable evidence that a foreign employee has completed their degree requirements.

    USCIS has stated:
     

    Quote: We will accept the following so long as the degree requirements were completed prior to filing:

    A final transcript; OR

    A letter from the Registrar; OR

    A letter executed by the person in charge of the records of the educational
    institution where the degree was awarded.

    If the third option is utilized, then that person must show that they are authorized to issue such letters.

  6. Tuesday, 3...
    Question:
    Answer:

    I am sharing with you a response to a frequently asked question about adopting a child from India. Our inquirer also wanted to know if she could adopt her niece. Here is the info:

    Adoptions of children from India to the US are covered under the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption. Adoptions of relatives are permitted under the Hague Convention so long as the adoption proceeds in the same manner as other Convention adoptions. Significantly, the relative child must still meet the definition of a "Convention Adoptee". Please see the following US State Dept. Website for more details: http://adoption.state.gov/about/who/relatives.html. In addition to other applicable requirements, all of the following Hague requirements must be true for a child to be eligible for the "Convention Adoptee" classification:

    1. The child is under the age of 16 at the time the I-800 petition is filed (with the USCIS) on his or her behalf, is unmarried, and lives in a Convention country (India is a Convention Country); But note, unless there are exceptional circumstances, India only permits relative adoptions for children under the age of six. This may be problematic for you and should be clearly discussed with your State Dept Approved Agency before proceeding.

    2. The child will be adopted by a married U.S. citizen and spouse jointly, or by an unmarried U.S. citizen at least 25 years of age, habitually resident in the United States, whom USCIS has found suitable and eligible to adopt (Form I-800A approval) with the intent of creating a legal parent-child relationship. Note that at this stage the child must not have been adopted yet. However, India makes the following additional requirements: Prospective adoptive parents can’t be less than 30 or more than 55 years of age. Married couples must have a combined age of 90 or less. Prospective adoptive parents should be at least 21 years older than the child. Single parents up to the age of 45 can adopt.

    3. The child's birth parents (or parent if the child has a sole or surviving parent), or other legal custodian, individuals, or entities whose consent is necessary for adoption, freely gave their written irrevocable consent to the termination of their legal relationship with the child and to the child's immigration and adoption;

    4. If the child has two living birth-parents who were the last legal custodian who signed the irrevocable consent to adoption, they are determined to be incapable of providing proper care for the child; and

    5. The child has been adopted or will be adopted in the United States or in the Convention country in accordance with the rules and procedures elaborated in the Hague Adoption Convention and the IAA, including that proper accredited adoption service providers were used where required, and there is no indication of improper inducement, fraud, misrepresentation, or prohibited contact associated with the case.

    Please note for adopting a relative, item #3 is critical. However, even if the surviving parent provides the written consent of relinquishment, the Indian Government has the right to deny this case based on the sole parent's income, occupation, and reasons for relinquishment. Please see the following Indian Government site which provides guidelines for adoptions of relatives abroad:
    http://www.adoptionindia.nic.in/guidelinefamily.htm. If the surviving parent's income, occupation or reason for relinquishment bar classifying the child as a Convention Adoptee, then there is one more possibility. If the child has resided with the United States citizen in legal custody for at least two years, then the U.S. citizen may also file an immigrant visa petition for the child.

    If you choose to proceed with the adoption, our firm would work on the immigration petitions (I-800, I-800a) and the State Dept approved agency would be in contact with the Indian Government to arrange for adoption (or legal guardianship) in India of your niece as required by the Hague Convention.

  7. Friday, 27...
    Question:
    Answer:

    The news item and related documents are available here:
    http://www.immigration.com/newslette...prmprocss.html

    Please note, for now (June 2008), premium processing is only available if you meet ALL of the current requirements:
    1. Your are currently on H-1;
    2. Your H-1 status is expiring within 60 days when you apply for I-140 premium processing; and
    3. You are not eligible to receive 1-year H-1 extensions because your labor certification was filed less than one year ago.

    FAQ

    Question 1
    Can we file I-140 PP if:
    A) The applicant is in 7th, 8th or 9th year extension? If yes, do we have to wait until 60 days before the current year expires or can we file at any time?
    Answer No. Because you fail the 3rd condition. You ARE entitled to receive one-year extensions of H-1.

    B) The 6th year has already expired because there was no way to extend H1 at that time and the I-140/I-485 are currently pending? Applicant is on I-485 Pending status.
    Answer We are sending a letter to CIS asking clarification. In my view, this PP should be allowed.

    C) If the 6th year already expired and the applicant transferred to another non-immigrant status (for example, F-1) because could not extend H1?
    Answer We are sending a letter to CIS asking clarification. In my view, this PP should be allowed.

    See attached copy of the letter sent to CIS.

    Addendum 02/27/09
    In February 2009, CIS expanded the premium processing to include those people who are not in H-1 status currently or are out of the US. Rest of the requirements are the same. Typical of their style, the public notice was confusing and singularly useless in providing accurate guidance. Note that we had pointed out this problem to USCIS back in June 2008. See attached letter. It took them only 8 months to (partly) fix it.
     

  8. Friday, 27...
    Question: My question is that i have just entered USA on B1 /B2 visa on February 21 and sir now I am planning to stay here in USA...I am planning to carry on my further studies in Bridgeport university my arrival is for 3 months and I want to complete this procedure as soon as possible because I don't want to take the law in my hands
    Answer:

    While it is permissible to change from one status to another from within U.S., it may not always be advisable.

    Typically, when someone enters the U.S., supposedly for a short visit (e.g. B-1 or B-2) and then tries to change it to a longer term visa (F-1, L-1, H-1, etc.), USCIS often frowns upon it (and may not grant it), but the consulates invariably frown upon it. My recommendation in most of these cases is to avoid this type of change. If you have already obtained the change, it may be very difficult to procure a visa whenever you need to travel abroad.

    While it is permissible to change from one status to another from within U.S., it may not always be advisable.

    Typically, when someone enters the U.S., supposedly for a short visit (e.g. B-1 or B-2) and then tries to change it to a longer term visa (F-1, L-1, H-1, etc.), USCIS often frowns upon it (and may not grant it), but the consulates invariably frown upon it. My recommendation in most of these cases is to avoid this type of change. If you have already obtained the change, it may be very difficult to procure a visa whenever you need to travel abroad.

    In April 2002, INS changed its regulations regarding B to F-1 or M-1 (students) status conversions for people who enter USA from then on. INS maintains that B to F-1/M -1conversions from within USA will be permitted only if at the time of entering the USA (for instance at the airport) the applicant expressly declares to INS his/her intent to change to F-1/M-1 status. AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, HOWEVER, CIS seems to have often given changes from B to F status ignoring its own regulations. But in these cases also, the visa problem from consulates will remain.

    The better thing to do is to go back to your home country and try for a visa there. Chances of getting a second visa are better if you have done nothing to violate the terms of an earlier visa.

     

  9. Friday, 27...
    Question:
    Answer:

    The news item and related documents are available here:
    http://www.immigration.com/newslette...prmprocss.html

    Please note, for now (June 2008), premium processing is only available if you meet ALL of the current requirements:
    1. Your are currently on H-1;
    2. Your H-1 status is expiring within 60 days when you apply for I-140 premium processing; and

    The news item and related documents are available here:
    http://www.immigration.com/newslette...prmprocss.html

    Please note, for now (June 2008), premium processing is only available if you meet ALL of the current requirements:
    1. Your are currently on H-1;
    2. Your H-1 status is expiring within 60 days when you apply for I-140 premium processing; and
    3. You are not eligible to receive 1-year H-1 extensions because your labor certification was filed less than one year ago.

    FAQ

    Question 1
    Can we file I-140 PP if:
    A) The applicant is in 7th, 8th or 9th year extension? If yes, do we have to wait until 60 days before the current year expires or can we file at any time?
    Answer No. Because you fail the 3rd condition. You ARE entitled to receive one-year extensions of H-1.

    B) The 6th year has already expired because there was no way to extend H1 at that time and the I-140/I-485 are currently pending? Applicant is on I-485 Pending status.
    Answer We are sending a letter to CIS asking clarification. In my view, this PP should be allowed.

    C) If the 6th year already expired and the applicant transferred to another non-immigrant status (for example, F-1) because could not extend H1?
    Answer We are sending a letter to CIS asking clarification. In my view, this PP should be allowed.

    See attached copy of the letter sent to CIS.

    Addendum 02/27/09
    In February 2009, CIS expanded the premium processing to include those people who are not in H-1 status currently or are out of the US. Rest of the requirements are the same. Typical of their style, the public notice was confusing and singularly useless in providing accurate guidance. Note that we had pointed out this problem to USCIS back in June 2008. See attached letter. It took them only 8 months to (partly) fix it.
     

  10. Monday, 23...
    Question: I am on F-1/J-1 visa (student visa). Can I apply for green card (Permanent Residency)?
    Answer:

    There is no law that prohibits an F-1, J-1, F-2, or J-2 visa holder from applying for a green card directly. But as a practical matter it takes a long time to obtain a green card in most cases. Therefore, even if you begin your green card process while you are on F or J status you will probably be required to convert to H-1 due to lack of time. Conversion to H-1 during green card pendency is no problem.

    One more issue that you have to bear in mind is that F and J visas do not allow you to possess immigrant intent. Therefore, if you travel abroad during the pendency of the green card or if you need to obtain F or J visa stamped, you could have trouble because filing for green card you would have established immigrant intent.

  11. Sunday, 22...
    Question: My father is on an H1 b visa and his employer has filled for his green card Me and my Family are on H 4 but i am about to be 21 and thus my h4 visa cannot be renewed.I-140 of all the members of the family has been cleared but we cannot yet file I 485 as the priority date is not near. Do I have to convert my visa status into F 1 so that i can live and study here? Is there anyway that i can file for my green card as when i filled my papers i was not 21 and it is because the file is pending i cant put forth my 485 papers. Is there any chance that under special cases like mine we can get my papers filled as I am about to transfer to a University and it is very hard for me to afford to pay the fees as an International student when my papers are so close to green card.
    Answer:

     I do not see any way around filing an F-1.

  12. Sunday, 22...
    Question: Form I-90 Green Card was lost. Instead of checking Part 2, 2a, I checked Part 2, 2f. Submitted online and paid with credit card. The instructions state the following: "If it is necessary t o change any information on your submitted I-90 application, please bring evidence to support the change with you to your biometrics appointment. DO NOT send written correspondence regarding changes to the address below." At the biometrics appointment, can the interested party state the above mistake and solve this situation? Or will the USCIS denie the application? And another filing fee will have to be paid?
    Answer:

    You should certainly point this out at the biometrics appt. You should also call the CIS customer service number and explain the problem. In addition, you should contact your Congressman. Let them contact CIS and help you correct this issue.

  13. Sunday, 22...
    Question: What if an employer is indicted on multiple counts and he is cleared of all other charges but he pleads to a conspiracy charge with home detention for a few months as his punishment. How does this effect pending cases at his business?
    Answer:

    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. 

  14. Sunday, 22...
    Question:
    Answer:

    1. I am curruntly on HIB Visa for the past 5yrs and 2 months (GC process started and 1-140 approved) working for a State Health Department.
    Being a medical doctor from India i will be starting my medical residency from July on a J1 Visa. Once i complete my 3yr Medical residency and apply for J1 Waiver in 2012 (for working in medically underserved area), will the duration of HIB i am using up now (almost 5 and half years) effect the Physician HIB offered as a part of J1 waiver.So, will the 'JI Waiver Visa' be entirely different type of HI visa with a new 3yr time period or will i have only 6months of HIB left at that time(due to 6yr limit)as i am right now using up 5 and half years by June. Please advice.

    Ans. Your total limit of H-1 is still 6 years, Ravi. There is no special provision for physicians. But you may be able to leverage your green card for extensions beyond six years.

    2. How to leverage the I-140 to get H-1 extensions?

    Ans. When your I-140 is approved and your priority date is backed up, you are entitled to a 3-year H-1 extension even beyond 6 years of your H-1. This extension should be given even if the H-1 extension is for an employer other than the one who sponsored your green card.

    3. Is an approved I-140 ground for an automatic denial of J visa?

    Ans. No. But, it makes the grant of a J-1 very difficult because you have exhibited immigrant intent. J-1 visa (unlike H or L visas) does not permit you to have immigrant intent. The matter is totally in the discretion of USCIS or the consulates.

  15. Sunday, 22...
    Question:
    Answer:

    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?

    b) We are having difficulty finding project for one of our h1b worker. As a small firm, we are unable to run a payroll while the candidate is on bench (so to speak). Should we need to withdraw the petition and send the candidate back home? or is it ok to accept a leave of absence from the candidate? She has a EAD also (as her husband has filled I485 in Nov 2007)

    Travel on H-1
    The rules on travel while on H-1 are fairly complex. Let me state the basic law.

    If the employee moves to an area beyond normal commuting distance for the approved location (stated in their approved H-1 and LCA), and you do not have another valid LCA for that location, you MUST amend the H-1.

    If the relocation is in the same area, you MUST file a new LCA and post the notice at two places in the new job site. You do NOT need to amend the H-1.

    There are a whole set of rules about exceptions for employees who are required to habitually travel (peripatetic employees), short term travel and travel for attending seminars etc. If you folks need more of that I will edit this article further when I get a few minutes.

    Leave of Absence on H-1
    Regs do permit leave of absence if an employee genuinely needs it. But you must not use LOA as a pretext to bench employees. In my view, you must withdraw the H-1.

    FAQ
     

    Quote: I have a question regarding the h1b candidates who left our firm almost 2 years ago(there are two case). We didn't send the withdrawal form (as we weren't familiar with the case). If we send a withdrawal notice now (stating that they resigned in the 2006 or 2007) will there be any implications for us? Appreciate your help.

    I do not believe we have a choice. You MUST inform USCIS. In my view, the fact that we are stepping forward to correct problems voluntarily is in fact helpful to us.

    By the way, I think I am scheduled to do an employer-only phone seminar answering and discussing all compliance issues this Thursday at 2 PM. This may be more for our existing clients. But go ahead and send an email though the "contact us" form on our home page. Send email from your corporate account. We are not opening the seminar for anyone but employers. There is no charge, fo course.

  16. Thursday,...
    Question: I am a licenced physical therapist in Michigan and working on my OPT. Is it true that PTs and nurses are exempted from the labor certification during green card process? and they do not need to file labor certification? And considering the current scenario, can you please let me know approximately how much time does it take for a physical therapist to get a green card?
    Answer:

     PT's and RN's are both exempt from filing labor cert, but the time for their green card processing is still tied to the time it takes for people from the country of their birth. An India-born PT will wait the same time in EB-3 category as any other India-born EB-3 applicant.

  17. Thursday,...
    Question: Is it possible to start GC process during my first year medical residency if my hospital agrees. Have you dealt with cases like this.
    Answer:

    The essence of a green card application is that it is meant to be for a job in the future. 

    Thus, where an employee is currently working or working before obtaining a green card
    approval is largely irrelevant.

    You must, however, be fully qualified to take the job on the date the PERM application is filed. So, if the State in which you are filing your GC, permits you to get a license to practice in 2nd year of residency, you can file only in the second year.

    The process is also governed by good faith. You must have a good faith intention of joining the employer and the employer must have the intention of hiring you. Do you actually have to join the employer? Well, probably not. Look at the law on AC21.

  18. Thursday,...
    Question:
    Answer:

    Quote:

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

    Ans. Probably yes. That is the safest thing to do. The rule of thumb is, you can never pay an H-1 holder below the prevailing wage. You can also not pay them below what you pay other similarly employed professionals in the geographical location of the employment. So, if the 10% pay cut does not violate these two principles, the only other issue in immigration compliance is whether 10% cut in salary is a "substantial" change in the job. An H-1 amendment is always necessary when there is a substantial change. To be safe, I would recommend you amend.

    Quote:

    2. If an employee is on a GC processing (I140 or I485) they can have a reduction but need to be paid the amount equal to or greater that was listed on the GC petition on the day their GC is approved.

    Ans. Basically, yes.

    The main issue here is, if the salary being paid is below that expressed in the GC application, does the employer still have the ability to pay wages. This issue is usually not raised past the I-140 approval, but I see no law that says it cannot be raised after the I-140 approval. And in all cases before 140 approval, the salary shortfall must be balanced by showing an equal amount of taxable income or net current assets for each GC beneficiary (employee) still in the process.

    For example, you have to give a pay reduction to an employee on H-1. Assuming you have not violated the H-1 requirements we have discussed above, you will need to show continued ability to pay the GC salary. Let us say the salary stated on the GC application in $80,000. The employee is now making $75,000 after the pay cut.

    For GC, we will have to show $5,000 taxable income/current assets (or the proportion of salary that falls in that tax year). If there are 5 employees in the same situation, that amount would rise to $25,000.

    Quote:

    3. If an employee is on a GC processing and has a H1 they need to have their H1 revoked and work on their EAD for the #2 above to be accepted.

    Ans. You can do that as long as that employee is getting paid the same as others.

    Quote:

    4. Benefits that were listed as a part of an employees immigration processing cannot be decreased.

    Ans. There is no place where we commit to benefits or state them in the GC application as far as I know. The law does not require benefits.

     

  19. Wednesday,...
    Question:
    Answer:

    Quote:

    If we apply for a H1b extension for another year ( I believe we can apply 6 months before the expiry of the current 7th year H1b ) and if its approved, does that mean that I can still work till Nov 2010 even if the I -140 gets rejected before the extension comes into effect?

    Ans. Yes. You are safe. Under current practice, CIS does not take away extensions already given.

    Quote:

    I really want to thank and appreciate the good work you and your team is doing.
    I had a question regarding Status. I am currently working on H1(6th Year) with one company and have another company who has filled for my GC. The I-140 has been approved(Oct'07) and 485 was also filled in Oct'07.
    My question is if my present employer lays me off and terminates my H1,
    1. Can apply for H1B transfer to other company?
    2. Will I be consider out of Status under any condition?
    3. Will H1B cap apply to me as its going to be a new H1B as the previous company will cancel the H1b after Layoff.
    4. Can you also tell me can I apply for the H1B from another company as a backup and join that company after layoff?

    Ans. You should be able to apply for an H-1 through another company. You may have to apply for an H-1 visa to get back into H-1, but you will not be out of status because your 485 is pending. You will not be subject to the quota. Having an H-1 as a backup is legallly possible, but tricky. Make sure you discuss this with your H-1 lawyers.

  20. Friday, 13...
    Question:
    Answer:

    In a recent meeting, USDOL has stated:

    Quote:

    ...As of late January 2009, DOL is processing cases with priority dates in June 2008, cases in the audit queue with priority dates in August 2007, and cases in the appeal queue of April 2007....

    One of the reasons that case processing slowed in the 4th quarter of 2008 was that DOL was hiring and training contractor staff for the Atlanta National Processing Center. The contract was awarded last summer, a losing contractor appealed and won the appeal, then the initial contractor sued. The workers did not come on board until last September 2008. The Atlanta Processing Center has only 40 federal employees and the rest of the staff consists of contractors. With the contractors now in place, the pace of processing has picked up. Only 4,571 PERM applications were completed in October-December 2008 but 3,500 PERM applications were completed in January 2009. However, DOL expects this will level off and processing rates will slow down again because of the limited number of federal employees available to review the contractors’ work.

     

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