1. USCIS began accepting H-1B petitions for FY 2018 on Monday, April 3, 2017. 2. On April 7, 2017, USCIS has announced that for FY 2018, it has reached the H-1B regular cap of 65,000 and the master's cap of 20,000. 3. USCIS temporarily suspended Premium Processing for all H-1B petitions starting Monday, April 3, 2017. Hence, USCIS will reject any Form I-907 filed with an H-1B petition. (The H-1B petition will not be rejected, just the form for premium processing.) This suspension may last up to 6 months. 3. On April 3, 2017, USCIS announced multiple measures to further deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse. Per USCIS, it will take a more targeted approach when making site visits to H-1B petitioners and the worksites of H-1B employeees. The focus will be on:
Employers whose basic business information cannot be validated by USCIS through commercially available data;
H-1B dependent employers;
Employers whoses H-1B employees work off-site at another company location
Additionally, an email address (REPORTH1BABUSE@USCIS.DHS.GOV) has been set up to allow individuals to submit tips, alleged violations and other relevant information regarding potential H-1B fraud or abuse.
H-2B TEMPORARY NON-AGRICULTURAL WORKERS
What's new this year?
1. On March 16, USCIS announced that it has reached the H-2B cap for FY 2017. The final receipt date is March 13, 2017 for new H-2B worker petitions with an employment start date before October 1, 2017.
What does this mean?
Employers can no longer request an employment start before October 1, 2017 or their petition will be rejected. An exception will be for current H-2B workers who are exempt from the cap because they are requesting an extension, a change of the terms of their employment or a change in employers.
On April 1, 2017, there will be 33,000 new visas released for the first half of FY 2018. The employment start date will be October 1, 2017 or later.
Note: 1st half of FY = employment from Oct. 1 - March 31; 2nd half of FY = employment from April 1 - Sept. 30
What is an H-2B Visa? An H-2b visa is for temporary non-agricultural workers. It allows U.S. employers to bring foreign workers to fill temporary non-agricultural positions. The employer (or U.S. agent) is the Petitioner and the foreign worker is the Beneficiary.
Requirement for the job: The employer's job opportunity (opportunities) must be: temporary, FT, nonagricultural
temporary (9 months or less, except one-time occurrences),
full-time (35 or more hours per week), and
non-agricultural employment within a specified area(s) of intended employment.
Temporary: The need is considered "temporary" if based on any the following: One-time occurrence:
An employment situation that is otherwise permanent, but a temporary event of short duration has created the need for a temporary worker.
The employer has not employed workers to perform the service or labor in the past, and will not need workers to perform the services or labor in the future;
The employer has not employed permanent or full-time workers to perform the services or labor; and
Occasionally or intermittently needs temporary workers to perform services or labor for short periods.
The service or labor for which it seeks workers is traditionally tied to a season of the year by an event or pattern; and
Of a recurring nature.
Regularly employs permanent workers to perform the services or labor at the place of employment;
Needs to temporarily supplement its permanent staff at the place of employment due to a seasonal or short-term demand; and
The temporary additions to staff will not become part of the employer's regular operation.
Cap: The H-2b cap is set at 66,000 per fiscal year, with with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 - March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 - September 30). Any unused visas carry over from the first half to the second half of the fiscal year; however, the carry over does not apply from one fiscal year to the next.
The H-2B process involves:
Obtaining a Prevailing Wage Determination
Application for Temporary Labor Certification
Application to USCIS
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