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H-1B filing season approaches

It is now time for employers to start planning the H-1B petition filings for foreign national employees.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2017 cap on April 1, 2016.  Beneficiaries of approved H-1B petitions will be eligible to start working on October 1, 2016, the beginning of the FY 2017.  While April 1 may appear to be away, it will be here sooner than you expect.

The H-1B visa category provides for the temporary employment of foreign nationals in “specialty occupations” for which at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent is required (for example, accountants, pharmacists, computer programmers, engineers, lawyers, teachers, and many other professions).

There is cap of 65,000 visas per year plus 20,000 visas for workers who possess U.S.-earned master’s or higher degrees.  It is expected, as in the previous years, that petitions received from April 1 to April 7 (the first five business days of April) will be considered in the H-1B “lottery” (computer-generated random selection process).  The lottery will select H-1B petitions, which will be accepted for adjudication.

As the economy improved and a large number of H-1B candidates is expected to apply this year, we advise employers to be proactive and move quickly to ensure their H-1B petitions are prepared and ready to be filed prior to April 1, 2016.  Keep in mind that prior to filing of the H-1B petition, a labor condition application has to be certified by the Department of Labor and must be submitted with the H-1B petition.  For more information and help with your H-1B petitions, call us today at 480-425-2009 or contact us through our website!

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EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa for Athletes

More and more gifted athletes are being recruited from all over the world to play professionally sports like basketball, football, soccer and baseball in the U.S. In addition, thanks to state-of-the-art training facilities like the one in Colorado Springs, Colorado, more and more athletes are coming to the U.S. to train for events like the Olympics, the World Cup and international bicycle racing. Many of these athletes, professional and amateur alike, often want to establish permanent residency in the United States.
An EB-1 Visa is for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics seeking to establish permanent residency in the United States. To obtain an EB-1 visa, the foreign athlete must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in athletics, seek to enter the U.S. to continue in the same field and show that his or her entry will substantially benefit the U.S. The athlete must demonstrate “sustained or international acclaim” and that his or her achievements have been recognized in his or her field.
An example of a foreign professional athlete who has been awarded EB-1 visa and green card is professional golfer Nick Price, a native of Zimbabwe. He has 18 PGA tour wins (3 majors), a former #1 world ranking to his credit and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Another example of a foreign athlete who received EB-1 visa and green card is Robert Cheseret, a Kenyan-born long-distance runner who won the men’s title for the U.S. at the 2011 NACAC Cross Country Championships. Cheseret had a total of eight Pac-10 titles during his career – the most ever by a Pac-10 track and field athlete. Cheseret went on to capture the NCAA West Regional individual crown and was the Pac-10′s top finisher at the NCAA Championships with a tenth-place finish.
The athlete must either show a one-time achievement such as a major internationally recognized award or evidence of three of the ten categories. There are several major advantages for foreign athletes applying for the EB-1 visa. Athletes do not need to obtain labor certification or provide proof of a job offer. Consequently, this method is usually faster way to obtain a green card than applying for EB-2 or EB-3 immigration visa. The foreign athlete must show that (s)he meets all requirements of EB-1 extraordinary ability visa. While some athletes may be able to obtain EB-1 extraordinary ability visa without a lawyer, in order to obtain an approval, it’s advisable to hire an experienced EB-1 extraordinary ability visa attorney. Please call 480-425-2009 today or send us an email and we will help you obtain your EB-1 extraordinary ability visa (green card).

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It’s time to prepare H-1B visa petitions for fiscal year 2015

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will start accepting H-1B visa applications on April 1, 2014 for Fiscal Year 2015. H-1B visas are for foreign workers in specialty occupations with at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.  Fiscal year 2015 starts on October 1, 2014. There is a numerical cap on H-1B visa, which for FY 2015 is 65,000 plus additional 20,000 for individuals who earned Master’s degree or higher from U.S. accredited educational institutions.   The cap will be filled very quickly, so it’s very important to start preparing the applications early.  Before the H-1B visa application can be submitted on April 1, certification of a labor condition application by the Department of Labor is required.  The Department of Labor may take up to seven business days to certify the labor condition application.   Therefore, it’s important to make decisions about hiring foreign workers quickly and start preparing the applications as soon as possible, so complete application can be submitted on April 1. If you want to make sure the H-1B visa application is prepared correctly, please call 480-425-2009 or contact us at www.juraslaw.com/contact-us today!