Employers’ Immigration Update
H-1B Cap Alert
Employers that plan to file for new H-1B employment visas in FY2015 should be prepared to file by April 1, 2014. H-1B visas generally are limited to 65,000 (85,000 when U.S. Master’s Degree holder visas are included) per fiscal year. The immigration fiscal year begins on October 1, and petitions are accepted for the upcoming fiscal year beginning April 1. While H-1B usage has been lower over the last several years, the recent trend has been toward increasing demand, and last year’s petitions were subjected to a lottery to allocate the visa numbers. Therefore, employers should file on the first day that petitions are accepted, and hiring should be planned in anticipation of a lack of H-1B availability.
DOL Issues FAQ on Notification, Consideration of Laid-Off U.S. Workers for PERM Applications
The Department of Labor has released an FAQ discussing how an employer can demonstrate it notified and considered laid-off U.S. workers for job openings during the PERM Labor Certification Process. The DOL said, “An employer must maintain documentation showing that it has met its notice and consideration requirements, including … contemporaneous documents that show when and how notice and consideration was given. In addition, an employer must obtain and maintain written documentation that a laid-off worker has declined to receive notices, requested discontinuation of the notices, or refused to give or update contact information.”
DHS Audit Reveals Inconsistency in Worksite Enforcement Priorities
A Department of Homeland Security audit has revealed inconsistency in worksite enforcement priorities. Acting Assistant Inspector General for Audits Mark Bell has made three recommendations for improving ICE’s implementation of its worksite enforcement strategy, including enforcing oversight procedures to ensure consistent application of the worksite enforcement strategy administrative inspection process nationwide. Employers can expect more fines from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, instead of warnings, less interest in reducing assessments, and more activity in regions that tended to have fewer inspections. The number of inspections also may increase overall. ICE likely will double its efforts in monitoring field office activity, encouraging them to conduct inspections in a more consistent fashion, and encouraging more precision in internal deliberations supporting a fine assessment.