It’s the month of August and we are back again with lots of latest news, interesting happenings and immigration updates. Let us first begin our journey with the most pleasant news of the month. Well, no points for guessing – the pleasant news is undoubtedly about the reopening of the H-2B cap for the fiscal year 2009.
USCIS on August 6, 2009, announced that it has reopened its window to accept petitions for H-2B visas with immediate effect for the year 2009. USCIS informed that there are about 25,000 still left to be filled out for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, USCIS informed.
Since there is not much time left between now and September 30, before which all H-2B visas have to be used, USCIS has advised prospective employees and applicants to submit their petitions in the premium processing by depositing an additional fee of USD 1,000.
USCIS said the petitioner must also indicate an employment start date before October 1, 2009. Petitions received on or after October 1, 2009, and/or requesting a starting date on or after October 1, 2009, will be considered towards the fiscal year 2010 H-2B cap and are subject to all eligibility requirements for fiscal year 2010 H-2B filings.
Unlike the H-1B, which is more popular among professionals, H-2B Programme allows US employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs for which there is a shortage of available US workers.
Typically, H-2B workers fill labor needs in occupational areas such as education, construction, health care, landscaping, manufacturing, food service/processing, and resort/hospitality services.
So, if you missed the chance to file for an H-2B visa for fiscal year 2009, here’s an opportunity at your door-step. Do not miss this opportunity.
While we talk about the reopening of H-2B petition, let us catch a glimpse of what’s going on with the Immigration Reform.
President Barack Obama has recently made some heart broken comments by saying that ‘he is too busy with other things to give attention to immigration reform.’ But prompt and substantial reform is indeed required. Much of the conflict we suffer over immigration is consequent to ineffective laws and inadequate enforcement.
The need for substantial immigration reform is at the critical stage. Such reform must be reasonable, realistic, and fair to be effective. It must be morally right more than politically correct. It must be economically and socially effective more than politically convenient or advantageous.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Refugees and Border Security Subcommittee, issued on August 14, 2009 the following statement in response to President Obama’s comments that immigration reform is being pushed back to next year.
“Today President Obama backtracked on his promise to address comprehensive immigration reform during his first year in office. After stating several times on the campaign trail that it would be a ‘top priority,’ I am disappointed he has changed his tune. Immigration reform is long overdue and belongs on President Obama’s full plate.
"It's important that immigration legislation protects our borders, promotes economic prosperity in Texas and throughout the United States, and is consistent with our American values of compassion, family, and opportunity. I urge President Obama to reconsider his decision and put immigration reform back on his priority list," Sen. Cornyn said.
Well, all we can do right now is hope that President Obama passes the comprehensive immigration reform.
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USCIS Reopens FY 2009 H-2B Cap Filing Period
USCIS announced that it has reopened the H-2B filing for fiscal year 2009 and will immediately accept new H-2B petitions. USCIS reopened the fiscal year 2009 H-2B filing period because far less than the annual quota of H-2B visas has been used for this year. The H-2B filing period for fiscal year 2009 ends on September 30, 2009.
Applying for an H-2B Visa? Check H-2B Filing Tips for Smooth and Fast Visa Processing
The H-2B visa category is a non-immigrant visa which allows foreign workers to temporarily engage in seasonal or nonagricultural employment in the US. The H-2B visa process can be complicated, exhausting, and often frustrating. It is not easy to navigate the myriad of rules established by the DOL and the USCIS, and it therefore requires extreme care and attention to detail in filing all the necessary paperwork and supporting documentation. In an endeavor to provide better and more effective service to our clients and readers, we have designed this article, which will explain Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s (OFLC) H-2B filing tips.
Full Article | Read
Questions and Answers
Question: Is a seasonal or peak load need established if the employer's customers, because of budget constraints or a holiday season, do not request the labor/services during one certain period of the year?
Ans: In order to establish a seasonal need, the employer must establish that its services or labor is traditionally tied to a season of the year by an event or pattern, and is of a recurring nature. The employer can establish a seasonal need for temporary foreign workers if it can establish a clear pattern of when temporary foreign workers are needed regardless of the reasoning behind the need. The employer must specify the period(s) of time during each year in which it does not need the services or labor. An employer providing services whose clients no longer require those services because of a predictable cyclical budget constraint or a holiday season, and can demonstrate that its own need for workers during those weeks or months is then eliminated, demonstrates a temporary need.
H2B Myths and Reality
Myth: Recently an opponent of the H-2B program was quoted as saying:
"It just shows how businesses have become increasingly adept at gaming the system to get cheap servile labor. They're willing to work for lower wages for less benefits, and can't quit without being thrown out of the country, so they're tied to their employer, and they're sort of indentured labor, and they're not likely to make too many other demands on the employers."
Reality: In response to these accusations:
- The wages paid to H-2B workers are set by the Department of Labor as the average prevailing wage for the duties being performed. These averages are calculated based on all workers (i.e. AMERICANS) performing these duties in the given geographical area.
- The H-2B worker can quit and return to the previous circumstance so from whence they came.
- In most cases, H-2B workers put more demands on their employers, as the employer becomes the support mechanism for their worker in a foreign land. Interviews, orientations and trainings often must take place abroad adding additional burden and expense on the employer.