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H2B Newsletter - Monthly Updates on Seasonal Labor Immigration.


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From the Editor's Desk


The Express H2B team gives a hearty and warm welcome to all its readers. With the advent of New Year 2009, we are striving hard to introduce new and exciting services to make your H-2B visa processing a smooth journey! The response we received for our first newsletter was simply overwhelming. Your trust and appreciation have made our efforts all worth while. The Express H2B team wants to take this opportunity to thank all our readers for their trust and appreciation. We wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous Year ahead.


The month of December was quite exciting as it marked the successful launch of our H2B Newsletter. With the launch of the Express H2B Newsletter, we have a mechanism in place to be linked with you. Through this expedition we have taken the initiative to

endow you with the latest H-2B "happenings of the month" and the changes in the world of immigration. As part of our continued efforts to provide you with The Best Services, our Express H2B team is currently working on various exciting projects this year. Your suggestions and feedback are highly valuable, so please do let us know how we can help you better!


H2B Cap Reached! The USCIS, on January 08, 2009, announced that it has received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the congressionally mandated H2B cap for the second half of Fiscal Year 2009 (FY2009). The USCIS notice also informed us that it will reject any H-2B visa petitions for new workers seeking an employment start date prior to October 1, 2009 that are received after January 7, 2009. If excess H-2B petitions are received, the USCIS will apply a computer-generated random selection process to all cap-subject H-2B visa petitions that are received on Jan. 7, 2009 in order to select the number of H-2B visa petitions needed to meet the cap.


The USCIS will reject, and return the fee, all cap-subject petitions not randomly selected. The USCIS will however continue to accept cap-exempt H-2B petitions with employment start dates in the second half of FY 2009, including extension requests for current H-2B workers, and petitions requesting changes of employer or additional employers. The USCIS had stated that it would accept H-2B petitions for 50,000 beneficiaries -- significantly more than the cap-figure of 33,000 -- to allow for cases that are ultimately denied, withdrawn, or revoked, as well as cases in which employers employ fewer workers than actually requested. At this point it is unclear if USCIS actually accepted petitions for 50,000 H-2B beneficiaries. The 50,000 figure was an estimate only and subject to change by the agency.


Elaine Chao, Secretary of Labor

Good News - H2B Procedures Streamlined! Now for some of the best news we have received in a long time. Last month, the US Department of Labor (DOL) and the USCIS issued rules that significantly change the H-2B filing procedures in an effort to streamline and modernize the process. One

of the merits of this new H-2B rule is that employers will now submit their H-2B applications directly to the DOL's Employment and Training Administration instead of filing first at the state level and then having to wait for a second review at the federal level.


The rule change ends the state workforce agency duplication of effort in processing applications. State workforce agencies will now concentrate their efforts on helping employers recruit US workers. Another significant change is that the DOL may debar (for up to three years) any employers, attorneys and agents found to have committed fraud or willful misrepresentation concerning the H-2B employment-based immigration program, or who fail to cooperate with Labor Department audits or investigations. The final rule will go into effect Jan. 18, 2009. In the opinion of Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, "This final rule will provide greater protection for workers and improve the integrity and efficiency of the H-2B temporary labor certification program."


We truly appreciate the USCIS' effort to streamline the H-2B visa process. The proposed rule appears to recognize that alleged abuses of the program appear to be the result of foreign recruiters in obtaining H-2B workers.


Click here to read the DHS’ Final Rule on H-2B Visa…


The winds of "change" are blowing. One of the biggest news items on this month's agenda is the inauguration and Swearing-in Ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama.


Mr. Obama, in one of his speeches, promised that he would make immigration his top priority and will definitely initiate ways and means to make immigration a fair journey. Obama and Vice President-elect Joseph Biden plan to fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and meet the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill with US workers. Obama would also initiate measures to discourage illegal migration to the United States.



Bush waves a final Good-bye!


President George W. Bush delivers his farewell address to the nation Thursday evening, Jan. 15, 2009, from the East Room of the White House. President Bush stated in his remarks, "It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your President. There have been good days and tough days. But every day I have been inspired by the greatness of our country, and uplifted by the goodness of our people."


President Bush Delivers Farewell Message to the Nation: Couple of days prior to the Swearing-in ceremony of Mr. Barack Obama, President Bush delivered a farewell message to the Nation saying, "It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your President. There have been good days and tough days. But every day I have been inspired by the greatness of our country, and uplifted by the goodness of our people. I have been blessed to represent this nation we love. And I will always be honored to carry a title that means more to me title that means more to me than any other - citizen of the United States of America. And so, my fellow Americans, for the final time: Good night. May God bless this house and our next President. And may God bless you and our wonderful country."


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See you next month with lot more happenings on H-2B! Till then take care!





News Bulletin


USCIS Reaches H-2B Cap for Second Half of Fiscal Year 2009


The USCIS, on January 08, 2009, announced that it has received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the congressionally mandated H2B cap for the second half of Fiscal Year 2009. USCIS will reject the H2B visa petitions for new workers seeking employment start dates prior to October 1, 2009 that arrive after Jan. 7, 2009. If deemed necessary, USCIS may apply a computer-generated random selection process to all the H2B visa petitions that are subject to the cap and received on Jan. 7, 2009 in order to select the number of H2B visa petitions needed to meet the cap.


Read More News



Featured Article


H2B Visa – Determining the Prevailing Wage Rate


There is a prevailing wage requirement for all H1B, H2B and Permanent Labor Certification cases. Prevailing Wage is defined as the hourly wage, usual benefits and overtime, paid in the largest city in each county, to the majority of workers, laborers, and mechanics. Prevailing wages are established, by the Department of Labor (DOL) and Industries, for each trade and occupation employed in the performance of public work. The law requires that an employer pay the higher of their actual wage or the prevailing wage in the area for the offered position. Obtaining a prevailing wage determination is no longer the easy process as it was in the past. Determining the prevailing wage would include identifying a wage survey that fits your job offered and noting the wage requirements. Read out the complete article to find out how the Department of Labor determines the Prevailing Wage Rate.


Read Full Article | Read More Articles



Questions and Answers


What is an H-2B certification? Why is it required?


Ans: The H-2B program establishes a means for US nonagricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers, to bring temporary nonimmigrant foreign workers into the US. The Labor Certification is one of the requirements for H-2B petitions to prove that the job and the US employer's need for the foreign worker is of a temporary nature, and that there are no qualified US workers that are ready, willing, and able to fill the position. The need must be for one year or less and can be either a one-time occurrence, seasonal, peak load or intermittent. Temporary employment should not be confused with part-time employment, which does not qualify for temporary (or permanent) labor certification.


More Q&A



H2B Myths and Reality


Myth: I have a valid employment offer from an employer in US and I meet all the other criteria for the H-2B work visa. I am not concerned about the H-2B cap because I will just use premium processing. That way I can still get an H-2B, even though the cap has been reached.


Reality: No, this is a myth. Premium processing is simply a way to speed up the decision making process in a case. It is not some sort of special program with extra cap numbers or exemptions. A cap-subject H-2B case filed after the cap has been reached will be rejected and returned by the USCIS Service Center, whether or not premium processing is requested. Even though you meet all the criteria for the H-2B visa, there’s no exemption from the Cap rule through premium processing.


News Bulletin
Featured Article
Questions and Answers
H2B Myths and Reality



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