• In preparation for the upcoming H-1B work permit filing season, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has provided guidance to U.S. employers that receive funding under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) or Section 13 of the Federal Reserve Act. Under the Employ American Workers Act (EAWA), when seeking to sponsor new H-1B workers, these employers are viewed as "H-1B dependent employers" and are required to make specific attestations to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regarding local recruitment efforts and non-displacement of U.S. workers. The USCIS has clarified that upon having repaid their obligations, the employers should respond "no" to the question pertaining to TARP funding receipt and are no longer subject to the additional attestations requirement.
  • The USCIS recently has posted revised versions of several of its most popular immigration application forms, including Form I-140 Immigrant Petition used for most categories of employer-sponsored Green Card proceedings. The initial posting prohibited use of prior versions of these forms effective immediately. However, the government has since corrected its instructions and confirmed that prior editions of these forms may be used. Importantly, the prior edition of Form I-140 will be accepted only if postmarked by Mar. 2, 2010.
  • With certain immigration benefits available to Haitian nationals that are currently in the U.S., the USCIS has issued warnings concerning immigration scams targeting these applicants. Haitian applicants for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) should review the guidance at www.uscis.gov/haitianearthquake to learn about the TPS application process and procedures.
  • H-1B filing season is a little over a month away. The USCIS will start accepting new H-1B petitions on Apr. 1, 2010. The newly-implemented prevailing wage determination and Labor Condition Application certification systems may slow down the H-1B petition preparation process. Consequently, the time to plan H-1B proceedings and gather the necessary documentation is now, and employers should discuss petition preparation and filing timelines with their immigration legal counsel.