• H-1B Season is Here. A new H-1B filing season is starting on April 1, and it is time to consider your work visa needs for the government’s fiscal year starting October 1, 2013. Since new H-1B visa numbers are limited annually to 65,000 for college degree level professionals and 20,000 for those with U.S. Master’s or higher degrees, and more employers are expected to file more H-1B petitions for their existing or incoming employees this year, it is important to file early to ensure visa availability. Discuss your H-1B filing needs with your immigration counsel before the H-1B filing season is in full swing.
  • On March 8, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a new Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification form, to be used by employers to verify the identity and employment authorization of newly hired employees and those requiring re-verification. Importantly, an employer should not complete a new I-9 for a current employee if a properly completed I-9 is already on file. While the USCIS has allowed for the prior form version to be used through May 7, primarily to accommodate those employers who utilize electronic I-9 platforms, employers are encouraged to begin using the new form immediately. The new I-9 form has been expanded to two pages, and other key changes to the form include: new data fields for employee’s foreign passport information, e-mail address, and telephone number; and more detailed form instructions. Now is a good time to review the company’s I-9 program compliance and provide refresher training to your human resources professionals.