• H-1B CAP: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) still is accepting H-1B petitions towards the annual visa cap and employment start date of October 1, 2011. Per the most recent government count, nearly 23,000 H-1B cap-subject petitions have been accepted for processing, and the USCIS has accepted approximately 14,000 H-1B petitions for foreign nationals with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions. The timing is perfect for new H-1B workers' H-1B sponsorship and change of immigration status filings for graduating foreign students or foreign nationals employed in the U.S. pursuant to post-graduation practical training (OPT).
  • DHS and USCIS have jointly announced a series of important improvements to the government's program for foreign entrepreneurs investing in U.S. business ventures. Per the announcement, the government is implementing substantial enhancements to the EB-5 immigrant investor program which include expedited processing of related petitions and adjudicating officials' increased accessibility for application related questions and discussions. An important new development is that the USCIS has agreed that a foreign professional applying for H-1B status may establish a valid employer-employee relationship in order to qualify for H-1B petition approval even if he/she is the sole owner of the petitioning company. This is a departure from a longstanding practice that an H-1B worker may not own a substantive part of the sponsoring employer-company.