IT staffing firms file suit over new H-1B rules

Courtesy of Computer World:

Over the past year, the USCIS has increased enforcement of the H-1B program through on-site inspections and new rules seeking increased paperwork from firms to justify their use of foreign workers.

But what really angered much of the staffing industry was the so-called Neufeld Memo, written by an associate director at USCIS, Donald Neufeld, that opponents contend upended the rules for H-1B workers assigned to third party work sites.

Technology industry companies use H-1B workers in a number of ways.

Some are hired by major companies like Microsoft or Google as staff employees. Large offshore firms, including Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services, hire H-1B workers to complete customer outsourcing projects and to work with overseas operations. And small and mid-size firms often hire H-1B workers to fill specific needs at third party customer sites for projects that may take less than a year — similar to traditional temporary employment processes.

The Neufeld memo requires that management at staffing firms maintain day-to-day control of employees assigned to third-party sites. Critics contend that the ruling overlooks the right of staffing agencies to hire, fire and pay as well as supervise some elements of the work completed by the H-1B worker at a third party site.

Read the entire article here.

AILA Leadership Blog on USCIS Filing Fee Increase

Courtesy of AILA Leadership Blog:

Yesterday, due to lower than projected fee revenues, USCIS proposed a fee increase that will amount to an average increase of 10% across the board. USCIS will issue the formal proposal on Friday and there will be a 45 day comment period. This, in combination with the 66% fee increase that was implemented in 2007, constitutes a tremendous hit in the pocketbook for a variety of users of immigration services. For example, an I-130 petition for an alien relative will jump from $355 to $420, under this proposal, thus impacting those who want to be reunited with family members. An I-131 application for a travel document goes up by $55, and an application for an employment authorization document increases by $40. Adjustment of status fees will increase by $55. Businesses will also bear some of the brunt, with I-140 petitions for immigrant workers increasing over $100, premium processing going up by $225 and a brand new fee of $6,230 to establish a Regional Center under the EB-5 program. And –perhaps the coup de grace—fees for filing I-290 Notices of Appeal will increase from $585 to $630, a $45 dollar increase that will allow us to continue to file appeals that take over 2 years to adjudicate and generally conclude with either a rubber stamping of the original decision, or as in a handful of recent AAO decisions, a tortured legal analysis resulting in increasingly restrictive interpretations of the law.

You can read the entire blog post dated June 11, 2010 here.

New York Times article about Marriage Based Green Card Interviews

Courtesy of Nina Bernstein and the New York Times:

THE retired mechanic from Michigan looked shell-shocked beside his bride, a classical pianist from Moscow who clutched the printed e-mail exchanges of their Internet romance. Young newlyweds from Long Island, still recovering from their reception for 600 guests the previous weekend, faltered as their lawyer quizzed them on the details of their City Hall ceremony four months before. A Manhattan woman bickered with her Turkish spouse about the kinds of questions they had been warned to expect.

Did they know the color of each other’s toothbrush? The pattern of the bathroom tile? What had they done last New Year’s? And were they ready to answer far more intimate queries from a government official hunting for signs their marriage was fake?

“Embarrassing questions,” explained the Manhattanite, Lindsay Garvy-Yeguf, 28, the butterfly tattoo on her foot growing jittery, as her husband, Gunes Yeguf, 31, turned paler in his dark suit. “They might ask you about your sex life.”

Read the entire article here.

DOL Labor Certification (PERM) Application Processing Times as of 5/31/2010

Link.

OFLC has initiated an intensive effort to reduce the Permanent Labor Certification Program’s pending caseload. Our goal for FY 2010 is to reduce the backlog by 50%. We are on schedule, and we will continue this effort as part of our larger Departmental commitment to customer service. The dates posted on iCERT above reflect the month and year in which cases were filed that are now being adjudicated at the Atlanta National Processing Center. For various reasons, we may be completing the processing of applications filed prior to the month posted on iCERT. If your application was filed more than 3 months prior to the month posted, you may contact our Helpdesk for a status on the application at plc.atlanta@dol.gov.