The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on April 8 announced that it was continuing to accept H-1B nonimmigrant petitions subject to the cap for this Federal fiscal year (2011).
USCIS received approximately 13,500 H-1B petitions counting towards the 65,000 cap. The agency has received approximately 5,600 petitions for individuals with advanced degrees.
U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in fields, such as scientists, engineers, or computer programmers.
Two and three years ago, in fiscal years 2008 and 2009, the USCIS H-1B caps were reached on the very first day that petitions were eligible to be accepted, said Minette Kwok (left top photo), Minami Tamaki’s partner leading the firm’s immigration practice group.
“The poor economy is clearly causing the low number of H-1B petitions,” said Kwok. “In previous years, the petition process was stressful for foreign nationals because they didn’t know whether there were other options for them to work and stay in the U.S. It ended up being a lottery system.”
To ensure a fair system, USCIS said that it might randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit from the petitions received on the final receipt date, when the number of petitions is nearing the cap limitations. USCIS will reject cap subject petitions that are not selected, as well as those received after the final receipt date.
“We can’t control the numbers but at least we can do our best to get petitions submitted quickly and communicate with employees quickly on news,” senior counsel Lynda Won-Chung (left middle photo) pointed out. “The uncertainty of one’s future is dependent on the visa process can be nerve-wrecking. We recall one employee’s response when we advised him the H-1B petition on his behalf was selected: ‘Wow, thank you for the wonderful news! That was such a relief! It’s celebration time for me. Thanks again for your enormous efforts.’ ”
The Immigration Practice Group of Minami Tamaki offers expertise in a broad array of immigration services. Partner Minette Kwok, senior counsel Lynda Won-Chung and associate Olivia Serene Lee (left bottom photo) routinely assist employers and employees, nationwide, in obtaining temporary and permanent employment-based visas. And just as often, they help individual clients to secure family-based immigration status through marriage or other qualifying family relationships.
Immigration matters are very personal to clients and Kwok, Won-Chung and Lee take pride in providing a level of service that enables their clients to concentrate on their jobs or other matters, allowing Minami Tamaki immigration attorneys to best assist them in achieving their immigration goals.