Monthly Archives: September 2012

H-1B Visas: 3 Facts Employers MUST Know

As October dawns upon us, many employers will be faced with the complexities of the H-1B visa process. In order to alleviate the anxiety and stress associated with this procedure, Visawolf brings you our “H-1B Visas: 3 Facts Employers MUST Know”.

1. What is the earliest an H-1B worker can apply for the new H-1B visa at the US consulate?

The US State Department Foreign Affairs Manual, states that (9 FAM 41.53 N8.4(b)) consular officers are authorized to accept H-B visa petitions and issue visas to qualified applicants up to 90 days in advance of the start date indicated on the approval notice. The officer must inform the visa applicant verbally and in writing that he or she may only use the visa to apply for entry to the United States no more than ten days prior to the H-1B status period indicated on the approval notice. Such visas will be annotated, “Not valid until (ten days prior to the petition validity date.)”

2. Is there a deadline by which an H-1B worker must apply for the visa? Is it ever too late?

No, the H-1B worker can apply for the visa at any time during the validity period of the H-1B approval notice.

However, it will be advantageous to apply for the visa as early as possible. This is because the documentation provided with the H-1B petition will still be fresh at the time the visa applicant goes to the consulate.

If the information in the H-1B petition is not fresh at the time the H-1B candidate goes to the consulate, there is a higher chance that the consulate will ask questions about the job offer and whether the same opportunity exists today as it did when the H-1B petition was filed. More documentation may be required and a lot more time in the visa application process could result.

3. At what point after the H-1B worker enters the United States is the employer required to add him or her to the payroll?

Pursuant to US Department of Labor regulations at 20 CFR § 655.731(c)(6), if the H-1B worker is brought from outside of the U.S., he must be put on the payroll at the time he presents himself for employment or 30 days after arrival in the U.S., whichever comes earlier.

If the foreign national is in the U.S. and a change of status has been applied for, the employment relationship may not commence until the effective date of the change of status. From that date, the employment must commence on the date that the employee presents herself as ready for employment or 60 days after the effective date of the change of status to H-1B, whichever comes earlier.

If the candidate is already in H-1B status with another employer, employment with Sparta can commence as soon as the H-1B petition is filed. Sparta also has the option to delay commencement of employment of the H-1B until the effective date of the H-1B approval notice, or up to 60 days later.

We hope this segment has cleared up any confusion regarding the H-1B visa process. For further inquiries, please respond to this post or contact us directly via email: social@visawolf.com

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New Law Extends EB-5 Regional Center Program Until 2015

On September 13, 2012, the US Congress passed a law to extend the EB-5 Regional Center program. See http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:s.3245: Under this law, foreign investors are able to obtain permanent resident status in the US under the EB-5 program by investing at least $500,000 and creating at least 10 jobs. While it is possible to obtain permanent residence through an individual investment, more than 80% of EB-5 permanent residence visas are approved for investors who participate in an EB-5 Regional Center. There are several advantages of the EB-5 Regional Center program: pre-approval of the investment model by the US Department of Homeland Security, faster processing time, and the ability to count indirectly created jobs in the 10 jobs per investor requirement.  The EB-5 Regional Center program has existed for more than 20 years and has been renewed by Congress in 3 year increments. The current renewal is valid to October 2015.

James C Wolf of Lipman & Wolf has helped create many EB-5 Regional Centers and successfully led many investors through the permanent residence process. Mr Wolf is a partner in Lipman & Wolf, LLP, a full service immigration specialty law firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. www.visawolf.com. Mr Wolf is also a principal of Golden Pacific Ventures, Inc. an EB-5 Regional Center.  www.goldenpacificventures.com 

Through Golden Pacific Ventures, investors can obtain permanent residence through investment in land in Hawaii which produces premium coffee. www.gpfhawaii.com.

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