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CIS released new H-1B/H-4 timing and extension policies January 1, 2007

Posted by dsheen88 in Employment-Based Immigration, H-1B visa, Immigration Laws and Policies, Info for Doctors and Health Professionals, MyComments, Simply Immigration!, Tips, USCIS Press Release.
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Good news to H-1B holders!  CIS recently released their new policies that addresses several H-1B timing issues.  The following policies will be in effect January 2007:

1.  Time spent as an H-4 and L-2 dependent does not count against the maximum allowable periods of stay available to principals in H-1B or L-1 status.

2. Individuals do not need to be in H-1B status or in the U.S. in order to request additional H-1B time beyond six years under AC21.

3.  Individual who was in the U.S. in H-1B status for less than six years and then subsequently leaves the U.S. for more than one year, may elect to either be re-admitted for the remainder of the initial six-year admission period w/o being counted against the cap OR seek to be admitted as a new H-1B subject to the cap.

Separating of H-4 and L-2 Time from H-1B and L-1 Time

The first issue addressed in this CIS memo is how to count H-4 and L-2 time against maximum periods allowed under H-1B and L-2 time.  For example, would an individual present in the U.S. in L-2 status for the past 6 years be eligible for any H-1B time?  The answer is yes.

USCIS clarifies that any time spent in H-4 status will not count against the 6-year maximum period of admission applicable to H-1B individuals.  For example, an individual who was previously in H-4 dependent status and who subsequently becomes an H-1B principal is entitled to the maximum period of stay applicable under H-1B time.

Periods of Stay on H-1B Status Beyond 6 Years Pursuant to AC21 (H-1b portability law)

The second issue addressed in this CIS memo deals with requesting extensions beyond six years under AC21 even if the individual is no longer in H-1B status or no longer in the U.S.  For example, if someone previously maxed out H-1B time and changed to TN status, and s/he is now eligible for H-1B time beyond six years under AC21, can s/he request more H-1B time even though s/he is now in TN status?  The answer is yes.

The memo reads “Though both provisions of AC21 use the term “extension of stay,” eligibility for the exemptions is not restricted solely to requests for extensions of stay while in the United States.  Aliens who are eligible for the 7th year extension may be granted an extension of stay regardless of whether they are currently in the United States or abroad and regardless of whether they currently hold H-1B status.”

H-1B Remainder Option

The third issue in this CIS memo addressed the situation of an individual who did not max out his or her H-1B time but subsequently left the U.S. for more than one year.  For example, if an individual was previously in the U.S. in H-1B status for less than six years, and then subsequently leaves the U.S. for more than one year, may s/he be re-admittted for anytime remaining from their previous H-1B admission period or does s/he now need to admitted as a new H-1B with a new six years available, but subject to the cap?  The answer is actually either and up to the individual.

The memo futher provides…

“There have been instances where an alien who was previously admitted to the United States in H-1B status, but did not exhaust his or her entire period of admission, seeks readmission to the United States in H-1B status for the remainder of his or her initial six-year period of maximum admission, rather than seeking a new six -year period of admission,  pending AC21 regulations, USCIS for now will allow an alien in the situation described above to elect to either (1) to be re-admitted for the “remainder” of the initial six-year admission period without being subject to the H-1B cap if previously counted or (2) seek to be readmitted as a “new” H-1B alien subject to the H-1B cap.”

Under this new policy, if the H-1B cap is an issue, the option will be for the individual to come in now and take whatever H-1B time they have left, or wait and file under the cap and have six-years available again.

Congress Passes Physicians for Underserved Areas Act December 15, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Employment-Based Immigration, Immigration Laws and Policies, Info for Doctors and Health Professionals.
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On December 9, 2006, the Senate passed the Physicians for Underserved Areas Act (H.R. 4997) by a voice vote, clearing the bill for enactment by the President. The House approval came three days earlier, also by voice vote, on December 6, 2006. The bill extends a visa waiver program, often referred to as Conrad 30, that allows foreign physicians who work in underserved areas to remain in the country after completing their medical training. The authorization for the program expired on June 1, 2006. Once it is signed into law by the President, H.R. 4997 will reinstate the visa waiver program for an additional period of two years.

Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery (“Green-card”) 2008 Starts Soon! September 17, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Greencard Lottery, Immigration Laws and Policies, Info for Doctors and Health Professionals, News and politics, Tips.
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Each year, the Diversity Lottery (DV) Program makes 55,000 immigrant visas (“Green-Card”) available through a lottery to people who come from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Of such visas, 5,000 are allocated for use under NACARA beginning with DV ’99. The State Department (DOS) holds the lottery every year, and randomly selects approximately 110,000 applicants from all qualified entries. The DOS selects the approximately 110,000 applications since many will not complete the visa process. However once 55,000 are issued or the fiscal year ends, the DV program is closed. If you receive a visa through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program you will be authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. You will also be allowed to bring your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States.========================================The DV-2008 Lottery will begin at noon EDT on October 4, 2006 and will end at noon EST on December 3, 2006.More information about the lottery will be coming soon.  Check out this site for upcoming DV-2008 instructions:  http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/

H-1B Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) September 16, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Employment-Based Immigration, H-1B visa, Info for Doctors and Health Professionals, MyComments, Tips.
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What is an H-1B?

The H-1B is a nonimmigrant classification used by an alien who will be employed temporarily in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability.

What is a specialty occupation?

A specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge along with at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. For example, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts are specialty occupations.

Is there an annual limit on the number of H-1B aliens?

Yes. The current law limits to 65,000 the number of aliens who may be issued a visa or otherwise provided H-1B status in each Fiscal Year. (The numerical limitation was temporarily raised to 195,000 in FY2001, FY2002 and FY2003.)

How does one apply?

H-1B status requires a sponsoring U.S. employer. The employer must file a labor condition application (LCA) with the Department of Labor attesting to several items, including payment of prevailing wages for the position, and the working conditions offered. The employer must then file the certified LCA with a Form I-129 petition plus accompanying fee of $185. Additional fee of $1,500 for emplyers with 25 + employees or $750.00fee for employers with less than 25 employees; amd $500.00 of H-1B Fruad Prevention fee.  Certain sponsors are exempted for some fee.  Based on the USCIS petition approval, the alien may apply for the H-1B visa, admission, or a change of nonimmigrant status.

How long can an alien be in H-1B status?

Under current law, an alien can be in H-1B status for a maximum period of six years at a time. After that time an alien must remain outside the United States for one year before another H-1B petition can be approved. Certain aliens working on Defense Department projects may remain in H-1B status for 10 years. In addition, certain aliens may obtain an extension of H-1B status beyond the 6-year maximum period, when:

  1. 365 days or more have passed since the filing of any application for labor certification, Form ETA 750, that is required or used by the alien to obtain status as an EB immigrant, or
  2. 365 days or more have passed since the filing of an EB immigrant petition.

Who can an H-1B alien work for?

H-1B aliens may only work for the petitioning U.S. employer and only in the H-1B activities described in the petition. The petitioning U.S. employer may place the H-1B worker on the worksite of another employer if all applicable rules (e.g., Department of Labor rules) are followed. H-1B aliens may work for more than one U.S. employer, but must have a Form I-129 petition approved by each employer.

What if the alien’s circumstances change?

As long as the alien continues to provide H-1B services for a U.S. employer, most changes will not mean that an alien is out of status. An alien may change H-1B employers without affecting status, but the new H-1B employer must file a new Form I-129 petition for the alien before he or she begins working for the new employer. The merger or sale of an H-1B employer’s business will not affect the alien’s status in many instances. However, if the change means that the alien is working in a capacity other than the specialty occupation for which they petitioned, it is a status violation.

Must an H-1B alien be working at all times?

As long as the employer/employee relationship exists, an H-1B alien is still in status. An H-1B alien may work in full or part-time employment and remain in status. An H-1B alien may also be on vacation, sick/maternity/paternity leave, on strike, or otherwise inactive without affecting his or her status.

Can an H-1B alien travel outside the U.S.?

Yes. An H-1B visa allows an alien holding that status to reenter the U.S. during the validity period of the visa and approved petition.

Can an H-1B alien intend to immigrate permanently to the U.S.?

Yes. An H-1B alien can be the beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition, apply for adjustment of status, or take other steps toward Lawful Permanent Resident status without affecting H-1B status. This is known as “dual intent” and has been recognized in the immigration law since passage of the Immigration Act of 1990. During the time that the application for LPR status is pending, an alien may travel on his or her H-1B visa rather than obtaining advance parole or requesting other advance permission from Immigration to return to the U.S.

Can an H-1B visa holder bring their spouse and minor children to U.S.?

Yes.  H-1B holders can bring thier spouse and minor children to live with them in U.S. under H dependents visa (H-4).  However, H-4 visa holders can not work in U.S.  Spouse here on an H-4 visa must have his or her own H-1B visa to work legally in U.S. 

What is IMG? (International Medical Graduates) September 14, 2006

Posted by dsheen88 in Employment-Based Immigration, H-1B visa, Info for Doctors and Health Professionals, MyComments.
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IMG stands for International Medical Graduates.  They are doctors or physicians who graduated from medical schools outside of the United States.  There are thousands IMG working and studying in the U.S. every year.  Most of IMS in U.S. are J-1 and H-1B visa holders.  Their program can last anywhere from 1 to 7 years.     For more information about IMG check of AMA’s website at http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/17.html .

If you are an IMG looking for IMG Friendly Hospitals to sponsor your visa or Greencard…here is list I found from ValueMD.

    Alabama

    Anniston, Alabama (GC)

    California

    Alameda County Hospital, Highland, CA
    Kern Medical Center, CA
    St Mary’s Hospital, San Francisco, CA
    University of California, San Francisco, CA
    USC, Los Angeles, CA

    Conneticut

    Bridgeport Hospital, Bridgeport, CT (H1,J1,GC)
    Danbury Hospital, Danbury, CT (H1,J1,GC)
    Hospital of St Raphael, CT (H1,J1,GC)
    Norwalk Hospital, Norwalk, CT (H1,J1,GC)
    St Vincent’s Medical Center, Bridgeport, CT (H1,J1,GC)
    U of Connecticut, Farmington, CT (J1,GC)

    District of Columbia (Washington, DC)

    District of Columbia General Hospital, Washington, DC
    Howard University Hospital, Washington, DC (H1,J1,GC)
    Providence Hospital, Washington, DC (H1,J1,GC)

    Illinois

    Cook County Hospital, Chicago, IL (H1,J1,GC)
    FUHS/Chicago Medical School, Chicago, IL
    Illinois Masonic Med Ctr, Chicago, IL
    Jackson Park Hospital, Chicago, IL(GC)
    Mercy Hospital, Chicago, IL (J1,GC)
    Ravenswood Hospital, Chicago, IL (J1,GC)
    Rush Copley Medical Center, Aurora, IL (J1,GC)
    Rush Presbyterian Hospital, Chicago, IL (J1,GC)
    Rush Westlake, Melrose Park, IL (J1,GC)
    St Francis hospital, Evanston, IL (H1,J1,GC)
    Univ of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, IL (GC)
    Univ of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL (J1,GC)
    Univ of Illinois/Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago, IL (J1,GC)
    Univ of Illinois at Peoria, IL

    Maryland

    Franklin Square Hospital, Baltimore, MD
    Good Samaritan Hospital, Baltimore, MD
    Harbor Hospital,Baltimore, MD (H1,J1,GC)
    Maryland General Hospital, Baltimore, MD (H1,J1,GC)
    Prince George’s Hospital, Cheverly, MD (GC)
    St Agnes Health Care, Baltimore, MD (J1,GC)

    Michigan

    Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI (J1,GC)
    Hurley Med Ctr/MSU , Flint, MI (J1,GC)
    McLaren Regional Medical center, Flint, MI
    Midmichigan Medical center, Midland, MI
    Providence Hospital, MI (J1,GC)
    Saginaw Cooperative Hospitals, Saginaw, MI
    St Joseph’s Mercy Hospital, Pontiac, MI (H1,J1,GC)
    St John Hospital, Detroit, MI (J1,GC)
    Wayne State University, Detroit, MI (J1,GC)
    William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI (J1)

    Missouri

    St Mary’s Hospital, St. Louis, MO
    St Lukes Hospital, St. Louis, MO

    New Jersey

    Atlantic City Med Center, Atlantic City, NJ (J1,GC)
    Jersey Shore Med Ctr, Neptune, NJ (GC)
    Monmouth Med Ctr., Long Branch, NJ (J1,GC)
    Mountainside Hospital, Montclair, NJ
    Mount Sinai, Englewood, NJ
    Mount Sinai, Jersey city, NJ
    Muhlenberg Regional Med Ctr. , Plainfield, NJ (J1,GC)
    Overlook Hospital, Summit, NJ (GC)
    Raritan Bay Med Ctr., Perth Amboy, NJ
    St Barnabas Medical Center, Livingston, NJ (GC)
    St Joseph’s Medical Center, Paterson, NJ (GC)
    St Francis Med Ctr, Trenton, NJ
    UMDNJ, Pistacaway, NJ
    UMDNJ, Newark, NJ (GC)
    UMDNJ, Camden, NJ (J1,GC)
    UMDNJ, New Brunswick, NJ (J1,GC)

    New York

    Albert Einstein/ Jacobi Med Ctr., Bronx, NY (H1,J1,GC)
    Bronx Lebanon Hospital, Bronx, NY
    Brooklyn Hospital, Brooklyn, NY (GC)
    Brookdale University Hospital,Brooklyn, NY
    Catholic Med Ctr., Jamaica, NY (GC)
    Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, Bronx, NY
    Maimonides Hospital, Brooklyn, NY (H1,J1,GC)
    New York Hospital and Med Ctr of Queens/Cornell U., Flushing, NY
    New York Methodist Hospital/ Wyckoff Heights, Brooklyn, NY (H1,J1,GC)
    NYMedical college (Metropolitan) Hospital, NY (J1,GC)
    NYMedical College (Sound Shore) Hospital, New Rochelle, NY
    NYU VA Med Ctr., NY
    New York Flushing Hospital, Flushing, NY
    St Barnabas Hospital, Bronx, NY
    St Lukes Hospital, New York, NY (J1,GC)
    St Joseph’s Hospital, NY
    St John’s Episcopal South Shore Hospital, Fair Rockaway, NY (H1,J1,GC)
    SUNY at Brooklyn, NY (H1,J1,GC)
    SUNY at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY (H1,J1,GC)
    SUNY at Syracuse, NY (J1,GC)
    Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, NY (J1,GC)
    Woodhull Med Ctr., Brooklyn, NY (J1,GC)

    Nevada

    U of Nevada, Reno, NV
    Univ of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV

    Ohio

    Fairview Hospital, Cleveland, OH (J1,GC)
    Good Samaritan Hospital, Cincinnati, OH
    Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
    Meridia Huron Hospital, East Cleveland, OH (H1,J1,GC)
    Mount Sinai of Cleveland, OH

    Pennsylvania

    Abington Memorial Hospital, Abington, PA (H1,J1,GC)
    Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA (J1,GC)
    Easton Hospital, Easton, PA
    Frankford Hospital,Philadelphia PA (H1,J1,GC)
    Guthrie Healthcare, Sayre, PA
    Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown, PA
    Mercy Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA
    MCP Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA
    Pinnacle Health/ Polyclinic Hospital, Harrisburg, PA
    UPMC Health System/ Shadyside Hospital, PA

    Rhode Island

    Miriam Hospital of Brown University, Providence, RI (J1,GC)
    Roger Williams Hospital, Providence, RI

    Texas

    Texas Tech University, Amarillo,TX
    Texas Tech University, Odessa, TX
    Texas Tech University, El Paso, TX (J1,GC)

    Virginia

    U of Virginia, Roanoke Salem, VA (J1,GC)

    West Virginia

    West Virginia University Hospital, WV (J1,GC)

    Wisconsin

    Sinai Samaritan Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI


    Legend:

    • GC – Green Card Holders / US Citizens
    • H1 – Sponsers H1-B Temporary Worker Visa
    • J1 – Sponsers J1 Exchange Visitor Visa

    Note: This list is meant as a guide only, please call/email the individual program to confirm.

    HAPPY JOB HUNTING!  If you need any legal assistance applying for your work visa or permanent residency…feel free to contact me directly at david@jdgloballaw.com