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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Start Preparing for H1B Visa Petitions for Fical Year 2017

Its never to early to start preparing and gathering all the documents for filing your H1B petition. As we have seen in the past we believe that the window for filing will start from April 1 to April 8 2016. ( Five Business Days) . H1B petition for new Fiscal Year, which will be effective from October 1 2016 will see large number of applications just considering the trend from last few years. 

A must read article you don't want to miss is : H1B 2017 Visa Prediction 


Talk to your employer and tell them to get with the immigration attorney as soon as possible. 

I hope the above information helps. If you have something to add to it , do leave a comment below. Don't forget to like our facebook page for latest updates. Also follow us on Twitter.

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

EAD for I-140 Propsed Rule

Those with approved I-140 petitions may be eligible for I-140. This rule is a part of President Obama's Executive action. 

EAD-for-I-140

October 2015 Visa bulletin has some big news .You can now apply for an EAD if you have a approved I-140. There will be new cut off dates ( or as we call it  Acceptance Cut off date ) . You can apply for EAD with approved I-140 based on your acceptance cut off date.

The rule should be published shortly as per the news from Ombudsman DHS. As you know there is a long waiting time for nationals from China and India ( countries from where most people come here in USA) for Green card in EB2 and EB3 category.

Below is the typical Green Card process for Employment Category:


As per the current norms you can apply for EAD ( Employment Authorization Document) while applying for I-485. But you can apply for I-485 only when your priority date is current.

Now what is Priority Date ?  

Priority Date is a date when your LCA ( Labor Certification) was filed.  According to the November 2015 bulletin the priority date for EB3 Category for India is April 1 2004.

If we do simple maths here then that's a 11 Year wait for a person who applied for his Green Card back in 2004 and now he has become eligible to file his I-485.

The new EAD for I140 rule ( proposed) is expected to change some things around. This proposed rule says that Employment based Green card should be able to apply for EAD after Stage 2 of the Green Card process. This is what is expected from this proposed rule.

Lets see the Current Green Card Processing Timeline for EAD

Current-Green-Card-Processing-Timeline-for-EAD

Expected Timeline for filing EAD for I-140

Expected-Timeline-for-filing-EAD-for I-140

Please note that this is just a proposed rule or this is what is expected to come out. EAD for I-140 rule is not published yet. We are hoping that the proposed rule should be published shortly.

I hope the above information helps. If you have something to add to it , do leave a comment below. Don't forget to like our facebook page for latest updates. Also follow us on Twitter.

You would also want to look at my article : H1b Visa prediction 2017 

Also read Best Money sending Service to India

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

DO's and DONT'S of OPT and CPT Employment

Below I will be listing a few things which you should do and should not do while you are working on your OPT (Optional Practical Training) and CPT ( Curricular Practical Training)

opt-cpt-emplyoment

DO's

(1) Ensure that you do not exceed the 90 days of unemployment for the post completion OPT ( or initial OPT) and 120 days of unemployment for OPT STEM Extension.

(2) Student must report to his/her DSO within 10 days of his job change. Also report if you move to a new address.

(3) The earlier the better. You can apply for your Post completion OPT 90 days before your graduation day. 

Read about EAD card here 

(4) Also you can apply for your OPT STEM extension 120 days before your Post completion OPT expires.

(5) Work at least 20 hours a week and your employer should be e verified if you want to work on OPT STEM Extension. Also keep in mind that your job should be directly related to your STEM major.

(6) If you do not receive your EAD after 75 days of applying , then you can call USCIS and ask to expedite your case.

(7) Always keep all your documentation ( I-20's etc) in one place. Keep documentation of all your jobs you have worked ( CPT or OPT) . Keeps documents like offer letters, pay stubs, I-20's , employment verification letters etc.

DONT's

(1) Work for an employer without informing your school.

(2) Work in an off campus job.

(3)  Work in a position which is not directly related to your major

(4) Work for an employer which is not E-Verified while you are working on your OPT Stem Extension

(5) Have more than 90 days of unemployment on your Initial OPT and more than 120 days of unemployment on OPT STEM Extension

Follow the above tips to stay in status and out of trouble.

I hope the above information helps. If you have something to add to it , do leave a comment below. Don't forget to like our facebook page for latest updates. Also follow us on Twitter.

You would also want to look at my article : H1b Visa prediction 2017

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H1B Visa Applied - Do not Travel between April and October

If your employer has filed an H1B petition and basically which means there is a request of change in status from April, it is recommended that you should not travel outside United States from April to October. 


According to the Immigration rules and norms if you leave the country and travel outside USA while a change of status is pending you will be out of status. It makes perfect sense because when you are outside the country then you are not in any status. So if you leave the country with a change of status request pending your H1b approval will be issued without an I-94.

Also it is not recommended even if you receive the notification that your change of status is approved and then you leave the country. 

Its a huge risk to travel when a change of status is requested and it is in a pending stage. Always plan your travel before or after the April- October period. I know that vacation and seeing your family sounds really nice but don't risk it. Travel after October 1st and get the visa stamped or travel before April and come back to US before April 1. 

I hope the above information helps. If you have something to add to it , do leave a comment below. Don't forget to like our facebook page for latest updates. Also follow us on Twitter.


You would also want to look at my article : H1b Visa prediction 2017

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Comments about new STEM OPT rule storm Federal Inbox


The comment period has been started for the new STEM OPT rule proposed by Department of Homeland Security. The proposed rule has been published in the Federal Register


Comments about new STEM OPT rule federal register


The 30 day comment period has begun on October 19th 2015. The public has until November 18th ( 30 days from October 19th )   to submit their comments for or against the proposal. If you are affected by this decision then now is the time to take action as remember action speaks louder than words. Submit your comments as soon as possible.

After just one week of opening the comments window the federal government has received more than 2,515 comments about its proposal to expand OPT STEM Extension as of now . Most of the comments are supporting the changes proposed by Obama administration.

You can view all the comments which have been submitted by the public as of now here  

How can you submit comments ? Read here  

Please stay tuned as I work on creating a sample template on the comment which can be submitted for this proposal. 

Also everybody is eagerly waiting for the response of the petition created on white house which received more than 100,000 signatures.

If you have not read the new STEM OPT proposed rule as of yet then read it here .

If you have something to add to it , do leave a comment below . Don't forget to like our facebook page for latest updates. Also follow us on Twitter.

You would also want to look at my article : H1-B 2017 Visa Prediction

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Campus Placement in US Universities

There is nothing called as  "campus placement" in US universities. Students who are coming from different countries often think that after graduation they would have "campus placements" or "placement drive" because this is what they were used to in their undergrad colleges especially in India. 

Campus- placement- in- US- Universities

They are used to this concept of campus placement but if you ask anyone here in USA they would not be familiar with this concept.

Though there is something similar in mostly all the US universities and that is called career fair or job fair. Also there will be a career services center  which will focus on helping you getting jobs and helps you prepare you for campus interviews etc. They also have resume workshops where they edit you resume and make it look better. 

What students are used to India is a campus placement drive in which the  companies who would come to their college will conduct a common  exam and say out of 1000 students who has taken that exam they will select top 2 or 5 percent students and then there are a few more rounds and finally you are made a offer. 

                               It does not work like this in USA. There is no mass recruitment or common exam conducted by a company. Usually what happens is there is a Career fair or Job fair conducted on one specific day . Recruiters representing their companies attend this career fair  . Usually 100 to 150 companies take part in this career fair ( It varies from University to University ) . The students are encouraged and told to wear formals and they meet recruiters from different companies. You talk to them , hand over your resume to them and they usually let you know if they have any open positions or jobs pertaining to your major or field of study.  

You would see a lot of companies will be looking for an intern or a Co-op rather than a full time employee. Usually companies in USA offer you an internship and during that period that they gauge you and see if you adapt well with the company or not . If everything goes well they usually give you a full time after your internship.

Also career centers have a internal job portal where different employers have posted open positions in their companies and you can always go there and apply for it. 

In one of my articles I have written about How to end up getting the perfect Internship . In this article I have discussed in detail on how you can get an internship and what to do and what not to do in a career fair.

If you have something to add to it , do leave a comment below . Don't forget to like our facebook page for latest updates. Also follow us on Twitter.

You would also want to look at my article : H1-B 2017 Visa Prediction
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Saturday, October 17, 2015

New OPT STEM Extension Rule Available

The new STEM OPT Extension rule is now available. 

The rule is still unpublished. It will be published on October 19 2015. 


New -STEM-OPT-RULE-AVAILABLE

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
8 CFR Parts 214 and 274a
[DHS Docket No. ICEB-2015-0002]
RIN 1653-AA72

Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Non immigrant Students with STEM Degrees and Cap-Gap Relief for All Eligible F-1 Students
 

AGENCY: Department of Homeland Security.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rule making.


SUMMARY:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to amend its F-1 non immigrant student visa regulations on optional practical training (OPT) for certain students with degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) from  U.S. institutions of higher education. Specifically, the proposal would allow such F-1 STEM students who have elected to pursue 12 months of OPT in the United States to extend the OPT period by 24 months (STEM OPT extension). This 24-month extension would effectively replace the 17-month STEM OPT extension currently available to certain STEM students. The rule also improves and increases oversight over STEM OPT extensions by, among other things, requiring the implementation of formal mentoring and training plans by employers, adding wage and other protections for STEM OPT students and U.S. workers, and allowing extensions only to students with degrees from accredited schools.

As with the current 17-month STEM OPT extension, the proposed rule would authorize STEM OPT extensions only for students employed by employers enrolled in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) E-Verify employment eligibility verification program. The proposal also includes the “Cap-Gap” relief first introduced in 2008 for any F-1 student with a timely filed H-1B petition and request for change status. This Cap-Gap relief allows such students to automatically extend the duration of F-1 status and any current employment authorization until October 1 of the fiscal year for which such H-1B visa is being requested.

The proposed rule is for 24 months rather than 17 months. 

The 24 month extension would replace the 17 month STEM OPT Extension which is currently available to students.

Below is the detailed copy of the rule : Copy of New STEM OPT Rule ( Unpublished)

Background of OPT STEM Extension Revoked : OPT STEM Extension Revoked 

If you have something to add to it , do leave a comment below . Don't forget to like our facebook page for latest updates. Also follow us on Twitter.

You would also want to look at my article : H1-B 2017 Visa Prediction

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Friday, October 16, 2015

WorldRemit -Send money to India

As an NRI we are always looking out for the best Remit service so that we can get the most out of our hard earned money. 

 Go to the website at www.worldremit.com and use code "ALLABOUT"  to get free transfers until 31st December 2015.

It’s not easy being far from the people you love most. Especially when you don’t know when you will see them again.

Plane tickets are expensive, and time off work can be hard to come by. That journey home for you can seem like an unnecessary luxury when you’re already paying their school fees or medical bills.
Luckily for today’s expats, some things have changed for the better.
Go back 20 years or more, before the internet became a part of everyday life, and staying in touch meant letters that could take weeks to arrive - and if you were lucky the odd, prohibitively expensive phone call.

Fast forward a few years and although the cost had fallen, keeping the lines of communication open still meant a trip to an internet cafĂ© and call center, and sometimes a long wait – and that was if you were lucky enough to live in an urban area.Today, most of us have access to either a computer or a smartphone.

All of a sudden, mum is at the end of a cheap or even free call on Skype or Viber 24/7. You can keep up with your friends using Facebook or WhatsApp, and share pictures of the kids or video of your daughter’s star turn in the school play.

It all helps to make friends and family seem that little bit closer.
So why does sending money home feel like it’s stuck in the 1980s?
Trudging to the nearest agent – which might not be too far if you live in a city, but could be miles away if not.

Long queues, limited office hours and huge fees – meaning that little bit less for mum or the kids at home. Sound familiar?
And then the process has to be repeated at the other end, where getting from A to B is likely to be far harder. So much can go wrong between here and there, and then on the way home with the precious cash.

Which is probably why it’s so many remittances go in the bags of friends, acquaintances or just someone who seems trustworthy. Of course, sometimes these startling acts of faith go badly wrong.
Why isn’t it easier in 2015?

Well, it can be. WorldRemit is a service that lets you send money home at the click of a button from your smartphone – any time of day or night.

It’s easy to use, fast and secure.

Most transactions are instant. This is why journalists have called it the WhatsApp of money. Because sending that hard earned and much needed money home becomes as easy as sending an instant message.
Funds can be sent to bank accounts, as airtime top up or for cash pickup. They even send to 21 Mobile Money wallets in 15 different countries – meaning it can be there when it’s needed most.
Go to the website at www.worldremit.com and use code "ALLABOUT"  to get free transfers until 31st December 2015.
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Thursday, October 15, 2015

OPT Cap Gap Extension


OPT Cap Gap extension is the period of time when an F1 student's status and work authorization expire through the start date of their approved H1-B employment. This period is known as "Cap Gap".



This is applied automatically if your H1B is picked in lottery. This was implemented by USCIS for the students whose initial status is F1 and their H1B is picked up in lottery so that they can maintain their legal status in USA.

The most common case of Cap Gap extension is when a student graduates in May and completes its one year post completion OPT. When the student is working in hist OPT period and the employer applies for his/her  H1B visa and if their H1B is picked up in lottery then the student can remain employed even after their OPT Expires. This is very common with graduates with Non Stem degrees as they cannot apply for OPT Stem Extension. Usually the students who graduate in May apply for their 17 Month OPT Stem Extension ( You can apply for your OPT STEM extension 120 days before Post completion OPT expires) therefore even if their H1B is not picked they get the extension.

The problem occurred when there were more number of application than the defined H1B quota .The H1B Visa has to filed on April 1st but the H1B visa takes effect from October 1st. Therefore if the student's OPT Expires between the months of April - October then they come under Cap Gap period.

This Cap Gap rule implementation really helped students because they can now continue to stay in USA if their H1b has been selected in lottery and their OPT expires before October. In the past the student had to either leave the country and wait until  October 1st to re-enter in USA or enroll himself into classes to maintain his legal status. Cap Gap allows students to continue working from the time their OPT expires till September 30th ( From October 1st the H1B visa will start).

Also this extension is automatic , there is no action needed to be taken by students. Usually your DSO will be informed about this as your SEVIS would change. Also if your driver license is expiring in that period and you need a proof of extension then talk to your DSO and he will issue you a new I-20.

Below are the FAQ's for cap gap Extension:

1) Can I travel outside US during the cap gap extension and return in F1 Status ?
It is not recommended to travel in your Cap Gap period. Please contact your DSO before traveling (If you have to)

2) Does the 90 day unemployment limit apply during the cap gap extension.
Yes 90 day unemployment limit applies during the cap gap extension.

3) What happens if my H1-B petition is rejected, denied or revoked?
You will have a 60 day grace period from the notice date  of denial  , rejection or revocation during the time you can make preparation to depart the US.

4) Will I receive personal email or notification of my Cap Gap Extension?
No you will not receive any personal or email notification. You should be follow up with your employer's immigration lawyer to know your status of H1B petition. You can also contact your DSO for new I20 for your cap gap extension period.

5) Can the cap gap extension of OPT be extended beyond September 30 ?
No the cap gap extension of OPT cannot be extended beyond September 30

6) My H1B did not request a change of status , it is for consular processing. Am I eligible for the cap gap?
No the Cap Gap extension is only available for those who have requested a change of status from F1 to H1B petition.

I hope the above information helps. If you have something to add to it , do leave a comment below. Don't forget to like our facebook page for latest updates. Also follow us on Twitter.

You would also want to look at my article : Best Money Sending Service to India- Online Money Transfers   
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Saturday, October 10, 2015

New STEM OPT Rule Sent to OMB for Review

*Latest News about OPT STEM Extension Here : New OPT STEM Rule *

OPT STEM EXTENSION UPDATES


*UPDATE 10/11/2015* - GREAT news . As you know that DHS has sent new OPT rule to OMB for Review



On October 7th 2015 , Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh C. Johnson announced this : 



"Within the next thirty days we will provide public notice of a proposed rule to strengthen the program that provides optional practical training for students in STEM fields studying at U.S. universities."
 
Since this was announced 4 days back we should see the new proposed rule in 26 days. This is a great news for all students working on OPT and new students coming to USA for their studies.

You can find the detailed announcement here : http://1.usa.gov/1G7bqKz . Narrow your search by searching "optional practical training"

Department of homeland security has sent its proposed new rule for OPT STEM Extension to OMB( Office of Management and Budget) .


The good news is that the notice of proposed rule making is expected to come in a few days or weeks. This will be followed by a comment time for public( Usually 30 or 60 days). We are not sure of the contents of the proposed regulation but the proposed regulation is expected to : 

1) Re Authorize the STEM OPT Program 

2) May provide some additional benefits taking into consideration the president executive action strategy which may include a longer duration of stem opt and may include a few more degrees and majors. 

Timeline 

Office of Management and Budget has maximum of 90- 120 days to review the proposed rule. Once the rule is published it will be pen for public comments for either 30 or 60 days. The timeline should allow department of homeland security to meet the courts deadline of February 12,2016. Also its important to note here that DHS has the ability to request an extension on the February 12,2016 deadline. If the new law goes public just before the deadline then it may cause ambiguity in student's mind who have received stem OPT or who have applied for stem opt before Feb 12 2016.

Background

As you know that the federal court has put a stay on it till February 12, 2016.

A DC Federal judge said that the 2008 DHS rule which allows the F1 Student to stay in US for 17 more months after his 12 months of post completion OPT period is deficient.The judge mentioned that the deficiency in the process was really serious and this requires OPT Extension to be cancelled or revoked. But the court realized that if this rule is placed in effect immediately then thousands of non immigrant students who are working in USA and are on their F1 Visa would have to depart from US. This would in turn impose a burden on the Tech Sector financially. Therefore the court has put a stay on it till February 2016.

The new regulation is expected to re-authorize STEM program and it is possible that it may provide some additional benefits taking into consideration the president executive action strategy which may include a longer duration (36 Months) of stem opt and may include a few more degrees and majors.  

I will keep you posted as soon as I get more information. Good Luck!

If you have something to add to it , do leave a comment below . Don't forget to like our facebook page for latest updates. Also follow us on Twitter.

You would also want to look at my article : H1-B 2017 Visa Prediction

Labels: 17 month OPT stem Extension Revoked,Opt stem extension cancel,opt stem extension vacated, court notice opt stem extension revoked , opt stem extension breaking news
 
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Thursday, October 8, 2015

H1B - No more $2000 Filing fee

In August 2010, USCIS implemented a public law 111-230 which stated that the H1B dependent employers have to pay an additional fee of $2000.

The fees is only applicable who had 50 or more employers and has more than 50% of employees which are working on H1-B.

Also Read: H1-B Visa Prediction 2017

Let us see the current fees breakdown.


Type of Fees
Cost


Base Filing Fees
$325
Education and Training Fees
$750
Public Law fees ( Removed now)
$2,000
Premium Processing Fees
$1,225
Anti Fraud Fees
$500

Though this will reduce a burden on small companies which has a lot of H1-b workers, but now the H1b abuse can actually increase. As you know the immigration system is broken and the H1B lottery has loop holes. So the consultancies which used to take money from candidates to apply for an H1-B visa, there will be an increase in that . In short this move will actually cause more H1-B abuse.

Your opinion does really matter. Let us know what do you think and do leave comment below.

Don't forget to like our facebook page for latest updates. Also follow us on Twitter.
You would also want to look at my article : H1-B Visa Prediction 2017

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