Stimulus-Related Restrictions Not To Impact 2010 Quota H-1B Filing

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The Employ American Workers Act (EAWA) puts restrictions on potential H-1B employers who have received the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) funds. Philadelphia, PA-based immigration attorney Morley J. Nair believes that such restrictions will not have any added impact on the number of H-1B petitions for the Fiscal Year 2010, the filing for which opens on April 1.

They are confident that things would turn around sooner than later.

Philadelphia, PA-based immigration attorney Morley J. Nair believes that the restrictions placed on potential H-1B employers by the "Employ American Workers Act (EAWA)" signed recently by President Barack Obama will not have any added impact on the number of H-1B petitions for the Fiscal Year 2010, the filing for which opens on April 1.

EAWA restricts the potential H1B employers who have received the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) funds from displacing US workers. The Act makes such H-1B employers "H-1B dependent employers", forcing them to make attestations about efforts to recruit US workers, offering non-discriminating wages to H-1B non-immigrants and US workers, and not causing displacement of US workers.

"Understandably, there is widespread resentment in the H-1B community, both employers and employees, about this issue," Attorney Morley J. Nair said. "But H-1B workers do not account for even one-tenth of one percent of the U.S. workforce which includes the banking and financial sectors who are the major beneficiaries of the stimulus package. This reduces the impact of these restrictions on the volume of H-1B petitions."

H-1B visas are granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to foreign nationals to work in "specialty occupations" that require a minimum U.S. bachelor's degree or equivalent. Currently the worldwide annual quota of such visas is 65,000, out of which 6,800 are reserved for nationals of Singapore and Chile. Additionally, there is a special quota of 20,000 visas for holders of advanced degrees from U.S. graduate schools. Further, certain employers in academic and research areas are exempt from this quota. The fiscal year starts on October 1, and petitions can be filed up to six month ahead of the start of employment, so the filing opens on April 1. If enough petitions are received to trigger the 5-business-day filing rule, the filing will end on April 7. Otherwise USCIS will continue to accept petitions until the quota is capped.

Last year, 163,000 petitions were filed in the first five days of filing, which included 31,200 against the U.S. advanced degree category. As a result, a random lottery was conducted, as was done in the previous year, to determine the ultimate recipients of the coveted visas. The widespread feeling was that this year there may not be as many petitions as the previous years because of the recession and widespread layoffs.

Attorney Nair pointed out that even if the number of petitions filed is just half of last year's total, the quota would still get capped. "As regards the U.S. advanced degree quota, there are thousands of foreign students here whose petitions were not picked in the lottery last year," he said. "A large percentage of them would be candidates again this time, in addition to those graduated later, putting more demand on that category."

He added that the volume of work related to new H-1B petitions at his office is at a reduced level this year. "The frenzy leading up to the filing date of April 1 during the past two years is just a good old memory now," he said. "But still we are reasonably busy."

The Law Offices of Morley J. Nair, founded by Attorney Nair has processed thousands of H1B petitions and hundreds of permanent residence (popularly known as "Green Card") cases on behalf of both corporate and individual clients all over the U.S., in the past 11 years.

"We see a sudden spurt in new inquiries in the last week or so," Attorney Nair said. "May be potential employers are taking a cue from the stock market about the improving health of the economy."

He said that most of his H-1B employer clients were looking beyond the current economic downturn. "They are confident that things would turn around sooner than later." he said. "So I would urge potential employers to file on April 1, or as soon thereafter as possible, to ensure their petitions get in before the quota gets capped."

Contact:
The Law Offices of Morley J. Nair
215-744-5100
http://www.h1bplanet.com
http://www.visaworks.com

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