VISA FRAUD LEADER GETS A YEAR IN JAIL

March 25, 2019
The head of an illegal visa scheme has finally been sentenced. Anjaneyulu Katam, who was accused by the US Department of Justice of manipulating the H-1B visa program to help Indian nationals illegally enter the US, was sentenced to a year in jail and ordered to forfeit $1.1 million in assets.
The government alleged that Katam ran a “IT Staffing Company” that had filed falsified visa applications in exchanged for payment and forced applicants to pay their own visa fees. The H-1B visa, which is intended to fill shortages of skilled laborers, has been under criticism for the ability to shift many IT jobs to foreign nationals.
Katam is not the only person to face charges due to visa fraud. Recently, several sting operations have been run against fake universities who were helping foreign nationals gain entry under false student visas. Additionally, others have faced similar charges for running fake IT staffing firms, an issue that is becoming more prominent with the rise in virtual workplaces.
It is important for potential applicants and employers to stick with the legal visa process and obtain appropriate legal counsel. With the recent USCIS announcement that employers face the potential for permanent bans from hiring foreign workers, the need for legal compliance is at an all-time high.
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签证诈骗将导致关押一年

非法签证机构的负责人Anjaneyulu Katam终于被判刑。他被美国司法部指控操作H-1B签证以帮助印度公民非法进入美国,被判入狱一年并剥夺其110万美元的的所得资产。
政府称,Katam经营着一家“科技招聘公司”,该公司伪造签证申请以换取报酬,并强迫申请人自己支付其签证费。H-1B签证旨在填补美国熟练劳动力的短缺,因此常常被批评将许多科技相关的工作岗位转移给了外国员工。
Katam不是唯一一个面临签证欺诈指控的人。最近,对于帮助外国公民以虚假的学生签证入境的假冒大学政府展开了几项针对行动,此外,其他几家科技招聘公司也面临着相似的指控。随着虚拟工作场所的增加,这个问题变得越来越突出。
潜在的申请人和雇主必须坚持合法的签证程序,并获得有效的法律帮助。随着移民局最近宣布的,可能将永久禁止某些雇主雇佣外国工人的新闻,对于法律支持的需要达到了历史最高点。

NEW RULES MAY BAR EMPLOYERS FROM USING FOREIGN WORKERS

March 22, 2019
Last month, the Department of Labor released a memo outlining new interpretations to regulations around hiring foreign workers, such as those workers on the H-1B visa. In short, the memo states that those companies that do not comply fully with requests for evidence may be barred from using any foreign workers at all.
Much of the substance of the memo deals specifically with compliance to new electronic document requests. Namely, that much of the visa process is now online. For some companies or workers, using an electronic only process will be very difficult to navigate. For others, it might increase risk of failure to comply. For companies that rely heavily on foreign workers, even one instance of mismanagement can put their larger workforce at risk.
In light of these changing rules, regulations, and means of processing, it is important for employers to seek legal counsel to ensure that all of their documents are appropriately handled. Qualified legal professionals can not only help with the documentation but can also help protect the organization from the greater consequences in the event of a mistake or miscommunication.
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新规定或会禁止雇主雇佣外国工人

上个月,劳工部发布了一份起草,解析了各种工作签证的新规定,如H-1B签证。该起草指出,那些没有遵守材料补充要求的公司从此以后可能会被禁雇用任何外国人。
起草的大部分内容详述了对新电子注册的要求。部分签证申请过程将改为线上进行。由于是第一次实行这样的制度,对于公司和员工而言,其实过程难以把控,甚至可能会造成各种忽略漏填信息的情况。对于那些严重依赖于外国员工的公司,即使是一个小的错误也可以置他们的员工于风险之中。
鉴于这些不断变化的规定,法规和处理流程。对于雇主而言,寻求有丰富经验的律师确保妥善处理所有的文件显得非常重要。有经验的律师不仅可以帮助雇主和雇员提供准确的法律指导,还可以保护公司在犯错后免于更大的损失。

H-1B IN CHAOS? GOVERNMENT RULE CHANGES FRUSTRATE APPLICANTS

March 18, 2019
As a result of many visa processing changes announced by the USCIS earlier this week, many applicants and employers are left scrambling to ensure that everything is revised in time for the April 1st start date. Notably, changes made to the processing of premium applications have caused a large amount of chaos for many who are filing applications, as the changes have disrupted timelines, application information, and even billing and fee cycles. Premium processing of applications, which is notably more expensive, traditionally guarantees a response within 15 days. However, the USCIS announced that they would not even begin the processing of applications until May 20th at the latest, creating a significant amount of uncertainty for visa applicants.
Reports from Forbes and NBCNews have given examples of the impacts, which range from law firms forced to re-examine hundreds of pre-planned applications, to more notably foreign students in the US attempting to transfer to visas that allow them to work here after graduation. More changes to regulations might even impact or prohibit spouses of H-1B workers from entering the US with them, which would be devastating to many families.
The visa process can be very turbulent time for both applicants and employers. With the potential for dramatic changes and ever-shifting laws, it is important for applicants to seek qualified legal representation to help them understand the process and protect themselves.
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H-1B一片混乱?申请人表示新规定很失望!

由于本周早些时候移民局公布H-1B签证处理的改动,许多申请人和雇主急忙采取行动以确保在4月1日开始日期之前确保申请内容的正确。
值得注意的是,加急处理的重新开放一定程度上对申请人造成了困扰。这些变化打乱了申请人原有计划,申请信息等等。加急申请可以保证抽签结果会在十五天内得到回复。然而移民局表示他们在5月20日之前都不会开始处理申请,这给签证申请人带来了大量的不确定因素。
来自NBC和福布斯的报道,举例说明了这些政策的影响,其中包括律所被迫重新审查几百份预先准备好的申请,更值得注意的是其对试图毕业后转换签证在美国工作的外国学生毕业的影响。未来的政策改变可能影响甚至禁止H-1B持有者的配偶随他们一同进入美国,这对许多家庭来说将是一个毁灭性的打击。
这个申请过程对于申请人和雇主来说都是相当动荡不安的。对于潜在的不断变更的法律,寻求经验丰富的律师对于帮助申请人了解流程和保护自己非常重要。

2020 H-1B SEASON ANNOUNCED

March 15, 2019
The USCIS has announced the starting dates for H-1B applications for fiscal year 2020. Applications will be accepted starting on April 1, 2019 and will be subject to any 2020 caps on the total number of visas approved. The USCIS also announced a number of changes, including changes to the visa selection process, changes to the processing of premium visa requests, and even a new H-1B employer data hub for the 2020 visa season.
Immigration services in the US are still actively trying to adapt to changes mandated by the Trump Administration, which is pushing for companies to hire American and limit the number of foreign workers who enter the US. Many of the changes during the last visa cycle lead to a large number of applications rejected for administrative reasons and caused concerns about discrimination and improper filing. Immigration laws can and do change every year, as do the processes involved. It is important to work with qualified legal help when attempting to gain approval to live and work in the United States.
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2020年H-1B收件时间公布

移民局已经公布了2020财年接收H-1B申请案件的开始日期,申请窗口将于2019年4月1日起开始接收材料,批准签证总数会收到配额限制。移民局还宣布了一系列包括改变抽签程序,签证抽签加急申请等公告,还有最新的H-1B雇主数据等等。
移民局正在努力地适应川普政府下的一些列政策变化,令美国本土企业确切实行以雇佣美国人为本,从而限制外国员工的数量。去年年因为种种政策原因,导致大量H-1B申请者被拒,并产生了移民局歧视,处理不当等控诉话题。移民政策每年都会发生变化,相关的申请程序也会有调整。在追求留美工作和生活的路上,有经验丰富的律师帮你排忧解惑对你的未来至关重要。

VISA LAWSUIT AGAINST APPLE DISMISSED

March 11, 2019
A lawsuit filed against Apple and Infosys has been dismissed by US courts. The lawsuit alleged that Apple illegally conspired to abuse the US visa system to replace US workers with cheaper, outsourced labor from India. It was claimed that Apple was illegally attempting to get workers into the US on the cheaper B-1 Visa instead of the more expensive H-1B visas.
The lawsuit, filed by a whistleblower on the scheme and an independent contractor, was ultimately dismissed after the courts found that Apple’s use of the visa system was appropriate.
Companies using foreign workers should remain cautious and vigilant of scams, however, particularly in the wake of multiple sting operations against visa fraud and higher rates of denial for many firms, particularly foreign companies in the IT sector. For both companies wanting to hire foreign workers and for foreign workers seeking entry into the United States, it is important to maintain qualified legal counsel to ensure that all legal requirements are maintained throughout the visa process.
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法院驳回针对苹果公司的一起诉讼
最近一起针对Apple和Infosys的诉讼被美国法院驳回。该诉讼指控苹果滥用美国签证,用廉价的印度外包员工替代美国员工。该诉讼称Apple试图非法以较为便宜的B-1签证替代成本更贵的H-1B签证让员工进入美国工作。
法院发现Apple并未滥用签证制度后,该由告密者和独立承包商提起的诉讼最终被驳回。
然而,雇佣外国员工的公司仍应对诈骗保持警惕。特别是在最近对签证欺诈行为的打击行动和科技领域签证拒绝率提高后,对于希望雇佣外国员工的公司和员工本人而言,选择有丰富经验的法律顾问,以确保在整个签证过程中满足所有的条件至关重要。

SENATORS PUSHING FOR MORE VISAS

March 8, 2019
A bipartisan group of senators, lead by Sen. Angus King and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, are attempting to raise the cap for certain work visas. Recent changes by the Trump Administration has caused fewer H-1B and other work visas to be approved, and many companies, particularly IT companies, are feeling the impact of this. With domestic unemployment hitting historic lows, the need for skilled foreign workers is growing. Maine in particular needs skilled workers to help with their tourism-based economy, hence the sense of urgency from the Senators to raise the cap.
This comes at a time when several IT firms are suing the Immigration agencies for discrimination, claiming that the current administration is actively attempting to prevent legal immigration and treating some foreign based IT firms unfairly in the lottery process, with claims that the government is actively looking or reasons to deny visa applications.
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参议员们正在试图争取更多的签证
由缅因州参议院安格斯和柯林斯领导的一群参议员正试图提高某些工作签证的限额。 川普政府最近的政策变化导致H-1B和其他工作签证申请的通过数量减少,许多公司,尤其是科技领域的中小型企业,都受到了影响。 随着美国本土的失业率达到历史新低,对于外国技术人才的需求与日俱增。以旅游业为基础的缅因州尤其需要外国技术人才的帮助。因此参议院们急切地想要提高工作签证的限额。
目前,许多科技公司都在状告移民局歧视,他们称白宫政府在尝试阻拦合法移民进入美国,这在最近的抽签结果中可以体现出来(不了解的同学可以参考我们上一篇文章)。这些科技公司认为,政府千方百计地在寻找可以否决各种签证的理由。

ARE H-1B WORKERS BEING EXPLOITED?

March 4, 2019
A recent piece by Bloomberg law suggests that H-1B workers entering the US, particularly in the IT sector, are potentially being exploited by consulting firms. The piece, founded mostly on anonymous sources to protect workers from retaliation, claims that some H-1B immigrants are being forced to work 80 hours (twice the standard work week) for no additional overtime pay, and are also functionally unable to take sick days or vacation days.
This comes at a time when IT companies are facing a major crunch, as several lawsuits have recently been filed claiming that the current US administration is attempting to prevent the flow of skilled immigrants from entering the US, particularly in the IT consulting industry.
Workers who enter the US on an H-1B visa are required to have the same working conditions as US workers. Companies involved in these allegations have denied wrongdoing.
It is important for those attempting to enter the US on a visa, or those already working on a visa, to have qualified legal counsel to help ensure the optimal transition to living and working the United States. It is especially important to ensure that the companies offering positions are vetted, particularly with recent sting operations targeting fraudulent recruiters and visa advisors.
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H-1B员工常常被剥削吗?
彭博法律专栏最新一篇报道称,特别是在科技行业,外包公司存在剥削其H-1B员工的现象。其指出,某些H-1B员工被强行要求在没有加班工资的情况下每周工作80小时,为正常时间的两倍,且员工无法正常休假和请病假。
目前,科技公司正面临着重大危机,数个诉讼都指控美国政府限制科技外包公司的技术移民进入美国。
理论上,H-1B员工应与美国员工有相同的工作条件和待遇。但往往雇主会因为员工的H-1B身份而利用他们,而员工又担心自己会丢失H-1B身份而不敢反抗。于是乎造成了这些雇主公司否认自身有不当的行为,雇员又默默承受不公平待遇。
对于试图进入或已经在美国工作的人而言,定时向有经验的移民律师咨询对于其工作和生活都至关重要。鉴于最近针对欺诈性招聘和签证中介的打击力度加大,任何H-1B的疑难杂症都显得相当致命,稍有闪失都可能错失留美机会。