Frequently Asked Questions - Employers and HR

This content is tagged for employers and Human Resources professionals responsible for hiring foreign professionals/workers in USA

  1. I-140 Withdrawal vs NOIR in AC21 Context
  2. Government Shutdown – Impact on Immigration Matters
  3. Ability to Pay
  4. Sufficient Evidence of an Employer-Employee Relationship
  5. Ability to Pay Wages when Priority Date is in the Middle of the Year
  6. Out of Status
  7. H1B Status
  8. Must we withdraw a PERM application if the employee is laid off?
  9. Importance of having continuity of employment/pay stubs
  10. H-1 visa denial and investigation
  11. Compensation for H-1 lay off
  12. Status, authorized period of stay and unlawful presence
  13. H-1 without specific job/GC continuation without H-1
  14. New H-1 employee returning -- rights and issues
  15. Unreasonable H-1 requests from CIS
  16. Employers and Employees -- H-1 or EAD?
  17. H-1 Compliance: Wage Source; Exempt Employees; Posting; Starting Payroll; SSN; When to amend
  18. GC approved. When should I start working on the green card job?
  19. GC Compliance for Employers
  20. When does CIS investigate fraud?
  21. Employers questions on H-1 compliance
  22. What happens when an employer is under criminal investigation/indictment?
  23. Employers responsibility in H-1 process
  24. Is salary reduction possible/legal?
  25. Start-up applying for H-1 and AC21 for employees
  26. How to get back to H-1 status?
  27. Covid Coronavirus Question from Employers about Payroll for H-1B and others L-1, E, etc. employees
  28. Is New H-1B Visa Stamping Needed if you Change Employers?
  29. Processing Times Involved in NIW
  30. No loss of priority date if employer revokes I-140; Green card through future employer
  31. New company filing H-1
  32. H-1 employer not paying
  33. USCIS Updated Questions &Answers on the H-1B Employer-Employee Relationship
I-140 Withdrawal vs NOIR in AC21 Context
A couple of questions I have in extension to the I-140 withdrawal by employer are below. If I have I-1485 pending for more than a year via company A and I join company B using my EAD/AC21: a. what will be the impact if Company-A decides to withdraw/cancel/dissolve the I-140? b. Is there a possibility for a NOIR to occur on the I140 which had been approved in 2011? If yes what is the impact in either cases? What are the measures I need to take in either case?

a. No effect on your AC21 right, but you cannot extend future H-1 (if you need them).

b. Oh yes.

Government Shutdown – Impact on Immigration Matters
1. Our employees are deployed at government sites. Are we still obliged to pay the H-1 wage? 2. Can we ask such employees to use their paid leave?

A1. Yes. In my view, that obligation continues unabated.

Ability to Pay
1. Is submitting consolidated returns and audited financial statements for a parent company and its wholly owned subsidiaries sufficient to meet the burden of proof for establishing the company’s ability to pay by a preponderance of the evidence? 2. Where an employee who is the beneficiary of an approved I-140 and is eligible for AC-21 portability ports to a new employer in the same or similar occupation, must the new employer demonstrate the ability to pay the proffered wage from the date of portability? 3. When adjudicating I-485 applications for portability-eligible individuals where the petitioning employer is no longer in business, does USCIS require the subsequent employer to satisfy both the ability-to-pay requirement and the bona fide offer of employment requirement from the date of the employee’s subsequent hire through the approval of adjustment of status? 4. Why are prorated net assets not sufficient evidence to support ability to pay? 5. Why is the Yates Memo not applied if a beneficiary’s W-2 indicates that the actual wage paid to him/her is at least as much as the beneficiary’s proffered wage for the prorated period?

1. USCIS says that it evaluates each consolidated financial statement on a caseby-case basis under the preponderance of evidence standard to determine whether the petitioner has the ability to pay the proffered wage.

2. USCIS says that, in this situation, the new employer is not obligated to demonstrate the ability to pay from the date of portability.

Sufficient Evidence of an Employer-Employee Relationship
We are filing an H-1B petition for a three-year period for a potential employee. However, they will be assigned to work at a client site and the contract we have with this client is not for the full three-year period. Will the petition be denied on this basis? We would still want this individual to work for us for the full three years.

If you do not initially provide sufficient evidence of an employer-employee relationship and the availability of sufficient specialty-level work for the duration of the requested validity period, you may be given an opportunity to correct the deficiency through response to a Request for Evidence (RFE).  Your petition may still be approved if you provide evidence that a qualifying employer-employee relationship will exist for a portion of the requested validity period, as long as all other requirements are met.  However, USCIS will limit a petition’s validity to the time p

Ability to Pay Wages when Priority Date is in the Middle of the Year
How shall ability to pay wages be determined when the Priority Date is in the middle of the year?

 

USCIS does not calculate ability to pay wages on a pro-rated basis. USCIS will accept proof to show that petitioners have paid the required wage, as shown on ETA Form 9089, for the relevant periods of employment. Additionally, the USICS will accept other forms of evidence, such as pay stubs, W-2’s, and 1099 forms.

Out of Status
How many months gap is permisible for H-1 and also in GC process if person is on H-1 ? I mean to say supposse one H-1 holder lost his job and if he got another job after 02 months ( Gap of 02 months ) then his H-1 and GC process will be effected ? His last co. is supporting by keeping her I-140 as such ( no revock ) (Condition: Person has H-1 and his I-140 was also aproved in last co. but due to some reason she left job and would like to join another co. on 3rd month, say after 02 months and would like to file H-1 in this new company )

A gap of even one day (unless excused by USCIS) puts a person out of status and is not permitted. When you leave a sponsoring employer, it certainly calls into question the continuity of existence the green card job'

H1B Status
My wife is on H1B and now she is 7th month pregnant. If she takes leave on non-payment, will she be in H1B status or out of status?

As long as the leave of absence is reasonable and customary (or required by medical necessity), she should be considered in status.

Must we withdraw a PERM application if the employee is laid off?
I am Mr. Jones, the employer. The employee, Mr. Smith, is no longer employed with us because of company's budget issue. However, we may hire him in the near future if circumstance changes. My question: Q1. Do we need to withdraw PERM LC for him that was submitted 2009? Q2. Question from the employee, Mr. Smith: If Mr. Smith filed an immigration benefit (e.g. visa, petition, change of status), does he need to answer YES / NO to the following question: "Has an immigrant petition ever been filed for you?" Basically: does submitting PERM/LC mean filing an immigrant petition? This question is often asked in application.

A1. I do not know of any law that requires an employer to withdraw a PERM application if an employee leaves or gets laid off, but the employer still retains a good faith intention to hire them back. When we first filed the PERM application, we filed it in good faith, asserting to the USDOL under penalty of perjury that:
You have enough funds available to pay the wage or salary offered the alien and you will be able to place the alien on the payroll on or before the date of the alien’s proposed entrance into the United States.

Importance of having continuity of employment/pay stubs
Whats the relevance or importance of having continuous pay stubs (How much gap is permissible if Not significant?) in the processing of Green card of an H1B holder.

Continued payments are required by law for H-1 holder, unless they come under some very limited exceptions for leave for employee's personal reasons. Not paying, exposes the employer to investigation and penalties and may place the employee out of status.

In the green card context, non-payment can lead to problems with demonstrating ability to pay wages.

For both H-1 and GC, nonpayment can lead to an assumption that no genuine job exists. That could lead to cancellation of one or both processes, except for situations where AC21 portability is involved.

H-1 visa denial and investigation
1. I had filed for H1B visa last year but the VISA consulate in Delhi denied it as they wanted Tax returns of the Client company and other details which my H1B sponsor company was not willing to share. I was really frustrated with VO at embassy. I then applied to embassy to withdrawn my H1B visa application. I got a confirmation that it has been withdrawn. Now today after so many days when I checked my H1B status on USCIS, it said " This case has been received from the State Department with a request we review it." Please let me know what does it mean and does it mean something serious to take care of. 2. Updated FAQ - What are the implications of H1B Visa revocation for future H1b application

1. This means that the consulate sent the case back to USCIS for review, revocation (and may be investigation of the employer). Usually, you should not have any issue with it. But from what I recall, if the case is revoked, you will be subject to the H-1 quota in future.

2. I do not see any implications for the individual unless the revocation was based upon some problem with the individual's qualifications.

Compensation for H-1 lay off
My friend is working for NASDAQ listed company in US. We were in a discussion about the compensation details available for H1B employee if the company does a lay-off and he is affected due to it. He is on end of his 6th year and just got his 7th year extension. If something like that happen(not that it should happen) but if that happen what are the compensation he is entitled to get from the company, apart from 2 weeks pay.

There is no special protection of compensation under H-1 laws once employment is terminated. Under immigration laws, the employer is required only pay for a one-way ticket back to your home country. The protection, if any, comes from employment contracts.

Status, authorized period of stay and unlawful presence

Status, authorized period of stay and unlawful presence are three VERY important concepts in US immigration laws with far reaching implications. The nuances in these concepts are so intricate that they can trip up even my fellow-lawyers. I see issues in this all the time.

Here is a brief primier to enable you to understand the basics. This is by no means an exhaustive analysis.

Status

H-1 without specific job/GC continuation without H-1


1. I don't have a work order or client letter to support my H1B extension which is expiring on 2nd June. Is it legally not allowed to file for H1B extension without this or to avoid RFE one need to support extension with this.

New H-1 employee returning -- rights and issues
Our employee XYZ has arrived in the US. However, it appears that because of the job market in the US, he is going to return home to his old job. I know you said they are allowed to return back to USA at a later date if they choose to work for us down the road. But my question is how long may he stay without getting paid until he must return home? I know you sent me information about benching, stating: Q. What is the law regarding the benching of H-1 holding employees? A. The law does NOT permit benching without full salary payment by the employer. The only exception is that when an employer first hires an employee on H-1B they are allowed an initial period of 30 or 60 days during which the employee does not have to be paid while on bench. i. If the employee is currently in USA and adjusts status or transfers from one employer to another within USA - the bench-without-pay period is 60 days from the date of approval of the petition by INS. ii. If the employee is entering USA from abroad, the period is 30 days from the date of entry into USA. If I'm interpreting this correctly, we must pay him no later than day 30 of his arrival here in the USA?

There are a couple of issues I want to clarify. The period of payment begins on the earlier of the two events: when the employee presents himself/herself for the job or 30/60 days. DOL considers it to be irrefutable evidence of having reported when a consulting company starts "marketing" the resume (Note also that to bring an employee in without a project has been elevated by this administration to be an indictable offense, which I think is unlikely to stand up in courts).

Unreasonable H-1 requests from CIS

USCIS now wants consulting companies to provide tax information on their clients. This is gross over-reaching in my view. Here is an excerpt from an RFE we received last week:

Employers and Employees -- H-1 or EAD?
Considering that the economy is not doing that good and sometimes projects get over and consultants go on "bench" without any clients kinda situation, this is something not that uncommon. Related to this, as being on a H1B requires me to maintain the LCA salary as mentioned on my W2, would switching to EAD with my sponsoring employer help with getting away from this restriction? Does that also mean that if I don't get paid by my employer for a certain period and I am on an EAD, there is no issue with my GC/status at all as there is no H1B. Just trying to find out what the possible advantages would be at this time with EAD.

 There are two situations to analyze here: being benched and getting paid a lower salary. Both of them have problematic implications for employers and employees.

Here is what concerns me. As far as I know, it has never been done so far, but the possible consequences of being benched are that the I-485 can be denied and (POSSIBLY, but there are strong arguments against it) I-140 could be revoked if already approved. If I-140 is not approved, USCIS could easily deny the I-140.

H-1 Compliance: Wage Source; Exempt Employees; Posting; Starting Payroll; SSN; When to amend

1. Is it advisable or compulsory to get the prevailing wage determination from the states or Online Wage Library is enough at the time of taking LCA? Because most of the time we are taking the LCAs for the job titles like: Software Engineer, Programmer Analyst and System Analyst for which the wage determination available in the online wage library.

Ans. OES wages can be used as long as the correct job category and job level are used. Applying for prevailing wages from the govt. is time consuming, but does have the benefit of being almost beyond question in case of an audit.

GC approved. When should I start working on the green card job?
Now that I received my GC through employment, does my employer need to change my position to the one filed in the Labor Certification?

Yes, now that the GC is approved, your employer should "permanently" give you the job described (including the title, salary and job duties) in the Labor Certification. This change should take place within a "reasonable time" after the GC approval.

Keep in mind, "permanent" does not mean forever. This term describes a job that has no pre-decided termination date. We see no violation of the law, If the employer, due to economic or other circumstances, can no longer support the job after having offered it to you in good faith.

GC Compliance for Employers
Some of our employees' Green cards have been filed. There projects have ended. They are working on H-1 but possess EAD and have 140 approved and 485 pending more than 180 days.

Quote: (1) If we revoke their H-1, are we still required to pay full wages if our clients say they do not currently have a project for our employees?

Ans. You are not required to pay "bench salaries" for employees whose H-1 are revoked (remember you must inform CIS and offer employee a one-way ticket home). But we then have exposure to the questions, "do you still have a "permanent" job for them?" If the answer is no, then their GC processing can be interrupted unless they use AC21 portability.

When does CIS investigate fraud?

The attached document explains the criteria.

Employers questions on H-1 compliance

1. Are we OK in keeping an H1B worker without work as long as we pay him during the project break too - at the LCA wage level.

Ans. You must pay your H-1 workers the legal wage. This is the higher of the prevailing wage or the actual wage. Actual wage is defined as that which you pay other similar employees in the same geographical location. So, as long as you pay the legal wage, there is no problem.

What happens when an employer is under criminal investigation/indictment?
What if an employer is indicted on multiple counts and he is cleared of all other charges but he pleads to a conspiracy charge with home detention for a few months as his punishment. How does this effect pending cases at his business?

That depends upon whether or not the conspiracy was in fact in relation to the pending cases. For example, if the fraud/conspiracy involved non-payment of H-1 employees, that should have no affect on pending green card cases. 

Employers responsibility in H-1 process

Dear Rajiv, we are small business firm with few h1b workers. I have few questions that I would like to get your advise:

a) Do we need to file a separate labor petition whenever a h1b worker moves to an different project location?

Is salary reduction possible/legal?

Quote:

1. If an employee is on a H1 they cannot have a 10% pay cut unless their H1 was amended and refiled.

Start-up applying for H-1 and AC21 for employees
If a new start-up IT consulting company wants to transfer H1 of a prospective employee who is already on H1 and working for his current H1 sponsor, what are the issues and feasibility for such a transfer? How can such a start-up IT consulting company go about hiring AC21 eligible folks on EAD? May this is the safest route in the beginning until the company gets more employees and grows revenue? Will the AOS of the prospective employee be safe if he is the only employee of this company in the beginning. Of course the company wants to expand in the future but has to start somewhere.
How to get back to H-1 status?

We got an approval for a L1 to H1 with an I-94 effective Oct 1, 2008. But the candidate got an admission for a one year full time MBA program which he wants to pursue and join us in August 2009. His MBA program is starting in September 2008. So, he will be applying for his F1 status soon.

Qo1. What choices do we have to keep the H1 approval valid so that he can join us in August 2009 ?

Covid Coronavirus Question from Employers about Payroll for H-1B and others L-1, E, etc. employees
We are looking at various measures of safety and expense control. First and foremost everyone is working from home for their on safety and wellness. For expense control one idea that we were discussing was a potential pay rate reduction for a short period of time.
Is New H-1B Visa Stamping Needed if you Change Employers?
I have a question on H1B stamping. I am currently working with employer A. I have visa stamping till Nov 2018 and it shows the name of my previous employer, employer B. I am planning to visit India in the coming month of November 2017. Should I go to visa stamping and get a new visa showing a new employer, employer A? In the past, I have encountered a similar situation and I came back successfully with out getting a new stamp. I am not aware of current immigration law. Have there been any changes in this aspect?
Processing Times Involved in NIW
If I may verify the processing times involved in NIW. Since it falls under EB2 category, I am assuming it may be a long time before I can get my EAD card and be able to change employers. Also, I want to confirm if there could be issues if I change employers during the process - If so, I'd prefer to change my current employer before starting with it.

You can change employers any time if you are a self-applicant and will continue to work in your stated area of national interest.  But NIW priority date will take the same time as a normal EB-2 application does.  See: 

No loss of priority date if employer revokes I-140; Green card through future employer
I have my perm labor and I-140 approved through EMPLOYER A (Consulting Firm). Priority Date June 2013. If I am going to change Employer, EMPLOYER A is going to REVOKE MY I-140. I heard from your last conference call that i will be loosing my priority if I-140 is revoked by employer.I am close to 5th year of H-1. so cant take chances. If I move to FT position in the next 6 months and say my current employer revokes I-140. I will not be able to get extension for H-1 beyond 6 years.

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.   

https://youtu.be/H_VV9kV_lOg?t=688

New company filing H-1
We have started a company recently and wanted to sponsor H-1B for experienced employees and place them with our clients. What is the criteria and can a new company sponsor H-1B?

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.  

H-1 employer not paying
My employer did not run my payroll. He told me that we are going to get the project money after 2 months from client. Can I do something for that? If they do not run payroll can it create any problem?

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.  

USCIS Updated Questions &Answers on the H-1B Employer-Employee Relationship
Does this memorandum change any of the requirements to establish eligibility for an H-1B petition?

No. This memorandum does not change any of the requirements for an H-1B petition.