Employee FAQs

Covid Coronavirus Question from Employers about Payroll for H-1B and others L-1, E, etc. employees

Authored on: Thu, 04/30/2020 - 01:39

Question

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.

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Covid Coronavirus Question from

 Employers about Payroll for H-1B and others L-1, E, etc. employees


Video Transcript

If you look at the Department of Labor regulations they say that the employer cannot stop paying a salary or the right amount of salary for anything that the employer does. So if you don’t have a project that's your problem. If by law or by local order you cannot open offices and you cannot work, would you as an employer be allowed to pay a lesser salary and that might be something to look at because rather than laying off all the people that your concerned about I would have you to think about other alternatives. FAQ in detail...


Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

Processing Times Involved in NIW

Authored on: Tue, 01/03/2017 - 10:43

Question

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.

Answer

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: http://www.immigration.com/visa-bulletin under employment-based category 2.

No loss of priority date if employer revokes I-140; Green card through future employer

Authored on: Thu, 12/10/2015 - 14:57

Question

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.

Answer

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

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

FAQ Transcript:

This is a very tricky issue that has come up time and time again and one month we have one answer and after six months we have another answer. There are two sets of questions here, one is priority date, if the employer revokes I-140 does it get lost and the other one is some issues about Green Card through a future employer.

So let's discuss two sets of issues, as of November 12th, 2015 the answer is, USCIS will not take away your priority date if the old employer revokes the I-140. However, you will not have any right to extend your H-1 based upon I-140 that is already gone. In addition, if the I-140 is revoked for fraud, misrepresentation or mistakenly having been approved by USCIS, you will not have the priority date then.

USCIS has reversed itself like three or four times. They started of a few years ago saying you will lose your priority date, if the employer revokes the I-140, then the sudden No, you will not. Few months ago they said Yes you will lose the priority date and couple of weeks ago again they said No you will not. So they have gone up and down on this issue all the time.

Another question often asked by a community member who says there are cases were very accurately people reported that their priority date was lost between May 2015 and September 2015 and the answer is yes. I know that because I did lot of consultations in between and there were lot of cases that were denied. Now these cases should try to file a motion to reopen or reconsider and try to get their priority dates.

The other question he put forth was, can we get to see a copy of this teleconference document?

Unfortunately, there is no copy. It is comments from one of the committee members, we have all the volunteer committees as American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), where members go on behalf of AILA and meet the USCIS, in one of those there is a comment from American Immigration Lawyers Association committee member that says; the government has categorically stated in that meeting that they will not take away priority date.

The other question is:  Does withdrawal of I-140 by an employer same as revocation by employer or withdrawal and revocation are two different things?

Withdrawal implies of something little different. Withdrawal implies that I-140 was not approved at least to my mind, even when it was pending it was withdrawn. Because once it is approved only can be revoked, I don't think it can be withdrawn.  Something is not approved and its withdrawn then we are out of luck there is no priority date. Priority date only can be conferred by approved petition. Once it is approved then it is revoked by employer under the current thinking of the government that we all know, they will not revoke or take away your priority date.

I am little hesitant to say that you can depend upon the word of the government, because I have looked at the regulations and I have looked at the way these folks have been flip flopping on the situation makes me very nervous to be in the situation, prepare for the worst, hope for the best that's all I can tell you.

Question: Has USCIS listed their final official position on this issue as like a document anywhere on their website?

Not yet, I have not seen anything in writing from the government.  So I won't be able to give you much there but as soon as I get something official from the government, I would be certain to post it. 

Question: Now Green card through future employer, what if another employer starts my Green card processing, can I continue working for Employer A , while Employer B initiates new GC process for me?

And the answer is yes. You can have 20 new employers to start Green card process. As long as you have good faith, intention to join whichever comes first or whichever is more suitable for you. I don't see any reason that you cannot have multiple Green cards filed.

Question:  Is it possible for me to clear the PERM and I-140 Stage of GC process of Employer B while still working for EMPLOYER A?

It is actually possible to process entire Green card with employer B, even though I-485 gets approved while you still working for employer A.

Question: I may or may not join EMPLOYER B. As I am in the process of looking for FTE (full time) position ) Say I moved to EMPLOYER C (FTE) and I have never worked with Employer B and have I-140 approved with EMPLOYER B .

There is actually Yates memorandum of May 2005 that talks about this. As long as you had good faith intention all the way to join, let’s say your I-140 was approved, PERM of course approved, I-140 was approved through employer B. You are working for employer A, I-140 approved through employer B, priority dates become current you still working for employer A, priority date becomes current after 180 days actually you do not ever have to join the sponsoring employer. You can join any employer who gives you same or similar job whether it is employer A, C, D or E.

There are some issues about coming back to employers after leaving them during the Green card process. I would want you to have one on one consultation with your lawyers, not an easy issue to discuss in a few minutes but it can be a problem if you leave an employer in the middle of the process and come back. Lot of people did not have any problems, one or two cases occasionally do get the problems. The government asks questions like why did you leave if this was the permanent job, if you left who was doing that permanent job, things like that could come up and there are whole set of issues that need to be discussed with your lawyers basically.

Question: I also heard about rejections in PERM. Can EMPLOYER B start two different GC process for me and file two PERMS at the same time?

No. Technically they can file two Green card process against two jobs, I would highly recommend against it. It can be for two different positions only, you can't file a PERM for the same employer, same employee, same job twice No.

Question: Does it cost anything for the Employer to hold an approved I-140? 

It does not, except sometimes the government can question their ability to pay wages and they look at all outstanding Green cards and indirectly it can become an issue for the employers. It does not cost them anything out of ordinary. Let me rephrase it, nothing out of pocket but if the RFE comes and if any of the cases about ability to pay wages I guess at that point they can revoke the I-140 if they want.

New company filing H-1

Authored on: Wed, 12/09/2015 - 06:36

Question

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?

Answer

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

https://youtu.be/H_VV9kV_lOg?t=530 

FAQ Transcript:

Answer is of course. I am yet to see a major negative effect just because the company is small. What is more important is that you have specific projects that are clearly defined and you can define how long the project is, what the project description is, what the relationship of the employee being placed is with their employer, which is the new company and usually that is done through a letter from the end client or very comprehensive work order or job order kind of thing. 

So if you can prove those things, duration of the projects etc. then filing an H-1 is not an issue but if you do not yet have a clear project in mind I would strongly advice you not to file H-1’s, because there is a trend in criminal indictment these days when companies get criminally indicted, two things government is bringing up time and again. The government is bringing up the fact that company applied for H-1’s without the specific projects and two if they kept employees on the bench. 

H-1 employer not paying

Authored on: Tue, 07/07/2015 - 06:32

Question

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?

Answer

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

https://youtu.be/PreNUXXW9KU?t=696

FAQ Transcript 

The employer will be in a lot of trouble. The law is employers cannot bench or reduce the salaries of the employees just because they are in between projects. They are required to pay the full salary. If they don’t you can file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division (United States Department of Labor) within a year when the wages were not paid. The form is WH-4. Once you file the complaint, Department of Labor investigates it. You have to do nothing. It does not involve any expense at your part for H-1 holders.  Department of Labor will recover the money and will get the cheques that are due. Secondly if the employer has the practice of doing this in a routine basis then the company can be in a lot of trouble. Please do not get involved in a situation where the employer runs the payroll and you return the cash to them. If that is the situation anybody invites you to that is a party to a fraud. Fraud and misrepresentation can result in criminal prosecution and also can result in a permanent bar from entering the United States.

USCIS Updated Questions &Answers on the H-1B Employer-Employee Relationship

Authored on: Mon, 04/14/2014 - 06:03

Question

Does this memorandum change any of the requirements to establish eligibility for an H-1B petition?

Answer

No. This memorandum does not change any of the requirements for an H-1B petition. The H-1B regulations currently require that a United States employer establish that it has an employer-employee relationship with respect to the beneficiary, as indicated by the fact that it may hire, pay, fire, supervise or otherwise control the work of any such employee. In addition to demonstrating that a valid employer-employee relationship will exist between the petitioner and the beneficiary, the petitioner must continue to comply with all of the requirements for an H-1B petition including:

  • establishing that the beneficiary is coming to the United States temporarily to work in a specialty occupation;
  • demonstrating that the beneficiary is qualified to perform services in the specialty occupation; and
  • filing of a Labor Condition Application (LCA) specific to each location where the beneficiary will perform services.

See more at: http://www.immigration.com/news/h-1-visa/uscis-updated-questions-answer…



Can H-4/F-2, etc. non-work visa holders volunteer?

Authored on: Fri, 03/28/2014 - 03:42

Question

Answer

This question is raised often and debated much amongst lawyers focusing their practice on employment-based immigration.  I have a call scheduled with a corporate client who is considering the legality of accepting a volunteer in their for-profit IT business.

I intend to inform them that under US immigration laws, if the work is performed for NO remuneration or other benefits, it would not violate the law. This issue has been explored in my blog entry here.

The problem, however, is that the Fair Labor Standards Act (Federal Law) does not permit for-profit employers to hire unpaid "interns" or "volunteers." See this link for FLSA standards according to US Department of Labor. There has been considerable litigation on this issue with employers on the losing side. So, please consult your employment law counsel before deciding on retaining the services of unpaid employees.

Licensing of Foreign Persons Employed by a U.S. Person

Authored on: Thu, 01/02/2014 - 04:34

Question

When is a foreign person considered an employee?
If residing overseas, is the foreign person employee considered a broker?
Should current authorizations be replaced or amended to be consistent with current guidance?
Can multiple employees be covered under one authorization?
How is an employee providing marketing services overseas identified in a license application?
What if the foreign person’s place of birth is different from the country he/she now resides in and holds citizenship from?
What value should be entered on the license application?
How should the foreign person employee of a U.S. person be identified in the TAA or MLA?
Who should sign the DSP-83 for the transfer of U.S. classified information?

Answer

When is a foreign person considered an employee?
A foreign person is considered an employee when the foreign person is a full time regular employee, directly paid, insured, hired/fired and/or promoted exclusively by the U.S. person. The employee, however, need not LIVE in the U.S. to be employed by the U.S. person. The U.S. person is liable to ensure all foreign person employees are compliant with U.S. export laws regardless of residence.

If residing overseas, is the foreign person employee considered a broker?
If truly employed by the U.S. person, the foreign person is NOT considered a broker when performing the U.S. person’s business (must be within the scope of the employment authorization) since he/she is a company employee.

Should current authorizations be replaced or amended to be consistent with current guidance?
Currently approved authorizations are still valid. As expiration dates are reached, industry will be expected to submit the appropriate authorization as delineated in the current guidance.

Can multiple employees be covered under one authorization?
Yes. Multiple foreign person employees can be covered under one authorization so long as they are all of the same nationality working on the same program/commodity, i.e., all French nationals working on the same radar program.

How is an employee providing marketing services overseas identified in a license application?
If the U.S. person desires for the foreign person employee to market their products to other countries and the product is within the scope of the DSP-5, the U.S. person should obtain a license to market a particular technology to a particular country identifying the foreign person employee as a foreign consignee. Once the marketing license is approved the foreign employee may perform his/her job duties. The case number of the employment DSP-5 should be identified in the marketing license application.

What if the foreign person’s place of birth is different from the country he/she now resides in and holds citizenship from?
This would bring into question the issue of dual nationality and whether the individual had ties to his country of birth which would indicate a degree of loyalty and allegiance to that country. The license would be considered on the basis that it could be an export to both countries. Normally, this does not present a problem unless the country of birth is proscribed under 22 CFR 126.1 in which case we have to secure additional information to confirm lack of significant ties to the country of birth.

Wha value should be entered on the license application?
DDTC suggests identifying the foreign person employee’s annual salary and/or value of the technical data/defense services transferred/received.

How should the foreign person employee of a U.S. person be identified in the TAA or MLA?
The agreement holder must amend the agreement to specifically identify the foreign person employees of all U.S. signatories. The statement should be made in 22 CFR 124.7(4) with other statements regarding transfer territory. If the foreign person employees are not already identified, this statement should be included in the next amendment submitted to DDTC for approval. 

Who should sign the DSP-83 for the transfer of U.S. classified information?
The U.S. person and the foreign person employee must execute the DSP-83 when the transfer of U.S. classified information is required. DDTC may require the foreign government to execute the DSP-83 on a case-by-case basis. 

For more information visit these links: http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/faqs/license_foreignpersons.html#1

http://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/frequently-asked-questions-about-part-6-form-i-129-petition-nonimmigrant-worker 
http://www.bis.doc.gov/

Government Shutdown – Impact on Immigration Matters

Authored on: Fri, 10/04/2013 - 02:43

Question

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?

Answer

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

A2. No. If the employees voluntarily wish to do so for their convenience, I feel that would be legal. But the employer may not force employees to do so.

Ability to Pay

Authored on: Thu, 09/05/2013 - 01:05

Question

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?

Answer

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.

3. USCIS says that, in this situation, the new employer does not have to demonstrate the ability to pay during the entire period.  Once the Form I-485 has been pending for 180 days, the applicant may port and present evidence.  If AC-21 portability requirements are met, the dissolution or withdrawal of the I-140 petition (after the 180-day point) by the former employer does not affect portability.

4. USCIS does not specifically address why it will not accept prorated net assets as sufficient evidence to support ability to pay.  Prorating is not provided for in any policy, regulation, or statute.  Therefore, only current assets should be included in the calculation.

5. According to USCIS, the Yates Memo will apply only in respect of ability to pay. The adjudicating officer will look at the rate paid and not the total amount paid.  It is the petitioner’s burden to demonstrate that the rate that is being paid is an appropriate increment to the proffered wage.

AC21 and losing job

Authored on: Thu, 03/11/2010 - 06:04

Question

I am EB2 priority date Sep2005. I had lost my job in Apr 09. I started working on Dec09 with another company similar job description, in same geographic location and with 15% higher salary than labor approved. I was out of job for almost 8 months.My old employer has assured not to evoke approved I140 (more than 3 years since I 140 is approved)

I have few questions:

1.Shall I file for AC21?
2.is it advisable to send copy of current paystunb with AC21, If yes how many months?
2.Is it okay to file AC21without paystub for around 8 months?
2.If I dont file for AC21, will there be an issue travelling on AP at POE?

Answer

AC21 should be filed. The fact that you were out of job for 8 months is irrelevant. As long as the jobs are same or similar, you should have no issues.

Out of Status

Authored on: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 02:36

Question

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 )

Answer

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

Authored on: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 02:32

Question

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?

Answer

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?

Authored on: Wed, 02/10/2010 - 02:26

Question

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.

Answer

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.
Both these assertions were true when we filed the PERM application on your behalf. So, we have followed the laws to the letter. Now, several months later, circumstances have changed. Do we have an affirmative duty to withdraw the PERM application? I do not see such a duty in the law.
Having a PERM in process, gives your employee an opportunity to continue extending their H-1 with any employer beyond 6 years. That is a considerable benefit.
The government could take the position that your application is now void on two grounds. First, you no longer have a job open, which is a continuing requirement. Second, you had an interruption in your ability to pay the intended wage, which is also a continuing requirement. We could lose the green card on both counts, but I see nothing illegal in letting the application stay pending. My opinion could change if we get an audit request from the USDOL. At that point, it may be inappropriate for us to continue. That is something we will review carefully at that time. Please do remind us. We will also post a note to your file.

A2. A PERM is not a visa application or an immigrant petition, a Form I-140 (the step after PERM) is.

Importance of having continuity of employment/pay stubs

Authored on: Mon, 02/01/2010 - 05:50

Question

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.

Answer

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.

Questions on AC21, EAD, losing job, etc.

Authored on: Tue, 01/19/2010 - 04:08

Question

1. On 5th year of H1. Single employer till date from day one of H1. Same employer has sponsored GC applications, I-140 approved, I-485 filed in Aug-07, EAD and AP approved and successfully renewed. What is the real value of CIS issuing EADs to people like me? Does this allow me in addition to the current job I have, take up ‘any’ other job using EAD? Does having an EAD permit me to work multiple jobs?

2. Does having an EAD permit me to work multiple jobs?

3. If due to economic situation my employer (who has sponsored GC) has to lay off people and I am let go am I out of status? Reading through your blogs I understand that since I-485 is pending, one is NOT out of status even if NOT working – is this correct?

4. How long can one stay without working (no job) while I-485 is pending? Will not working be seen as ‘abandoning the GC application’?

5. Do we have to let CIS know that one has been laid off? If we have to do this wouldn’t CIS see that the job for which GC is being processed is no longer available and immediately terminate the I-485 application?

6. Do I lose EAD and AP?

7. My wife is working using her EAD…will she lose her EAD?

8. Is it possible to invoke EAD and take up similar job if one can be found? Is there a time period within which this has to be done?

9. Is it possible to invoke EAD and take up ‘any’ job if a ‘similar’ job is unavailable? If this route is chosen I understand that Labor Certification & I-140 may have to be re-applied, but would the priority date remain where it was originally (as obtained in original GC application) OR would priority date change to the date when new I-140 is filed?

Answer

1A.  Yes.

2A. Yes, but you will then lose H-1 status (which can be revived by reentering USA using an H-1 visa during the life of your H-1 and taking up single-employer job with the H-1 sponsoring employer – not a difficult task, usually).

3A. Correct. You are in authorized period of stay. That has been explained in my blog.

4A. You can stay as long as CIS does not send an RFE or a Notice of Intent to Deny requiring you to prove similar, alternate employment (AC21 portability – also explained in detail on my blog).

5A. There is no such obligation for the employee. If the employer informs CIS, they should send (eventually) an NOID requiring proof of employment – see the answer above.


6A. No.

7A. No.

8A. I am not sure I understand, but there is no deadline unless an RFE or an NOID is issued.

9A. Since your I-140 is approved and I-485 has been pending over 180 days, you are entitled by law to change jobs to a similar position with any employer. And you do not have to start your green card all over again. This is referred to as AC21 portability – discussed in exhaustive detail on my blog. But if the jobs are not similar, you can only carry forward the PD and have start your GC all over again. Make sure you maintain H-1 status.

Divers Licenses, while H-1 extension pending

Authored on: Thu, 10/08/2009 - 02:59

Question

How can someone get a extension on drivers license if his H1B extension is pending and I-140 is approved in Georgia??? What do you suggest someone should do in such a situation?

Answer

I had a discussion on this just yesterday with an employer who has 19 employees in a similar situation in various States. The problem here is, while USCIS regulations do permit a grace period of 240 days to continue working, most States have no clue about it. While, this is a good topic for advocacy, short of suing the States, the best thing is to just premium your pending H-1.

AC21 - accepting a green card

Authored on: Fri, 08/21/2009 - 13:38

Question

1) After getting the GC through a sponsoring employer, is there any procedure to indicate that the future job is accepted by the employee. I mean switching from H1B to GC status is just based on letting the employer know about the status or is there any paperwork needed to be sent to USCIS?

2) Also, based on getting a green card, is there a stringent requirement of payroll checks? This is based on the fact that H1B employees have to maintain the payroll constantly (based on my knowledge). I am asking this in case I want to take a vacation for some time in case I get my GC?

3) After joining the sponsoring employer, if on GC, more opportunities come by, is it allright to consider those opportunities? What is the timeframe for USCIS to consider that the employee did have the right intent to join the sponsoring employer?

Answer

A1) There is no formal procedure other than joining, preparing a Form I-9, being on the payroll and actually working.

A2) You can behave like you would in any other permanent job - take vacations, etc.

A3) That question has been answered on my blog. See http://forums.immigration.com/blog.php?b=36

Compensation for H-1 lay off

Authored on: Mon, 08/03/2009 - 15:05

Question

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.

Answer

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.

H-1 denial, appeal, MTR

Authored on: Thu, 06/11/2009 - 08:44

Question

My 10th yr H1B extension/my wife H4 was filed and got rejected. Following are the details.

H1B/H4 filed: March 1st 2009
RFE was issued in April
RFE replied: May 6th 2009
H1B/H4 denied: June 1st 2009
Our H1B/H4 I-94 expired: Apr 10, 2009

My company wanted to do a) file appeal and b) a brand new H1 with vermont center(along with original RFE/denial letter etc.).

1) While appeal is pending, if we don't file a new H1B, what is my status? Am I considered to be in status?

2) While new H1B is pending, what is my status? Am I considered to be in status?

3) Can we file brand new H1B through the same company while appeal is pending?

4) Can I work for my employer while appeal is pending, without filing new H1B?

5) Can I work for my employer while new H1B is pending?

6) Since my I-94 is expired, if we apply for H1B while appeal/MTR is pending, if it is approved, will I get the approval along with I-94 or with no I-94 at the bottom of the approval. I heard that in some cases they gave the approval from the date of new H1B petition.

7) When does the time for 180 days(towards 3yrs bar) start? Is it from my I-94 expiry date (or) my H1B petition denial date.

Answer

1) When an H-1B is denied and your I-94 has expired, your out of status immediately upon denial AND you are accruing unlawful presence. An appeal or an MTR does not give you status nor does it stop the running of unlawful presence.

2) You are still out of status AND unlawfully present because the new H-1 was applied after your I-94 expired.

3) Too many variables. Generally speaking, USCIS is supposed to hold a new case pending if an appeal has been filed on exactly the same case.

4) No.

5) No.

6) This is totally in the discretion of USCIS. They can "forgive" your being out of status if there are VERY good reasons for it.

7) In your case, from the date of the denial. You were protected until the timely filed extension was pending.

Employee's complaint for non-payment of salary-E-3, H-1B and Non H-1B

Authored on: Wed, 05/20/2009 - 01:34

Question

I (a software consultant) have EAD from my current employer(consulting firm). My employer holds my salary abruptly without any notice or reason. When pressed why? after the salary date passes by without getting paid, the general excuse given is "The bill is not collected from the client" , though there is no such contract between us wherein my salary is dependent on the accounts receivable/ collection. I want to know
a- Can they do it legally?
b- What are my options including can i sue this employer despite being on EAD?

Answer

Your best bet is the local State Workforce Agency for the State where you are employed. If you are not on H-1, this is the way to go. They will recover your salary. And, it does not cost you anything.

Here is the link to the SWA's for non H-1B workers http://www.doleta.gov/regions/reg01b...ources-SWA.cfm

H-1B and E-3 workers, go here:
 

Your best bet is the local State Workforce Agency for the State where you are employed. If you are not on H-1, this is the way to go. They will recover your salary. And, it does not cost you anything.

Here is the link to the SWA's for non H-1B workers http://www.doleta.gov/regions/reg01b...ources-SWA.cfm

H-1B and E-3 workers, go here:
http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/forms/wh-4.pdf

To complain to ICE, go here:
http://www.ice.gov/about/contact.htm

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

Authored on: Thu, 04/23/2009 - 01:00

Question

Answer


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.

Ans. USCIS has criminalized civil conduct. To my amazement, I saw a criminal indictment count against an employer (Vision Systems - recently in the news) alleging that to obtain H-1 without a specific job in hand is a crime. I think this is ludicrous overreaching and misuse of law. Nevertheless, it is not a good idea to file an H-1 unless there is a specific job in hand.

2. My labor and I-140 is approved but if H1B extension is denied then I have to go back to Inida. Can GC processing be continued? If yes, In order to maintain my GC processing how quickly do I need to come back to US? What other options do I have in this scenario?

Ans. The green card can go on in your absence, but I am concerned that USCIS may consider that since there is no permanent job available, the green card should be canceled. To the best of my knowledge, they have never done it so far and may not do it, but the risk remains. Not much I can say other than if you dont have a choice then you have to leave and we will deal with other issues when (or if) they arise.

US employee working from India

Authored on: Tue, 04/21/2009 - 01:00

Question

Answer

1. I will be going to India and work for my company from India (before October if the H1b gets approved and continue to work from India if H1b is not approved).
Will you guys be able to answer the following questions for me? Is it okay for my company to wire the money (USD) to me monthly as individual consultation expense and will they have to pay any taxes to the Indian and/or US government for that?

Ans. I see no problem with that from the immigration law perspective. I am not a tax expert, but the way it is done is the company pays you as an independent contractor. Since you are working in India, they do NOT need to deduct any US taxes. You are responsible for your own taxes to the Indian govt. Do double check the details with a CPA. Feel free to call our CPA. Anna o Suman ji can give you the number or anyone in accounting can.

2. On their accounts they would show that they are paying me in India as a consultant, will that be okay? ( I won't be on their payroll here in the USA).

Ans. Yes. That is fine.

3. Is it sufficient to say that I was doing independent consultation or sub-contracting work for my current company from India?

Ans. Yes. Immigration laws require nothing more.

New H-1 employee returning -- rights and issues

Authored on: Wed, 04/15/2009 - 01:00

Question

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?

Answer

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).

If the employee wishes to continue to stay for tourism, I think they should apply for B status. See this post: http://forums.immigration.com/blog.p...gcategoryid=36

As for returning in the future, that can be problematic because the govt. can questions whether there truly exists a job for him. If you have a truthful answer for that, return should be possible and can be done any time during the life of this H-1. Note also that you have no obligation to pay him while he is outside USA, but there is a general obligation to withdraw an H-1 if the worker leaves. SO, that makes this a gray area as well.

Effect of Bankruptcy on immigration

Authored on: Tue, 04/14/2009 - 01:00

Question

I tried to find information on the internet on how bankruptcy affects H-1 visa status and future green card processing, but couldn't find any information on this.

Answer

Bankruptcy should have no effect on H-1 or on future green card. I am not aware of any immigration laws that could cause a problem for you.

Are H-1 holders being turned back at the airport?

Authored on: Fri, 04/03/2009 - 01:00

Question

This is the buzz going around in techie town. If you have already heard it then pl. ignore if not this is interesting.

A techie based of Jersey goes to India to visit his family recently. Techie is assumed have lived in the US for quite some time. He is currently working on his work permit as an alien worker. Techie also has a temporary un-approved/un-guaranteed green card called the EAD.

While re entering an immi-officer that if they can call his manager. Techie then hands all the contact information. Officer gives him a call and asks if they really need a H1B worker for his position. Officer also ensures if the H1B possesses exceptional skills. Manager replies back with a YES!

Officer then calls an office that could tell how many citizens posses the same skill and are unemployed. Officer is told numerous unemployed. Officer now decides to send the techie back. Techie then pleads that he has a house on mortage, a car out of a loan. He needs time to return. Officer then grants him a month on a visiting visa. Techie once again pleads and successfully bargains a 3 month on a visitor visa to return back.

Answer

If this is all what happened, then the govt. has acted illegally. There is no question in my mind about it.

Employers and Employees -- H-1 or EAD?

Authored on: Thu, 04/02/2009 - 01:00

Question

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.

Answer

 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.

 Additionally, I suspect there could be exposure to charges of discrimination if one set of workers is getting paid less than another in the same job categories.

The best solution for most companies is NOT to bench employees whether on H-1 or on EAD. Salary reductions are permissible if they are across the board and still comply with the prevailing wages. The workers on non-immigrant visas will probably need amendments. Watch out for the I-140/I-485 issue though.

GC approved. When should I start working on the green card job?

Authored on: Thu, 03/19/2009 - 01:00

Question

Now that I received my GC through employment, does my employer need to change my position to the one filed in the Labor Certification?

Answer

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.

As to what is a "reasonable time," we would have to look at the circumstances of each case.

GC Compliance for Employers

Authored on: Thu, 03/19/2009 - 01:00

Question

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.

Answer

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.

Quote: (2) Do we need to notify anyone about their GC process and let them know that they are no longer working for us?

Ans. There is no such requirement, but the better practice is to write to CIS revoking the I-140.

Quote: (3) Can we re-hire them on their EAD after few (or several) months once they get a project on their EAD?

Ans. Yes, but the question about "permanent job" remains.

Quote: (4) Can we continue their Medical Insurance (and our company pays for it) even if they are NOT employed with us.

Ans. I can see that as objectionable on several grounds.

Quote: (5) Can they stay in USA if I cancel there H-1 and they have a valid EAD but they are NOT employed by anyone.

Ans. Yes. Have them review the entries on my blog under I-485. You will still have unanswered questions about "permanent job."

Quote: (6) Is there an alternative for them to apply for Consular Processing, under what circumstances should they do so, what are the benefits / disadvantages

Ans. I see no advantage in CP. The basic question about a permanent job remains unanswered.

Starting business while in AOS/I-485/H-1/H-4

Authored on: Wed, 03/11/2009 - 01:00

Question

1. Hi Rajiv I have a few questions about starting business in partnership.

I am currently on H-1B , my I-140 is cleared and priority date is not current. My wife is on H-4 visa and she is interested in starting her own business with some one who has I-485 pending and has EAD.

I will be the one who will be investing in this business but I won't be employed with that business.

- Is this legal ?

2. Can you be a passive investor on H-1?

Answer

1. She can NOT do this on H-4. Once you folks file 485 and get EAD, things will be different.

You can then be a passive investor (performing no work type activity for the company) even while on H-1. You can also be an active investor if you wish to move to EAD as long as you maintain your intention to work full time for the GC sponsoring employer. Your wife can work for the company, own it, be partners, etc. as long as she has the EAD.

2. I think that should be fine. But passive means performing no work. Think of it as investing in IBM on the stock market. Just because you purchase a few shares, you do not get a seat at the Board of Directors of IBM. That is passive investing.

Employers questions on H-1 compliance

Authored on: Mon, 03/09/2009 - 01:00

Question

Answer

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.

2. Is it OK to give advances - besides paying LCA wages while the person in on project and then during the project break, run the payroll for LCA wages but recover the advances (post-tax obviously) and pay only balances if any?

Ans. In my view, this is illegal for many reasons.

3. Is it OK to pay all our consulting employees a wage of 60K or the LCA wage whichever is higher, irrespective of the skill set - by making this a standard wage policy in the company.

Ans. As long as you are following the wage guidelines and paying according to the seniority level of the job, I see no issue with this arrangement. But you cannot pay level, 1, 2, 3, and 4 employees $60,000. The wage must be paid according to the job they perform.

4. Further, is it OK to give discretionary bonuses above these levels to employees that the management considers are more valuable to the company?

Ans. As long as you can objectively justify the salary variance, I see no issues with this.

What happens when an employer is under criminal investigation/indictment?

Authored on: Sun, 02/22/2009 - 01:00

Question

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?

Answer

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. 

Employer not paying, may I tranfer H-1?

Authored on: Wed, 02/04/2009 - 01:00

Question

At the very outset I would like to appreciate your for the credible service you are doing by explaining the law in a very lucid manner to a common man. I have an issue where I need your help. I am on H1 B since Oct 1st 2008 and working with my employer at his site. Though he is paying me in cash and kind he is not running a payroll for me since the inception. Now if I want to move or transfer my H1 to a different company can I do that with out the paystubs. If so that is great news for me, if not what are the options I have.

Appreciate your help in this matter.

Answer

It is illegal for an employer to pay you in cash (or kind) and not deduct payroll taxes.

You can transfer. Ask CIS to "forgive" being out of status because this is not your fault. If you want to make your case stronger, file a complaint against the employer for non-payment of wages. Use this form:
http://www.dol.gov/whd/forms/wh-4.pdf

You can also contact the local WHD of DOL where you are:
http://www.dol.gov/whd/

Not only will you most likely get your full salary for every day of H-2, you also well protected from any problems past or future due to non-payment. Good luck!

Consequences of DUI's on naturalization and green card

Authored on: Tue, 01/06/2009 - 01:00

Question

Dear Mr.Khanna, I have reading all your post and found you quite informative. I will appreciate if you can let me know the possible consequences of my case.

I was in restaurant in Gaithersburg MD on Jan 29 2008 with my boss who was visiting from Atlanta. I had a beer and 2 glasses of wine with dinner came out sat in the car and started backing up. As you know it was winter and had rained earlier the windscreen at the back got fogged out. While backing up I hit a car parked. Police was in that parking lot and arrested for drunk driving. I blew .09. I was given a bunch of tickets after being 30 minutes in the precinct and was released. In the court they dismissed 2 tickets like DUI and DUI par se and convicted me DWI and Failure to control Speed to Avoid Collision. BTW DWI in MD is a lesser offence when you blow less than the state .08 BAC typically .07. And Failure to control speed to avoid collision which is maximum fine $130.00.Now the Judge gave me Supervised Probation till I finish my MADD Class. After that the Probation goes to Unsupervised for 12 Months. Now I am elligible to file citizenship. I have finished 5 years of LPR time with minimal travel aborad.

Now my questions are :

1.) Will I get deported or removed.
2.) Will I have problems while entering POE while travelling from overseas.
3.) Will my Citizenship be denied if I file after my probation gets over.

Please share your knowledge It will immensly help my stress. This one mistake of my life has really taken a toll in my life.

Your earliest reply will highly appreciated.

Answer

Let us look at the law for green cards and removal (deportation) first.

Remember the following GENERAL elements of the law (there is more to it).

  1. Traffic violations that are not considered crimes under state law have no implications and create no problems for your green card.
  2. If you have only one conviction ever and it is a misdemeanor, you are AUTOMATICALLY protected by law and forgiven under a provision of law called "petty offense exception."
  3. If you have a conviction for a felony we have to look at the law very carefully, but not all felonies are necessarily a problem fro your green card

For naturalization, even too many traffic tickets can become an issue, if CIS wants to make it so. Generally speaking they look at only the last five years from your application for you history, but there is no law prohibiting them from going back further in time.

Any kind of crimes could become a problem for naturalization and you must get yourself a lawyer if you have a criminal history of any kind.

Both traffic tickets and crimes go to the issue of "good moral character," a prerequisite to naturalization. 

Does lay-off affect natutralization?

Authored on: Mon, 01/05/2009 - 01:00

Question

I obtained my green card 4 1/2 years ago through employment. My former employer sponsored me h-1 visa for 6 years and labor certificate and green card as well.

Unfortunately, I was terminated by the employer last year, which ended my 10 years career at the company. After the termination, I then filed workers compensation claim for the injuries at work, and civil lawsuit for discrimations and under-paid wages through lawyers. The two cases are pending at courts.

Now I have a part time job which is not related to the job that helped me get the green card.

It is almost time for me to apply for citizenship. However I am worried about how much the two cases would affect the application. I will be asked in the citizenship interview why I left the green card sponsor, why you were terminated and so on, so forth.

Please help advise if my worries are correct ?
Is it better to apply for citizenship when the problems above are ended in courts ?

Thank you very much for your help.

Answer

 I see no reason to worry here. Neither the civil cases nor the fact that you have left and taken a PT job should have any bearing on your naturalization.

Can Employer Withdraw My Green card Application?

Authored on: Mon, 08/18/2008 - 01:00

Question

I had accepted an offer of employment from a well established Indian Consultancy company last year in the month of June 2007. I was given the pre approved labor and they filed I 140 and 485, EAD, AP during that Visa bulletin fiasco last year. I got EAD and AP for both me and for my wife. My I 140 approved from TSC last month. Now I have a better opportunity.
My employer is threatening to withdraw GC files processing unless I work with them till I get my GC.

Qo1. Is that possible for them to withdraw like that?

Qo2. Does that affect my GC process in negative way?

Qo3. What I have to do in case they withdraw?

Qo4. Is it possible to re-start the whole GC process again in case?

Qo5. By the time I file AC 21, if the present employer withdraws the GC files, what happens to my case?

Qo6. How do we know whether they have withdrawn GC process or not?

Answer

Ans1. They can withdraw the 140. That is their petition, but they cannot withdraw the I-485. That is your petition. If they withdraw the I-140 you can still take recourse to AC21 and not suffer any negative consequences.

Ans2. If you are covered by AC21, you should be fine.

Ans3. File AC21 letter as soon as possible.

Ans4. Sure .

Ans5. See this link: http://www.immigrationportal.com/blog.php?b=25

Ans6. I do not think there is any easy way to do that. Unfortunately, you may find out only when CIS issues a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) your I-485. But you can try calling CIS customer service from time to time.