Debra R. Shpigler Co., LPA
H-1B CAP RAPIDLY APPROACHING
According to sources inside the INS, the H-1B cap will probably be reached some time in March. This means that companies wanting to hire foreign professionals on a temporary basis must either wait until the start of the government's new fiscal year on October 1, 2000 or look for alternative visas that will allow them to hire those professionals.
Individuals working in "specialty" (professional) occupations are eligible for H-1B visas. H-1B visas are typically used to hire engineers, accountants, software developers and others working in fields that generally require a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Beneficiaries of H-1B visas are initially admitted to the U.S. for a maximum period of three years, with an extension of up to another three years possible.
Under current law, no more than 115,000 H-1B visas may be issued for the current fiscal year. Given current processing levels, the INS is estimating that the cap will be reached in early March.
If you want to hire someone who would ordinarily fit into the H-1B category during the next several months, you may want to explore some alternative methods. For example, you may be able to use an L-1 intracompany transferee visa or an E-1 treaty trader visa. Please consult with an immigration attorney to determine the best way to proceed.
NEW H-1C VISA FOR NURSES
In November 12, 1999, President Clinton signed a new law that establishes an H-1C visa for a small number of nurses working in areas designated as "Health Professional Shortage Areas." The new law provides for 500 H-1C visas per year for the next four fiscal years. Previously, nurses could enter the United States to work on H-1A visas, but the H-1A program ended in 1997.
The new law also includes provisions granting national interest waivers to H-1B physicians working in shortage areas, or H-1B physicians for whom an interested government agency has requested a waiver.
RENEW THOSE EXPIRING GREEN CARDS!
If any of your employees obtained an Alien Registration Receipt Card ("green card") since 1989, he or she received a green card with a 10-year validity period. Under INS rules, these individuals must apply for a replacement card within six months of their card's expiration date.This Immigration Bulletin is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice.