The California Service Center has been issuing an increasing number of erroneous Requests for Evidence and denials in recent months. Attorneys nationwide have reported RFEs and denials from CSC which take the position that occupations such as Computer Systems Analyst do not require a bachelor’s degree in a particular field of study, and therefore do not qualify as H-1B specialty occupations, despite the fact that Systems Analysts have long been deemed a specialty occupation by USCIS.

H-1B denials have also been issued recently from CSC based on the absence of a letter, contract, or work order from the end-client company, despite numerous other documents submitted to evidence the beneficiary’s work location and the nature of the beneficiary’s job duties. Guidance issued by USCIS in 2010 explicitly stated that a letter from the end-client is not required to establish the required employment relationship, and that a combination of other forms of evidence may be submitted to establish the specialty occupation and employment relationship.

Furthermore, several factual errors have been noted in RFEs and denials from CSC adjudicators, such as wrongly identifying the vendors and end-client companies involved in an assignment, and misconstruing contracts and company documents. This misreading of the evidence has occasionally resulted in denial of the H-1B petition.

Not all H-1B adjudications from CSC have been subject to this kind of review, but the number of applications that have received this treatment has risen significantly since April this year. This trend may be due to the large influx of cap-subject H-1B petitions USCIS received in the first week of April and the corresponding need for quick adjudications. However, this type of RFE has not been limited to cap-subject applications; petitions to extend existing employees’ H-1B status in the same position have also been subject to over-burdensome RFEs.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Our experienced team of immigration lawyers in Houston & Dallas advises clients throughout the H-1B visa application process, including responding to various requests for evidence and consular processing issues. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.

The efforts of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services led to the successful sentencing of a Tampa-area woman on September 18 to six months confinement, six months home detention and three years of probation for falsely using official seals of the United States. Maria Virginia Constantinou pleaded guilty on May 29 to falsely using the seal of the Department of Homeland Security to perpetuate her unlicensed practice of immigration law and defrauding dozens of victims to pay her “legal fees” to help them obtain lawful immigration status.

USCIS learned about Constantinou’s activities from a tip from the local American Immigration Lawyers Association. That tip was investigated by USCIS’ Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate and resulted in subsequent charges against Constantinou. Tampa and Orlando FDNS worked with agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to bring the case to prosecution.

“We at USCIS are proud to have generated this case for successful prosecution,” said Kimberly Dean, Chief of FDNS in the Southeast Region. “Constantinou victimized immigrants for personal gain and misrepresented USCIS. We are committed to combatting deceptive practices to ensure the integrity of our nation’s immigration system.”

According to court documents, Constantinou presented herself to immigrants in the Tampa Bay and Orlando areas as an attorney who could assist them with immigration proceedings with the U.S. government. In reality, Constantinou is not a licensed attorney.

Constantinou accepted payment from her victims based on the false statement that she would submit immigration paperwork for them. Constantinou would then produce documents that appeared to be from USCIS to the victims to make them believe she had submitted paperwork on their behalf. These documents were false and contained false seals of the United States. Constantinou never submitted paperwork to USCIS on behalf of her victims.

USCIS launched an initiative to combat the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law with the goal of equipping applicants, legal service providers and community-based organizations with the knowledge and tools they need to detect and protect themselves from dishonest practices.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.

Department of State transitions to online immigrant visa application.

Starting September 1, 2013, all immigrant visa applicants will apply online using Form DS-260 (Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration). Applicants will also choose their agent online using Form DS-261 (Choice of Address and Agent). Applicants will access both forms on the web at ceac.state.gov.

These forms replace the paper DS-230 and DS-3032. The National Visa Center (NVC) may instruct some applicants who previously submitted Form DS-230 to submit Form DS-260. Only Diversity Visa and Cuban Family Reunification Parole applicants will continue to use the paper forms. If you have questions or feedback about Forms DS-260 and DS-261, contact the NVC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 603-334-0700.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.

Department of State Transitions to DS-160 for K Visa Applications. Effective immediately, all K visa applicants are required to complete the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. The DS-160 replaces forms DS-156, DS-156K, and DS-230.

For K visa cases already in process at a U.S. embassy or consulate, the DS-160 is not required when, prior to October 7, 2013, one of the following situations exist:

- The K visa applicant is already scheduled for an interview.

- The K visa applicant has already been interviewed and has been requested to submit additional documentation or is pending administrative processing.

- The K visa applicant has already submitted a valid, signed, unexpired DS-156, DS-156K and/or DS-230 or received instructions to do so.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.