By Rahul Reddy, Attorney at Law

He who controls technology controls the world. From the Stone Age to the Space Age, the nation or people at the avant-garde of technology have always ruled the day. With the goal of keeping the United States at the forefront of technological development, the immigration reform bill, currently being debated in Congress, would enable companies in the tech industry to attract top talent from around the world to the United States. However, the immigration reform bill may have the unintended effect of increasing the cost of doing business.

The new bill would raise the annual H-1B cap by almost 100,000 visas—from its current limit of 85,000 to what is understood to be in the range of 180,000 available H-1B visas. With the available numbers of visas is expected to rise, tech companies can also expect their cost of doing business to rise.

I addition to a rise in the number of available H-1B visas, the new bill would also implement barriers to dissuade companies from maintaining a large-scale H-1B and L workforce. The proposed legislation would alter the structure of fees required for filing H-1B visa petitions. These fees would be based on company size and the percentage of the company workforce holding H-1B and L visas. A company of 50 or more employees, with between 30 and 50 percent of employees on H-1B or L visas, could expect to pay $5,000 more than what they are currently paying for each visa applicant. For companies of 50 or more employees, with more than 50 percent of their employees on H-1B or L visas, the visa fee for each applicant would be $10,000 more than what the companies are currently required to pay.

Large companies, particularly larger computer and IT consulting companies that rely on a heavy H-1B workforce, will see an increase in the cost of doing business. The bill may have the unintended effect of adversely altering the way tech companies organize their employment structure and serve their clients.

 

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.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the recent signing of an Automated Commercial Environment-International Trade Data System (ACE-ITDS) memorandum of understanding with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to share ACE data in order to strengthen the balance of facilitation and enforcement regarding the regulation of ocean carriers and other entities involved in ocean trade.

“This is a significant step forward toward ensuring greater security, compliance and facilitation of cargo in the maritime environment,” said Acting CBP Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski. “CBP has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the FMC over the years. The agency has a true passion for what they do and we look forward to working on this renewed partnership."

Mario Cordero, FMC Chairman, said “The continued partnership between the FMC and CBP will enhance the FMC's mission to foster a fair, efficient and reliable ocean transportation system and protect the public from unfair and deceptive practices. This longstanding collaboration furthers mutual objectives -- to ensure security at our nation's ports and compliance with the Safe Port Act. Furthermore, this collaboration will assist the FMC to fulfill its regulatory responsibilities under the Shipping Act."

The MOU will allow data from CBP’s Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and other systems to be transferred directly to the FMC for use in fulfilling its statutory and regulatory duties and responsibilities. This direct transfer of data will conserve resources of both agencies and ensure compliance with the SAFE Port Act.

The agreement, signed during a ceremony at the FMC on July 19, specifies the specific data elements to be shared, the legal authority of FMC to receive the data and the conditions under which FMC may use, store or share the information.

ACE-ITDS trade data is protected by the Trade Secrets Act and both agencies are obligated under the agreement to properly safeguard the data.

 

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 dedicated in its advocacy and community involvement efforts towards achieving effective comprehensive immigration policy reform. 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.

Students currently enrolled to study at the University of Northern Virginia received a nasty surprise on Wednesday, July 17, 2013; their school was closing. The State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) revoked the school’s certificate to operate late Tuesday, after failing to earn accreditation which would have allowed them to remain in operation.

To those following the school’s troubled history over the last 6 years, the news was not much of a surprise. The school had lost its accreditation with the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools in 2008, after being audited by the council in 2007. The school was then raided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2011, pending investigation into the school’s International Student Program allowing students to attend the school on an F1 visa. The school was later served with a Notice of Intent to Withdraw (NOIW) the school's SEVP-certification. International students attending the school were given two choices: they could either continue to attend classes and maintain their active status required by regulations or transfer to another SEVP approved institution.

International students who remained at the University of Northern Virginia may now regret that choice. With the school closing, international students face limited options and possible deportation. For now, their best option is to try to transfer to another SEVP approved institution, something that may prove difficult so close to the start of the fall semester. Even those who managed to gain admittance to another institution can still have their applications denied by USCIS. Students denied a visa may still be able to return to their home country and reapply for another student visa. If you are currently a student at the University of Northern Virginia and in the United States either on an F1 visa or on OPT through the school, please contact an attorney immediately to discuss your options.

 

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.

Records and Information from DMVs for E-Verify (RIDE) was launched on June 13, 2011 to combat document fraud when determining employees’ eligibility to work in the United States, as more than 80 percent of employees present driver’s licenses to establish their identities when completing the Form I-9. Hence, enabling E-Verify to compare driver’s license data against state records improves E-Verify’s accuracy even while observing safeguards to protect employee’s personal data.

As of July 14, 2013, Idaho is the third state to join the Records and Information from DMVs for E-Verify (RIDE) program, the first two being Mississippi and Florida.

RIDE enables E-Verify employers to confirm the validity of both social security card and driver’s license to establish identity and his/her employment authorization.

The new E-Verify RIDE feature builds on existing technology and infrastructure that the Department of Public Safety (MDPS) and other state public safety departments use in conjunction with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

 

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.