In relevant portions, 8 C.F.R. Section 214.2(f)(10) states:

A student may be authorized 12 months of practical training, and becomes eligible for another 12 months of practical training when he or she changes to a higher educational level.

There are two types of practical training: Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Historically, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and USCIS have interpreted the relevant regulation to apply only when a student is seeking additional OPT authorization. Same level of degrees prevented students from receiving additional 12 months of OPT authorization. On March 11, 2016, the DHS’ final rule publication reiterated the requirement of students earning a second degree at a higher educational level to benefit from a second period of OPT (AILA Doc. No. 16030901).

However, recent decisions from USCIS Service Centers indicate that USCIS is placing more emphasis on the plain language of the regulation to determine an F-1 student’s change of status. In light of this trend, F-1 students or H-1B employees deciding to go back to school should be aware that USCIS may now require students seeking their second period of OPT and CPT to complete their second degree in a “higher educational level” than their first degree. For example, if a student’s first degree with OPT/CPT was a Bachelor’s degree then her second degree must be a Master’s degree to be authorized for a second period of OPT/CPT.

As “practical training” under the relevant regulation is not limited to optional practical training, USCIS does have the ability to broadly interpret the regulation and apply it to curricular practical training. As this may result in a denial of an employee’s change of status or prevent a student from receiving additional 12 months of practical training, please be sure to discuss with your immigration attorney for alternative strategies.

 

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.

 

 

At the end of last year, we discussed a proposed rule by the DHS to amend its regulations related to EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 immigrant and non-immigrant visa programs. The proposed rule at the time looked to be a disappointment in that it did little to help ease the wait times experience by those seeking employment-based green cards.

However, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) received a proposed rule earlier this week, after an outpouring of public comment including http://immigrationgirl.com/draft-comment-for-high-skilled-immigrant-relief-i-140-ead-rule/ efforts by readers of the immigrationgirl.com . Presently the rule is under review by the OMB, and once that is finished, the final rule will be put in place.

What does this mean for the highly-skilled immigrant and nonimmigrant community? Although readers of ImmigrationGirl.com pushed for unrestricted I-140 EADs with travel capability, as well as the ability to file I-485 petitions for new employers without new I-140 petitions, it is still anybody’s guess what exactly will appear in the final rule. Furthermore, since the rule only promises “program improvements” related to H-1B workers, it is uncertain how much easier it will be to stay and remain in the United States.

For now, though, we will have to wait and see.

 

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. The attorneys of Reddy & Neumann, P.C. are highly experienced in obtaining employment-based visas for our clients and well-versed in the issues including foreign education equivalency, relevant experience requirements, and EB-3 to EB-2 visa category conversion. From filing the I-140 Petition, through approval, and onto the adjustment process we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.

Rahul Reddy Attorney at Law, Reddy & Neumann PC

On October 24, 2016, USCIS published an increase in fees effective at the end of this year. All applications and petitions received on or after December 23, 2016 must include the new fees. Failure to include the new fees will be considered untimely and rejected by USCIS. Please take caution of the new fees:

Some of the applications where the fees are going on are as below. 

Immigration Benefit Request

New Fee ($)

Old Fee ($)

I–129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker

460

325

I-131 Application for Travel Document

575

360

I–140  Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

700

580

I–290B Notice of Appeal or Motion

675

630

I–485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

1,140

985

I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (certain applicants under the age of 14 years)

750

635

I–539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

370

290

I–765 Application for Employment Authorization

410

380

Biometric Services Fee

85

85

 For More details please find enclosed link https://www.uscis.gov/forms/our-fees for the complete USCIS Fees chart effective December 23, 2016.

 

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.

Paloma Feghali, Attorney at Law, Reddy & Neumann PC

Hillary Clinton has advocated for Comprehensive Immigration Reform as part of her Presidential platform. More recently, she has reaffirmed her promise to do so within her first 100 days in office. This article outlines what we could expect from this reform.

The cornerstone of Hillary’s immigration reform is a pathway to full and equal citizenship for undocumented immigrants. She is promising to fix the family visa backlog and bring millions of hardworking people into the formal United States economy. She has also advocated to get rid of the 3 and 10 year bars, which require undocumented immigrants to leave the United States for an extended period of time before returning legally.

What Hillary has not specifically addressed at this point is how she will handle work visas. Clinton’s past demonstrates her knowledge of the importance of the H-1B, especially to India. While in Congress, Clinton co-founded and co-chaired the Senate India Caucus and had connections to Tata Consultancy Services, one of the largest IT services firms in India. These connections continued through her tenure as secretary of state. However, she has not acknowledged any plans to reform the H-1B system.

Finally, as part of Hillary’s immigration solution, she has advocated to “staple” a green card to STEM Masters degrees and PHD’s from accredited institutions. This reform would be quite significant, as it would bypass the H-1B lottery system and would not require the grads to be tied to a specific employer.

 

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.