Following the Administrative Appeal Office’s decision this year in Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC, H-1B employees are required to file an amended or new H-1B petition when moving to a new work location that is outside of the same Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as the work location listed in the most recently approved H-1B petition. To find out whether your new work location is within the same MSA as the one in your previous petition, visit http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm for a list of MSAs recognized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you are uncertain, please contact an attorney to confirm.

If your new work location is outside the MSA of the work location listed in your most recent approved H-1B petition, your employer will be required to file an amended H-1B petition on your behalf. The amended petition can be filed in one of two ways:

(1) Requesting an amendment only of your currently-approved H-1B validity period, with the amended terms being your new work location and accompanying new project details/documents; OR

(2) The petition can be filed requesting amendment of the remaining time in your H-1B validity period, AND an extension of your current H-1B status at the same time (amendment + extension). This option is particularly advisable if your H-1B status will expire within the next year, as your employer will need to file an extension application for you anyway. By filing an amendment and requesting an extension within the same petition, your employer can fulfill the new amendment requirement from Simeio Solutions, and take care of extending your visa status at the same time. 

Please note that filing fees for option 2 could be higher than those for option 1, depending on whether this is your first extension application with the petitioner.

While extension-only applications (that do not request an amendment) may only be filed within the 180-day period preceding the current H-1B expiration date, amendment + extension applications may be filed at any time – your employer does not need to wait for the 6-month mark preceding your current H-1B expiration date. This is because the start date being requested in the petition will be the day the LCA process starts, so that the new terms of employment (i.e., your new work location) will be immediately applicable.

Once again, please be aware of the quickly-approaching August 19 deadline USCIS has implemented for amendment petitions required as a result of Simeio Solutions. If your employer has not started the application process yet, make sure they do so as soon as possible in order to comply with the new policy. Furthermore, beyond August 19, any work location changes will need to be documented to USCIS via an amended petition that must be filed prior to the start of work at the new location, similar to the timing of filing a change of employer/transfer H-1B petition. This means your employer should begin planning for amendment filings once they become aware that your work location may change soon.

 

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.

 

 

In response to the recent Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) decision in Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC, USCIS is expected to implement new guidance for employers of H-1B workers in the event of a change in the employee’s work location. This precedent decision holdsthat an employer must file an amended H-1B petition when a new Labor Condition Application for Nonimmigrant Workers (LCA) is required due to an H-1B employee’s change of worksite location. 

The question then becomes, when is a new LCA required?

Not every change in work location necessitates the filing of a new LCA. The determination centers around whether the new worksite location steps out of the current metropolitan statistical area (MSA). 

 

Metropolitan Statistical Areas

MSAs are designated by a large metropolitan city and include any nearby countries that significantly contribute to the economic and social function of the core city. According to the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a city with a population of at least 50,000 may be designated as the core city, and any nearby counties must send at least 25% of its workers into the core city or vice versa. The OMB’s object is to categorize groups of countries that have strong working relationships together under one identifiable area—an MSA.

The OMB has provided a list of all MSA designations on their web site at http://www.white.house.gov/omb and population statistics are available on the Census Bureau’s web site at http://www.census.gov/population/metro.

 

A Step-by-Step Guide

To quickly check which MSA designation your worksite location (city or county) is in follow these steps: 

  1. Go to the OMB web site https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/omb/bulletins/2015/15-01.pdf
  2. Within this bulletin, focus primarily on List 2, which provides the 388 MSAs and/or List 6, which identifies the MSAs within each state; 
  3. To quickly locate your city, on your keyboard, while holding [Ctrl], press [F] and a small search box will appear on the screen—type in your city to find a match. 

a. If there is a match, the name of the MSA that contains your city will be listed above.

b. If zero results show up, then the city may not be significant enough for the OMB to list under the area.

c. However, if you know the county name of your work site location, that can be searched as well.

 

Conclusion

Therefore, if you check the intended new work site location for an H-1B employee and it does not match the previous MSA, then you will be required to file a new LCA which necessarily requires an amended H-1B petition under the new USCIS guidance.

 

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.

Date & time: May 22nd 2015 at 3:00PM (Central time)

Conference dial-in number: 559-726-1300

Participant access code:  882911

 

Moderators:

Sudhakar Pennam, President, ITServe Alliance

Satish Mandava, Founding President & Political Affairs, ITServe Alliance

 

Speakers:

Emily Neumann, Partner & Attorney at Law, Reddy & Neumann, P.C.

Rebecca Chen, Partner & Attorney at Law, Reddy & Neumann, P.C.

 

On April 9, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) ruled that H-1B petitioners must file an amended I-129 petition along with a new certified LCA to reflect a change in an H-1B employee’s work location. On April 30, the USCIS Ombudsman’s office held a teleconference to discuss the new amendment policy, during which the panel speakers articulated the need for clearer guidance from the Service concerning how the new ruling will specifically be implemented.

Yesterday, May 21, USCIS issued a web alert addressing many of the questions raised during the teleconference, including when an amended petition must be filed, when an amended petition is not necessary, and timing of filing. In particular, USCIS has given an August 19 deadline for H-1B employers to become compliant with the guidelines.

Our speakers, attorneys Emily Neumann and Rebecca Chen, will discuss the implications of these amendment guidelines and advise concerning practical filing and compliance strategies.

 

About our Speakers:

Emily Neumann is a Partner with Reddy & Neumann, P.C. She has over ten years of experience with the firm and advises U.S. businesses concerning both temporary and permanent employment-based work visas. She has authored articles and e-books on business immigration and has been a frequent speaker at gatherings of IT and HR professionals on immigration matters. She has also been involved with lobbying efforts with government officials concerning immigration policy affecting the information technology industry.

Rebecca Chen is a Partner with Reddy & Neumann, P.C. She has worked with the firm in its nonimmigrant visa department since 2009, with a particular focus on H-1B adjudications in light of the 2010 Neufeld memo concerning the H-1B employment relationship. She advises clients throughout the visa process, including responding to Requests for Evidence and guiding clients through consular processing.

 

Please feel free to extend this invitation to non-IT Serve member companies and encourage them to be a part of our efforts.

 

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.

Premium Processing Suspended

Starting May 26, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B Extension of Stay petitions until July 27, 2015. During this time frame, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for a Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker, requesting an extension of the stay for an H-1B non-immigrant. USCIS will continue to premium process H-1B Extension of Stay petitions filed with Form I-907 premium requests prior to May 26, 2015.


USCIS will refund the premium processing fee if:

- A petitioner filed H-1B petitions prior to May 26, 2015, using the premium processing service, and USCIS did not act on the case within the 15-calendar-day period.

- Premium processing remains available for all other Form I-129 H-1B petitions, including petitions subject to the H-1B cap that are requesting a change of non-immigrant status or consular notification.

- This temporary suspension will allow USCIS to implement the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Spouses final rule in a timely manner and adjudicate applications for employment authorization filed by H-4 non-immigrants under the new regulations

 

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.