U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced recently that US employers who petition for foreign workers in the H-1B, H-1B1 (Chile/Singapore), L-1, and O-1A categories will not be required to complete Part 6 of Form I-129 until February 20, 2011.  Part 6 contains the employer certification regarding licensing requirements under export controls and ITAR, recently discussed

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently issued a new Form I-129, effective December 23, 2010.  Part 6, “Release of Controlled Technology or Technical Data to Foreign Persons in the U.S.,” requires an employer to certify it will not “release” controlled technology or data to an H-1B, L-1 or O-1 worker without the appropriate “export

The U.S. Department of State has confirmed that contractors on a pre-approved list at the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) are now auditing approved nonimmigrant petitions — including H-1B and L-1 petitions — in order to verify that information contained in the petitions is correct.  The audits are creating significant delays for petition-based visa applicants at embassies worldwide.

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In recent months there have been multiple reports that some H-1B workers arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey have been questioned extensively by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers about their employment in the United States.  In some cases H-1B workers have been refused entry and/or had their visas cancelled.  CBP headquarters has since confirmed that most of these incidents occurred as part of an enforcement action involving companies that are under investigation for immigration violations, presumably involving fraudulent H-1B petitions or inadequate documentation.  Based on the types of questions being asked by CBP, there are also indications of increased scrutiny of H-1B workers who are employed by consulting firms, based on the January 2010 Neufeld memo discussed in our previous blog entry Indian nationals who are employed by consulting firms appear to be the primary targets of these enforcement efforts.
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Since 2009, the Department of State has been phasing in a new, online visa application form at embassies worldwide.  The new DS-160 combines all previously used forms (DS-156, DS-157 and DS-158) for all nonimmigrant visa applications except Ks and Es.  DOS’s goal is to use the DS-160 exclusively worldwide by April 30, 2010.

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has engaged outside contractors to conduct thousands of site visits to petitioners, including companies that have sponsored employees in H-1B, L-1 or O-1 status.  Typically, the site visits are conducted after approval of the petition.  The investigators may arrive unannounced at the work site, or call the company ahead