Microsoft Takes Lead on H-1B Front

Posted October 4, 2012

Microsoft corporation last week unveiled a public proposal of its own devise that would create an additional 20,000 H-1B visas for foreign employment in occupations in the STEM categories (science, tech, engineering, math).  Current law allows for 65,000.  Brad Smith, general counsel of Microsoft, suggests that willing U.S. employers might be willing to pay up to $10,000 in fees for each placed worker, producing additional government revenue of $500 million a year.  The U.S faces a projected shortfall of approximately half of 120,000 computer-related positions requiring a bachelor’s degree expected to materialize over the next ten years.  The company’s proposal would also allow issuance of up to 20,000 additional green cards a year to STEM workers caught in the 6-year H-1B cap no-mans land, with numbers drawn from existing unused pools.

This is a sensible approach that overlays market demands in a new economy on established immigration preferences under outdated law – not to mention, cuts into the federal deficit. Can business needs be tethered to sensible comprehensive reform, or should Microsoft be seen as a special interest?  It’s up to Congress and the president.

H-1B Cap Reached for FY 2012

Posted December 6, 2011

USCIS has announced that November 22, 2011 was the final date that petitions for H-1B specialty occupation visas would be accepted for employment to start during fiscal year 2012 (Oct. 1, 2011 through Sept. 30, 2012).  The annual statutory cap of 65,000 has been met for ‘new employment’ H-1B visas.  Further, as of October 19, 2011, USCIS had received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of advance degree graduates of U.S. universities, representing the annual statutory maximum for that cap-exempt group.  Accordingly, until April 1, 2012 – at which time fiscal year 2013 H-1B petitions may be submitted – USCIS will only accept and process H-1B petitions filed under remaining cap-exempt categories, including petitions filed to:

  • Extend H-1B status for workers continuing U.S. employment with the same employer;
  • Change the terms of employment for H-1B workers continuing U.S. employment with the same employer;
  • Change U.S. employers for workers previously accorded H-1B status with a former employer; and
  • Obtain H-1B status for concurrent U.S. employment with a different U.S. employer.

INA § 101(a)(15)(L), 8 CFR § 214.2(l)

An Intracompany Transferee. . .

The employee must have worked abroad for the foreign company for a continuous period of ONE YEAR in the preceding THREE YEARS.

. . . between qualifying companies. . .

The foreign company for which the employee has worked for at least one year abroad must possess shared ownership with the sponsoring U.S. company in a specific manner recognized by U.S. business laws.

. . . during the entire period of stay in the U.S. . .

Both foreign and U.S. companies must be qualifying organizations that are actively engaged in business during the ENTIRE PERIOD of employee assignment to the U.S.

. . .who was employed abroad in a specialized capacity. . .  

The employee to be transferred must have been employed abroad in an EXECUTIVE or MANAGERIAL position (L-1A) or a position requiring SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE (L-1B).

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