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In This Issue

1. USCIS Reaches H-2B Cap for Fiscal Year 2017
2. USCIS Confirms Potential Lottery for H-1B Visas
3. AILA Minutes from DOL H-2 Stakeholders Meeting: March 7, 2017
4. United States Unemployment Rate February 2017
5. PERM Processing Times as of March 3, 2017 

1. USCIS Reaches H-2B Cap for Fiscal Year 2017

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that as of March 13, 2017 it has received enough petitions to reach the H-2B cap for fiscal year 2017.

With the exception of H-2B petitions that are exempt from the cap, USCIS will reject any new petitions received after March 13th with an employment start date before October 1, 2017. USCIS notes the following petitions are exempt from the cap:

  • Current H-2B workers in the U.S. petitioning to extend their stay and, if applicable, change the terms of their employment or change their employers;
  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians and/or supervisors of fish roe processing; and
  • Workers performing labor or services from November 28, 2009 until December 31, 2019, in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam.

2. USCIS Confirms Potential Lottery for H-1B Visas

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) reported on March 27, 2017 that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed that there will be a lottery held for H-1B visas if enough petitions are received between April 3-7, 2017 to reach the 65,000 statutory H-1B cap and the 20,000 master's cap for Fiscal Year 2018.

AILA explained: "As in the past, a random computer selection will be run first for those petitions under the 20,000 master's cap exemption. Any petitions not selected for the master's cap will then be included in the random selection process for the 65,000 regular cap."
 

3. AILA Minutes from DOL H-2 Stakeholders Meeting: March 7, 2017

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) released minutes from the H-2 stakeholders meeting with the Department of Labor (DOL) from March 7, 2017.

The DOL reported that it continues to operate with limited funding resources and does not expect funding to increase for the next twelve months. There has been a 92% increase in H-2B filings, and a 30% increase since January in overall applications. The DOL anticipates "major problems" if the case load continues to increase without additional resources or changes to the filing system. The DOL noted that State Workforce Agencies (SWAs) are also suffering from shortages of resources and staff, which affects H-2 filings.

There are no emergency procedures in place this year for H-2B processing. The emergency procedures were put in place last year in response to the temporary shutdown of the H-2B program in December 2015, and are not deemed necessary at this time in spite of the increase in applications.

Notices of Deficiency (NOD) have decreased from six out of ten cases filed last year that received NODs to four out of ten cases that currently receive them. AILA's DOL Liaison Committee questioned why so many NODs were being assessed for "fail[ing] to establish temporary need for the number of workers requested" even when the employer has explained the reason for an increase in the number of workers requested from previous years. The DOL responded that an employer must "prove" the necessity for the increase in workers requested and not merely explain it.

H-2A applications are being processed as usual. AILA questioned whether the DOL would revise the regulations that require advertisements to be placed in print newspapers given that "newspaper ads have become significantly more costly and increasingly irrelevant in terms of actually bringing potential U.S. workers to growers." The DOL replied that it "cannot move away from print ads without regulatory changes."

The full minutes can be viewed here.
 

4. United States Unemployment Rate February 2017

The unemployment rates around the country can greatly impact a company's decision to sponsor an application for labor certification. When unemployment rates are high, companies may elect not to proceed with the certification process. Rates can vary by state and industry. There are several states with jobless rates that are well below the national average. Employers in these states may be more available to sponsor employees. USADWEB is providing information on the current unemployment rates as a convenient tool to assist you as you prepare your cases. The unemployment rate decreased slightly from 4.8% in January to 4.7% in February.

5. PERM Processing Times as of March 3, 2017

PERM processing times are important to you and your clients. Therefore, each month USADWEB is pleased to be able to update you on the current processing times for reviews, audits, and appeals as reported on www.icert.doleta.gov:

 

PERM Processing Times
Processing Queue Priority Dates
Month Year
Analyst Reviews December 2016
Audit Reviews July 2016
Reconsideration Requests to the CO December 2016
Gov't Error Reconsiderations Current


The Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) is working diligently to reduce the Permanent Labor Certification Program's pending caseload. The dates on the above table reflect the month and year in which applications are now being adjudicated at the Atlanta National Processing Center. If you need assistance with an application that was filed more than 3 months prior to the month posted, you can contact the OFLC Helpdesk at plc.atlanta@dol.gov.

About USADWEB
USADWEB, LLC.
 is an innovative advertising agency that understands the immigration needs of companies placing recruitment advertising for labor certification cases in PERM, supervised recruitment, and H2B processes. For over a decade, we have helped law offices and companies all over the United States meet the Department of Labor's recruiting requirements. Take advantage of our expertise and relationships with publications throughout the country. Our knowledgeable staff has experience placing all forms of recruitment: newspapers, periodicals, journals, internet job search postings, campus recruitment, radio ads, and more. Contact a representative for more information on placing your ads today!

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USADNEWS Volume XI, Issue 3 March 2017

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The USADNEWS Blast is the eNewsletter from USADWEB, LLC, providing updates on immigration ad placement services. This bulletin is not sent unsolicited. The information provided is of a general nature and may not apply to any particular set of facts or circumstances. It should not be construed as legal advice and does not constitute an engagement of USADWEB's services.
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