Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Over the last few weeks many news outlets have been reporting that the minimum salary for an H-1B worker will rise from $60,000 to $130,000.  This is false.  There is not a minimum floor salary for H-1B workers.  There is no proposal to raise that nonexistent floor to $130,000.

There are proposals that seek to raise the minimum salary floor for companies who seek an exemption to the H-1B dependent attestations.  This is significantly different than minimum floor salary for H-1B workers.

Companies that employ more than 15% H-1B workers (so-called “H-1B dependent employers”) have to make two attestations for employees who either (i) do not earn $60,000 or (ii) do not hold a US equivalent master’s degree. 

Displacement Attestation 20 CFR 655.738: The Displacement Attestation is ensures that U.S. workers are not being terminated or laid off in order to make room for an H-1B worker.  H-1B dependent employers who are seeking to employ an H-1B worker who is to earn less than $60,000 (or does not hold a US equivalent master’s degree) must make the Displacement Attestation.

Recruitment Attestation  20 CFR 655.739: The Recruitment Attestation proves  that an H-1B employer is attempting to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers.  H-1B dependent employers who are seeking to employ an H-1B worker who is to earn less than $60,000 (or does not hold a US equivalent master’s degree) must also make the Recruitment Attestation.

Again, these attestations do not have to be made if the employer offers a salary in excess of $60,000 or if the H-1B worker holds the equivalent of a US master’s degree.

There are two different pieces of proposed legislation that have been introduced into Congress that seek to raise the exemption floor from $60,000.  Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)’s proposal raises the $60,000 to $100,000.  Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s bill proposes that the exemption floor could be raised to $130,000.  It is the Lofrgren bill that is the cause of the headlines.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin guru, Charlie Oppenheim, hosts monthly meetings with the American Immigration lawyers Association.  Charlie Oppenheim is the Department of State’s Chief of the Control and Reporting Division. He is the officer who is responsible for producing the Visa Bulletin each month.  

This month’s Check In With Charlie featured predictions about EB2 and EB3, which are the most popular categories for readers of this Blog.  Here are some of this month’s highlights:

Philippine EB-3As with last month, Charlie again offered his most optimistic predictions for this category.  He said that he expects predicts future advancement at a pace of “up to six months.” He expects that the Philippine EB-3 date should quickly move through 2012 and 2013, and quickly move into 2014.  This is consistent with internal MU Law analysis, which sees this category progressing at least into 2013 by the summer of 2017.  

India EB-2 – Charlie hopes that the India EB-2 category can progress at a pace of “up to one month.”  He cautions that an increase in EB-3 upgrades could slow the progression of India EB-2.

India EB-3 – There was no specific comment by Charlie.  MU Law expects that India EB-3 will progress at about the same 1-2 week rate as it has in prior months.  The India EB-3 date may stall/stop in the summer of 2017, as the full allotment of numbers gets used.  It will then recommence in October.  This is normal.  It happens every year.  Read our FAQ on why the Visa Bulletin progression stops in August and September.

Worldwide EB-2 and EB-3 – EB-2 will remain current for the foreseeable future.  Worldwide EB-3 will continue to move ahead steadily and be effectively current.

China EB-2 and EB-3 – These categories are the most difficult to predict because of the upgrade/downgrade phenomenon of EB-2 and EB-3.  At present China EB-3 is 15 months ahead of EB-2.

Friday, February 17, 2017


Computerworld is reporting that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is preparing an H-1B bill, which could raise the H-1B cap as high as 195,000 visas.  The current H-1B cap ceiling is 85,000, of which 20,000 are reserved for graduates of at least a US Master’s degree program. 

Sen. Hatch’s bill reportedly is an update of his 2015 I-Squared Bill.  The I-Squared bill was first offered in 2013.  The 2015 bill contained many excellent provisions for the IT industry and H-1B employers.  It remains to be seen which of these provisions will be in the 2017 version of the bill.  Sen. Hatch is to be applauded for his long-standing belief in the employment-based immigration system and the contributions made by employment-based visa holders.

The 2015 bill included these provisions:

-provided H-4 spousal work authorization.
-reduced the ability of the USCIS to issue harassing H-1B RFEs.
-gave an H-1B worker a 60 day grace period at the conclusion of H-1B status.
-allowed H-1B, L-1, O-1, E-1, E-2, and P-1 visa holders the ability to have their visas extended in the US.
-increased green card numbers.
-eliminated the per-country immigrant visa quota.
-created funding for US training programs in STEM fields by increasing USCIS filing fees.

Monday, February 13, 2017


There are a lot of rumors surrounding President Trump's Executive Orders.  Below is MU Law's list of Facts and Fictions.  Please note that this list is as of this morning, but that things are changing quickly.

FACT: In late January, President Trump issued an Executive Order banning entry to the US for individuals from Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Libya.  The travel ban included all individuals from the seven listed countries holding a US visa, but did not include green card holders or dual nationals.

FICTION: President Trump is planning to add countries to the list in the travel ban.  On February 3, 2017, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) issued a statement indicating the US Department of State had contacted AILA and said that there was no plan to add to the list of banned countries.

FACT: On Friday, February 3, 2017, a Federal Judge in the state of Washington issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) stopping the enforcement of the travel ban.  The US Department of State reinstated previously cancelled visas allowing individuals from the banned countries to travel to the US.

FICTION: The travel ban has been struck down and will not be reinstated.  The TRO issued by the Judge is temporary and lasts only while the case against the travel ban is going through the court system.  Many Federal Judges have been issuing rulings on the travel ban and these rulings conflict with each other.  It is unknown whether the case will go before the US Supreme Court or whether the President will issue a revised Executive Order.

FACT: President Trump may change the way the H-1B cap cases are allocated.  The President, by Executive Order, can change the manner in which the H-1B cap works from a straight lottery to a preference system.  Should this change take place, it is likely that the preference system would favor those with advanced degrees, higher wages, and shortage skills.

FICTION: President Trump is planning to or has already eliminated H-1Bs visas.  The President, on his own, cannot cancel the H-1B visa program.  H-1Bs were created by an Act of Congress and it would take an Act of Congress to cancel H-1Bs completely. 

FACT: There will likely be greater requirements for H-1B employers.  Most recent proposals from Congressional Representatives and from the President include additional burdens and restrictions on H-1B employers.  These restrictions include: paying higher wages to H-1B employees, documenting the employer has tried to recruit US workers before filing the H-1B, more site visits, and expansion of e-verify.

FICTION: President Trump has eliminated the H-4 EAD.  The H-4 EAD program was created in a regulation.  At this time, the President has made no formal indication that he plans to rescind the H-4 EAD regulations.

FACT: President Trump may be planning to cancel DACA, the program allowing undocumented immigrants, brought to the US as children, to obtain a stay of deportation and work authorization.  DACA was created by an Executive Order of President Obama.  A draft Executive Order of President Trump eliminating DACA has been circulated.  At this time, DACA remains in effect.  

Thursday, February 9, 2017


The Department of State has just issued the March 2017 Visa Bulletin.  This is the sixth Visa Bulletin of Fiscal Year 2017.  This blog post analyzes this month's Visa Bulletin.

March 2017 Visa Bulletin

Final Action Dates

Applications with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency card).

All Charge-
Areas Except
Those Listed

MU Law Analysis

All Other:  The EB-2 has been current for many years.  The EB-3 progression continues, moving an additional two months.  Consular processed EB-3 are effectively current.

China:   The China EB-2 date again moved up one month. The China EB-3 date progressed nearly six months!  The China EB-3 continues to have a more favorable date than EB-2, as a result of many Chinese EB-3 workers "upgrading" their applications to EB-2.

India:  EB-2 India moved up about 6 weeks, while EB-3 India stayed the same, unfortunately.  

Mexico: Mirrors All Other in all aspects.

Philippines: EB-3 moved ahead by nearly six more months.  The Philippine EB-3 number essentially cleaned out all 2010 and 2011 EB-3 visas in less than 6 months months.  This is what we have expected.  (Our note from September 2016: "This is consistent with internal MU Law analysis which sees this category progressing into 2013 by the Summer of 2017.").  


The Visa Bulletin also included projections for the next several months of Visa Bulletins.

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement) 

EB-1:   The category will remain “Current”.
China and India: A Final Action Date is likely to be imposed by August. 
(MU Law note: this is not unusual and happens most years.  This should not concern anyone.) 

   Worldwide:  Current
   China:         Up to five weeks.
   India:          Up to one month.  

   Worldwide:  Up to three months. 
   China:         Up to six months.
   India:          Extremely limited forward movement.
   Mexico:        Will remain at the worldwide date.
   Philippines:  Up to six months. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017


Over the weekend a federal court in the State of Washington stopped President Trump’s three part ban on immigration of certain nationals.  This Judge’s Temporary Restraining Order was affirmed by an appellate court shortly thereafter. 

Because this TRO is temporary, MU Law urges all nationals in the three classes listed below immediately to attempt to enter the United States.  The TRO could be rescinded at any time. If the TRO is rescinded, the ban will go back into effect, in part or in whole.

  •   Barring nationals of seven countries from entering the US for 90 days.  The seven countries are: Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.  These nationals are barred regardless of whether they have cleared background checks and hold valid nonimmigrant (temporary) or immigrant (permanent) visas.
  •   Suspending the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days.  This provision also says that once the 120 day period has ended, that the US government must prioritize refugee claims “made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”  Since Islam is the majority religion in many countries, this provision appears aimed at prioritizing Christians’ refugee claims, which President Trump has stated is one of his goals. 
  •   Permanent suspension of all Syrian refugees until such time as President Trump sees fit to lift the permanent ban on Syrians.