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Holiday Season to H1B Cap Season of 2014 (Part 1)

posted by: INSZoom date: Jan 07, 2014 Enterprise Immigration, Immigration News, Immigration Stories comments: Comments Off on Holiday Season to H1B Cap Season of 2014 (Part 1)
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By Anuj Sarin As everyone welcome’s the New Year Immigration professionals working on US immigration have to brace themselves for the onslaught of the H-1B cap filing that opens on April 01, 2014. With only 65,000 H-1B’s available, of which 5800 are reserved for Nationals of Singapore and Chile and an additional 20,000 for people with Masters degree from a US university all that can be done is to file the application with the USCIS within 5 working days of the H-1B quota opening. Selection of the applications through the lottery is something that we can’t do anything about. We can however, plan for the oncoming H-1B filing to ensure the Organization’s resource requirements are met. Planning for the H-1B filing cycle can be complex and arduous. Given the different stakeholders that need to be involved in the process, to decrease the complexity we can look at a two-prong approach. The first being what we need to do internally within the organization and the 2nd being activities where compliance is involved. In this blog I shall focus on the activities to be done internally and follow it up with the 2nd blog on steps / aspects that involve compliance.
  1. Work with different Business units / departments (Units) to assess their H-1B requirements. Provide them with information such as availability of US work authorized personnel, expiration of work authorizations through October 2015, attrition figures, offshore resources with US work authorizations.
  2. Identify resources for who H-1B’s can be filed include employees working in the US on EAD’s pursuant to a student visa also.
  3. Go through existing templates such as Support letters and or documents to ensure that they are updated and the latest.
  4. Gear up to start procuring LCA’s. Historic data can help to a great extend in assessing / identifying your LCA requirements. Work with the Units to identify the work locations and number of employees per location, to see how many LCA slots you would require.
  5. Get the final list of employees from the Units for whom H-1’s are to be filed.
  6. Send the necessary information to the identified employees on processing of their H-1B’s along with the document list, questionnaires to collect information etc.
  7. Work along with your Facilities Management team / Admin Team / Procurement team for
    • Additional Work Space
    •  Additional IT equipment (PC’s, Printers, Scanners, Photocopiers etc.)
    •  Stationary (Paper, binder clips, correction tapes / fluid, Letterheads, toner for printers etc.)
    •  Additional storage space
    •  Food and transportation if working late into the night.
  8. Hire any temp staff that you may need to process the load and ensure that they are appropriately and adequately trained.
  9. Work with your Education Evaluators to establish a process to support you with your Evaluation requirements.
  10.  Work out logistics if any with your Courier vendor so that they can plan for the shipping of such large volume of documents and make sure that they are delivered on time.
  11. Start following up with employees for the information and documentation that they need to give.
  12. Publish a metrics of information / documentation received / not received from employees and publish the same to Business Units / Departments
  13. Create a method / process to allocate cases to your team.
  14. Set processing targets for your team and make them aware about the same.
  15. Create and publish metrics on the processing of the cases by your Team. If need be update this on an hourly basis.
Completing the above would take you one notch forward on preparedness for filing the H-1B’s.

Anuj Sarin

With nearly fifteen years of experience in immigration, operations and human resources management, Anuj Sarin directs INSZoom’s Product Management division. As the Director of Product Management, he ensures that the company increases its revenue and market share and maintains its focus on delivering exceptional services and products that increase clients’ efficiency, effectiveness and compliance.
date:  Jan 07, 2014 comments:  Comments Off on Holiday Season to H1B Cap Season of 2014 (Part 1)
by:  INSZoom category:  Enterprise Immigration, Immigration News, Immigration Stories Read More

Traveling Abroad? Don’t Forget Your Documents!

posted by: INSZoom date: Dec 26, 2013 Immigration Stories comments: Comments Off on Traveling Abroad? Don’t Forget Your Documents!
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By Amber Easton Earlier this year I travelled to beautiful Costa Rica with six of my family members from Canada. While planning for the trip, I double checked the document requirements for entry into Costa Rica and confirmed all that was required was our Canadian Passports. We were all set to go! Excited and eagerly anticipating the warm Costa Rican sun, we rushed to the airport with passports in hand. After a week of amazing fun in the sun and quality time with family, we loaded into the cars and headed back to the airport for our journey home. All of my family members were returning to Canada and I was returning to the United States, where I have lived for the past 10 years. As I approached the counter to get my boarding pass, the airline employee politely asked for my passport and final destination. After learning I was a Canadian citizen landing in the U.S., she requested proof of my U.S. immigration status. Even before the words “immigration status” came out of her mouth…dread set in. I immediately realized I made a huge mistake and forgot my U.S. Permanent Resident Card (“Greencard”) at home. What followed was something our family will never forget. I was not allowed to board the plane and my entire family had to leave me behind in Costa Rica. In order to get back into the United States, I would be required to travel to the U.S. Consulate (6 hours away) and obtain necessary written documentation permitting me to re-enter the United States. The entire process took nearly a week to sort out. My experience in Costa Rica was a tough and expensive lesson. It was an important reminder of how critical is to always carry the right travel documentation – not only for entry into your destination country, but also for re-entry into the United States. Many foreign nationals will be traveling abroad this holiday season. In the hustle and bustle of it all, it can be easy to forget important details. As a reminder, non-U.S. citizens are encouraged to consult with their immigration attorney prior to international travel. We also encourage you to review the list of basic documents that are required for entry to the U.S. http://www.dhs.gov/crossing-us-borders. If you require a visa, appointment scheduling and visa issuance times can be checked online at http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html. Don’t forget your documents! Happy Travels!
date:  Dec 26, 2013 comments:  Comments Off on Traveling Abroad? Don’t Forget Your Documents!
by:  INSZoom category:  Immigration Stories Read More

Obama’s DREAMers and the Changing Times for Immigrants

posted by: INSZoom date: Nov 18, 2013 From Our CEO, Immigration News, Immigration Stories, News comments: Comments Off on Obama’s DREAMers and the Changing Times for Immigrants
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By Umesh Vaidyamath I came to the United States in 1990. I was a dreamer and was lucky to have an H-1B immigration status, unlike Obama’s DREAMers of today. I was sponsored for my H1-B and then my Green Card by the Fortune 100 company I worked for. I still remember how the company’s HR department had no clue about the seriousness or complexity of the immigration process. For them, it was just another set of paperwork. They empowered me to take care of my own immigration needs. They gave me a budget. I chose my own attorney and, with him, managed my own immigration process. It took me 18 months to get my Green Card. But oh the times have changed. Today, many HR departments get it. The U.S. government as well as advocacy groups like the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Council of International Professionals (ACIP) have done a tremendous job of educating the industry of the need and the complexity of immigration. Just as important is the support and advocacy from leaders from companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, Dropbox and Microsoft. If you haven’t yet heard of it, take a few moments to learn more about FWD.us. They are an organization started by key leaders including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Reid Hoffman and they want to make immigration reform real. FWD.us is conducting a “Hackathon” on November 21 and 22, in which DREAMer engineers and product designers and their mentors will code for 24 hours straight at LinkedIn’s headquarters. I would like to personally congratulate all of the selected DREAMers and wish them the best of luck during the Hackathon and in their future careers and lives. Godspeed to all of you and kudos to Mark Zuckerberg and the entire FWD.us team for this great initiative. DREAMers selected for DREAMers hackathon Luis Aguilar, 25, Falls Church, VA Gerardo Alvarado, 25, Milwaukee, WI Isabel Bahena, 23, San Leandro, CA Sarahi Espinoza, 23, East Palo Alto, CA Roly Fentantes, 25, New York, NY Erick Garcia, 27, Mesa, AZ Jay Hu, 23, New York, NY Rahul Kapadia, 23, Santa Barbara, CA Henry Lopez, 19, Falls Church, VA Rocio Lopez, 24, Mountain View, CA Celso Mireles, 26, Phoenix, AZ Justino Mora, 24, Los Angeles, CA Erick Orellana, 20, Patchogue, NY Edson Sierra, 20, Charlotte, NC Kent Tam, 24, Los Angeles, CA Dayana Torres, 19, Fairfax, VA Edgar Torres, 26, Oceanside, CA Jorge Torres, 27, Oceanside, CA Carlos Vargas, 28, New York, NY
date:  Nov 18, 2013 comments:  Comments Off on Obama’s DREAMers and the Changing Times for Immigrants
by:  INSZoom category:  From Our CEO, Immigration News, Immigration Stories, News Read More

Don’t Fall Victim To Immigration Scams – Know Your Rights

posted by: INSZoom date: Nov 08, 2013 Immigration News, Immigration Stories, News comments: Comments Off on Don’t Fall Victim To Immigration Scams – Know Your Rights
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To celebrate the festivities of Diwali, an Indian festival equivalent in fervor and spirit of Christmas, a group of us decided to go into town and have some fun. Conversation topics during the celebration ranged from family and friends to politics and what all expatriates in the U.S. love to discuss – immigration and the pitfalls of the current system. During this discussion one of the people present (lets call him John) mentioned a call he got from someone who said he was a USCIS officer. This person knew John’s personal information as well as his immigration status. The “officer” was initially polite and courteous and took additional information from John. But then, the “officer” turned the tables. He referred to a series of inaccuracies and fallacies in John’s immigration documents and records. He then indicated that these could be quickly corrected to ensure that John would not face any problems with the USCIS. Obviously, John was eager to correct these “errors”. The so-called officer then dropped the bombshell indicating that there would be a hefty charge to have these records updated and corrected. This request set off warning bells. John questioned the officer. The discussions quickly turned ugly. The “officer” used threats and strong language to attempt to get John to pay the fees. John made a wise next choice. He asked the “officer” to send him a written notice. If the fee was legitimate, John said he had no problem with paying it. John, however, was now convinced that this was a scam. After the “officer” hung up, John tried to call back the number, but it was a spoof number. Since then I have heard numerous similar stories. Some people have even paid these scam artists. Like all governments, the U.S. government has its fair share of positive and negative aspects. But this country excels in its commitment to be fair and impartial to any individual. People have the right in this country to be heard and clarify their positions before any action is taken. To do this, the U.S. government gives individuals written notices and gives them the opportunity to respond. If you are ever a recipient of such a call, ask for the officer’s credentials, write down his or her contact number and insist that a written notice be sent to you on the allegations and the course of action available to you to remedy the issue. Never make payments over the phone unless you have initiated the process and there are specific provisions to make phone payments. Remember, the U.S. government never requires any particular payment method; they provide you with multiple payment options, including checks, which provide a complete trace of the transaction. Last but not least, seek advise from a legal representative or corporate immigration team before acting upon any such request you receive.
date:  Nov 08, 2013 comments:  Comments Off on Don’t Fall Victim To Immigration Scams – Know Your Rights
by:  INSZoom category:  Immigration News, Immigration Stories, News Read More

Our Latest Superhero Of Immigration – Sharon Cole

posted by: INSZoom date: Apr 30, 2013 Immigration Stories comments: Comments Off on Our Latest Superhero Of Immigration – Sharon Cole
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We’re thrilled to share with you another story from a satisfied INSZoom client. This message comes to us from Sharon Cole at Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Cole Law Firm: I have to tell you about a success that I just had. Today, ICE finally decided to let my client out of custody where she had been for 10 months, awaiting her asylum hearing. We lost at the asylum hearing on Monday, last week. She was facing immediate deportation because she had a prior removal order. I scurried and was able to file an U Visa application for her that Tuesday, with the help of INSZoom. ICE let her out because of the pending U Visa. The seriousness of this case is that she would face almost certain death if returned to Mexico because of 2 different situations involving drug cartels. The father of her child was killed 1 1/2 years ago. Her mother was shot too, but she didn’t die. They always want to wipe out the whole family. Then, last November, she testified against a drug cartel in Federal court after being told she would be safe and they would file for a S Visa for her. The DEA refused to file for the Visa, stating they didn’t want to waste their resources on her. I have been doing all that I can for months to get her help. I finally pestered the US Attorney enough that he signed off on the U Visa last Tuesday. I’m still trying to pester the DEA, through the Office of Inspector General and congressmen to get them to submit the S Visa app in case we don’t succeed on the U Visa. This is one of the most exciting cases thus far. I’ll pick her up from jail tomorrow and put her in a hotel until her family can come from California to get her. Just wanted to share! Life is made up of the Victory moments! Thank you, Sharon, for sharing and for doing all that you do to help save lives and bring families together! We’re honored to have played a role in helping you be a superhero of immigration.
date:  Apr 30, 2013 comments:  Comments Off on Our Latest Superhero Of Immigration – Sharon Cole
by:  INSZoom category:  Immigration Stories Read More
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