May 12, 2023 - Weekly Immigration News Update

Posted by Keshab R. Seadie | May 12, 2023 | 0 Comments

Larsen & Toubro Technology Services Settles Dispute by Paying $9.9 Million

L&T Technology Services, LTD has agreed to pay $9.9 million to resolve a dispute over visa fees. It was alleged that between 2014 and 2019, the company underpaid USCIS fees by using B-1 visas instead of H-1B visas, which may have violated the False Claims Act.

New PERM Form ETA 9089 Implementation Timeline

Employers can continue using the current "retiring" Form ETA 9089 until May 15, 2023, 6:59 PM ET. Starting from May 16, 2023, employers will need to switch to the "new" ETA 9089 in the Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) system. The current form is only available in draft mode.

There have been concerns raised about the short notice for implementation and technical issues with the new Form ETA 9089 in FLAG. OFLC is working to address these concerns and consider requests for postponing the implementation.

For those using the current retiring form via mail, it must be postmarked by May 15, 2023, not received by that date.

After May 15, 2023, the legacy PERM portal will still be available for functions other than submitting new applications. It may take years before the legacy portal is fully decommissioned due to pending appeals.

Applications filed under the legacy portal will not be transferred to the new FLAG portal. OFLC will process retiring Forms ETA 9089 in the legacy portal before moving on to new Forms ETA 9089 filed on May 16, 2023, and later on FLAG.

The initial estimated timeline for implementing the new Form ETA 9089 on the FLAG platform was August 2023, but it was moved to May 16, 2023, due to several factors provided by OFLC.

OFLC Resources on Implementation in FLAG

OFLC has conducted two webinars about the new Form ETA 9089 and its implementation on FLAG. The webinars are available on OFLC's website, along with a draft version of the new form. After implementation, the new Form ETA 9089 will be posted on the website for filing mailed-in forms and petitions directly filed with USCIS.

Attorney Issues with Linking Form ETA 9141 and Form ETA 9089

The new Form ETA 9089 on FLAG allows preparers to link Forms ETA 9141 prevailing wage determinations. However, attorneys will only have access to Forms ETA 9141 created by other attorneys if they are in the same network of FLAG accounts. Transferring Forms ETA 9141 from one account to another is not possible.

OFLC suggests two options for preparers in such cases. They can either mail a new Form ETA 9089 with a statement signed by the employer authorizing the filing based on the Form ETA 9141 prepared by another attorney, or the preparer can become the master account holder for the cases prepared by the other attorney.

Specific Questions on ETA 9089

OFLC provides some responses to specific questions on the new Form ETA 9089:

  • Section A, Question 14: For positions requiring travel to unanticipated client sites, the number of employees in the employment area of the headquarters should be listed.
  • Section D, Question 2: This question helps determine the relationship among the employer, employee, and agent/attorney. Further clarification on answering this question in dual-representation situations is not provided.
  • Section E, Question 5: If the application requires multiple Form ETA 9141 filings, the highest prevailing wage can be linked, and the second Form ETA 9141 can be referenced

Tips to Avoid Form I-765 Delays for F-1 Students Seeking OPT

If you're an F-1 student looking for optional practical training (OPT), here are some tips to prevent processing delays with your Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization:

  1. Stay updated: Check the USCIS website for any updates before submitting your Form I-765. USCIS may change forms, guidance, fees, or filing locations, so it's crucial to follow the latest instructions. You can also sign up for USCIS form update emails to stay informed.
  2. Sign and endorse Form I-20: Ensure that your Form I-20, Certification of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, is properly signed, dated, and endorsed for employment authorization. Both you and your designated school official (DSO) must sign and date the relevant sections on the first page of the form.
  3. File online: Applying online has several benefits. USCIS receives online forms faster than paper forms, and you'll receive an electronic receipt notice with a receipt number immediately. You can access all notices through your USCIS online account and sign up for automatic case updates via email or text message. You can also update your address online.
  4. Timely submission: Submit your Form I-765 within 30 days of the Date Issued by the DSO on the Form I-20 for OPT, or within 60 days for a STEM OPT extension. Adhere to these timelines to ensure your application is considered.
  5. Include Form I-20: Submit a properly completed Form I-20 together with your Form I-765. If filing online, you can upload the Form I-20 during the submission process. Make sure your Form I-20 is signed and endorsed appropriately for the type of work authorization you're requesting.
  6. Update your address: Notify both USCIS and USPS of any address changes. You must update your address separately with each agency. Updating your address promptly ensures that USCIS mails your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to the correct location. USPS will not forward your EAD to a new address. Display your name on or in your mailbox, as USPS will not deliver your EAD if your name is not listed. Consider registering for Informed Delivery through USPS for mail previews.

By following these tips, F-1 students can minimize delays and ensure a smooth processing of their Form I-765 for OPT.

USCIS Extends Temporary Suspension of Biometrics Requirement for Form I-539 Applicants

USCIS has extended the temporary suspension of the biometrics submission requirement for specific applicants filing Form I-539. This form is used to request an extension of stay or a change of status to H-4, L-2, or E nonimmigrant status.

NVC Payment Issues Reported

There have been widespread reports of payment issues at the National Visa Center (NVC). Many applicants are experiencing problems where the NVC sends notices stating that the payment made was not accepted by the receiving bank.

We highly recommend you contact your attorney to resolve this issue in a timely manner. You or your attorney should document individual case issues by using the NVC's Public Inquiry Form. It is important to include case numbers, emails, screenshots, and proof of payments from bank accounts. Submitting examples through the Public Inquiry Form will increase the chances of expediting the escalation and resolution of this issue by the NVC.

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