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Top 5 Tips for Year-End Immigration Planning

With the change from summer to fall, we approach the end of 2018 – when many companies are planning their recruitment and retention strategies for foreign employees.

In today’s immigration landscape, it’s important to know how to proactively plan for your business goals, so we have compiled our Top 5 Tips for Year-End Immigration Planning:

Review Compliance Plans

With the crackdown on I-9 compliance, now is the time to review and audit your I-9 files – you can review our article in SHRM for more information.

Think Ahead on H-1B Extensions

USCIS is shrinking the availability of premium processing for several H-1B holders and Petitions, so employers should consider initiating H-1B extensions sooner rather than later. Current processing times are averaging about 5.5 months, so we advise clients to initiate H-1B extension at least 7 months in advance of the H-1B expiration date.

Utilize the Receipt Notice Rule

As USCIS decreases availability of premium processing for categories of H-1B holders and Petitions, employers must consider and utilize the “Receipt Notice Rule” to its utmost when filing H-1B change of employer (for new hires already working for another company in H-1B status). Under the Receipt Notice Rule, an employer can place an H-1B employee on payroll if that H-1B employee has been in the US in valid H-1B status for another employer and your company files (and receives confirmation of such filing) an H-1B Petition with the USCIS. This employment authorization remains valid until the USCIS has made a final decision on the pending H-1B Petition.

Have a Retention Strategy

With the slowdown of “green card” processing and the current retrogression of Priority Dates, now is the time to consider initiating US Lawful Permanent Resident processes for nonimmigrant (H-1B, TN, L-1, O-1) employees that you are considering keeping “indefinitely”. Getting these individuals into the queue, getting the Priority Date established, and getting the process moving forward can be invaluable to your employees but can also be an excellent retention tool for employers. Showing foresight, care, and respect for your employees’ immigration status is an excellent mechanism for establishing good will and for maintaining happy employees.

Identify H-1B Cap Candidates

It may only be September, but January 2019 will be upon us very soon, which will mean H-1B Cap Season for 2019. If you have candidates currently working for you in F-1 OPT status or TN status, or you have open requisitions that could be filled with individuals graduating from US institutions on F-1 or J-1 status, then you may need to plan for filing H-1B Cap cases come April 1, 2019 – getting those cases identified and begun early in the Cap process can help secure a strong Petition, a strong filing, and be confident that your case is in the queue on the first day that the Cap opens.

Your attorneys at FordMurray can help you as you plan for 2019 and beyond. Should you have additional questions, please contact us today. FordMurray offers complimentary consultations – don’t feel like you have to navigate the current immigration landscape on your own.