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October 2017 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based Visa Numbers – Eligibility to File Adjustment of Status Applications

October 4, 2017 Leave a comment
Employ-
ment
based
All Charge-
ability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C C
2nd C 22MAY13 C 15SEP08 C C
3rd C 01JAN14 C 15OCT06 C 01DEC15
Other Workers C 01JAN06 C 15OCT06 C 01DEC15
4th C C 01NOV15 C 01MAR16 C
Certain Religious Workers C C 01NOV15 C 01MAR16 C
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C 22JUN14 C C C C
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
C 22JUN14 C C C C
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USCIS Announces Further Measures to Detect H-1B Visa Fraud and Abuse

April 6, 2017 Leave a comment
On April 3, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced multiple measures to further deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse.  The press release states that the H-1B visa program should help U.S. companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country. Yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing, and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. Protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programs is a priority for USCIS.

Beginning April 3, 2017, USCIS will take a more targeted approach when making site visits across the country to H-1B petitioners and the worksites of H-1B employees. USCIS will focus on:

  • Cases where USCIS cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data;
  • H-1B-dependent employers (those who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to U.S. workers, as defined by statute); and
  • Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location.

The press release further states that targeted site visits will allow USCIS to focus resources where fraud and abuse of the H-1B program may be more likely to occur, and determine whether H-1B dependent employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers.  USCIS will continue random and unannounced visits nationwide. The press release states that these site visits are not meant to target nonimmigrant employees for any kind of criminal or administrative action but rather to identify employers who are abusing the system.

US Dept of Labor Announces Plans to Protect American Workers from H-1B Program Discrimination

April 6, 2017 Leave a comment

On April 5, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor announced plans today to protect U.S. workers from H-1B program discrimination by providing greater transparency and oversight. The program allows employers to hire highly skilled foreign workers in specialty occupations. The H-1B visa program authorizes the temporary employment of qualified individuals who are not otherwise authorized to work in the U.S.

The Dept. of Labor states that in recent years, some employers have used the H-1B program to hire foreign workers despite American workers being qualified and available for work or even to replace American workers. The department fully supports the U.S. Department of Justice in cautioning employers who petition for H-1B visas not to discriminate against U.S. workers, as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s measures to further deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse.

The department will protect American workers against discrimination through the following actions:

1. Rigorously use all of its existing authority to initiate investigations of H-1B program violators.
This effort to protect U.S. workers will also involve greater coordination with other federal agencies,
including the departments of Homeland Security and Justice for additional investigation and, if
necessary, prosecution.

2. Consider changes to the Labor Condition Application for future application cycles. The Labor
Condition Application, which is a required part of the H-1B visa application process, may be updated
to provide greater transparency for agency personnel, U.S. workers and the general public.

3. Continue to engage stakeholders on how the program might be improved to provide greater
protections for U.S. workers, under existing authorities or through legislative changes.

March 2017 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based Visa Numbers – Eligibility to File Adjustment of Status Applications

February 17, 2017 Leave a comment
Employ-
ment
based
All Charge-
ability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
EL SALVADOR
GUATEMALA
HONDURAS
INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C C
2nd C 15NOV12 C 15APR08 C C
3rd 01OCT16 01OCT13 01OCT16 22MAR05 01OCT16 15OCT11
Other Workers 01OCT16 01DEC05 01OCT16 22MAR05 01OCT16 15OCT11
4th C C 15JUL15 C 15JUL15 C
Certain Religious Workers C C 15JUL15 C 15JUL15 C
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C 15APR14 C C C C
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
C 15APR14 C C C C

November 2016 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based Visa Numbers – Eligibility to File Adjustment of Status Applications

October 18, 2016 Leave a comment

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently stated that for the month of November, it will use the State Dept.’s  November Visa Bulletin DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS for employment-based first through fourth preference category, and for employment-based fifth preference category, the FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES to be used.  Hereunder, State Dept.’s November Filing Dates Chart is provided:

Employment-
based
All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
CHINA-
mainland
born
INDIA MEXICO  PHILIPPINES 
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01MAR13 22APR09 C C
3rd C 01MAY14 01JUL05 C 01SEP13
Other Workers C 01AUG09 01JUL05 C 01SEP13
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th
Non-Regional
Center
(C5 and T5)
C 15JUN14 C C C
5th
Regional
Center
(I5 and R5)
C 15JUN14 C C C

21 charged with fraudulently enabling hundreds of foreign nationals to remain in US through fake “pay-to-stay” New Jersey college

April 7, 2016 Leave a comment

NEWARK, N.J. (from ice.gov) — Twenty-one brokers, recruiters, and employers were arrested Tuesday from across the United States, who allegedly conspired with more than a thousand foreign nationals to fraudulently maintain student and foreign worker visas through a “pay-to-stay” New Jersey college. The arrests resulted from an extensive probe led by U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

“While the United States fully supports international education, we will vigorously investigate those who seek to exploit the U.S. immigration system,” said ICE Director Sarah R. Saldaña. “As a result of this operation, HSI special agents have successfully identified and shut down multiple operations which have abused the student visa program.”

“Individuals engaged in schemes that would undermine the remarkable educational opportunities afforded to international students represent an affront to those who play by the rules. These unscrupulous individuals undermine the integrity of the immigration system,” said Terence S. Opiola, special agent in charge of HSI Newark. “Our special agents are committed to identifying and addressing fraud in order to better protect the system as a whole.”

“Pay-to-Stay schemes not only damage our perception of legitimate student and foreign worker visa programs, they also pose a very real threat to national security,” said Paul J. Fishman, New Jersey United States Attorney. “Today’s arrests, which were made possible by the great undercover work of our law enforcement partners, stopped 21 brokers, recruiters and employers across multiple states who recklessly exploited our immigration system for financial gain.”

According to court documents, the defendants, many of whom operated recruiting companies for purported international students, were arrested for their involvement in an alleged scheme to enroll foreign nationals as students in the University of Northern New Jersey, a purported for-profit college located in Cranford, New Jersey (UNNJ). Unbeknownst to the defendants and the foreign nationals they conspired with, however, the UNNJ was created in September 2013 by HSI special agents.

Through the UNNJ, undercover HSI agents investigated criminal activities associated with ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), including, but not limited to, student visa fraud and the harboring of aliens for profit. The UNNJ was not staffed with instructors or educators, had no curriculum, and conducted no actual classes or education activities. The UNNJ operated solely as a storefront location with small offices staffed by special agents posing as school administrators.

UNNJ represented itself as a school that, among other things, was authorized to issue a document known as a “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status for Academic and Language Students,” commonly referred to as a Form I-20. This document, which certifies that a foreign national has been accepted to a school and would be a full-time student, typically enables legitimate foreign students to obtain an F-1 student visa. The F-1 student visa allows a foreign student to enter and/or remain in the United States while the student makes normal progress toward the completion of a full course of study in an SEVP accredited institution.

During the investigation, HSI special agents identified hundreds of foreign nationals, primarily from China and India, who previously entered the U.S. on F-1 non-immigrant student visas to attend other SEVP-authorized schools. Through various recruiting companies and business entities located in New Jersey, California, Illinois, New York, and Virginia, the defendants then enabled approximately 1,076 of these foreign individuals – all of whom were willing participants in the scheme – to fraudulently maintain their nonimmigrant status in the U.S. on the false pretense that they continued to participate in full courses of study at the UNNJ.

Acting as recruiters, the defendants solicited the involvement of UNNJ administrators to participate in the scheme. During the course of their dealings with undercover agents, the defendants fully acknowledged that none of their foreign national clients would attend any actual courses, earn actual credits, or make academic progress toward an actual degree in a particular field of study. Rather, the defendants facilitated the enrollment of their foreign national clients in UNNJ to fraudulently maintain student visa status, in exchange for kickbacks, or “commissions.” The defendants also facilitated the creation of hundreds of false student records, including transcripts, attendance records, and diplomas, which were purchased by their foreign national conspirators for the purpose of deceiving immigration authorities.

In other instances, the defendants used UNNJ to fraudulently obtain work authorization and work visas for hundreds of their clients. By obtaining this authorization, a number of defendants were able to outsource their foreign national clients as full-time employees with numerous U.S.-based corporations, also in exchange for commission fees. Other defendants devised phony IT projects that were purportedly to occur at the school. These defendants then created and caused to be created false contracts, employment verification letters, transcripts, and other documents. The defendants then paid the undercover agents thousands of dollars to put the school’s letterhead on the sham documents, to sign the documents as school administrators, and to otherwise go along with the scheme.

All of these bogus documents created the illusion that prospective foreign workers would be working at the school in some IT capacity or project. The defendants then used these fictitious documents fraudulently to obtain labor certifications issued by the U.S. Secretary of Labor and then ultimately to petition the U.S. government to obtain H1-B visas for nonimmigrants. These fictitious documents were then submitted to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS). In the vast majority of circumstances, the foreign worker visas were not issued because USCIS was advised of the ongoing undercover operation.

In addition, starting Tuesday, HSI Newark is coordinating with the ICE Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit (CTCEU) and the SEVP to terminate the nonimmigrant student status for the 1,076 foreign nationals associated with UNNJ, and if applicable, administratively arrest and place them into removal proceedings.

The chart below outlines the charges for each defendant. The charges of conspiracy to commit visa fraud and making a false statement each carry a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charges of conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit and H1-B Visa fraud each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine.

Critical assistance in the investigation was provided by: ICE’s CTCEU, SEVP; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Fraud Detection and National Security Section and Security Fraud Division and Vermont Service Center; and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs and Office of Fraud Prevention Programs; The Accredited Commission of Career Schools and Colleges; and The State of New Jersey’s Office of Higher Education.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Defendant Name Age Residence Charges
Jun Shen
a/k/a “Jeanette Shen”
32 Levittown, New York
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Jiaming Wang,
a/k/a “Celine Wang”
34 Los Angeles, California
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Philip Junlin Li 33 Los Angeles, California
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Zitong Wen
a/k/a “Kate Wen”
27 Rowland Heights, California
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Chaun Kit Yuen
a/k/a “Alvin Yuen”
24 Rowland Heights, California
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Ting Zue
a/k/a “Tiffany Xue”
28 Flushing, New York
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Yanjun Lin
a/k/a “Aimee Lin”
25 Flushing, New York
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Zheng Zhang
a/k/a “Vicky Zhang”
26 New York, New York
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Xue Yong Liu
a/k/a “Jack Liu”
29 New York, New York
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Minglu Li
a/k/a “Vivian Lee”
36 Los Angeles, California
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Jason Li
a/k/a “Jason Liu” and “Fen Lee”
43 Flushing, New York
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Tajesh Kodali 44 Edison, New Jersey
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Jyoti Patel 34 Franklin Park, New Jersey
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Shahjadi M. Parvin,
a/k/a “Sarah Patel”
54 Hackensack, New Jersey
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Narendra Singh Plaha 44 Hillsborough, New Jersey
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Sanjeev Sukhija 35 North Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Harpreet Sachdeva 26 Somerset, New Jersey
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Avinash Shankar 35 Bloomington, Illinois
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Karthik Nimmala 32 Smyrna, Georgia
  • Conspiracy to commit visa fraud
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Govardhan Dyavarashetty
a/k/a “Vardhan Shetty”
35 Avenel, New Jersey
  • H1-B Visa fraud
  • False statements
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Syed Qasim Abbas
a/k/a “Qasim Reza” and “Nayyer”
41 Brooklyn, New York
  • H1-B Visa fraud
  • False statements
  • Conspiracy to harbor aliens for profit
Categories: ICE, Uncategorized Tags:

March 2016 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based Visa Numbers – Eligibility to File Adjustment of Status Applications

February 16, 2016 Leave a comment
Employment- Based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA – mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01AUG12 15OCT08 C C
3rd 01JAN16 01JUN13 15JUL04 01JAN16 15MAR08
Other Workers 01JAN16 01FEB07 15JUL04 01JAN16 15MAR08
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th
Targeted
Employment
Areas/
Regional Centers
and Pilot Programs
C 22JAN14 C C C
5th
Pilot
Programs
C 22JAN14 C C C
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