U.S. uncovers $20M H-1B fraud scheme

For more details, please visit http://www.computerworld.com/article/3064712/h1b/us-uncovers-20m-h-1b-fraud-scheme.html

The U.S. government has indicted a Virginia couple for running an H-1B visa-for-sale scheme the government said generated about $20 million.

Workers were required to pay their own visa processing fees and were treated as hourly contractors, the DOJ alleged. Treating H-1B workers as hourly contractors is in violation of the program rules, the government said.

A U.S. District Court judge in Dallas is scheduled to consider sentencing, as early as this week, for brothers Atul Nanda and Jiten “Jay” Nanda, for visa fraud following a jury verdict last November. They face up to 20 years in prison for using the visa program to create an on-demand workforce, the government alleged.

H-1B Visa Cap Reached – FY 2017

For more information, please visit http://www.h1bwiki.com/h-1b-visa-cap-reached-fy-2017/

USCIS Announcement:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally mandated H-1B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2017. USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U.S. advanced degree exemption.

USCIS will first randomly select petitions for the advanced degree exemption. All unselected advanced degree petitions will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 general cap. The agency will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not duplicate filings.

New Jersey University Was Fake, but Visa Fraud Arrests Are Real

To learn more, please go to NYTimes http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/06/nyregion/new-jersey-university-was-fake-but-visa-fraud-arrests-are-real.html?_r=1 for the original post

Instead, the university was a fake, set up by the Homeland Security Department as part of a sting operation to ensnare criminals involved in student visa fraud.

The people arrested were brokers who recruited foreign students who were mainly from China and India to an institution that they knew would not have real classes.

He paid the university $6,000 to obtain 20 visas for skilled workers, known as H-1B visas, the complaint said. (The government never issued them.) He paid another $17,750 to the school for arranging the extension of student visas.

Indian IT Services And Modern Day Slavery

Indian IT firms barely meet the minimum H1B salary requirements. To learn more, please go to the original article https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/indian-services-modern-day-slavery-karthik-sundaram by Karthik Sundaram

In a recent report, you can see that the top applicants for the H1B visas are nearly all IT services firms, only a few like Microsoft, Google, and Oracle are other applicants. And do note the minimum salaries these companies declare they will pay the foreign worker–the Indian IT firms barely meet the minimum requirements, while the US companies declare over $100,000 salaries.

STEM OPT will continue to be valid (for now, I mean)

F-1 students can keep using their non-expired STEM OPT till May 10, 2016. There is hope that they can get into this year’s H1B lottery which is on April 1, 2016. For more details, please check with http://www.nafsa.org/Find_Resources/Supporting_International_Students_And_Scholars/ISS_Issues/Issues/Focus_On_STEM_OPT/

The U.S. District Court has just granted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s motion to extend the current STEM OPT rule until May 10, 2016.

This decision is a win for F-1s using their 17-month EAD extension and their employers, because previously issued STEM OPT EADs will continue to be valid, and USCIS will continue to accept STEM OPT EAD applications, until May 10th.  We are confident DHS will complete its rule making and publish a final rule to permanently reinstitute STEM EAD extensions before the May 10th deadline.

More details about $4000 Extra Fee for 2017 H1B

In short, it doesn’t practically prevent future H1B fraud from ICCs, and we should expect a more competitive H1B lottery in 2016: these extra $4000 for preventing multi-filing fraud will only be conducted AFTER the lottery, thus, a visa cheater can still submit multiple H1B petitions and later on send 4000$ check to USCIS after being selected in the lottery for fixing the RFE. What a perfect loophole for H1B fraud!

For more details, please refer to http://www.h1bwiki.com/new-h-1b-and-transfers-fees-increased-by-4000-uscis/

We don`t think there will be any effect on H-1B filings this year since the fee is only deducted after getting selected in the lottery. We can still expect a lottery this year.