H-1B VISA UPDATE: Starting in January, it will no longer be possible to get a Labor Condition Application (LCA) certified the same day. It may take week. A certified LCA is required when filing an H-1B petition. As employers prepare for the now annual H-1B application day and lottery (April 1st), they must allow extra time for getting a certified LCA.
PERM LABOR CERTIFICATION UPDATE: The Department of Labor has indicated that processing times for “clean” PERM applications are now about 8 months. For audited applications, the processing time is about 16 months. Adjudication of appeals is taking longer than 2 years. Also, expect more scrutiny of employer recruiting as unemployment rises. In particular, the DOL will be looking if the employer has had layoffs or if there have been layoffs in the industry in the region of employment.
TRAVELING AS A VISITOR: Don’t forget that travelers from 8 new countries will be able to enter the U.S. without a visa for up to 90 days on the visa waiver program starting in November. The countries are: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and South Korea. Also, starting in January, visa waiver travelers must pre-register with the ESTA program. For more info see: http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1212498415724.shtm
LOCAL NATURALIZATION PROCESSING TIMES: Naturalization processing for residents within the Tampa district are taking 5 to 6 months and are among the fastest times nationally. Unfortunately, naturalization processing for residents in the Orlando district are taking 14 months are among the slowest nationally.