500 New I-9 Notices of Inspection Issued
Recent reports indicate that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)issued 500 new Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to employers in several states. NOIs are notices from ICE that an organization has been selected for an inspection of its I-9 Forms and other accompanying business documents. Practitioner reports in February indicated that the same number of notices were issued then as well, making around 1,000 new NOIs announced to date for 2012. Additionally, the February notices indicated that ICE would be auditing not only new employers, but also those that have already been the subject of I-9 inspections during the past three years.

In light of the newly issued notices, employers are reminded that immigration compliance should remain a top business priority.

H-1B Cap May Be Reached by June
According to recent estimates, it appears the annual cap on H-1B Specialty Occupation visas may be reached as early as June 1, 2012. Last year, the cap was not reached until November; however, due to an increase in demand, this year’s cap will most likely be reached much earlier.

Each year there are 65,000 new H-1B visas available for foreign workers with a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, and 20,000 for those with a master’s degree or higher. USCIS began accepting the cap-subject H-1B petitions on April 1st for the 2013 fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2012. It is important to submit cap-subject H-1B filings as quickly as possible, because once the cap closes, H-1B employers will have to wait until the next fiscal year to file petitions.

REMINDER—Passport and I-94 Expirations Before Visa
Please be advised that if your passport expires before your visa expiration, you will be given an I-94 card reflecting the expiration date of your passport. In order to maintain lawful status, please be aware of the date on which your I-94 and passport expires, and file the necessary renewal/extension applications in a timely fashion.