H-1B Employment-Based Visa Petitions Reached Its Cap for the 2013 Fiscal Year

Approximately 140,000 employment based visas are distributed each fiscal year.  The fiscal year for USCIS (and other government agencies) begins October 1st and ends on September 30th.  As such, many employers seeking H-1B visas often face dilemmas such as caps on applications for its employees when the maximum number of employment based visas have been reached for a particular fiscal year.  On June 11, 2012, USCIS reached its statutory cap for H-1B visas for the 2013 fiscal year.  However, employers should seek the assistance of an immigration attorney to determine if their working visa(s) are exempt from such caps, including DOD cooperative research worker H-1B petitions.  See USCIS H-1B Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Cap Season Announcement dated June 12, 2012 for additional information.

Finding a VA Accredited Attorney or Claims Assistant

If you are seeking assistance from an attorney or claims assistant in obtaining VA benefits, then you must ensure that they are VA accredited.  Currently the VA accreditation process takes approximately 90 to 120 days.  However, individuals who seek to represent you in appealing a denial or a request for reopening of a claim must be VA accredited.  The VA does not make any exceptions to this rule.  There are several reasons why obtaining an attorney or claims assistant may be beneficial rather than going through a veteran service organization (VSO).  First, attorneys and claims assistants may be selective of which cases he or she takes.  This means that they may provide you with more individualized attention.  Second, many attorneys and claims assistants are either former VA employees or have specialized knowledge of the VA Rating Schedule.  This can be quite beneficial to clients who seek quick assessments of their claims as well as assistance in preparing time sensitive case files for appeal or request for reopening.  See http://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp for additional information pertaining to VA accreditation.

U.S. Supreme Court’s Split Decision on Arizona’s Immigration Law

The Supreme Court’s much anticipated decision on Arizona’s Immigration Law was finally issued today.  Although the Supreme Court struck down most of Arizona’s strict law pertaining to immigrants within its borders, it did allow Arizona police to stop, detain and question immigrants they believe are in the country illegally.  However, it is ultimately the federal government’s authority to decide whether or not Arizona’s immigrants will face deportation.  The implementation and interpretation of this Supreme Court decision will be what most of us will watch overtime.