July 2010



Office of International Students & Scholars
42 W. Warren
Suite 416, Welcome Center
Detroit, MI 48202

Phone: (313) 577-3422

Fax: (313) 577-2962

www.oiss.wayne.edu

Spring/Summer Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Health Insurance Contact
Carol Kassab
Phone: (313) 577-3422
Email: ckassab@wayne.edu

New International Student Welcome Package Donation Drive!!!

The Welcome Package Donation Drive is finally here! Our International Students will begin arriving August 2 through the second week of September and we want to present them with a WSU welcome packet. These items will help them ease their transition to a new country and new school.

Please join us by making a donation of the items listed below beginning Wednesday, July 8 – July 30 at the drop off locations listed below.






Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Outlines Best Hiring Practices for Employers

As part of the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) program, DHS recommends the following "best hiring practices".





ICE Begins New Round of I-9 Audits

ICE recently commenced a third round of Form I-9 Audits as part of its efforts to enforce the country's immigration laws. This is the third major ICE I-9 Audit within the past year. In this Audit, ICE issued Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to 180 businesses in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee. ICE stated that this is part of its comprehensive strategy to reduce the demand for illegal employment and to protect employment opportunities for the country's lawful workforce. After receiving the NOI, most businesses had three days in which to provide extensive documentation of their compliance with the immigration laws in their hiring practices.



Increased U.S. Passport Application Fees

The cost of U.S. passport books and passport cards will also go up on July 13, 2010, with the total base fee for a U.S. passport book increasing to $110 from the current base fee of $75. In addition, the Department of State will impose a new fee on individuals who are renouncing their U.S. citizenship.





New Immigrant Visa Fees

Effective July 13, 2010, foreign nationals applying for immigrant visas at U.S. consulates will see fee increases in many categories. Processing fees for employment-based immigrant visas have significantly increased. The processing fee for family-based immigrant visas will decrease.





Non-immigrant Visa and Border Crossing Card Processing Fees has Increased June 4

On June 4, 2010, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) increased the fees that U.S. consulates normally charge for processing nonimmigrant visas and border crossing cards (BCC). Under its new tiered fee schedule, DOS will charge higher fees for visa categories that require more government resources to adjudicate and issue.





On-line Nonimmigrant Visa Application DS-160

International Students and Scholars, if you will be applying for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa in the coming weeks, you will be filling out Form DS-160, the online nonimmigrant visa application. This new electronic form is mandatory at all U.S. consulates.





Applying For a Nonimmigrant Visa at a U.S. Consular Post

  • Most U.S. consular posts now require the “smart form” DS-160 – https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/
  • Nonimmigrant (NIV) appointments at many consular posts worldwide are severely backlogged during the summer.
  • Most applicants between ages 14 years and 79 years must have an in-person consular interview though some posts (including China, Russia, Japan, Australia, and possibly Mexico in the near future) allow visa renewals without an interview for certain visa categories.
  • Appointment scheduling and visa issuance times can be checked online at http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html.
  • U.S. Consular Posts links can be found at http://www.usembassy.gov/.




More Important Visa Reminders

Please be advised that it is recommended that all scholars obtain their visa in their home country. Several non-Canadian scholars have been indefinitely delayed in Canada due to administrative background checks which can take up to several months. This lengthy delay can jeopardize the scholar’s employment at WSU. U.S. consulates consider non-Canadians who apply for visas in Canada as “third country nationals.” It is always recommended that the foreign national return to their place of citizenship or permanent residency to receive their visa rather than in Canada. Please contact OISS whenever a scholar plans on traveling abroad.



Summer 2010 Travel Memo

As many students, researchers, and staff will be traveling abroad over the summer we have listed some helpful travel reminders. Each consular post has unique procedures so we encourage visa applicants to carefully prepare well in advance.

Basic Documents Required for Travel (and re-entry to the U.S.)
  • Passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of intended departure from the U.S.;
  • Valid U.S. Visa;
  • Original Form I-797, Notice of Approval (for Nonimmigrant Petition based cases);
  • Original SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019 signed for travel;
  • For F-1 students with approved OPT/EAD, valid F-1 visa, EAD, and employment verification letter (though students approved for “cap-gap” relief will lose that benefit by travel abroad);
  • Valid Advance Parole for pending adjustment of status applicants (or a valid H-1B/H-4 or L-1/L-2 visa);
  • Valid Lawful Permanent Resident Card (“Green card”);




Recent PERM Denials

Universities and Corporations across the U.S. who are sponsoring non-immigrants for Permanent Residency (PR) are experiencing a substantial increase in PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) denials that appear to be based on deviations from longstanding U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) adjudication practices.





What You Need to Know about the New DOL Prevailing Wage Process

There are currently over 600 non-immigrant researchers and faculty at WSU conducting cutting edge research and educating our students. OISS processes all of the paperwork for the scholars to contribute their intellectual capital. There are currently over 300 researchers and faculty in H-1B status. Because of changes in the prevailing wage determination (PWD) process from a 24-48 hour response to a 60 day response from DOL, OISS identified another PWD which is a national faculty and research wage survey published by CUPA (College and University Professional Association) to determine the Prevailing Wage for our Professors and Researchers. Using CUPA has reduced our PWD wait time.






USCIS Site Visits

As previously mentioned in our monthly OISS Scholar Newsletters, USCIS is conducting random site visits to employers that sponsor H-1Bs. We have had more than 5 visits from contractors working for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The purpose of these visits is to verify that information in the H-1B petition is correct. The DHS representative meets with OISS and separately with the H-1B WSU employee. It is essential that the H-1B employee is paid the amount offered in the employment offer letter as the representative will ask for "proof" of wages. There are significant financial fines and penalties that can be imposed on WSU if there are discrepancies in the information you submitted to our office for processing. Should a DHS representative visit your department for an H-1B site visit, please send them to OISS because we have centralized information they need and we can direct them to the appropriate WSU department to visit with the H-1B employee. This is a reminder that if there is a change in the duties or terms and conditions of an H-1B employee, an amended H-1B petition request must be submitted to OISS for filing. An amended petition must be filed if: (1) the employee's job duties change significantly (e.g., Research Assistant to Research Associate); (2) change from part time to full time and vice versa.); and (3) decrease or increase in salary. This is not an exclusive list -- keep in mind "change in duties and conditions of employment."



Request for Evidence (RFE)

Nationally, institutions of higher education and private industry are receiving a substantial increase in RFE's from USCIS (United Citizenship and Immigration Services.) RFE's are not uncommon as the adjudicating officer requests additional information to complete the review and adjudication of the H-1B petition. However, it's the increase in RFE's that have become more frequent. In the past, we did not have to do credential evaluations for degree diplomas earned in Canada, but now CIS are making these types of requests. Additionally they are requesting copies of the scholar's three most recent pay stubs if they are already in H-1B status at WSU or "porting" here from another institution. In order to attempt to minimize the RFE's we have added as part of the H-1B packet a requirement for departments to submit copies of their last three pay stubs and a credential evaluation not only for degrees earned abroad but also from Canada. Costs for credential evaluations are not the responsibility of the department. However, it is up to the department if they wish to pay the fee.



New Scholar Orientation

This is an important reminder that all scholars who are WSU new hires in H-1B, H1-B1, J-1, TN, O-1, E-3, and H1B1 visa categories are required to attend new scholar orientation held every Monday and Thursday at 2 p.m. in the OISS conference room. It is a requirement that the scholar sign up for New Scholar Orientation at: https://www.wsuoiss.wayne.edu/newscholarorientation

Feel free to contact Chamu Gowrishankar at aw7910@wayne.edu should you have any questions.



OISS 2010 Programs for Scholars

Are you interested in having OISS conduct informative immigration workshops that are tailored to your specific needs or a specific topic that has been pre-determined by OISS? All workshops will include new and upcoming regulations that will impact your unit, and documentation needed for processing petition requests. Contact Chamu Gowrishankar at aw7910@wayne.edu or Carol Kassab ckassab@wayne.edu and let us know what information you need from us to help you with your foreign employment needs.



J-1 Intern Category

The Office of International Students and Scholars is pleased to announce that Wayne State University offers a J-1 Intern Program. This exciting program allows departments to host/sponsor an undergraduate or graduate foreign student as an unpaid or paid J-1 Intern for up to 12 months. The internship must fulfill the educational objectives for his or her current degree or certificate program at his or her home institution in their home country. Several departments have taken advantage of this beneficial exchange program that is a pathway for future student enrollment at WSU. Please contact OISS at 313-577-3422 or send us an email at j1intern@wayne.edu if you need additional information.

This is a reminder that department sponsors of the J-1 Intern program must use the title "J1 Intern" and not WSU full-time employment titles such as Research Associate or Research Assistant since these categories are used for full time employment purposes. The J-1 Intern category is strictly an internship and not an employment category although it can be a paid internship. We currently have ten J-1 Interns at WSU.



Health Insurance Contact

Please direct all AETNA insurance inquiries to Carol Kassab, at 313-577-3422 or ckassab@wayne.edu.



Please mark your calendar for the following 2010 workshops:

Here are some workshop dates for 2010. Please mark your calendar:

  • Ask the Immigration Pro
    Friday, July 23, 2010
    1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
    Open to any immigration, policy or process questions.
  • What You Need to Know about O-1, TN & H1-B1 Processing
    Friday, September 24, 2010
    1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
    Workshop about O-1, TN & H1-B1 processing.





Important Permanent Residency (PR) Information

Please see the entire article for more information on:
  • Changing from EB-2 to EB-1
  • Sponsoring Permanent Residency (PR) for Faculty and Professors






DOS Releases July 2010 Visa Bulletin

The Department of State (DOS) has released the July Visa Bulletin, its projection of immigrant visa availability for the coming month. Next month, there will be an eight-month advancement in the priority date cut-off for the second employment-based preference category (EB-2) for India, to October 1, 2005. In the third employment-based preference category (EB-3) for professionals and skilled workers, cut-off dates will advance more modestly, by one month for India, to November 22, 2001, and by just over seven weeks for all other countries except Mexico, to August 15, 2003. DOS is predicting continued priority date advancement for most employment-based categories and countries through the end of the fiscal year.



July Priority Date Cut-offs

In July 2010, priority date cut-offs for the employment-based immigrant categories will be as follows:

EB-1

Current for all countries.

EB-2

China – November 22, 2005.
India – October 1, 2005.
All other countries – current.

EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers

China – August 15, 2003.
India – November 22, 2001.
Mexico – Unavailable.
All other countries – August 15, 2003.




Visa Availability Projections Through The Remainder of Fiscal Year 2010

DOS has also made estimates of the movement of immigrant visa priority dates through the remainder of the Fiscal Year 2010, which ends on September 30, 2010. By that time, the agency estimates that cut-off dates could advance to the following projected dates:

EB-1
Current.

EB-2
China and India – March or April 2006.

EB-3
China – October through December 2003.
India – February 2002.
Mexico – Unavailable.
All other countries – June through September 2004.

Foreign nationals should bear in mind that these date ranges are estimates only. Immigrant visa availability could change with fluctuations in demand, and retrogression or unavailability in a category is possible before the end of the fiscal year.



F-1 Doctoral Students with GRA/GTA/GSA

This is a reminder for departments that if an F-1 student who is in their last semester and will be defending before the end of the semester and has not applied for post-completion OPT (Optional Practical Training) with a start date prior to the end of the last semester can continue with the assistantship until the end of the semester. But if the student has applied for post-completion OPT with a start date prior to the end of the last semester in which the student is defending cannot continue with the assistantship beyond the program end date provided by the student and department on the OPT Request Form. We recommend that the academic advisor or chair review the program completion date on the OPT recommendation form before approving the recommendation.



Government Agency Links

Follow these links to access current processing times of the USCIS Service Centers and the Department of Labor, or the Department of State's latest Visa Bulletin with the most recent cut-off dates for visa numbers:

USCIS Service Center processing times online: https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplay.do

Department of Labor processing times and information on backlogs: http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/times.cfm

Department of State Visa Bulletin: http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_1360.html



Question of the Month

QUESTION
I am going home for a month or so. Will that be enough time to get a new visa? If so, what kind of paperwork do I need to prepare?

ANSWER
OISS always recommends that you check with the U.S. consulate in your home country for the visa processing time and the documentation required since not all consulate procedures are the same. Often the visa renewal process is very lengthy due to the name and/or security checks. We strongly recommend you to see an OISS advisor prior to making any travel arrangements for any recent updates/changes.