Demand For H-1B Visas On The Decline
Report released July, 2011 by the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) indicated that agency received 18,400 H-1B visa petitions for fiscal year 2012 that count toward the congressionally mandated 65,000 cap.
As we reported last year, the demand for H-1B visas has declined over the past several years, largely in part to the economy and employers looking for different ways to meet their needs. Part of the decline is also due to increased government scrutiny on H1B visa applications. The scrutiny has also caused an increase in the number of H1B petitions withdrawn by applicants or rejected by U.S. authorities.
North Carolina Adopts E-Verify Law
Businesses and other organizations in North Carolina with 25 or more employees will be required to use the federal E-Verify employment verification program under a new bill by into law by Gov. Perdue. E-Verify is an internet based program in which the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees is confirmed after the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form has been completed. The requirements will be phased in for private employers, based on their size. All counties and municipalities in the state will be required to use the E-Verify program to screen potential employees beginning Oct. 1. For private companies and organizations, the requirements become effective:
• Oct. 1, 2012, for those having 500 or more employees,
• Jan. 1, 2013, for those employing 100 or more, but fewer than 500 workers, and
• July 1, 2013, for those having 25 or more, but fewer than 100 employees.
As with similar E-Verify law, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) believes that this law may have a negative impact and encourage racial profiling and discrimination on ethnic minorities.
South Carolina Adopts Mandatory E-Verify Law
South Carolina Governor Haley signed a controversial E-Verify law that mirrors Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration laws. Beginning January 1, 2012 all employers in South Carolina must register and participate in E-Verify in order to comply with South Carolina’s immigration laws. Under the new law, all employers who are required to complete and maintain employment verification forms under federal law must enroll in the E-Verify federal work authorization program to verify the work authorization of every new employee within three days of hiring the employee.
The new law also makes it a felony for illegal immigrants to be harbored or transported within the state, with fines of up to $5,000 and prison terms of up to five years. In addition, the law requires anyone 18 or over to carry valid identification. Like the Arizona law, opponents of this law believe the bill will increase racial profiling of ethnic groups. The South Carolina chapter of the ACLU has indicated that it will file a lawsuit challenging the law.