US H-1B visa restrictions to end in two years

WASHINGTON: The US government’s controversial restriction on companies hiring skilled foreign workers with non-immigrant H-1B visas will continue 

for only two years, the immigration department has said.

As part of a stimulus package passed last month for revival of the economy, President Barack Obama signed a new law, named “Employ American Workers Act”, which makes it difficult for the companies having received government bailout funds to hire H-1B foreign workers. 

However, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in a circular issued with its invitation of H-1B applications for the next fiscal, has now made it clear that the EAWA requirements are not permanent and would “sunset two years from the date of enactment.” 

EAWA, which prevents a company from displacing US workers when hiring H-1B specialty occupation workers if the company received stimulus funds, took effect on February 17, 2009 and it applies to any “hire” taking place before February 17, 2011. 

The Act defines “hire” as an employer permitting a new employee to commence a period of employment; that is, the introduction of a new employee to the employer’s US workforce. 

USCIS has said that it would begin accepting H-1B visa applications from April 1 for the next fiscal and would subject the applications to various terms and conditions related to EAWA.

Geo TV reporter murdered in Pak’s restive Swat valley

A Pakistan TV journalist covering talks between two hardline clerics was killed on Wednesday unidentified gunmen in the country’s restive Swat valley, jeopardising the just inked peace pact reached between one of the pro-Taliban group and the government.

Twenty eight-year-old Musa Khan Khel, who was working for Geo News channel and The News daily, was shot dead in the Matta area of Swat, considered a stronghold of the local Taliban.

Khan Khel had gone to the area to cover talks expected to be held between Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah and his father-in-law Maulana Sufi Mohammad, whose group has reached an agreement with the North West Frontier Province government on enforcing Sharia law in Swat and in parts of the province.

“We announce the sad news that the Geo TV correspondent in Swat was assassinated by unidentified gunmen,” an anchor on Geo News announced.

“We demand that the government trace the killers and punish them,” the anchor said. Khan Khel was the second journalist to be shot dead in Swat valley in three months. No group claimed responsibility for the killing.

Information Minister Sherry Rehman condemned Khan Khel’s murder, saying the killers would be brought to justice.

Meanwhile, septuagenarian Sufi Mohammad, the chief of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Mohammedi, and some 300 followers marched through Mingora, the main city of Swat district in the NWFP.

Obama Signs Stimulus Bill; New H1B Rules are Included

Yesterday President Obama signed the Stimulus Bill. As I said in previous article, new Bill will become law only after President signs it. It has both good news and not so good news.

Good News
New Stimulus Law will create millions of new job and provide Tax Break to Middle Class Families and improve America’s School system and infrastructure. Banks will receive money, so they can lend more to the consumers.

Bad News
New H1B Hiring Rules is in included in the Law. Which means, companies receiving money from the Stimulus Bill will be considered as H1B Dependent Firm and they can hire H1B Workers, but they are subject to very strict rules. From my understanding, rule applies only to Exempt H1B workers. An exempt worker is one who makes at least $60,000/year OR possesses a Master’s or higher degree in their filed.

For a day there were rumors about New H1b Rules being removed from the Stimulus bill, but that was not the case. This rules applies to 2 years from now. I’m still trying to understand the impact of existing employees in those companies receiving bailout money. I’m trying to find answers to following questions

Can current employees apply for H1B Visa Extension working in banks receiving bailout money
Can they hire H1B Workers as contractors instead of Full time Permanent employees, through a consulting firm?
What is the impact of this new law while filing for Green card
As I find more information, I will post here. Subscribe to News Letter or through RSS Reader to get instant updates delivered to you.

Disclaimer – Refer to Immigration Professional if you have more questions; Information diplsayed here is for information purpose only.

New H1B Visa Bill to remove workers from US.?

I guess few of you should have the read about New H1B Bill that was passed in U.S. yesterday about H1B Visa workers in U.S. I received couple of emails asking about the new law that was passed.

Jesh Asks about H1B Visa News
I heard that, a bill was passed to U.S Senate yesterday to remove the H1B visa workers in US. (the bill was not approved as of now)

If that happens, many of the Indian H1B workers may loose there jobs.

I just want to know whether its true or not. because, I’m planning to apply for H1B visa through a consultancy.

Is it true?
I’m actually collecting questions like this and start writing myth series. It is not true. You know when news gets passed around, everyone try to spice it up with small version of their story. That’s what happened to the news you heard. But, good thing – there was a bill that was passes in Senate yesterday about hiring H-1B visa workers. But, the bill is not about removing H1B Visa holders from U.S.

Why New H1B Visa Bill
U.S. Government is working a stimulus bill to spend $800 Billion USD to improve the U.S. Economy. Sme of that money will be given to banks and other companies which are in trouble. There is a huge list of companies receiving bailout money. More than dozen banks receiving the biggest rescue packages, totaling more than $150 billion, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years. New Bill was aimed to prevent those companies from hiring H1b workers. Since the bank bailout money was U.S. Tax Payers Money.

Details of new H1B Amendment
Yesterday new H1B amendment was passes in U.S. Senate, but with changes. Here’s what the new rule says..
New Rule didn’t bar the hiring of foreign workers, but proposed bill was to ban hiring of workers with H1b Visa.
Any company receiving bailout money from U.S. will become H1B dependent company. Usually, a company will be called H1B dependent company if more than 15% of workers are in H1B visa.
Any firm receiving TARP funds will be automatically considered H-1B dependent, regardless of the percentage of H-1B workers on the payroll.
H-1B dependent has strict H1B Visa hiring rules to be followed, which include attesting to actively recruiting American workers; not displacing American workers with H-1B visa holders; and not replacing laid off American workers with foreign workers.
H-1B dependent companies have to make very, very strict non-displacement attestations for 90 days before you employ an H-1B and for 90 days afterward as well,” If the employer finds any workers within this 90-day window before and after the H-1B worker is hired, then they are required to terminate the H-1B worker.
When will new Bill become law?
A bill becomes a law only after President signs it. but, before that both House and Senate have to approve it. Yesterday it was approved by Senate. So, still there is long way to go. The fate of this H-1B amendment rests on the fate of the stimulus bill before the Senate today, and if that’s approved it will head to a conference where other changes are possible.

British Army officer BITES the head off a live chicken

CHEERED on by baying soldiers, a British Army officer BITES the head off a live chicken in a sickening training exercise filmed by his own men.

Shamefully the senior lieutenant serving in Iraq then KICKS its wildly-flailing body, spits out the head, and shouts “f***er” at the dying bird.

In the exclusive video footage obtained by the News of the World, the pathetic creature is seen seconds later still flapping pitifully in its death throes.

Minutes earlier ANOTHER high-ranking soldier, a sergeant major responsible for discipline amongst the soldiers, had also performed the gruesome stunt to the perverse delight of the men he controls.

Pic, Vid here

Link

George and Laura Bush to Divorce After Election Becasue of condi Rice

Many US tabloids have been flooded with rumors of George W. Bush’s family misfortunes recently. George and Laura Bush were planning a divorce after the presidential election.

George and Laura Bush hardly ever speak to each other. George feels very unhappy and does not want Laura to leave him. However, the newspaper wrote, Laura is tired of everything; she is determined to live her own life.

The couple still keeps their relationship alive just because they are contractually obliged to stay together during George W. Bush’s presidency; it is not a matter of feelings at all.
They are both certain that they have rendered a huge service to their country. They pretend that their marriage is still alive in spite of the fact that it was buried long ago. The divorce will be kept a secret until the president retires.

Upon the reasons which could lead to the possible divorce. The newspaper believes that George . W. Bush has been having an affair with US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

The first lady spent that night in Washington’s May Flower Hotel. Laura Bush had escaped from the White House after an argument with President Bush which happened because of his supposed affair with Condoleezza Rice.

Ms. Rice has earned the reputation of the Bush’s family friend. She became close to President Bush mainly because of the fact that she is the only person who finds a common language with Bush to teach him wisdom of foreign politics.

Circuit City

Circuit City would like to thank all of the customers who have shopped with us over the past 60 years. Unfortunately, we announced on January 16, 2009, that we are going out of business.

Please check back later for updates about the status of our website. In the meantime, we hope the information below will help answer most of your questions.

What’s going on at Circuit City?

* Due to challenges to our business and the continued bleak economic environment, Circuit City is going out of business and the company’s assets will be liquidated to pay off creditors.
* The process was extremely difficult and we were left with no other choice but to liquidate. Circuit City had a proud heritage of serving the public for 60 years and we deeply regret the impact this decision will have on our associates, our customers and the communities where we have operated stores and other facilities.
* We had hoped to be able to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a stronger, more competitive company and we made significant progress during the reorganization to improve our business. Unfortunately, the economic climate is so poor that we have no choice other than liquidation.
* Liquidators will start arriving in our 567 stores across the U.S. over the weekend, and closing sales will start as early as Saturday, January 17. Closing sales will run as long as it takes to sell existing inventory, but are expected to wrap up by the end of March. When the liquidation sales are completed, the stores will be closed.
* At the company’s corporate offices in Richmond, Virginia, a small staff will remain on duty during the completion of the liquidation process; most associates will be relieved of their duties immediately.
* Consistent with federal labor laws, Circuit City associates are receiving 60-days notice of the termination of their employment. Those who stay on to help with the liquidation, of course, will receive pay and benefits. Those who are dismissed earlier will be receiving pay and benefits for the 60-day period beginning January 16, 2009.
* Associates at our company headquarters will be asked to come back on Monday, January 19, to find out more about their status and to retrieve their personal belongings.

Are you also shutting down your operations in Canada?

* No, our Canadian operations will continue. They are not affected by the liquidation of Circuit City’s U.S. operations. The Canadian operations employ approximately 3,000 associates.

How many people are losing their jobs as a result of this action?

* Circuit City employs approximately 34,000 associates in the U.S.

Can you provide some background on Circuit City?

* Founded in 1949 as the Wards Company, Circuit City is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. At the time of the liquidation announcement (January 16, 2009), the company operated 567 stores in 153 media markets in the U.S. and approximately 765 retail stores and dealer outlets in Canada.
* For a timeline history of the company, go to http://investor.circuitcity.com, and click on Company Information.

Will Circuit City stores continue to accept Circuit City gift cards?

* Yes, customers holding Circuit City gift cards may redeem them at full value at our stores during the liquidation sales. Once the stores are closed and the company is out of business, the gift cards will have no value.

Are Circuit City’s extended warranties affected by the liquidation?

* No. Circuit City Advantage Protection Plans® (extended warranties) have been backed by third-party independent companies for more than 15 years and as a result, are not impacted by Circuit City’s closing.
* Currently, all Circuit City Advantage Protection Plans are fully backed by the Assurant Solutions companies. Assurant Solutions operates as Federal Warranty Service Corporation, Sureway, Inc., and United Service Protection, Inc. Assurant Solutions is part of Assurant, Inc. (NYSE: AIZ), and its extended service contacts are backed by an Assurant insurance subsidiary rated A “Excellent” by A.M. Best Co.

When will the liquidation sales begin?

* Liquidation sales begin as early as Saturday, January 17, 2009, and will last as long as it takes to sell through the merchandise at each of the stores. We expect the sales to wrap up by the end of March 2009.

How much will merchandise be marked down, and can customers negotiate prices for the merchandise?

* There will be clearance pricing, but specific discounts are not being announced. All sale prices are at the discretion of the liquidator. Prices are non-negotiable and all adjustments must be approved by the liquidator’s on-site managers.

What payment types will be accepted at the liquidation stores?

* Stores in liquidation will accept cash, Circuit City gift cards and most credit cards. Personal checks will not be accepted. All sales are final.

Will Circuit City’s price matching policy or the One Price PromiseSM apply during the liquidation sale?

* Because the liquidation company is in charge of the sales at the closing stores, their policies are in force. So, One Price Promise does not apply during liquidation events, nor does the company’s Unbeatable Price Guarantee. All sales are final.

What about returns and refunds?

* Customers can return products they purchased prior to January 16 for a 14-day period for exchange or refunds. All other terms of return policy are in force.
* When closing sales begin on or around January 17, 2009, all sales will be final.

Will delivery service be available for products purchased from liquidation stores?

* No. Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide delivery services for products purchased from liquidation stores.

Will Circuit City offer home theater installations during the closing sale?

* Yes, we will continue to offer home theater installations during our closing sales.

Will Circuit City offer PC services and repairs at liquidation stores during the closing sale?

* Services already underway at the liquidation stores will be completed promptly, but no additional jobs will be accepted at these stores.

Will car electronics installations be available at liquidation stores during the closing sale?

* No new car installations will be offered.

Will Circuit City’s extended warranties still be available on products purchased from liquidation stores?

* Yes, we’re making no changes to our Circuit City Advantage Protection Plans®. Coverage is national and purchases will still be protected just as they always were.
* Circuit City Advantage Protection Plans® have been backed by third-party independent companies for more than 15 years and as a result, are not impacted by Circuit City’s bankruptcy or liquidation.
* Currently, all Circuit City Advantage Protection Plans are fully backed by the Assurant Solutions companies. Assurant Solutions operates as Federal Warranty Service Corporation, Sureway, Inc., and United Service Protection, Inc. Assurant Solutions is part of Assurant, Inc. (NYSE: AIZ), and its extended service contacts are backed by an Assurant insurance subsidiary rated A “Excellent” by A.M. Best Co.

What if a customer purchased products at one of the closing stores and the product needs service?

* For products covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, customers should call the manufacturer.
* For products covered under Circuit City Advantage®, guests can call the toll-free number that is printed on the bottom of the product receipt.