June 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

OPT Approval Notice

This is a friendly reminder to students:
  • Once you receive the approval notice for OPT please submit a copy of the Approval Notice to OISS
  • OISS also needs a copy of your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) after you receive it from USCIS
  • Once you receive a Change of Status (COS) approval (from F1 to another status), OISS needs a copy of the approval notice and/or new documents verifying your new status so we can update our records




Few H-1B Petitions Filed So Far

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) continues to accept H-1B nonimmigrant petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2011 cap.

USCIS has received approximately 16,025 H-1B petitions counted toward the 65,000 cap. The agency has received approximately 6,740 petitions for individuals with advanced degrees. This is lower than the number of H-1B petitions USCIS had received by the same date in 2009. If this trend continues, H-1B numbers may be available for some time.

This is good news for students who are currently on OPT and applying for employment. Institutions of higher education and non-profit organizations are cap exempt.




Cultural Diversity Council

The Cultural Diversity Council (CDC) is a WSU student organization that plans social activities for international students. This is a great way to make new friends, learn about the campus and Detroit and have fun. This organization can be contacted at cdc@wayne.edu

Join the Cultural Diversity Council (CDC) members for sports, music and snacks. The aim of their Sports-Socials is to better join together international students with the rest of the campus, and ease the cultural adjustment. The CDC aims to provide an easy going atmosphere with sports, food, and music, that all can participate in, regardless of gender, nationality, athletic ability, or prior knowledge of a particular sport. The CDC is eager to meet you so make sure you contact them.



Want To Be A Peer Ambassador?

As a continuing international or domestic student there are many opportunities for you to be involved in assisting our new students. We are seeking students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels to volunteer as peer ambassadors. Some activities/responsibilities include leading campus tours, assisting in any of the New Student Orientation activities, New Student Welcome Party and more.

Being a peer ambassador is an excellent opportunity to meet new people, develop your leadership skills, get involved in campus activities, and have valuable experiences to talk about on your resume and during job interviews. If you want to become a peer ambassador and help assist new international students complete and submit the Peer Ambassador Application on the OISS website at www.oiss.wayne.edu.



Important Reminders

  • Please make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the date of intended departure from the U.S.
  • See an OISS advisor prior to traveling outside the U.S. The U.S. immigration regulations change constantly--so, please be prepared before leaving!
  • If you plan on travelling outside of the U.S. on an approved OPT, you must have a job and EAD card to return to the U.S.




Summer 2010 Travel Memo

As many students and staff will be traveling abroad over the summer here are some helpful reminders...






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.

There have been four recent PERM denials for WSU sponsored PR cases for faculty and three of the denials were based on recruitment activities involving print ads that are required for the PERM process. PERM is an attestation-based process, where the employer, in this case WSU, files a labor certification application (Form ETA 9089) with DOL without the supporting recruitment and other documentation. The PERM process, implemented in 2005, was established to improve the processing time of labor certifications with the understanding that random audits will be conducted on questionable labor certifications. Recently, the DOL is not following their own rules and instead of requesting an audit, are denying PERM applications, without advanced notification, with a 30-day provision for an appeal. This appeal process can take up to two years for a response.






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

Effective 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.

Prior to June 4th, U.S. consulates charged a machine-readable visa (MRV) processing fee of $131 for all types of nonimmigrant visas. Effective June 4, the fee for H, L, O, P, Q and R visas has been raised to $150. The fee for E visas has been raised to $390. The fee for K visas has been raised to $350. The processing fee for other nonimmigrant visas that do not involve a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) petition, such as visitor, exchange and student visas has been raised to $140. (Note that, in addition to the applicable MRV fee, the consulate may charge a reciprocity fee for issuance of the visa, based on the applicant’s country of nationality).

The BCC fee for adult Mexican citizens has also been raised to $140 from $131. BCC applicants who are under age 15 and have a parent or guardian who has or is applying for a BCC will be charged $14.



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. CUPA has reduced our 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 already 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.”



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 Rebecca Perez at ax9667@wayne.edu should you have any questions.



OISS Programs for Scholars for the year 2010

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 of the 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 that was launched in 2009 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 from Brazil and China.



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:

  • What You Need to Know About J-1 Processing
    Friday, June 25, 2010
    1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
    Workshop covering J-1 Processing
  • Ask the Immigration Pro
    Friday, July 23, 2010
    1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
    Open to any immigration, policy or process questions.





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 May 2010 Visa Bulletin - Most Employment-Based Immigrant Visa Categories Continue to Advance

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) recently released its May 2010 Visa Bulletin. Similar to last month's Visa Bulletin, most employment-based preference categories advanced this month. Prior to last month's Visa Bulletin, there was very little (if any) advancement in the employment-based preference categories for many months.





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.



DOS Proposes Increase in Passport Fees

The Department of State has proposed an increase in fees for passport application services:
  • From $100 to $135 for a first-time U.S. passport book for adults (age 16 and over)
  • From $75 to $110 for passport renewal (age 16 and over only)
  • From $85 to $105 for a passport for minors (under age 16)
The fee for expedited service will remain $60.

Over the last five years, the Department noted, demand for passports has increased to an average of 15 million per year. In fiscal year (FY) 2005, the Department issued 10.1 million passports; issuances peaked at 18.4 million in FY 2007.

The U.S. Passport Book and U.S. Passport Card for adults are valid for 10 years. Passports for minors under age 16 are valid for five years.

The proposed rule is available at
edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-2816.pdf.



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.



Online Non-Immigrant Visa Application DS-160

International Students and Scholars, if you are going to apply for a U.S. non-immigrant visa in the coming weeks, you will be filling out Form DS-160, the online non-immigrant visa application. This new electronic form became mandatory at all U.S. consulates, and applicants could see technical slowdowns and other problems as more people try to access the form around the deadline.





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

Spring/Summer 2010 will be my last semester at WSU and I am taking a reduced coureload that is below the required full time courseload, do I need to fill out an OISS Exception to Full-time Enrollment form?

ANSWER
Yes. IF you are on a full-time I-20, you are required to fill-out an OISS Exception to Full-time Enrollment Form and check the box "Last Semester". This form must be signed by your academic advisor before submitting it to OISS. The form can be found at: www.oiss.wayne.edu