Marks Gray Immigration Bulletin - October 2016
Marks Gray Immigration Bulletin
Hello, and Welcome to our October Immigration Update!

I hope you and your family made it through Hurricane Matthew safely. I’m relieved and thankful that Matthew did not have the catastrophic impact we feared.  We live in a very resilient, strong and productive country and most of us are back to our normal activities and assisting others who were more impacted.
This newsletter provides several pertinent updates regarding various Immigration issues affecting both individuals and businesses including FICA exemption update for foreign students, FY2017 immigrant visa availability, H-1B cap-exemption options and more. 

To stay updated on current immigration issues, we invite you to subscribe to our blog.
Thank you for your readership, support, and referrals.
Giselle Carson Signature
Giselle Carson

Employer Alert: F-1 to H-1B Status and FICA

Most international students in F-1 or J-1 status are exempt from FICA (Medicare and Social Security) taxes on wages. However, H-1B visa holders are subject to withholding of FICA tax and federal and state income taxes. H-1B visa holders are taxed as “resident aliens” on their worldwide income and may claim deductions for family members.
As many foreign students transition from F-1 status to H-1B status in October, they will become subject to FICA taxes and their employers must begin withholding the required FICA tax upon the effective date of the change of status.

To learn more about this, please read the full blog post.

October Visa Bulletin Brings Good News

As the government begins its new fiscal year, the October Visa Bulletin brings good news to many foreign nationals waiting for their priority dates to become current to apply or obtain lawful permanent resident status.  This Visa Bulletin shows noticeable moving in final action dates for employment-based categories including:
EB-1:  EB-1 has returned to current for all countries and is expected to remain current for the near future.  
EB-2: EB-2 has become current again for all countries except China and India. The DOS projects that the all countries category will remain current throughout the first half of the fiscal year. The final action date for India has progressed to 1/15/07 and China has progressed to 2/15/12.
EB-3:  EB-3 has also benefitted from the overall forward momentum.

You can read more information on the current Visa Bulletin here.

Immigration Success Story - Employment Based EB-2

We’re continuing our series of Success stories with the story of a physical therapist who received an employment-based green card with the assistance of the Marks Gray Immigration team.
To read the full success story, click here.

FAQ: H-1B and Cap Exempt Organizations 

The H-1B cap is one of the current greatest concerns and challenges for employers seeking to hire professional foreign nationals. Employers are challenged by the limited (capped) number of H-1B visas available and the oversubscribed demand for these visas (the cap is typically reached within the first five days of filing).
However, many employers and foreign nationals do not know that there are important H-1B cap-exempt options for certain employees. The cap-exemption status allows employers to save money in filing fees, bypass the cap and file an H-1B at any time of the year.
This article provides an outline of these cap-exempt options to help employers increase their chances of hiring talented H-1B candidates.
To read the full list, please click here.

Business Compliance - New Form I-9 Updates

As we posted in September, the form I-9 has been approved. It will include many “smart features” that will be beneficial for employers to identify potential mistakes.
Three points for employers to note about the new form include:
  • A “Citizenship/Immigration Status” field at the top of section two.
  • Section two has a dedicated area for notations (such as TPS extensions, OPT STEM extensions, H-1B portability, etc…).
  • The “QR code” will facilitate ICE audits.
More information on these and all of the updates can be found here.

New Requirements for Chinese with B-1/B-2 Visas

New travel requirements will soon apply to Chinese nationals with B-1/B-2, B1 or B2 (visitor) visas.
Beginning November 2016, travelers holding People’s Republic of China (PRC) passports with these visas will have to enroll in the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) to update their biographic information to be admitted to the U.S. 
EVUS enrollment will affect current visa holders and new applicants traveling on PCR passports regardless of their current country of residence. To avoid delays, travelers should have valid EVUS enrollment prior to traveling.

For additional information, go here


Giselle at Chattanooga Ironman 2016



Jeff and I Complete the 2016 Ironman in Chattanooga, TN

My husband Jeff and I recently completed the 2016 Ironman in Chattanooga, TN. Although it was a tough course and an extremely hot day, our preparation, persistence, and passion were rewarded as we both qualified for the Kona, HI Ironman World Championships. Thank YOU to all of you who sent me good wishes and cheers!

Elected Vice-Chairwoman of JAA

After being appointed in 2014 by Governor Rick Scott and serving this past fiscal year as Treasurer, I am proud to have been elected to serve as the Vice Chairwoman of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority Board of Directors. I will serve in this capacity for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
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