April 2016


H-1B Visa Cap Reached for Fiscal Year 2017
USCIS received over 236,000 H-1B petitions during the filing period, which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advanced degree exemption. On April 9, USCIS used a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and the 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject and return all unselected petitions with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing.
The agency conducted the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All unselected advanced degree petitions then became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.
As announced on March 16, 2016, USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than May 16, 2016.
USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will also not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2017 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position. U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering, and computer programming.


              NEW STEM/OPT RULES GO INTO EFFECT MAY 10, 2016

On March 11, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security published a final rule allowing certain F-1 students who receive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees, and who meet other specified requirements, to apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT. The 24-month extension will replace the 17-month STEM OPT extension previously available to STEM students (see 73 FR 18944). Eligible students may begin applying for a 24-month STEM OPT extension on May 10, 2016.

The new regulations require employers to complete a "Training Plan for STEM Students"- this is applicable to BOTH students who will be applying for STEM extensions on or after May 10, 2016 AND students currently on STEM extension.

  • If you currently have a STEM extension of optional practical training, you can continue working as usual. Your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) will remain valid through its current end date. After the new rule is effective, you may be eligible to apply for an additional seven months of OPT.
  • If you are planning to apply for a STEM OPT extension, you can apply following the current procedures.
    • If your application is approved before May 10, 2016, your OPT extension will be for 17 months. After the new rule is effective, you may be eligible to apply for an additional seven months of OPT.
    • If your application is still pending on May 10, 2016, you will be required to provide documentation showing that you are eligible for the new 24-month OPT extension, including a new I-20 issued by the University
AFTER May 10, 2016 Students applying for a STEM extension of OPT on or after May 10, 2016, will follow the new procedures outlined in the new regulations.

Please feel free to reach out to us If you are an employer who would like to hire STEM/OPT candidates or who currently has STEM/OPT candidates and needs assistance in Planning the Training program.  
  Orbit Law Activities In the Community
" The Entrepreneurs Toolbox"- a Four Part Series designed for TiE
Kripa Upadhyay, Partner and founder of the firm who is also a Charter Member with TiE has voluntarily helped to design a four part seminar entitled "The Entrepreneurs Toolbox" to bring in issue experts to help educate/advice the TiE community of entrepreneurs on issues they need to be aware of.
The first session entitled "Building your Business" featured Madhu Singh, attorney and founder of Foundry Law Group, and Sandy  Sharma, Co-founder at 9 Mile Labs. The first session was held on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at Blue C Sushi. The remaining three sessions will take place in June, September and December, 2016. Stay tuned for updates

Speaking Engagements
Kripa Upadhyay was a presenter on E-Investor Visas at the Northwest Immigration CLE held in March at Seattle University School of Law. The NW Immigration Law Conference is the largest gathering of Immigration attorneys practicing in the Pacific Northwest

Steve Tanijo and Kripa Upadhyay are both scheduled to present at a CLE for new Immigration Attorneys in a program organized by the Washington State Bar Association.
Steve will present on the fundamentals & intricacies of practicing Family Based Immigration, while Kripa will present on the fundamentals and intricacies of Business based Immigration

Kripa named "Rising Star" 3rd year in a row!
Kripa Upadhyay was recently named a "Rising Star" for Immigration & Nationality Law by Super Lawyers Magazine. This is the 3rd straight year that she has been awarded this designation.

The "Rising Star" designation is awarded by Super Lawyers to attorneys in recognition of their demonstrated excellence in the practice of Law and is restricted to no more than 2.5% of attorneys within the State.


→ Disclosure(s)

This newsletter does not contain any legal advice. Any information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.

Orbit Law, PLLC is a Seattle, WA based full-service boutique immigration law firm providing top-quality worldwide immigration and visa services to multinational corporations, small businesses, hospitals, universities, research institutions and individual clients.

Our attorneys are exceptionally well qualified to provide U.S. immigration counsel. Known and appreciated for the individualized attention paid to all our clients and partners, we would be happy and honored to provide any assistance for your immigration needs.


Kripa Upadhyay
Orbit Law PLLC 
Orbit Law PLLC
206-623-3352 | |

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