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Employers: Consider Important Deadlines for New H-1B Cap-Subject Foreign Worker Petitions

First-time new H-1B petitions or change of status petitions by employers can be filed for the upcoming U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) fiscal year in April 2020 as long as the individual for whom the petition is being filed is in lawful status at the time of filing, and has not engaged in any unauthorized employment since his or her last lawful admission. 

However, there are new rules or amendments that have been implemented this year.  The new H-1B visa rule (the “H-1B Rule”) amends the Department of Homeland Security’s regulations governing petitions filed on behalf of H-1B beneficiaries. Specifically included are beneficiaries who can be counted toward the 65,000 visa cap established under the Immigration and Nationality Act (the “H-1B Regular Cap”) or beneficiaries with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions of higher education who are eligible for an exemption from the regular cap (the “Advanced Degree Exemption”).  See 83 FR 62406.

The H-1B Rule requires employers seeking to file H-1B petitions subject to the H-1B Regular Cap or those eligible for the Advanced Degree Exemption, to first electronically register with USCIS.  Thus, USCIS changed both the H-1B visa filing process and the H-1B registrations for fiscal year 2021 (October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021) by first selecting registrations submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries, including those eligible for the Advanced Degree Exemption.  USCIS will then select from the remaining registrations a sufficient number projected as needed to reach the Advanced Degree Exemption.  Changing the order in which USCIS counts these separate allocations will likely increase the number of beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. college or university to be selected for further processing under the H-1B allocations.  This is specifically beneficial for U.S. based companies who need to hire foreign students. Those who have studied in the U.S. and graduated with at least a master’s degree have a greater chance of obtaining the H-1B visa under the Advanced Degree Exemption.

The New H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions include the following important deadlines:

  • February 24, 2020: U.S. employers or their attorneys may begin creating H-1B registrant accounts
  • March 1, 2020 to March 20, 2020: H-1B cap-subject employers’ registration period
  • March 31, 2020: USCIS to notify selected registrants who hit the H-1B lottery
  • April 1, 2020: The earliest date that fiscal year 2021 H-1B cap petitions may be filed

Planning early is always better for the H-1B visa process as there have been significant changes for fiscal year 2021.  To avoid last minute issues or discuss in detail, please contact Attorney Duriya Dhinojwala at dd@bmdllc.com or call 330-253-5790. 

Update: President Trump Signs Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020

On June 3, 2020, Congress updated the CARES Act by passing the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (“FA”). The legislation, which has not yet been signed into law by President Trump, would provide more flexibility to small businesses who received loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”).

Workers’ Compensation Claims and COVID-19

Can one of my employees file a workers’ compensation claim if they claim that they contracted coronavirus at work? We get that question a lot. Yes, they can, but you should oppose any application for coverage if you receive one. Generally, the claim will not be granted unless the employee has a job that poses a special hazard or risk of exposure to the virus and the employee can prove that he or she contracted the virus at work.

Ohio State Dental Board Implements Teledentistry Rules

Ohio law defines “teledentistry” as the delivery of dental services through the use of synchronous, real-time communication and the delivery of services of a dental hygienist or expanded function dental auxiliary pursuant to a dentist’s authorization.[1] The law requires a dentist who desires to provide dental services through teledentistry to apply for a teledentistry permit from the Ohio State Dental Board (“OSDB”).[2] Pursuant to the mandate under Ohio Revised Code 4715.436, the OSDB is implementing the following teledentistry permit rules and requirements (to be set forth under Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 4715-23). These regulations, which were subject of a public hearing on February 19, 2020, are effective on May 30, 2020.

HHS Addresses Drug Manufacturer Coupons on Out-of-Pocket Limits

On May 7, 2020, the US Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced their Notice of Benefit Parameters for 2021 in which HHS addressed the application of prescription drug manufacturer copay coupons towards a patient’s out-of-pocket limit. Under this guidance, HHS will permit, but not require, plans and insurers to count direct support offered to enrollees by drug manufacturers (i.e., coupons) for specific prescription drugs toward the annual limits on cost-sharing, regardless of whether a generic equivalent is available.

Important Updates, Deadlines, and Clarifications for the HHS Provider Relief Funds

On May 20, 2020, HHS made important updates and clarifications regarding the General Distribution payments to providers. Between April 10, 2020 and April 24, 2020, HHS distributed an initial $30 billion to providers based on the provider’s 2019 Medicare fee-for-service receipts. These funds were distributed automatically and providers did not need to submit an application in order to receive these funds. The funds were originally touted as a “no strings attached” stimulus payment reserved for healthcare providers. But HHS issued a 10-page Terms and Conditions and required that providers sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agreeing to the Terms and Conditions.