Friday, January 31, 2014

House Republican Standards for Immigration Reform Highlight Targeted Approach Over Comprehensive Reform

From, 01/31/2014

As anticipated, House Republicans on Thursday released a set of Standards for Immigration Reform, a set of principles intended to revive the bipartisan discussions that stalled last year. The Standards reflect a commitment to bipartisan progress, but stress that House Republicans do not intend to proceed to a conference with the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill. Rather, they plan a step-by-step approach that starts with border security and increased enforcement. The Standards point to a fully functioning electronic exit-entry control system and electronic employment verification as priorities to combat status violations, fraud and other abuses of the law. 

The Standards place a strong positive emphasis on employment-based immigration, particularly in regard to the ability of employers to retain talent educated in the United States in high-skill fields. The Standards also endorse temporary worker programs that provide “realistic, enforceable, usable, legal paths for entry into the United States,” citing the agricultural industry as a particular concern. 

Finally, the Standards support a means for undocumented individuals to legally live and work in the United States once certain conditions are met, but with no path to citizenship. The process for obtaining such legal status would not be available until “specific enforcement triggers have been implemented.” However, as one exception, those who were brought to the United States as children would be eligible for legal permanent residence and citizenship. 

The response from stakeholders across the immigration reform effort has generally been positive, and the Standards are generally seen as offering a good starting place for discussions and potential legislative action later this year. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January Paycheck Not What You Expected?

What is “FICA” and why is it making my paycheck smaller?

“FICA” (which stands for "Federal Insurance Contributions Act") refers to the payroll taxes withheld from your salary that fund both the US Social Security and Medicare programs. Employees who are full-time students, nonresident alien students (F-1s/J-1s) and nonresident alien scholars (J-1s in the first two years of their program) do not have to pay FICA taxes.

If you are required to pay FICA taxes, the Medicare contribution is identified as “Fed MED/EE” and the Social Security contribution is identified as “Fed OASDI/EE” on your paycheck. The Medicare contribution is 1.45% of your taxable income. In January 2013, the employee’s share of the Social Security payroll tax was increased to 6.2% of your taxable income.

Note: Some of you may have been exempt in 2013 because of your nonresident tax status, but that status may have changed in 2014 and you are paying FICA for the first time.  If you are unsure, check your GLACIER tax summary for information on when you can expect to start paying FICA taxes.

Questions?  Email

Anxious to Start Your 2013 Tax Return?

As we enter the tax filing period for 2013, you may be anxious to complete your return and to get your refund.  We at OHR and OIE understand this, and want to help!  

This year the IRS has delayed all tax filings and will not accept returns earlier than January 31, 2014.  Please keep in mind that all non-US citizens (who are not US green card holders) should first use the GLACIER tax compliance system to determine if you are a resident or nonresident alien for tax purposes.  If GLACIER determines that you are a nonresident for tax purposes, we can help!  As a nonresident for tax purposes you will be able to complete your federal tax return using GLACIER Tax Prep (GTP) which will be available for use via your current GLACIER account no later than February 17, 2014.  

Workshops assisting with the Georgia state tax forms will be held February 24 through April 14 Dates, times, and locations can be found here.

Also, please be reminded that both resident and nonresident aliens for tax purposes who claimed treaties in 2013, as well as all those students who are nonresident aliens for tax purposes receiving scholarships above and beyond tuition, will need a form 1042-S to complete their tax return.  1042-S forms will also be released no later than February 17, 2014.  Recipients will receive an email from GLACIER when the form is ready for use.

See the International Student and Scholar Tax FAQs for additional information

Questions?  Email

Friday, January 17, 2014

Georgia Tech's E-Verify Number

Attention Employees in F-1 OPT Status

If you are applying for a 17-month STEM extension you will need Georgia Tech's E-Verify number to apply. You must complete a Request for E-Verify Information e-form in iStart to obtain the number and, if applicable, a confirmation letter for your school.

If you have any questions, please email

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

February 2014 Visa Bulletin

EB-2 and EB-3 Cut-Off Dates Move Ahead for Most Countries; Numbers for India Remain Static

According to the State Department’s February Visa Bulletin, cut-off dates for third preference professionals and skilled workers will advance by two months for most countries, to June 1, 2012, though EB-3 India will remain at September 1, 2003. EB-3 classification for the Philippines will advance by two months in February, to April 15, 2007. As has been the case for January, third preference “other worker” cut-off dates will continue to track those of professionals and skilled workers. 

In terms of second preference, cut-off dates for China will advance by one month to January 8, 2009 in February, but EB-2 India will remain at November 15, 2004. EB-2 cases for all other countries will remain current. 

In the family-based F-2A category for the spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents, the cutoff date will remain at September 8, 2013 for all countries except for Mexico, which will remain at September 1, 2013. The category was current for two months earlier in 2013 but had a cut-off date imposed as of October 1. 

February 2014 Priority Date Cut-Offs
In February 2014, EB immigrant visa priority date cut-offs will be: 

EB-1 Current for all countries. 

EB-2 China: January 8, 2009 
India: November 15, 2004 
All other countries: Current 

EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers China: June 1, 2012 
India: September 1, 2003 
Philippines: April 15, 2007 
All other countries: June 1, 2012 

EB-3 Other Workers China: June 1, 2012 
India: September 1, 2003 
Philippines: April 15, 2007 
All other countries: June 1, 2012 

EB-5 Current for all countries and subcategories.