International Student & Scholar Services Announcements

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ISSS Announcements

Please visit this page regularly for recent updates and guidance on scams targeting our international community. CGPS has developed this scam tip sheet. If you ever receive suspicious emails, phone calls or letters, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.

Related resources:
• Reporting immigration scams
• How to recognize a government imposter
• Information on tax phishing scams
• Social Security scams
• Video: IRS scams

CGPS has been made aware of a scam in which a caller, whose caller ID shows "Financial Assis", requests that the international student complete the AR-11 Alien Change of Address form and threatened if they did not provide this information then government officers would come to the student's house to check.

As a reminder, U.S. government agencies do their business via mail and officials will never call and request personal information or money in exchange for lawful immigration status or other immigration or government services. Note that scammers are able to “spoof” phone numbers in order to appear legitimate.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has been made aware of a spoofing scam involving individuals using the SEVP Response Center (SRC) phone numbers (703-603-3400 and 800-892-4829) and claiming to be SRC representatives. The fraudulent callers are inquiring about Form I-94 documents and asking students to provide information regarding monetary transactions.

If you are a victim of this spoof call, you are encouraged to report the incident to the HSI tip line. If you are unsure about the validity of a call from an SEVP official, please do not hesitate to contact CGPS for more information.

Things to remember:

  • SEVP officials will NEVER ask stakeholders to provide credit/debit card/gift card numbers, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers, or to make bitcoin deposits for any purpose.
  • NEVER divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers.
  • Report all suspicious calls to the HSI tip line and if you are unsure about the validity of a call from SEVP officials, please contact CGPS.

The Career Center provides several resources to help students avoid potential fraudulent or improper practices by employers. Students who are applying for or accepting any position are encouraged to be prudent and use common sense and caution throughout the application process. Students who have any concerns about a prospective employer can refer to their Fraudulent Employer & Job Posting Warning & Disclaimer webpage that provides resources and information about these topics.

CGPS has learned from the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) that there is an active scam campaign targeting international students around the country. It is reported that individual ICE imposters have been impersonating ICE Agents and are demanding money to solve a fake immigration issue. These imposters specifically target international students who have valid status. Imposters will use very convincing lingo and descriptions to falsely claim that your immigration status is in jeopardy. They make demands of money or merchandise to solve the fraudulent issue.

Please be aware that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other U.S. government agencies do their business via mail and officials will never call and request personal information or money in exchange for lawful immigration status or other immigration or government services. Note that scammers are able to “spoof” local ICE phone numbers.

Read more from ICE about this scam.

Please do not hesitate to contact CGPS should you have any questions.

CGPS has been informed of several scams targeting international students in the U.S. and on campus this fall. Students reported receiving scam calls, emails, and social media posts related to immigration, employment and even package deliveries. In at least one scam, the caller posed as an immigration official and demanded large amounts of money using threats about the student’s visa status. Other students have reported false or misleading information about international student employment on social media.

As a reminder, U.S. government agencies do their business via mail and officials will never call and request personal information or money to be transferred to an individual. They will also never request that items or gift cards be purchased and shared.

CGPS has been informed of a scam targeting international students on campus. In at least one scam, the caller posed as an ICE agent and demanded gift cards be purchased and shared with the caller.

As a reminder, U.S. government agencies do their business via mail and officials will never call and request personal information or money to be transferred to an individual. They will also never request that items or gift cards be purchased and shared.

If you have been the victim of this or any other scam, please do not hesitate to contact CGPS for assistance.

The Department of State's Exchange Visitor Progam has seen an increasing number of phone and email scams affecting exchange visitors. These include housing and rental scams that demand that exchange visitors transfer money to a fradulent relator or landlord before they start their program. Other scams involve phone calls from alledged government representatives demanding personal information and money with threats of deportation from the U.S.

Read more about these scams:
• Housing Scams
• Imposter Scams

If any J scholars, or anyone else at UD, have been a victim of one of these scams, please contact CGPS for guidance.

CGPS has been informed of a scam targeting Taiwanese and Chinese students abroad. A fake organization is selling an online certificate course called "Neuro-Linguistic Programming" and claiming it is offered by the University of Delaware. This is not a program offered by UD.

Visit this page for recent updates and guidance on new Presidential executive orders relating to your immigration status at UD and in the US. CGPS is working with our campus partners and professional associations to assess this information as it continues to develop. We will make sure to communicate accurate guidance to the UD international community as soon as possible.

We are also here to remind you that, as always, you are among friends at a University that respects and truly values the diversity and unique presence that you and others bring. We remain passionately committed to the belief that our humanity brings us together and that our differences make us stronger. UD President Assanis expressed these sentiments in response to the January 2017 Executive Order here.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact CGPS for assistance.

U.S. President Biden has issued an executive order reinstating the COVID-19 travel bans in place for Brazil, European Schengen Countries, Ireland and the United Kingdom effective January 26 at 12:01 am EST. These restrictions will also be applied to travellers from South Africa, effective January 30 at 12:01 am EST.

Foreign nationals who have been physically present in one of these countries within 14 days of travel to the U.S. will be subject to the COVID-19 travel restrictions and barred from entry into the U.S., unless they qualify for an exception.

All international travelers over the age of two will be required to take a COVID-19 test prior to flying to the U.S., beginning tomorrow (January 26, 2021).

CGPS recommends ALL international travelers check with their airline for specific travel requirements prior to departure for the U.S.

CGPS continues to monitor the situation very closely and will provide updates and guidance as new information becomes available. For more information on the COVID-19 Travel Bans, please see the NAFSA website. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office at any time.

On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued a Presidential Proclamation revoking the 2017 Travel Ban that was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2018. International students, scholars, employees, and other foreign nationals are no longer subject to the 2017 Travel Ban:

  • North Korea and Syria: Immigrant (permanent resident) and nonimmigrant visas are no longer suspended.
  • Venezuela: Certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family members, as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas are no longer suspended.
  • Iran: Immigrant and nonimmigrant visas are no longer suspended (F and J visas were always exempt).
  • Somalia: Immigrant visas are no longer suspended.
  • Yemen and Libya: Immigrants visas and nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas are no longer suspended.

For more information on travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, please see the COVID-19 Updates & FAQs.

CGPS continues to monitor the situation very closely and will provide updates and guidance as new information becomes available. For more information on the revoked Travel Ban, please see the NAFSA website. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office at any time.

On August 12, 2020 the U.S. Department of State posted guidance on National Interest Exceptions under Coronavirus Proclamations for certain H, J and L visa holders. Please note that the original proclamation does not apply to F-1 students, J-1 Students, Research Scholars, Short-Term Scholars and Specials or H-1Bs holders already in the U.S. and H-1B holders in possession of a valid visa.

Exceptions for certain travel in the national interest by nonimmigrants may include the following for H-1B applicants:

  • For travel as a public health or healthcare professional, or researcher to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, or to conduct ongoing medical research in an area with a substantial public health benefit (e.g. cancer or communicable disease research).
  • Travel supported by a request from a U.S. government agency or entity to meet critical U.S. foreign policy objectives or to satisfy treaty or contractual obligations.
  • Travel by applicants seeking to resume ongoing employment in the U.S. in the same position with the same employer and visa classification.
  • Travel by technical specialists, senior level managers, and other workers whose travel is necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the U.S. Consular officers may determine that an H-1B applicant falls into this category when at least two of the following five indicators are present:

    1. The petitioning employer has a continued need for the services or labor to be performed by the H-1B nonimmigrant in the U.S. Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) approved by DOL during or after July 2020 are more likely to account for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. labor market and the petitioner’s business.

    2. The applicant’s proposed job duties or position within the petitioning company indicate the individual will provide significant and unique contributions to an employer meeting a critical infrastructure need.

    3. The wage rate paid to the H-1B applicant meaningfully exceeds the prevailing wage rate by at least 15 percent (see Part F, Questions 10 and 11 of the LCA) by at least 15 percent.

    4. The H-1B applicant’s education, training and/or experience demonstrate unusual expertise in the specialty occupation in which the applicant will be employed. For example, an H-1B applicant with a doctorate or professional degree, or many years of relevant work experience, may have such advanced expertise in the relevant occupation as to make it more likely that he or she will perform critically important work.

    5. Denial of the visa pursuant will cause financial hardship to the U.S. employer.

Please note that individual circumstances can vary, as can the interpretations of consular officials and immigration inspectors. Foreign Nationals who need advice on whether the proclamation or exceptions apply to them should contact CGPS before making any travel plans.

For more detailed information, please see the NAFSA website and DOS: National Interest Exceptions. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact CGPS at any time.

On June 29, 2020, the U.S. President issued an amendment to the June 24 proclamation to clarify that foreign nationals are exempt from the proclamation if they hold a valid visa in one of the restricted categories (H, J, or L) and are seeking entry to the United States pursuant to that visa.

Those holding a valid visa in another category – such as F-1 or B-1 – will not be able to obtain a new H, L or J visa while the proclamation is in force, though changes of status within the United States (including changes of status to H-1B) should not be affected.

Foreign nationals outside the United States with an expired visa may be unable to renew or obtain a new H, L or J visa without a waiver, even if they had a valid visa on the effective date of the proclamation (June 24).

At this time, CGPS does not recommend international travel for foreign nationals who are in the United States with an expired visa as they may experience difficulty or delays obtaining a new H, L or J visa.

Canadian citizens, who are generally exempt from the visa requirement, should likely be exempt from this proclamation because they are not "seeking entry pursuant" to an H, J, or L visa. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) issued a practice alert on June 24, 2020 confirming this interpretation with Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

For more information, please see the NAFSA Proclamation Suspending Entry of Certain H, J, and L Nonimmigrants.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has revised and published a prevailing wage final rule that increases wage minimums for H-1Bs and the PERM program. The revised final rule includes a multi-year transition period to give employers time to meet the wage increases and makes accommodations for H-1B workers who are pursuing employment-based permanent residence. The final rule is effective March 15, 2021, with the first phase of prevailing wage increases set to begin on July 1, 2021.

At this time, it is expected that the final rule is likely to face challenges in court. It is also possible that the Biden Administration may pause this and other upcoming Trump Administration rules in order to review their contents and determine whether they will move forward. For more information on the final rule, please see the NAFSA website and AILA.

CGPS continues to monitor the situation very closely and will provide updates and guidance to UD international students, scholars and departments as new information becomes available. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued guidance on how the agency will comply with the federal court orders which block implementation of the October 8, 2020 rule which significantly increased prevailing wage levels for H-1Bs and PERM. Starting December 9, employers should be able to submit Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) using the pre-October 8 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) wage data. On December 15, DOL will resume issuance of Prevailing Wage Determinations (PWDs) with the pre-October 8 OES wage data.

Employers who were issued PWDs under the now blocked rule will have through January 4, 2021 to ask DOL to review and reissue a determination using the pre-October 8 wage data. Additional information on the DOL rule is available on the NAFSA website.

CGPS continues to monitor the situation very closely and will provide updates and guidance to UD international students, scholars and departments as new information becomes available. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

On December 1, 2020, a federal district court set aside the fast-tracked Departments of Labor (DOL) and Homeland Security (DHS) rules that significantly increased prevailing wage levels and tightened H-1B eligibility criteria. This currently stops both rules from being enforced or implemented.

The court found that DOL and DHS did not have good cause to bypass notice and comment rulemaking procedures. While the block is effective immediately, the government is expected to appeal the decision. Additional information on the ruling is available on the NAFSA website.

CGPS continues to monitor the situation very closely and will provide updates and guidance to UD international students, scholars and departments as new information becomes available. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

On October 8, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) published an interim final rule on how DOL's National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) applies its four wage-level system to generate prevailing wage determinations. The new rule will impact prevailing wage determinations in both the H-1B and permanent (PERM) programs for non-Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) petitions at UD. While the regulation will take effect immediately, DOL will accept public comments for 30 days.

The prevailing wage rate is defined as the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in a specific occupation in the geographic area of intended employment. The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) prevailing wage is divided into four wage levels, ranging from entry level to experienced.

Under the new rule, OES prevailing wage minimums will significantly increase at all four levels. For example, under the previous rules, the Level I (entry level) wage minimum is set at the 17th percentile of the average wage for the occupation. As part of the new rule, the entry-level minimum wage will increase to the 45th percentile. The following table illustrates how the interim final rule impacts OES based prevailing wage determinations filed on or after October 8, 2020.

 

Wage Level

Previous Percentile

New Percentile

Level I 17 45
Level II 34 62
Level III 50 78
Level IV 67 95



DOL states that the rule will only apply to currently pending and future OES-based applications, including:

  • prevailing wage determination pending as of the effective date of the regulation;
  • prevailing wage determinations filed on or after the effective date of the regulation; and
  • LCAs filed on or after the effective date of the regulation where the OES survey data is used and where the employer did not obtain the PWD prior to the effective date of the regulation.

The rule will not affect previously approved NWPC prevailing wage determinations. Additional information on the new rule is available on the NAFSA website.

CGPS continues to monitor the situation very closely and will provide updates and guidance to UD international students, scholars and departments as new information becomes available. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

Find everything you need to know, including free tax service offered by UD partner Sprintax on the CGPS Taxes webpage.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a message noting that a significant increase in filings in recent weeks and facility capacity restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are causing significant delays for processing receipt notices. Please expect delays in receipt notice issuance if you have filed forms and applications with the USCIS Lockbox. For more information on the status of your case or steps you can take to decrease processing times, please follow these updates from the USCIS Lockbox.

Please take into consideration this new information about delays when filing OPT, STEM OPT, or other applications with USCIS. Additional information can be found on the NAFSA website. CGPS will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as new information becomes available. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

ISSS Disclaimer: The information contained on this web site is provided as a service to international students, faculty, staff, employees, and administrators at the University of Delaware, and does not constitute legal advice on any immigration, tax, or other matter. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of official counsel. For assistance on your immigration status, we encourage you to contact an ISS advisor for specific guidance at oiss@udel.edu.

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