Showing posts from January, 2018

EB2 India: The Long Wait (Guest Column)

The Long Wait for EB2 India What is "EB2 India"? It refers to citizens of India the employment-based green card category for Masters and high experience-level specialty occupations. It's an issue for discussion because, even though an employer has proven there is no American available to do the job, there are still per-country total limits on annual green card allotments. So, India being a high population country with lots of tech workers in the U.S., their wait for a work green card is longer than other countries around 10 years longer! In fact, most countries don't use up their annual limit and the remaining green card slots go mostly unused. Having said this, here is a nice presentation from my colleague Bob Webber at Webber Law, PLLC on the inner workings of the particular process, EB2 India. The Long Wait for "EB2 India."

It’s So Easy!

It's So Easy! Reminder: you can apply to replace your green card online! It’s that easy!

But WHY Must I Help With My Own Application?

An application can be denied even before an interview. Recently I Answered the Following: "Me an my spouse (F-1 student) are in the process of concurrent filing. We were wondering if it is really necessary to include hard evidence such as: joint bank statements, auto/health insurance, car titles, bills, rent lease, photos...etc with our application package, or leave until we are called in for the interview?" Short, Sarcastic Answer:  Sigh. A Little More Helpful Answer:  It depends on a noncitizen's tolerance for risk. An adjustment interview is not like a consular interview where one necessarily brings supporting docs to an interview. Without adequate supporting documentation of a bona fide marital relationship, an application may be denied before an interview is even granted. Having said this, the items listed are common documents to demonstrate a bona fide marital relationship. A marriage certificate is not enough. In fact, joint financial statement

Attorney Question: Is This Plea Deportable?

A Lawyer Asked Me The Following Question: "My client, who is a permanent legal resident, is charged with a misdemeanor Domestic Abuse No Contact Order - Violate No Contact Order -  Minn Stat  629.75.2(b). The offer is to plea guilty to charge. 90 Days jail stayed for two years.  Would he be deported if he plead guilty?" ANSWER: Yes! FOLLOW UP: "Also, do you know if there is anything I could do like an Alford plea (no admission of facts) or a stay of adjudication on the charge that would keep him from deportation?" ANSWER: None of those resolutions avoid removal proceedings.  And there are additional nuances.  And, during this time, the foreign national defendant may or may not remain in ICE custody during such proceedings.  In Minnesota, this is usually Sherburne or Carver County jail but sometimes Albert Lea.  Ramsey County (St. Paul) recently ended its relationship with I.C.E. to detain foreign nationals in proceedings. This is a very se

Final Countdown: H1B Time Limits

"6 years." Get this stuck in your head. Recently I received the following question:   "My old H1B visa was valid from December 2008 to September 2011.  I only physically stayed in the U.S. on that visa for 9 months.  Now I want to apply for another H1B visa.  Am I eligible for H1B cap-exempt?" Answer:   You are always eligible for a cap-exempt H1B.  That means your petitioning employer is a nonprofit or educational institution, and for that there is no deadline or lottery.  I assume your old H1B was cap-subject?  If you are interested in another cap-subject H1B visa, then it appears the 6 year time limit has expired from your old visa and it can no longer be transferred to a new employer.   It's important to maintain constant awareness of one's time on H1B.  As you approach 5 years, so too does the H1's "final countdown."  An employer must now submit a fresh petition on your behalf for a new cap-subject H1 next year, which will the

BREAKING: DACA Renewals To Resume Temporarily

BREAKING:   Due to a federal court order, USCIS has resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA.  Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017.  For details, please see the  USCIS Response to Federal Injunction Regarding Recent DACA Court Decision . If you believe you make qualify, it is a very good idea to call a  licensed immigration lawye r now to review your rights.

What's In A Level 1 Wage?

I recently answered the following questions: 1. Do we qualify for H1B if we are hourly and level 1 wage? 2. Can we apply for H1B and also STEM extension? 3. Is premium processing of H1B necessary? ANSWER 1. You can qualify.  But, some problems occur with Level 1 wages when they are low enough to question whether the occupation is really a specialty. So it depends on the job duties/requirements, and best examined on a case-by-case basis.  In other words, a wage by any other name may or may not smell as sweet! 2. Yes. 3. No but usually worth the expense. Some IT consultants refuse to premium process in order to retain the prospect in current employment as long as possible, or play the “project shuffle.” See a licensed attorney for options to address this.

No H1 For You!

Today I answered the following concern : “My company just today told me they will not be filing for H-1B this year for me. My STEM OPT expires in Jun-2018. I will have to find another job in time for filing H-1B now.” ANSWER : It’s disappointing learn at the last minute that an employer declines to file your H1B petition, particularly after what was presumably loyal service through one’s STEM OPT, which can last up to three years. In the IT industry at least, this is a lifetime! It reminds me of the Soup Nazi episode from Seinfeld. Customers at a New York soup cafe would stand dutifully in line, but one error in store protocol would result in them being thrown out of the store. The owner would yell, “No soup for you!” In Seinfeld, dejected soup customers could find lunch elsewhere, no doubt a disappointingly substandard lunch to the amazing soup they hope for. Nonetheless, their palate would be sated. When an employer repays dutiful employment during your l

You're Terminated: Withdrawing Early from School

Foreign students should carefully follow the rules for early program withdrawal, and understand implications. If you are a student on an F-1 visa, there is no penalty to withdraw from your program of study, as long a certain requirements are met. A designated school official (DSO) has the authority to permit "authorized early withdrawals" to a foreign student's F visa status in extenuating circumstances. This includes a temporary absence or withdrawal from school due to a family emergency, personal matter or another circumstance that calls for the student to leave the United States prior to their program’s completion.  If an F student is granted authorized early withdrawal, or a permitted temporary absence from their course of study, they are permitted a 15-day grace period to depart the United States. F students who are granted an authorized early withdrawal, but do not depart the country within the 15-day grace period, are in violation of their student vis

To Americans: Why Concern With Immigration?

During our day to day activities, it's easy to miss the impact of immigration on our lives. But this guide takes a new angle and discusses why an natural born American citizen might use an immigration lawyer. I OWN A BUSINESS 1) The I-9 form is a critical piece of hiring any employee. It verifies that your new hire is legally allowed to work in the United States. But few people realize the I-9 is actually an immigration form. Completing this form improperly can lead to results worse than an IRS audit! 2) If your business requires specialized occupations, such employees may be hard to find. If you discover a foreign national that fits the qualification, an immigration lawyer is all but required to help navigate a complicated and nuanced work permit process.  Here's a link to my primer on H1B visas:   H1B Visa Primer . 3) If you are interested in capitalizing your business, there are incentives to foreigners to invest upwards of $1 million into a qualified business in

New H1B Lottery Rules Announced

Some questions have arisen as to whether the lottery for selecting FY 19 H1B petitions will be eliminated, given a recently proposed regulatory rule change. See this link: The answer is no, at least according to the above proposed rule. Indeed, DHS is proposing to resurrect a proposed rule from 2011 that creates pre-H1B registration for employers. The idea is to select applications to consider by lottery, but before an employer puts in all the time, cost, and planning to submit the actual packet. With an up-front cap selection process, only those employers who have obtained a cap number would be required to submit the entire H1B Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129. This idea has merit because, as mentioned, it’s take a LOT of time, planning, and cost to create a proper H1B petition. Small employers, or first-time petitioners often cannot afford the time to become familiar with

Travel While H1 Pending?

Be extremely aware of the dates your status is valid, AND, when it changes. I was recently asked the following question: “Can I travel internationally while my H1B is in process (1 April 2018-30 Sep 2018 )? I am on F1 OPT and my Employer will file my cap-subject H1B petition on April 1, 2018.” Answer: Traveling back and forth when your immigration status is about to change can be unnerving.  Between the potential need for new consular stamping and review at the port of entry, it's as uncertain as finding a way home during the holidays in a snowstorm.  If you've seen the above-pictured movie, you know what I mean!  Any number of bureaucrats have your life in their hands!  Personally, I suggest not traveling while your status is changing.  Even when technically feasible, things still happen.  Why risk it? But the answer to the above question is, technically, yes.  This is because, if one's H1B petition is chosen in the lottery and approved, a cap-subject H1B

Should Students Still Come to America?

Recently I answered the following question: "I am planning to come to the U.S for my Masters in Electrical Engineering.  But, based on the political climate surrounding STEM OPT and CPT, possible revocation by Trump, and general negative mood toward foreign students, should I still come? I do have other options (Canada and Germany)." Answer: Immigration, like politics, moves in cycles. There are myths as well.   Actually, it was Obama who cracked down on H1B’s, and abruptly removed some school accreditations leaving many innocent students stranded without options. Despite many negative actions, Trump has actually discussed merit-based immigration, which bodes well for the skilled and educated.  The point is:  Who knows!  OPT aside, you’ll have a masters from a U.S. school that will serve you long into the future. Plus you are electrical engineering and there’s always a need and desperate need now.  This is still the greatest land of opportunity. So get here

Student I-94 Problem

Recently I received the following question:    "I am on F1 status, and I'm doing my masters. Recently, I checked that my I94 was expired. I have 4 years of my visa left." Answer:   As an F-1 student your original I-94 should have been marked "D/S" with no expiration date. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) either made a mistake or had concerns about your entry and wanted to review your status at a certain time. Discuss your specific situation with your DSO, including whether you should go to the CPB at your airport to correct the I-94, or whether simply departing and returning with a new I-94 would cure the problem. In addition to your visa you also need a current I-20 which the DSO provides. 

Historical Society Interview of Satveer Chaudhary

The following is an oral history interview,  now archived at the Minnesota Historical Society,  with retired Senator Satveer Chaudhary shortly after his first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives. Link to MN Historical Society Archive:   Interview: Minnesota Historical Society Archive DESCRIPTION BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Satveer Chaudhary was born in Minnesota. He attended high school, college, and law school in Minnesota. Presently he is serving in the Minnesota legislature.  SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Parents, familiarity with parents' language, schooling, extracurricular activities, travel in England, India, and South Africa, political work and law school, running for state office. Importance of education, loyalty to family, friends, hospitality, and Indian-American identity. Satveer Chaudhary, Minnesota's First Asian-American Legislator 1 Interview with Satveer Chaudhary Interviewed by Polly Sonifer March 27, 1997 PS: This is Polly